Ask the Pope

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Concerning Limbo

Limbo for Dummies

The Church has long taught that infants dying prior to baptism go to limbo: a place that is neither heaven nor hell. I’ve been asked to update this doctrine and enlighten others on its meaning.

“Limbo” is a somewhat antiquated term, and difficult to comprehend. Let me try and explain this spiritual concept in earthly terms: if the beaches in Hawaii are considered heaven, and the deserts of Libya are considered hell, then limbo is a place like Liechtenstein.

Nobody knows much about Liechtenstein (or Limbo), but we know that it’s located somewhere in Europe. We also know that once people go there, they can’t get out. This is just like Limbo--except with spiritual babies floating around.

Since I’ve been asked to update this doctrine, I’ve decided that Limbo will now include—not only infants that die before baptism—but also all the musicians that only had one hit song (e.g. Frank Stallone, Soft Cell, and Sir Mix-A-Lot). Since a one hit song doesn’t merit heaven, it certainly doesn’t merit hell either. I figure Limbo is the proper place for them.

I will make an exception for Devo. Those guys are going to heaven.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Nihil Declaro

Pope Benedict XVI Latin
Originally uploaded by Joseph Ratzinger.
I felt a little embarrassed today when I met with the members of the Latinitas Foundation (a group that encourages the education of Latin). For some reason, I thought I was meeting with a group of small Latin American women.

I had prepared a speech to talk about my work on encouraging women’s rights around the world—especially in Latin American countries. I was also going to give an inspirational talk about the benefits of being short.

For example, there are many rides at Disneyland that the average adult can’t ride because of their height. In many ways, people of average height are discriminated—so there are many benefits of being short.

This whole day is just one big embarrassment for me. And I had my mind set on some carnitas tacos.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Meeting John Voight

Meeting John Voight
Originally uploaded by Joseph Ratzinger.
I felt a little uncomfortable with the way John Voight shook my hand at a recent movie premier. It was one of those handshakes that lasted a little too long. His smile made me feel a bit awkward too.

I kindly smiled and then gave a wink to my publicist. My publicist was able to break us up and get me into my Escalade within minutes. I can’t emphasize how important a good publicist is.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

New Business Cards

I'm getting some new business cares printed up. I'm not sure what title to list under my name. There are so many options: Your Holiness, Pope of the World, Pope & Chief Executive Officer, Big Pappa.

It's so hard to choose.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Vatican Lunch Truck

I was starving this morning because I didn’t eat breakfast. So, when the lunch truck arrived at the Vatican at 11 a.m., I quickly ran outside to order an egg and chorizo burrito. I usually send out my assistant to get my food, but I was starving.

The lunch truck has a giant horn that plays the same tune as the car from the Dukes of Hazzard. I’ve always thought that song was kind of annoying, but this morning it was a song I was desperate to hear.

I can’t even begin to tell you how beautiful that song was to me this morning. It was almost like a group of angels were using trumpets to announce some glorious news from heaven. My stomach is so happy right now.

BBC Radio

I was interviewed on a BBC radio show recently and the following is a transcript of our conversation.

It’s an honour to meet with you today.

My pleasure.

What do you consider to be your greatest virtue?

That’s a good question. I suppose if I was forced to choose one virtue, aside from my love of all people and the fact that I visit children in hospitals, I guess I would have to say it is my humility.

Most people couldn’t stay humble if they were in my shoes--and most couldn’t anyway because mine are Prada.

Why is humility difficult for a person in your position?

Imagine how difficult it would be to stay humble even though you have everything. Not everyone could do it. I guess that’s why I’m Pope.

We sometimes ask our guests how they want to be remembered. What do you want written on your gravestone to sort of sum up your life?

That’s a tough one, but I guess something like “The Humblest Man (besides Christ) Who Ever Lived or Ever Will Live.”

Actually, I don’t want a gravestone—I’d rather have a tomb if possible. Something like a monument so that it will be sort of exciting to look at. Because I imagine when I die many people will want to visit my burial ground, so I’d like to at least give them something interesting to look at.

Possibly a monument with a giant television screen that would replay my various speeches or something. And there should be ample space for people to leave candles and flowers—if they would like.

We might even want to have a cart or something with someone selling Vatican approved flowers so that people could buy flowers if they forgot to bring some. And I’m not saying they should bring flowers—but in case they forgot, we should have some available. And the profits could be sent to a charity. So everyone wins.

It would be nice to have a petition going on there too.

What sort of petition?

You know, something to get my beatification process going. I’d like to become a Saint as soon as possible after I die.

It would be kind of embarrassing to be in heaven with all these saints and I’m just waiting around for my sainthood. I’m sure they would tease me about it too. I can see St. Paul and St. Francis joking about it with me. It would be funny at first, but I’m sure it would get annoying eventually. I wouldn’t want to resort to making jokes about St. Francis and his conversations with birds.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Shock Treatment

I keep getting shocked today. My robes are rubbing against the carpet and causing too much static. It’s really annoying.

Friday, November 11, 2005

My Soap Dilemma

At what point should I throw away my bar of soap? I use the soap until it becomes this thin potato chip like thing--but then it's practically impossible to use.

I try and blend it in with a new bar of soap, but it never works. It just ends up slipping out of my hands.

One of my Cardinals told me that I should switch to liquid soap, but it doesn't make me feel as masculine.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Concerning Music

I've received several emails from people asking about my favorite musicians and music groups. I'm sure most people think that I just listen to Gregorian chants all day, but they are terribly wrong.

I'm a man of the people, so I enjoy listening to world music. I love the way different ethnicities have developed their own sounds. I find world music to be very relaxing.

One song that I particularly enjoy is "You're the Best" by Joe Esposito (off the Karate Kid Soundtrack). It's a song that inspires me and helps me keep my cool. You can't have a bad day when you wake up listening to that song.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

I Dumped My Tailor

I’ve been getting hassled lately for my choice of stylish clothing. My tailor and I had our differences and we needed to part ways. I like Prada shoes and he happens to think a Pope should wear something more traditional.

Is it wrong for me to enjoy wearing Prada shoes and designer sunglasses?

It’s not like I pay for my clothes. I’m sponsored.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Slow Eater

Last night, I spent almost two hours in a dinner meeting because there was one Cardinal in my group that eats very, very slowly. The guy seriously chewed his food about forty times before swallowing. At one point, I even started counting his chews because I was so bored.

Throughout the meeting, I kept looking at his partially eaten 7oz filet mignon—and then at him. I was hoping he would get a hint. He obviously didn’t. I finished my meal a good 45 minutes before he was finished—and his chewing was driving me crazy.

I need to find a good excuse to leave dinner early.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

My Portrait is on Sale!

my portrait
Originally uploaded by Joseph Ratzinger.
I just learned that my portrait hasn’t been selling well. This is very disappointing.

What's wrong with it? Is it my smile? Is it the way the picture is cropped? Do you think I need to lose some more weight? Should my hands be in a different position?

To hopefully increase sales, Ignatius Press decided to put my picture on sale for $42.45.

If we don't get some more sales out of this, I'm going to be deeply hurt. I feel very insulted right now.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I’ve been suffering from vertigo lately, so my doctor gave me some medicine to help me feel more stable. He also recommended that I hold off on drinking communion wine for a while. I told him that would be impossible because drinking wine is part of my job.

To appease him, I told him that I'd only take a small sip of wine during communion-—instead of my typical gulp.