Slowing with age and health issues, the pope was getting tired.
Pope Benedict XVI, who was chosen by God to be pope in 2005, was recently informed by God that he should retire and let someone else take a crack at the job. This might not seem important to some of you, but it’s a pretty big dealio to the 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world.
Last Thursday, the residing pope retired, handing in his badge, gun and special keys to the bulletproof Popemobile. He also doesn’t get to keep the special red shoes or the papal ring. However, for his years of service, devotion and hard work, it was rumored that he was presented a special gold pocket watch (that has a picture of St. Peter on the face, whose arms are actually the hands of the clock).
Ecclesiastical matters have been stepped up in order to fill this papal vacancy. With the jobless rate what it is, naturally there have been quite a few résumés submitted, but the Vatican doesn’t hire just anyone. Not at all. In order to become pope, you have to be elected.
A conclave of cardinals will get together and vote on prospective successors for the holy job. The cardinals will secretly cast ballots for whomever God tells them to vote for, until one cardinal receives two-thirds of the votes, and accepts the mantle of pope.
During a preliminary vote Monday, it was rumored that Barack Obama received 137 of the possible 115 total votes. Since he is unable to officially hold that office (for now), a cloud of black smoke billowed from the papal chimney, signaling that a pope had not yet been picked (either that or it was a grease fire in the kitchen). During a second try at voting, Barack Obama then received 149 of the 115 votes that were possible. After they made it clear to everyone that they could no longer vote for Obama, the voting continued. As of this writing, they have yet to finally choose a replacement for the papal throne.
But hang on to your miter, folks! That’s just the beginning of this story. Have you ever heard of Petrus Romanus?
I’m sorry to have to do this to you, but here comes yet another apocalypse conspiracy theory.
In the past two years, we’ve had Harold Camping prophesy the rapture upon us, the fiscal cliff (aka Judgment Day) and the Mayan calendar come crashing to an anti-cataclysmic end. Who would’ve thought that the Catholic Church would be the next entity to proclaim that Armageddon is nigh? Well, that’s exactly what’s coming down the pike, and you’ll be hearing a lot about it soon.
Here’s the skinny: In 1139, St. Malachy supposedly experienced visions while on a trip to Rome. He wrote down these visions on a document known as the Prophecy of the Popes. In it, he detailed the next 112 popes to take office, describing them all somewhat accurately with a short phrase. For instance, the description for Pope Benedict XVI was Gloria Olivae, or “glory of the olive,” which suggests a reference to the Benedictine order of monks from whom Benedict got his name. The monks are also known as the Olivetans, and are represented by an olive branch.
His predecessor, Pope John Paul II, was described as “from the labor of the sun/of the eclipse of the sun.” Was it mere coincidence that John Paul II was born during an eclipse and then buried during an eclipse? Cue the eerie music.
OK, now take a guess as to which pope on this list of 112 popes comes next? That’s right, the next pope will be the 112th!
Supposedly, this pope will be a really shady character who will take on the name Petrus Romanus. He will be responsible for ushering in a few things like the rapture, the rise of the anti-Christ, seven years of tribulations and the end of days.
Man, I wish I was making all this up! All this Armageddon stuff is really getting on my nerves. And just when you thought it was safe to view the world with rosary-colored glasses again.
Reach C.W. Plunkett at email@example.com.