Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Papal resignation precedents #2

(1) Urban VI is elected as the successor of Gregory XI. However, it does not take many of his red-faced, spittle-flecked denunciations of their corruption and hypocrisy before the cardinals have second thoughts about their choice. In my imaginary mini-series, the role of Urban is played by Lemmy, with a wardrobe-malfunctioning babe perched on each arm-rest of the Papal Throne and a pint of Southern Comfort in each hand. If he's not available, Zombie Oliver Reed would be good in the scenery-chewing scenes.

(2) Cardinals declare that Urban VI was not eligible to be Pope in the absence of a valid birth certificate proving that he is not a changeling or demon-spawn of incubus born or a secret Muslim. They announce a do-over election with Clement VII of Averoigne as their real choice all along. Then they immure themselves in the College of Cardinals to avoid the wrath of His Hollyness, who is not well-pleased.

(3) Hilarity ensues. Both popes appoint new cardinals of proven loyalty, though they soon run out of brothers and nephews because they have only so many close kin and are reduced to appointing goats and horses. Possibly I am confusing this with dimly-remembered scenes from Caligula. The body of another girl is found, wrapped in plastic, with the letter B inserted under her fingernail.

(3) I felt like another (3).

(4) Time passes, war rages. Both popes die and their rival retinue of cardinals elect replacements, though their choices are nearly drowned out by neighing, baa-ing and general Old MacDonald impersonations. Urban VI begat Jeremiah III, who begat Ptolemius LXIV, who begat Do Svidaniya, who begat -- wait, wrong story.

(5) A group of disillusioned centrist cardinals meet at Pisa, issue press releases about the necessity of "replacing a broken system" and "reaching across the isle", and elect a third compromise pope (Alexander V) whom they hope will enjoy bipartisan support. Nothing definitive happens, but housewives across the Holy Roman Empire continue to tune in every afternoon to keep abreast of developments in their favourite Pope Opera.

(6) At last Benedict XIII of the Averoigne tradition becomes increasingly sidelined (despite resorting to unholy, blasphemous necromancy and unspeakable allegiance with Thasaidon of the Pit), relegating him to third-party candidacy status. John XXII of the Pisan tradition is arrested and impeached. John Hus of Bohemia is apprehended (despite his safe-conduct) and eventually burned at the stake. Finally Gregory XII of the Roman tradition agrees to resign in 1415 so that everyone can start afresh. But there is NO CLOSURE because so many loose ends are left unanswered, i.e. what IS the Red Lodge, and on whose side is the Stomach Pump Giant? I will never watch another David Lynch miniseries.

The entire crisis used so many Roman numerals that the mines were exhausted. The resulting shortage of Xs and Vs led straight to the ascendancy of the Hindu-Arabic system of numbering.


Substance McGravitas said...

Popachu, I choose you!


Smut Clyde said...

All this WILL BE COVERED in the end-of-year exam, so I hope you were all PAYING ATTENTION.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

I think Cardinal Ratzinger should have chosen the moniker Pope Urban Dictionary.

"Kissing the Ring" indeed!

mikey said...

Herr Panzerpopen ain't going nowhere. He learned early in life that it wasn't the quitters and losers who got their necks stretched at Nuremberg.

Just wait 'til he launches Unternehmen Greif...

Sebastia said...

Lemmy as Pope, directed by David Lynch with a few Weta Workshop explosions, holy visions and raptures chucked in. Sounds like a mega-biblical epic in the making.

ckc (not kc) said... began to settle down once the correct approach was accepted

ckc (not kc) said...

(this being the correct approach)

Another Kiwi said...

Pope Gump? It's gotta happen

weaver said...

Ah, good old Clement VII. Or, as he was known to his homies, the Butcher of Cesena. Those 14th century Vatican types sure knew a thing or two about PR.

Urban VI is my favourite example of the following political principle, expressed here in dramatic form:

Powerful Vatican Scumbags: Man, we got a sweet deal. Now to keep it going we have to make sure the next pope is some easily dominated toadie. Hey, you, fattypants! You want to be Pope?

Easily Dominated Toadie: Er, OK, if that's alright with you fellows.

PVS: Congrats! You're Pope. Now this is what you have to do...

Former EDT: Yeah, dude, I don't know who you think you're bossing around. In case you hadn't noticed, I'M THE FECKING POPE!

And let that be a lesson to you all.