Ask the Pope

Friday, July 29, 2005

Keep Your Pope Hand Strong

Things have been pretty stressful in the office. I have to deal with a certain employee who doesn’t like my management style. I’m going to bring him into my office today and talk with him.

If he doesn’t improve his attitude, I’m going to have to slap him with my pope hand. He needs to know that if anyone disrespects me, he or she will get the pope hand.

Not only do I have a strong pope hand, but the rings on my fingers probably add a good sting too.

Thursday, July 28, 2005


I’m starting to experiment with scented shampoos. I have a shampoo that smells like lavender and another one that smells like a mango/peach smoothie. I actually got a compliment the other day that my hair smells good.

Smelling good has totally boosted my self-confidence. I’m one of the most powerful people in the world and now my hair smells really good. You can’t beat that.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Random Blood Tests

The HR Director wants to start implementing random blood tests throughout the year. This is fine for all my employees, but I don’t think it should apply to me. I have supernatural blood, and it could be very dangerous in the wrong hands.

One drop of my blood could lengthen the life of a man by fifty years. Think what would happen if Yanni or Michael Bolton got a hold of it. Think about how many more albums they could produce.

This would be a crime against humanity.

Award Winning Scripts

The Creative Artist Agency hired me to punch up some of their feature film scripts. Most of the scripts are pretty terrible. I’m constantly rewriting the dialogue.

Sometimes I’ll get some of my script ideas by talking with people during communion. For instance, when I was rewriting Sideways for Alexander Payne, I was asking people what they thought the communion wine tasted like.

This one lady told me she thought the wine tasted like “a nutty Edam cheese.” I loved that response, so I tossed it into the script.

Later that night, I realized that the nutty Edam cheese smell wasn’t in the wine. It was a cheese spread that somehow dried up in my sleeve. She must have got a whiff of it when I was passing the cup to her.

I need to be more careful when taking grapes off the cheese tray.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Wear White

Originally uploaded by Joseph Ratzinger.
Someone asked me why I like to wear white. It’s not because white is a symbol of purity or holiness, but because it’s a classy look. White suits will never go out of style. Think about Colonel Sanders or Boss Hogg. These are classy men that know how to dress.

Friday, July 22, 2005

My Papal Uniform

garden pic
Originally uploaded by Joseph Ratzinger.
One of the main difficulties about being Pope (aside from dealing with world poverty) is the time it takes for me to undress just so that I can use the restroom. It’s freakin’ ridiculous.

I have to take off three layers of clothes, and then neatly hang everything up in my stall. The whole process takes about 5 minutes to undress and another 10 minutes to put the clothes back on properly.

This is especially troublesome for me since I have a small bladder.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Vatican Coffee Maker Broke

Our office coffee maker broke this morning, and my employees are getting restless. I tried reading the catechism to them, but nothing would suffice. They want coffee, and they want it bad.

I never realized the evils of coffee. It rivals world hunger and Harry Potter.

This American Life

I received a phone call from Ira Glass this week. His next episode for “This American Life” is going to be about writers and where they find their inspiration. He briefly interviewed me for the third act of the program, entitled: Write Now

Ira Glass:
Pope Benedict, you just finished writing another book of theology, which is due to be published by Ignatius Press in the next month. Congratulations.

Pope Joe:
Thank you.

Ira Glass:
Where do you find the time and inspiration to write with your hectic schedule?

Pope Joe:
Well, it helps that I’m divinely inspired. I also have insomnia, which keeps me up most nights. Insomnia seems to be my muse.

Ira Glass:
What author would you compare yourself to?

Pope Joe:
I suppose if I were forced to pick one author it would have to be Shakespeare. I think we both have an amazing ability to convey the human condition through words.

I think where we differ is that Shakespeare was limited to only writing great plays.

I’m a bit more . . . well-rounded than him. And I don’t mean my belt size, but rather my ability to cross over from playwriting, to novels, to poetry, to theological essays, to history, etc. Shakespeare was good at writing plays, and that’s what he felt comfortable writing. God bless him. But, he couldn’t cross over like I can.

I’m also much funnier than Shakespeare. He certainly had a quick wit, but he wasn’t trained in comedic timing like me. But don’t get me wrong, Shakespeare is good—he’s just not great.

But we need to forgive him, right? He wasn’t divinely inspired like me.

Ira Glass:
You mentioned that you’ve written plays. I’ve never seen any of your published plays.

Pope Joe:
Well, they haven’t been published yet. It’s amazing, but the minute you become Pope—suddenly every publisher wants you. I’ve written dozens of plays and they are due out for publication next year.

Ira Glass:
What types of plays have you written?

Pope Joe:
What haven’t I written? Well, I’m a huge fan of Jaws, so I started to convert the movie script into a Shakespearean play.

Ira Glass:
Really? This should be interesting. I had no idea. Would you mind reading some lines from your play?

Pope Joe:
You want me to give a teaser? Sure, here’s something that will get my people excited. This is taken from the part of Jaws movie when Quint is about to go into that long monologue about the Hiroshima bomb.

