Listen carefully. Here’s my guarantee.
During the lead-up to the papal elections, there will be no cheap puns, no sly digs and no laughing at the absurdity of the Catholic hierarchy.
Vat I can promise you.
There will be no snide insults at the only men who stand between us and the hordes of Satan, or the thin purple line as we call them. We will not make jokes about 87-year-old Father Gabriele Amorth, the chief Vatican exorcist. He’s a busy man, two years older than the outgoing pope, and in these times of failed banks, Fr Amorth is probably up to his neck with repossessions, so let’s cut him some slack. We won’t laugh at the chief Vatican exorcist.
Nor will we laugh at the fact that, until his elevation to the Pontificate, Josef Ratzinger was head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, also known as the Holy Inquisition, despite its rebranding for a digital age. There will be no Monty Python jokes, no Darth Vader jokes and no gratuitous jibes about kiddie-fiddling.
This is a proper moratorium and I intend to do it properly.
You see, even though the College of Cardinals nominally elects the new pope, it’s actually the Holy Spirit calling the shots, behind the scenes. He has the remote control but of course, never forget that the old guys still have free will, as long as they do what the Holy Spirit wants, in much the same way as Irish cabinet ministers under Angela Merkel.
My people have been in touch with the Curia in Rome and we’ve reached an agreement.
For our part, we promise not to laugh at them. In return, they promise not to claim that they can turn a biscuit into a man by waving their hands. They promise not to pretend they know anything about sex between adults and they agree that bishops have no competence in healthcare or education. Finally, they’ve agreed to sell everything they own and give it all to the poor.
Oops! We were doing fine until that bit. Oh well.