Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Pope and I

I have been asked by Eliyahu if the pope is Catholic. To sum up, a couple of years ago, I would have said that the pope is obviously Jewish--who else wears a white satin bar-mitzvah souvenir kippa to all formal religious occasions--but Benedict I ain't gonna claim. He may possibly be Catholic--some unpleasant people do manage to be, to my distress. He's not my cup of tea anyway.

My classroom features a nice memorial picture of Juan Pablo Dos, and I am happy to keep him up there along with the pretty Mexican folk-art cross. I don't think I could teach with Benedict glaring out over me.

JP2 came to the Throne of the Fisherman when I was quite a small kid, and he is 'the Pope', as far as I am concerned. Maybe I'll develop some fondness for a future pontiff, but the way things are going in Rome...When John Paul died, I followed the process of the papal election with some interest. My grandmother felt it was time for an African pope--I would quite agree, except that African Catholicism is just a touch reactionary these days. My mom and I were holding out for a liberation-theology preachin', guitar-strummin' Latin American, though not with much hope. Second choice would be a sweet Italian great-uncle. (Actually, what we wanted was the cool Spanish guy from Andrew Greeley's "White Smoke", but he's fictional, alas). And the folks down at the local Irish pub were united in their cry of "anyone but Ratzinger".

For some weird reason, the College of Cardinals ignored us all, even the Catholics among us. The day they made up their mind, I got a garbled voice-mail message from my darlin' fella, informing me that 'Ratzenberger' had been elected, and that he had taken the name of 'Constantine or something like that.'

Being as I was at the Fruitvale BART station, no one took the slightest notice as I stormed up and down the platform, snarling things like "Well, he's not MY pope!" and "Hitler Youth! For God's sake, he was in Hitler Youth!" and "The freakin' Grand Inquisitor? Gimme a break!"

I haven't really warmed up to him since, either. And I still call him Ratzenberger when he really annoys me. Which I am sure, drives him crazy...;)

And there STILL hasn't been an Irish pope. Oh well.

Anyway, here's my favorite piece of Christian education humor ever:

Then Jesus took his disciples up the mountain and, gathering them around him, he taught them, saying:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Blessed are the meek
Blessed are they that mourn
Blessed are the merciful
Blessed are they that thirst for justice
Blessed are you when persecuted
Blessed are you when you suffer
Be glad and rejoice for your reward is great in heaven

Then Simon Peter said, "Are we supposed to know this?"
And Andrew said, "Do we have to write this down?"
And James said, "Are we going to have a test on this?"
And Philip said, "I don't have a pencil!"
And Bartholomew said, "What came after poor?"
And John said, "The other disciples didn't have to learn this!"
And Mark said, "I don't get it."
And Judas asked to go to the bathroom.

And a Pharisee who was then present asked to see Jesus' lesson plan and inquired of Jesus, "Where are your anticipatory set and your objectives in the cognitive domain?"

And Jesus wept.


Eliyahu said...

oy...i guess the latest pope might not be. in the somewhat fundamentalist world i grew up around, catholics were considered not quite christian, so i never paid much attention to the elections...but i was fascinated with waiting for the smoke...

Eliyahu said...

you're not packing a ruler, are you?