If you don’t mind, I brought some professional voice actors to do the reading.

Ira Glass:
Go right ahead. You’re the Pope.


SCENE X. On a Ship at Sea


Thou hath boarded that illfated vessel
That we call the Indianapolis?

Hark, I pray thee to unbridle thy tongue
And teach us thy privy tale. Hide nothing,
For though we sit in this dampened chamber
Reclined in a drunken stupor, reciting
Sonnets about shore-worn maidens: which do
Arouse us with their lowly occupation,
I think it proper to hear this grave tale.
And bate not one word from thy famed story,
Hooking our minds with faithless words,
Making us cuckolds in thy reverie.

Let us to fanciful thoughts, which make Time
Stir round, turning idle minds to a stage:
Not made by hands, but formed from thy words
Inspiring those poor players that do
Sit in mine head to swirl about,
Even as that bedeviled shark doth swirl round
Beneath us, plotting tumultuous revenge.

Yes, retell that tale for our kindred’s sake
Quell mine clouded memory with thy story.
For I shall raise this hearty mug in praise
Of thy name, making an Oath to retell
And sing it to all my posterity.

Tell me, good Quint, tell all, so that even
The mighty gods that do sit on that Great Mount
Do cry at thy speech--yea, even that wretched
Jupiter will sweat briny tears into
Poseidon’s salty sea.

Prithee, Peace:

And lend thy ear to my story.

A vessel from the Orient hath slammed
Two spears into the side of our boat, chief.

Pope Joe:
Let’s stop it right there. I don’t want to spoil it. Besides I don’t give this stuff out for free. They need to buy my book.

Ira Glass:
Thank you for joining us today.

Pope Joe:
It’s my pleasure.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Bless You

Some people spend their day fixing cars. Some people spend their day fixing computers. I spend my day blessing people. I know it might sound easy, but you have no idea what’s its like to bless thousands of people everyday.

Imagine raising your arms and spouting a liturgical chant every ten-minutes. Go on, try it for 10 hours and see how you like it. It can be quite tiring for someone my age. My throat gets dry, my arms begin to quiver, and I’ve started to get lower back pain.

And then imagine trying to stay enthusiastic. Every time I say a blessing, I’m supposed to pretend as if it’s the first time I’ve given that blessing. It’s like being an international rock star and having to play the same darn songs with passion night after night, year after year.

Then imagine the body odors I have to deal with. Some people have been traveling quite a distance to see me and have been sweating in the sun all day. By the time they get near me, they smell terrible. I have to smile and try to refrain from smelling while giving a blessing. This takes some practice.

And then imagine, after a day of blessing 7,000 people, you get back inside your white Escalade and your assistant forgot to stock it with cold water, wine and snacks.

You get on your cell phone to ask your assistant about the food, but all you get is voice mail. And then when your driver starts the car, he realizes that he forgot to fill up the tank with gas. And then when he drives to the gas station, another group of people approach my white Escalade and want a blessing.

So you give a blessing and get back in the car.

And then on the way back to the Vatican, you notice that the driver had pushed the recycled air button. After an hour of being in the car, you realize that you’ve been breathing in the same air as the hired driver. This is where I draw the line.

It's time for another vacation.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Hawaiian Shirt Day

When I joined the Vatican several months ago, I implemented an “Employee Comment Box.” This is designed to give my employees a forum to anonymously tell me what they want changed or problems they want addressed.

Someone suggested that we implement a Hawaiian shirt day on Fridays.

I detest Hawaiian shirts. Even though Hawaiian shirts seem to hide my bulging stomach, I can never find a shirt that suits me well. My pasty white skin and flabby arms draw too much attention.

If you have any suggestions for me to improve the working conditions at the Vatican, feel free to comment here. If I like the suggestion, I’ll include it in my upcoming Vatican Employee Newsletter.

I have a big speech to give tomorrow and I started getting a cold sore on my lip. This is not good. There’s only so much makeup can do.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Weighty Matters

Yesterday, one of my Cardinals said that I was jolly.

At first I smiled, but then I looked at my waistline. I know he meant well, but why did he have to use the word “jolly.”

Jolly is a word that should only be applied Santa Clause and other big-boned white men that can laugh well. I don’t want to be known as the “jolly” Pope. I want to be known as the joyful Pope.

It bothers me that I have the miraculous ability to heal the sick, but I have no control over my metabolism. I wonder if any of the apostles had this problem.

I need to get on my Vatican Diet right away. When I die, I want my followers to create slim statues of me. At this rate, my statues will look more like Buddha.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Nose Hair

There is a Cardinal that I work with on a regular basis that doesn’t trim his nose hair properly. There is always one hair that darts out like a weed around mid-afternoon.

I’d like to say something to him, but I’m not sure of the best way to broach the subject. I’ve prayed to Mary about this several times and have not received a revelation yet.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Shampoo Problems

Forgive me for not blogging. I’ve been traveling around quite a bit and my laptop’s modem broke. I’m writing this blog right now inside my hotel's business center. The fluorescent lights in here hurt my eyes.

