Friday, February 22, 2013
The once and future pope?
The next pope of the Roman Catholic Church will be elected during the month of March, taking over as supreme pontiff from the resigned Benedict XVI, who is expected to revert to his pre-papal name of Joseph Ratzinger. The ex-pope is supposed to devote the remainder of his life to quiet contemplation and prayer, discontinuing his practice of inspirational writing for fear of overshadowing his successor. Ratzinger will supposedly be immured in the Mater Ecclesiae monastery.
There is, however, a subtle plot by the College of Cardinals to keep the new pope in check. The men in red are seizing the rare opportunity of having an ex-pope on hand while breaking in the new guy. They can always threaten to bring the old guy back if the new one disappoints. Of course, Ratzinger is old and tired. The cardinalatial plot depends crucially on Ratzinger's preservation as pope-in-reserve. A clever cabal has solved the problem. Unknown to the world at large, Benedict XVI has been encased in carbonite, as demonstrated by this rare photograph of the pontiff in frozen repose.