I’ve long harboured the idea of manufacturing a bar of soap shaped in the figure of the pope. I’d market this bar as “Pope on a Rope” with the tagline, “Take the pope places he’s never been”.
The idea has re-surfaced as the globe is about to wade its way through another conclave. And this got me to thinking about a way to bring the sad, antiquated institution that is the Catholic Church into the modern world. I’d like to suggest we use a new method which I’ll call, “Papacy Idol”. Based on the American Idol model, we’ll elect the pope by popular vote, narrowing down the selection of cardinals through several segments that test their skills in various religiously-significant competencies. Judges for these segments would provide expert commentary to assist us as voters and could include God, Jesus and the Virgin Mary, or, if we wanted to really be inclusive and test the waters, Buddha, Mohammed and Vishnu. Or maybe Satan? He could sort of be the Simon Cowell of the show.
As to the segments we’ll put the cardinals through, I’m thinking:
- deliver a sermon;
- perform an exorcism;
- take a confession; and,
- ex-communicate someone.
If there is a tie, perhaps we can assign them a written test to develop a communication plan to cover-up a sex scandal, say. They’ve plenty of experience in that and it is an important competency in any future pope.