A Miscellany 300
An exclusive interview with the Pope
Thanks to a misdialled number by a Vatican secretary, our Patriarch was accidently granted an exclusive interview with the Pope immediately following the announcement by the Pope that he'd reached a "Not Guilty" verdict after 2000 years of consideration.
To open a discussion on this article, please use the contact page to provide your comments.
UCTAA: Thank you for this opportunity to interview you, Your Holeyness.
Pope Benny Sechzehn (extending his ring finger to be kissed): That’s Holiness, John, not Holeyness.
UCTAA (studying the ceiling): Holy; Holey; It’s all full of the same holes in the end isn’t it? But let’s put that aside; you wanted to talk about your new book in which you forgive the Jews for crucifying Christ.
Pope Benny Sechzehn (putting his unkissed hand back in his lap): No! Not forgive the Jews. There's nothing to forgive. I’ve determined they weren’t guilty.
UCTAA: Not guilty? But doesn’t that contradict what your church has been saying for most of two millennia? That Jews bear the guilt for the crucifixion?
Pope Benny Sechzehn: Well yes, but new evidence has just come to light.
UCTAA: New evidence? I have to ask “What is it?”
Pope Benny Sechzehn: It’s a funny story. I was being given a tour of the Vatican archives by our Chief Archivist and I noticed a very nicely bound old book sitting all by itself in a special bookcase. I asked the Archivist what it was, and he told me it was the Pope’s personal Official Vatican Bible. Not having had the time to read a bible before, I took it out of the archives and spent some time reading it cover-to-cover.
UCTAA: You’d never read the Bible before?
Pope Benny Sechzehn: Well no –we just don’t have time for that sort of stuff. From the time a man gets ordained he’s just so busy doing… doing… well, you know, doing priest stuff. As far as I can tell, I’m the first Pope to have completely read the Book.
UCTAA: You’re the first Pope to actually crack a Bible?
Pope Benny Sechzehn: Oh no – you misunderstand. It was quite clear that a few sections of this particular book had been very well read – perhaps as night time reading by my predecessors. You know… the bit about Lot and his daughters… that was well thumbed. And of course the Song of Solomon – some of the pages were actually stuck together in that section. But most of the pages were untouched. It’s a very old book bound the old-fashioned way, and I had to get one of the Swiss Guards to lend me his Army Knife so I could cut the pages – that’s how I knew I was the first to read those parts.
UCTAA: So now you’ve read the whole Bible and determined the Jews aren’t to blame for the death of Christ. But doesn’t the Gospel of John put the blame on them?
Pope Benny Sechzehn: We have to deal with these things in context. It’s obvious that the entire Jewish population were not in Jerusalem at the time. They never were. They were spread out all over the country. When John writes “the Jews,” he’s referring only to a select few – really just the priests. And after the fall of the temple, there were no more priests. So the Jews collectively are not guilty. With no Jewish priests left, there’s none of them we can blame individually either.
UCTAA: The Church has been largely responsible for setting the tone which led to nearly 2,000 years of persecution. Are you now looking for forgiveness from the Jews?
Pope Benny Sechzehn: Oh no, of course not! They are Jews! They don’t have the power to forgive. They have nothing to do with forgiveness. No, I handled the forgiveness issue in accordance with our teachings and policy. I confessed the error on behalf of the Church to my confessor, and he granted me God’s forgiveness. That's all you need - God's forgiveness, and the sin is washed away. You know, I would have announced this policy change a month ago, but first of all I had all those Hail Marys to do as a penance.
UCTAA: So now that you no longer blame the Jews, I take it that you now view the Crucifixion as God’s will and no-one is to blame?
Pope Benny Sechzehn: No, no, no! Someone has to be blamed for the death of our savior. Clearly the Romans were in charge at the time. The Romans did it - they killed Christ. That guilt carries down to the present generation and on into eternity. Romans bear the guilt. Romans are guilty. There’s no question. I’m ordering that everyone living in Rome be rounded up and put in a ghetto.
UCTAA: But seriously - they are mostly Catholics – they follow your faith.
Pope Benny Sechzehn: They only pretend to be Catholic. Did you know that nearly every Catholic church in the older part of Rome has a pagan temple under it? Those sneaky pagan Romans! They deliberately built pagan temples right under our churches so they could follow pagan practices while pretending to be Catholics. Well I, Pope Benny Sechzehn, am on to them. Those Jupiter-worshipping Romans will pay for murdering Christ.
UCTAA: I can’t believe you’re saying that!
Pope Benny Sechzehn: Believe it! I’m going to be bringing in some experts in interrogation from our Spanish Church – they will get the truth. And once those pagan Romans confess - and my Spanish friends guarantee they will confess - we’ll be burning heretics daily. Of course, that will do wonders for the tourist trade.
UCTAA: Well, Jews not guilty; Romans guilty. That’s a major change on policy simply from finally reading the book your religion is based on.
Pope Benny Sechzehn: Actually, there’s even more policy changes to come. A lot more! My literary agent suggested I spread out the official announcements so that I can put a new book on the market for each policy I update.
UCTAA: Can you give me a hint of what’s to come?
Pope Benny Sechzehn: Well – you know that Mariology thing we Catholics have going. JPII was a really sucker for it. None of it’s in the Bible. Well, – a little bit, Mary was Christ’s mother and she might have been a virgin. That’s it! We made the rest of it up. I’ve got to write a major bestseller on that one, just to make up for the loss in statue sales.
UCTAA: (sits there, jaw dropped.)
Pope Benny Sechzehn: And one other thing I’ll mention for now, but there’s lots more to come. I'll let you in on the very next major announcement - this whole celibacy thing – what idiot came up with that? It’s clear that we should be married. We should be having children. All these years – all those opportunities I missed. OK – I got some back in ’41 when I was wearing that sharp Hitler Youth uniform, and there were all those women whose husbands were on the Eastern Front and who needed a little loving. But since then – nothing! Just because some Pope did not understand what the Bible says. It is very clear that priests should be married and having children. I want to get to work on that before it’s too late.
UCTAA: Well thank you, Your Holeyness. This has been very enlightening.
Pope Benny Sechzehn: Enlightening? Please don’t say that. Around here Enlightenment is a bad word. Uh… Could we pretend that 1941 comment was off the record?