So, I'm not really religious.
At all, really.
However, New York City has been All Pope All The Time for the past few days, given his Holiness's visit... but there's a newsflash!
I know it seems hard to believe, but Benedict XVI is not the real pope.
("No WAY!!" "WAY.")
I wanted you hypothetical readers to be the first to know, because I care that much. I should say by way of full disclosure that even if I were loyal to the religion of my family history, the Pope still isn't someone who is in close, tight touch with my particular brand of Jesus, but all the same, I felt you should "all" know about this.
The real pope lives in his parents' house in Kansas. I know this is totally for reals because he even has a blog! If there's anything we've learned from the internets (and the periodic pandering of the mainstream media) it's that having a blog is the real sign of being authentic!
He's even been written up in the local newspaper! We all know how being discussed in the local rag is the real sign of meaning in this world, so all hail Michael I!
It's not quite that simple, though.
This guy also says he's the pope, as do the guy in charge of these folks, and Mirko Krav Fabris (Krav I), and Amit Katwala (Errol I), and this guy who actually made an abusive cult out of the whole "I'm the Pope" thing, and someone else who might live next door to you for all I know. These are all super crazy versions of the Traditional Catholics (pre-Vatican II) who are exemplified by Mel Gibson's dad, who believe that current Catholicism is bankrupt.
If you read up a little further, though, you will find that there's a Special Land Beyond Weird called sedevancantism where not only is the current Catholic church heretical, but all the Popes since Pius XII are also heretics, and as such there are no living Cardinals to ordain a non-heretic Pope, and as such a conclave apparently can be called by (in the case of now His Holiness Michael I) six whole people who happen to be formerly Catholic who can name a new Pope.
By the way, I'm the Emperor of Brooklyn.
But totally seriously, you guys: Michael I not only is the Pope, but he's also a real estate agent! Just in case anyone was looking for ranch-land in Colorado, who's more trustworthy than God's representative on earth? He also is proximate to anyone living near his parents' house, where he lives.
I've always been interested in cult life experiences, and this kind of falls into that category to my mind... as such, as a reader of Richard Feynman, I was really excited to find some information on Cargo Cults, which Feynman talks about in some ways in his writings (in terms of "cargo cult science"). Reading about the Cargo Cults (and specifically the John Frum group in Vanuatu) was an interesting analog to my random perusal of crazy cracker popisms... there's a lesson there, though:
at the end of the article in the Smithsonian Magazine, Chief Isaac (the leader of the John Frum group) says when asked "John promised you much cargo more than 60 years ago, and none has come. So why do you keep faith with him? Why do you still believe in him?":
"You Christians have been waiting 2,000 years for Jesus to return to earth,” he says, “and you haven’t given up hope."
With that, this borderline atheist (who studied Latin for a good bit of high school) says "Quo vadis" and good night.
(No offense intended to any Catholic hypothetical readers, this faithless author doesn't know what to believe and has all the respect for any beliefs you folks might have, but wanted to inject some awareness of how completely transcendently weird some things actually get in the realm of religious faith. It's why I just scratch my head, sleep in on Sundays, and don't know what to make of what any potential G_d wants me to do. Just sayin', really.)