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The Suburbanite
  • Frank Weaver, Jr.: How About ‘Pope Xavier Jerry Jr. I’?

  • With the unexpected resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the papal doors were swept wide open. The same day he announced his resignation due to infirmities, papal pundits named favorites and a London bookie already set odds. Named as potential popes are cardinals from Italy, Europe, Ghana, Nigeria, the Philippines and both of the Americas.

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  • With the unexpected resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the papal doors were swept wide open. The same day he announced his resignation due to infirmities, papal pundits named favorites and a London bookie already set odds. Named as potential popes are cardinals from Italy, Europe, Ghana, Nigeria, the Philippines and both of the Americas.
     Among them, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, age 62, the Archbishop of New York. They say he’s known for his open-mindedness and quick Irish wit and is well-liked among the other cardinals in Rome. After all, with the stress that office brings, a quick wit may be needed to maintain one’s sanity.
    But the one pundit these so-called experts failed to consult is Sgt. Weev of Dover, Del.
     This retired career Air Force sergeant is no rookie when it comes to predicting.
    For example, recently he predicted the Ravens would win the Super Bowl. Before that, unnamed sources tell me, he picked Alabama to defeat my beloved Notre Dame in football’s college championship game. He even foresaw the recent northeastern blizzard, Nemo, to be a storm with which to gauge all storms. Last fall, he correctly prophesied that the state of Delaware would remain exactly where it was despite the ravages of Hurricane Sandy.
     And, unlike yours truly, who habitually has predicted championship seasons for the Tribe, the Browns and the Cavs, Sgt. Weev never has. He knows my allegiance to Cleveland teams from this column, which he reads on the Internet. I’m not even sure he considers our three teams to be of major league caliber. Nevertheless, it caught me off-guard when I opened his email saying I should be elected pope.
     Go ahead! Laugh! Think it couldn’t happen? Guess again! Any male Catholic who is past the age of reason, is not a heretic, is not in schism and who isn’t “notorious” for simony can be elected pope. While that part about being past the age of reason may be questionable for me, that’s basically it in a nutshell. It might even be technically possible for them to elect a non-Catholic if there was reason to believe he’d immediately convert to Catholicism. Although she’s not listed among popes who have served, legend says a woman, Pope Joan, did serve … in the guise of a man.
    So I wasn’t taken quite by surprise when Sgt. Weev suggested I run, nor when he indicated I even could make it. Jokingly, I appointed him my campaign manager and pondered what to call myself during my papacy. Pope Sebastian Frank I, after my paternal ancestors who first came to America in 1753, sounded good. Then I thought about Pope Johannes Singleton I, after my maternal ancestors who arrived earlier, in 1738.
    That’s when I checked with the wife.
    Page 2 of 2 - “What?” she bellowed. “If you want to get rid of me that badly, you don’t have to go to extremes.”
    “We don’t have to break up,” I said. “We could stayed married. After all, the Church frowns on broken marriages. And besides, we’ve had married popes. We’ve had popes who have fathered children in marriage ... and even outside of wedlock!”
    “What about your weekly column?” she asked. “You’ve been writing it for 14 years. Won’t you miss it?”
    “Well, I suppose Sgt. Weev’s been reading it on the Internet almost that long, because he suggests I continue writing and call it ‘Outtakes around The Vatican.’ He even suggested that I keep the captain’s hat. That way, I wouldn’t have to wear a tiara, mitre or zucchetto (a li’l white beanie) on my head. But I’ll have to think about this. After all, I’m getting up there in age, and before accepting more responsibilities, I’ll confer with my adviser.”
     “Just hold on there a minute,” Peggy said.
    She had a perplexed look in her eyes that said I could be guilty of pulling some of my Irish shenanigans.
    “Does this mean I have to call you ‘Your Holiness?’ Does it mean I have to rise and bow my head each time you enter the room and kneel down before you to kiss your ‘Ring of the Fisherman?’ ”
    Hmm! This is sounding better by the minute! But Presbyterians just don’t understand Catholic protocol.
    “That sure would be nice,” I muttered. After all, I do love to fish! “But to keep peace, I’m pretty sure I can issue a proclamation, an encyclical, a papal Bull, a brief or some other official document relieving you and family members of that obligation. How does ‘Pope Xavier Jerry Jr. I,’ sound?”
     “Your middle, nickname and junior?!?” She rolled her eyes and took off for the family room. “Since you sound dead-set on this new career,” she sputtered, “I suggest you had better talk with your ‘adviser.’ ”
     “Not a bad idea. Sadie Lou? Sadie Lou? Now where did that hound go?”
     Comments may be emailed to: Frankweaverjr@aol.com.