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I am pleased to officially announce my candidacy for Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Sovereign of the State of Vatican City, Servant of the Servants of God.
You read it here first: bitches be running for pope.
Or at least this bitch be.
Before I expand on why I am eminently qualified to rock the shit out of the papacy, a little history lesson is necessary. Once upon a time, or so a few medieval monks wrote, there was a lady pope. According to legend, Pope Joan grew up in what is now Germany, where she somehow managed to sneak into the local monastery and pass as a young male monk.
Supposedly, she eventually got to Rome, where she reigned as pope for over two years in the ninth century. Boccaccio wrote about her in his book "100 Famous Women," and she shows up in plenty of stories from medieval times onward. In most versions of the tale, Pope Joan eventually gets knocked up and gives birth during a procession, at which point everybody stones her to death (or she is sent to a convent –- take your pick).
The Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church says Pope Joan is just a legend, a myth, a fiction wholly divorced from reality. Just so we're clear, reality is a place where demonic possession happens and tasteless wafers regularly transform into the flesh of a man-god, while red wine becomes blood. It's sort of like "True Blood"!
Granted, I'm not a cardinal –- the necessary prerequisite for being a pope –- but I'm pretty sure I'll be able to charm the dudes in the College of Cardinals into letting me run for Holy President. How? Well, I'll smile and fiddle with my hair and bat my eyelashes and then I'll pay them off, obviously. (I should probably start a Kickstarter to fund this bribe. Would you be willing to contribute, dear XOJaners?)
Anyway, here's a quick rundown of why the College of Cardinals ought to elect me, Sara Benincasa, as the next pontiff.
1. My sixth grade job aptitude test said I would be a fine CEO.
The Catholic Church is the world's oldest and most successful for-profit corporation, with a flair for the fabulous. (I mean, have you seen the interior decor over at HQ and at many of the local franchises?) I think their next HBIC should be a gal who really has the zeal to set the company on the right spiritual, social and economic course again.
For example: in the wake of its greatest financial and moral disaster since the Inquisition, the Church has been making big payments to survivors of childhood sexual abuse. I'm not going to stop those settlements. In fact, I'm going to increase them. And I'm going to find new and better ways to pay for them. Like the following.
2. I'll sell the Sistine Chapel on Etsy.
And thousands of other artistic and cultural treasures. You want a pew from St. Peter's Basilica? You got it. You want a creepily-preserved waxen relic of some medieval virgin who was beheaded for magically curing rheumatism in horses? Up for grabs! You want the stained glass in the chapel at Boston College? Fine by me.
Under Pope Sara, every decorative object in every church is available via the world's finest online craft fair. Of course, we will not take necessary items from churches that actually do the vital work of feeding the homeless, clothing the poor, healing the sick, etc. Nor will we mess with Catholic Charities, which does awesome stuff. I'm simply talking about the crystal chandeliers, the gilded archways, the marble statues, the golden goblets, and all the other swag that was paid for over the centuries by countless faithful Catholics who probably didn't know that their children were being molested en masse.
Museums, foundations, governments, and individuals are all welcome to the sale. Proceeds go to victims of abuse as well as to organizations that help them heal.
3. I'll put the nuns in charge of everything.
Have you ever met a power lesbian? They are awe-inspiring creatures. Put that mighty lez in a habit, and you've got yourself -– well, a lot of Mother Superiors. Nuns are badass ladies who do the unglamorous grunt work that makes priests and bishops and cardinals and popes look good. Under my reign, nuns will get all the power positions that have been denied to them over the centuries. Plus they can all wear whatever the heck they want: the habit, the miniskirt, the bikini, the ascot. And they can perform marriages, anoint the sick and dying, hear confessions, and do everything else priests are allowed to do.
4. I'll make sure every consenting adult can get married in a Catholic church.
The priests, the nuns, the gays, the lesbians, the transgender folks, the previously-divorced, the non-Catholics.
Bonus: I will be the surprise officiant at one wedding per month. The loving couple will expect their regular priest or nun to show up and do the service . Cameras will be on hand to capture the shock and joy on their faces when wacky Pope Sara drops by to bless a few bottles of water, baptize a few babies, and –- oh yeah -– CELEBRATE THEIR MARRIAGE. The only catch is that I must be invited to the reception, and everybody has to give me a high five.
5. I'll contract out CCD to the Unitarians.
Man, those Unitarians are cool, aren't they? They're chill and fun and smart and they're into books but also moon cycle goddess ceremonies and, like, Dungeons and Dragons. They are God's loving hippie dork children, and they are great. In my new role as the head of the Catholic Church, I am going to cut costs by eliminating traditional in-house CCD (the Confraternity of Christine Doctrine, weekly education classes for Catholic kids) in favor of using a friendly, cheap subcontractor. We can probably get the Unitarians to do it for free, because they're very nice. And they have the amazing Our Whole Lives program, which provides comprehensive, straightforward sexuality education for kids from kindergarten on up.
6. I'll make masturbation the eighth sacrament.
Sure, we've already got Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Communion, Confession, Marriage, Holy Orders, and the Anointing of the Sick. And those are great things! But is there anything more sacred and awesome in its power than the mighty orgasm? I think not. Let's give the big O its due and make it one of the pillars of the faith. Because every time a Catholic comes, an angel gets its nails did. (Under my reign, everyone will be taught that angels have the most fabulous nail art of all.)
Well, those are just a few reasons why I ought to be the next leader of the Papists. Feel free to join my letter-writing, phone-calling, email-sending campaign! And remember the foundation of my papal philosophy: God loves everybody, but he loves women and gays the most.