While our President was in Europe he stopped in the European country of Italy to visit the Roman Catholic Pope. The German born Pope Benedict reigns over the country of Italy from his throne in the tiny capital city of the Vatican which is situated in Rome. Ensconced in the centuries old walled city, the pope looks out on the world from his ancient centuries old religious perspective. In fact the popes have from time immemorial been considered a ‘prisoner of the Vatican.’
Nevertheless, diplomatic international protocol demands that the American president stop to call on the aging pope so that the pope may pay his respects to the President of the United States. Mr Obama wore a black suit and his wife wore a black dress because the Pope in Rome demands that women wear black in his presence. This ancient tradition can be traced back to several ancient traditions. The first reason is so that the Pope, who always wears a white robe, can be seen more prominently in the photographs. Also, women must always wear black in the presence of the Pope to indicate the Roman Catholic belief that women are more sinful than men. This has led, down through the ages, to the burning of witches, the Spanish Inquisition and the locking away of black clad women in ‘convents’ and ‘nunneries’.
The third reason women wear black when they visit the pope is because of the ancient tradition of Pope Joan. Pope Joan was the first female pope. Dressed as a man, she made it to the top of the Roman Catholic Church, but was discovered when she gave birth in the streets of Rome and she was then stoned to death by the angry male chauvinist mob. This martyr was ignored and vilified by the Catholic Church and for many years they covered up her existence and wrote her out of the official history books. From that day on female visitors must wear black when they enter the ‘Holy Father’s’ presence.
The visit of the Obama’s was a great success. President Obama said, “The Pope and I have very deep agreements. We both agree on the dignity of the human individual. From the moment of birth to the moment of assisted death, that person is dignified.” said the President. The President and the Pope also agree that poverty is not a good thing and they both wish to reach out to Muslim people if they can.
In their short meeting the Pope was given a gift from the Obama family of a toy model of Air Force One airplane, a jigsaw puzzle picture of the First Family and a collection of DVDs. (Stigmata, Cider House Rules, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Mad Max and copies of all Mel Gibson’s films) The President had the opportunity to convey a special relic of Blessed Edward Kennedy and an autographed photograph of America’s famous Catholic: Nancy Pelosi.
At the end of their meeting the President gave the infirm and aging Pope an assurance of his prayers and blessing as he set out for the next step of his triumphant world tour of the troubled continent of Africa, which is a continent south of Europe.
Todd Unctuous is forty two.
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