They drilled a small hole in the wall, said the Pope, and they put in an automatic probe.
I like that, somehow. Here’s a guy who makes a living from being infallible, and from ordering all those bishops around, but just like the rest of us, when the plumbers arrive, they’re in charge, not him.
Now admittedly, these aren’t actual plumbers. These are the people who explored a tomb and found some old bones, which the Pope believes are those of Saint Paul the Misogynist. But still. In the final analysis, they’re a bunch of guys doing a bit of work around the house for the Vatican.
Excuse me, Mr Pope, I’ll have to ask you to to stand over there, if you wouldn’t mind.
And he does. The Pope steps out of the way like we all do when the guys arrive with the toolboxes and the ladders.
They drilled a small hole in the wall, said the Pope. But at least they fixed the light, and now the washing machine works again.
No. That’s not what he said, but it’s what I expected him to say.
They came with a Milwaukee 24-volt cordless, the Pope went on, and a metre-long 10mm SDS masonry bit. Personally, I prefer DeWalt.
I don’t know about you, but for me, somehow drilling holes in walls is not something I expect the Pope to be discussing. I thought Popes were big-picture guys, not detail people, but no. Not this Pope. Not Ratzo.
They drilled a small hole in the wall, and they put in an automatic probe.
So far so good. The Pope was sticking to the facts, but his sense of logic deserted him a little when he went on to interpret the results. You see, it’s widely believed that the tomb contains the bones of Saint Paul, and sure enough, when they inserted their little probe, it did indeed find some strands of linen, some gold thread and some bone fragments from a person who lived between the the first and second centuries.
Therefore, the test confirmed that somebody was buried there, and that the person could possibly have been Paul of Tarsus. Or it could have been somebody else who lived in the first century. Or the second.
What the probe did not find was a passport or a driving licence, or for that matter, an inscription saying
Here lie the bones of Paul the Misogynist, killed in an unfortunate beheading accident, 24th Feb, 0063.
No. What they found were some bones of someone who is still unidentified, unless of course, they have a close relative of Saint Paul for the DNA match, or maybe his dental records.
But they haven’t. All they got was some dust and yet this is sufficient for the Pope to claim that his plumbers have found their man.
This surely confirms the unanimous and uncontested belief that the tomb contains the mortal remains of the apostle Paul, says the Pope.
No it doesn’t. The Pope should stick to things he knows about, like cordless drills, and leave the logic to others.
It confirms that the thing is a tomb from the same century as Paul, and what’s more, the belief is neither unanimous nor uncontested.
Don’t get me wrong. I hope the tomb turns out to be Saint Paul’s, because if it is, it might be where they hid all his letters and postcards that the Mexicans and the Iranians and the Canadians sent back.
Not known at this address. Return to sender. Go away. Police notified.
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