I need to vent. I’m a little upset about the little shampoo bottles inside my hotel’s bathroom. The darn little things aren’t squeezable. I have to stand there in the shower and wait for the shampoo to slowly drain out into my hand. It takes nearly two minutes.

I tried to speed up the process by sticking my pinky finger into the opening of the shampoo bottle, but my finger doesn’t fit. I have stubby little fingers.

It's like waiting for ketchup to come out and not having a French fry to stick in the neck of the bottle to unclog the hole.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Papal Imposter

It seems an imposter has taken some of my blog ideas and passed it off as his own. I’m getting my team of lawyers on this.

Another clown stole my show idea and put it on a t-shirt.

Is nothing sacred?

Pen Problems

My favorite pen doesn’t work anymore. I’ve tried shaking it. I’ve tried scribbling really hard on a piece of paper. Nothing seems to work.

I was hoping my miraculous powers might get my pen to work again. I guess not.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Step-Aerobics Class

I made one of the biggest mistakes of my life yesterday.

When I was at the Vatican Health Spa last night, I thought I was joining a kick boxing class. Instead, I read the calendar wrong and found myself involved in a step-aerobics class.

I had no idea what I was doing. I thought about escaping, but I was too embarrassed to leave. I had to at least pretend that I intentionally joined this class—at least for a little while. I kept staring at the clock, praying the class would end quickly. God did not answer my prayer.

I fixed my eyes on the instructor and tried to keep up with him. This was quite difficult because: (a) I have no rhythm; (b) I’m not coordinated; (c) I couldn’t understand a word the instructor was saying; (d) the dance music was too loud; and (e) I have no rhythm.

(a) I have no rhythm
I might be able to sing Gregorian chants, but I have no rhythm. I can’t even clap to a song. This is a severe problem in a step class.

(b) I’m not coordinated
I’ve never been coordinated. It also doesn’t help that I have a giant white robe that trips me every time I try and step.

(c) I couldn’t understand a word the instructor was saying
My instructor was always out of breath and yelled out instructions in step jargon that apparently everyone else understood except me. I can speak almost 10 languages fluently, but I couldn’t understand one word of step-aerobics.

(d) The dance music was too loud
Step-aerobics uses an entirely new breed of music. It takes terrible pop song, speeds them up so the voices sound like Alvin and the Chipmunks, and then the songs are laced with a pumping drum sound. It made me want to commit suicide. I knew that Ashlee Simpson music was sinful, but the step-aerobic remix versions are just plain damnable. Producers of such music ought to be dragged into the center of Dante’s inferno.

(e) I have no rhythm

I will never, never, never, ever join a step class again.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Inside the Actor's Studio


In an upcoming episode of “Inside the Actor’s Studio,” you’ll find me getting interviewed by James Lipton. I’m not an actor in the theatrical sense, but I am a public figure that must put on a smile and act happy most of the time. My agent also thought it might be a good idea to appear on the show to give people a glimpse into my personal life.

I’m not allowed to release the transcript of the entire show until after it airs on Bravo, but I am allowed to release my answers to his typical 10 last questions:

What is your favorite word?

Well, it’s actually two words: “Your Holiness.” I love it when people call me that.

What is your least favorite word?


What turns you on, excites you, inspires you - physically, creatively, spiritually?

Vending machines

What turns you off?

When vending machines refuse my wrinkled dollar bills.

What sound do you love?

I love listening to vending machines accepting my money. I also love listening to the metal coils as they turn to release my food.

What sound do you hate?

I hate the sound when the vending machine drops my food into the metal tray below. I’m afraid my food might get damaged during the fall.

What is your favorite curse word?


What profession, other than yours, would you like to try?

I guess if I had to choose another profession, than I’d probably want to be God. That is the next job above me, isn’t it? I guess it might be fun to be God for one day. I probably couldn’t just jump into the job right away. I’d probably need some training—even though I am the most qualified human on earth. I suppose I’d probably choose a Sabbath day as my first day on the job, so I wouldn’t have to do much.

What profession would you least like to try?

I’d hate to give people pedicures. I refuse to touch people’s dirty feet. Why can’t people just take care of their own feet? Why does someone have to clean another person’s toenails and scrape away their calluses? It grosses me out.

If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive?

Well, it does exist. And when I do enter heaven—which is probably pretty soon—I imagine God would apologize to me for giving me dandruff, an oily complexion, and big pores.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Independence Day

St. H-Dogg

I want to wish everyone in the United States a Happy 4th of July. I’ve canonized hot dogs just for you. Grill them up for me today.

Friday, July 01, 2005

This Morning's Breakfast

I forgot to set my alarm clock last night, so I was running late to mass this morning. I not only forgot to shave, but I didn’t eat a proper breakfast.

On the way out my door, I chugged down some orange juice and crammed a Hostess pink snowball down my mouth.

This is probably the worst breakfast I’ve ever eaten in my life.

Pink Snowballs and orange juice should never be joined together. It's like the marriage betweenWhitney and Bobby. It might have sounded good at the time, but it ended up to be a total disaster.