After giving it serious and prayerful consideration, and despite the many urgings and importunings from my supporters around the world during this Purim season, I must regretfully announce that I am not a candidate to succeed the recently resigned Pope Benedict. Although I possess a large number of extra yarmulkes of all colors and shapes, including many red ones, I do not feel suited for this role – even though I must admit that people who know me best do find me rather infallible. There are several reasons for this decision:
- The ceremony for choosing me would perforce include the traditional white smoke emanating from the Vatican chimney. The doctor has told me to avoid smoke at all costs.
- All my encyclicals are out of service. My last encyclical is missing one of its eight wheels, thus encumbering me with its slow pace. I tried bi-cycles and tri-cycles, on which I did fairly well, but when I climbed on to the traditional Vatican en-cyclical, I kept falling off — which is worse than falling from grace, and quite demeaning for the papacy, especially with those long robes.
- As for those long white robes, they would all need to be tested for shatnetz, and to my great chagrin and disappointment , throughout Vatican City there is not even one shatnez laboratory.
- The ability to excommunicate is an integral element of the Papacy. I believe in full communication. To give this up and to become an ex-communicator would be very painful.
- I would not be able to withstand the pressure to Reform the traditional liturgy. With great difficulty I just learned to master Latin, and now they want to change it to Spanish. Did their lord speak Spanish. ( Did he even speak Latin?)
- The bishops keep insisting on the use of Vulgate language. I am a decent person and will have nothing to do with matters that are vulgar, even if they cover it up it by calling it Vulgate.
- The real powers in the Vatican all seem to be Cardinals, while I am an Atlanta Brave.
- Although I have an unlimited supply of matzos (shmura) , I have never quite learned how to conduct a proper Mass with those wafers. The participants invariably choke on that Kosher sweet wine.
- One of the sacred duties of the papacy is to give dispensations to sinners. Although the number of major sinners has increased exponentially, requests for dispensation have been radically reduced. The flock now sins more, but the Pope dispenses less. I do not wish to deal with the dilemma of diminishing dispensations.
- A similar fate has befallen the institution of confessions, which was once a fascinating sidebar to the priesthood. Today, however, spectacular sinners prefer to confess in a public forum like TV rather than in a private booth – thus eliminating one of the great joys of the papacy .
- Transcending and superseding all the above, the most salient reason for my withdrawal from the race is that… I am not a Catholic, (although that little detail did not prevent a certain Jew from achieving even greater heights than the Pope).
I am very touched by the thousands of letters urging me , a retired rabbi, to accept this exalted post, and I have given it solemn reflection and contemplation. But because of the above overriding considerations I have come to the reluctant decision that — as much as I would love to pontificate as Pontiff — I will not submit my candidacy for the throne of St Peter’s. I pray for your understanding. ( I could possibly be dissuaded from this decision, however, by an overwhelming draft movement.)