Friday, 9 March 2012

Frankie: Digging up the Pope

originally posted at, 02.05.2011

As I mentioned over on Attempted Essays, I’m on holidays at the moment and I hadn’t really been planning to post anything during this time. But Frankie was watching the news yesterday evening – before the reports of Bin Laden’s death broke – and he started to rattle the bars of his cage. So I’ve decided to let him out again in the hope that he’ll give me a bit of peace for the next fortnight. I’ve got to warn you, this is in very bad taste. What can you say, it’s Frankie …

Frankie So Ratzo finally went and did it yesterday. He proclaimed formally to the whole world that John Paul II is in heaven. As such, Catholics are now allowed to pray to him; though because he’s only “Blessed” JP and not yet “Saint” JP they’re only allowed to do it in Rome and in Poland. He’s now playing in the Polish and Italian national leagues and if he does well in the qualification stakes, he’ll finally make it to the Intercession World Cup at some stage in the future. Being a blessed is a kind of apprentice sainthood; you get to practice and polish up your interceding techniques with God on a local audience, you get time to plan another miracle and then, if you’ve done your job well, the pope promotes you to saint and you get to intercede for everyone world-wide.

This is some bizarre fucking business. I’m very open-minded myself but there was stuff going on here that’s in the seriously kinky area. I mean, the first thing they did was to dig the body up. Shades of Dawn of the Living Dead. They do it to check the odour of sanctity or something. Apparently, blesseds and saints don’t stink. So the corpse was present for the whole ceremony and now they’re going to entomb him in a better place in St. Peter’s so that more pilgrims can drop by and say hello. Gives him more practice in interceding, maybe a better choice of candidates for healing miracles.

Come to think of it, maybe the Catholic Church could use this to move with the times, set up a reality TV show and get some good publicity. Vatican’s Next Top Miracle. You get a group of incurably ill people, they all get to pray at the tomb of Blessed JP and then a jury of priests examines their stories and illnesses before giving the candidates for the next round a holy picture of JP II. The candidate to be eliminated doesn’t get a picture and dies. The winner of the series gets cured.

One of the high points of the ceremony was where the nun he had allegedly cured of Parkinson’s got to carry a phial of his blood to the altar. This made me wonder if the whole thing hadn’t been planned for a long time, even before he died. April 1 2005, JP is busy dying. A phone-call from Ratzo to the doctor:

“Ja, you haff to make sure you get some of ze blood … Ja, ve are going to need it … Was? It is voll mit bacteria? … Ja, ja, I understand, he has sepsis … Ok, vell, sterilise it or something – it has to keep for a few years anyway …”

In Poland they’ve been cutting up his cassocks for a couple of years now and passing the bits around as relics. It’s probably only going to be a matter of time before we see his underwear being offered for sale on EBay. With certificates of authenticity, signed by his laundry lady.

The man responsible for running the whole beatification business – it’s an official job in the Catholic Church and he’s got the title of postulator – has confirmed that JP wasn’t averse to a bit of S&M; apparently he was into flagellation. Like I said, seriously kinky business – first necrophilia, then whipping.

But then, one of his best friends was Fr. Marcial Maciel, the founder of the extreme right-wing Legionaries of Christ, who has recently been outed as a serial child-abuser and father of six children, some of whom he also abused. JP thought Maciel was hot shit because he was conservative and good at raising money for the church. Of course, he also thought Opus Dei was the greatest thing to happen to Catholicism since the Spanish Inquisition.

Robert Mugabe attended the ceremony in Rome yesterday. Vatican diplomatic protocol ensured that he was allowed to come, even if the EU bans him from travelling into its member states. But then, the Vatican is welcoming and forgiving to everyone – unless you’re gay, or a remarried divorced Catholic, or a woman using the pill, or a liberation theologian. Mugabe is a big fan of JP II. That makes sense.

Blessed John Paul II? If Jesus was alive, he’d be turning in his grave …

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