Pope Benedict 16 is resigning, February 28, due to failing health. This will be the first resignation in 600 years. Most Popes die on the throne although it might take a few days to realize they’re dead.

Cardinals around the world are gathering to elect a new Pope with one likely candidate being 68 year old Marc Ouellette of Canada. A North American! That would be new and raises the question of him bringing a North American sensibility to his campaign.

“I’m calling myself The Pope of Hope. Like it?”

What kind of hope?

“The usual things, getting a better job, getting to be first in line, finding a parking spot, passing your health exam, seeing your team get to number one.”

Shouldn’t hope be more than that?

“Well, it could be, but if you’re talking about getting into heaven that will cost you.”

How much?

“That’s relative, but the Catholic church didn’t get to be as wealthy as it is by charging nothing. Hoping to get into heaven requires more than faith. I keep thinking of that lady who is buying a stairway to heaven.”


From that Led Zeppelin song, Stairway To Heaven. Surely, you know it.”

I do, but I’m surprised you know it.

“C’mon. I’m 68. I’m Canadian. I was young when that song came on FM radio. From Led Zeppelin’s fourth album. Been a long time since I rock and rolled, woman. Been a long time, been a long time, been a lonely, lonely ,lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time.”

Does this mean you’ll be hipper than previous Popes?

“Hope – there’s that word again – so. “

You’ll strive for reform, then.

“There’s only so much you can do.”


“You have to start somewhere, and the easiest place is to say no to everything.”

Gay marriage.


Gun control.



“Are you nuts?”

So, at least at first, this will be the same old Catholic teaching.

“Sure. But there’s always hope.”