Someone needs to tell me when Pope John Paul II is finally going to meet his maker, because I've just about had it with that guy. The former Karol Wojtyla has been playing the Vatican's grand pooh-bah for over 25 years, and the act is getting really tiresome. It's like when Roger Moore was huffing his way through A View to a Kill, and you just sat there hoping Grace Jones would eat him and put him out of his misery so we could all move on to a new Bond. I mean, for chrissakes, the pope is now making public addresses via video broadcast. I'm sorry, but if a performer can't even manage a single live appearance every seven days, it is simply time to recast. Let's face it, it ain't the world's most difficult gig: You throw on a gown, you wave, you toss off a few comments to the gathered worshippers about how dirty sex is, and then it's back to bed until next week's show. I know several drag queens that hold down the exact same job—in heels, yet—and nobody nominates them for the Nobel Peace Prize.
A fifth attempt at meaningful literature, however, is the final straw between old Johnny Boy and me. Memory and Identity was published last week, and while I doubt The Da Vinci Code has anything to worry about on The New York Times best-seller list, I'm hardly charmed by what resides within the pages of the pontiff's latest tome. Ever the philosopher wanna-be, the ailing religious leader delves deep underneath that cute little thinking cap he's always wearing to contemplate the nature of good and evil. Yeah, I've always wondered where he came down on the subject; I can't wait to read the complex moral impressions of an 84-year-old Pole who has never even made it to first base. While we're at it, why not get Clay Aiken started on an Encyclopedia of the Blues?
The pope's book is evidently what you'd imagine from someone who routinely tells people in Third World countries not to use birth control. His holiness uses a discussion of the Nazis' final solution to lead into a diatribe against formerly fascist countries that now allow "a legal extermination of human beings who have been conceived but not yet born . . . , and this time we are talking about an extermination which has been allowed by nothing less than democratically elected parliaments where one normally hears appeals for the civil progress of society and humanity."
As if comparing abortion to the horrors of the Holocaust weren't bad enough, the old man gets his papal panties into an uproar about gay marriage. "It is legitimate and necessary to ask oneself if this is not perhaps part of a new ideology of evil, perhaps more insidious and hidden, which attempts to pit human rights against family and against man," he writes. Now, I have always known the pope was never going to break out in praise of The Ballad of Reading Gaol, but ignorance of the Wilde canon and the demonization of a couple of happy homos who just want to say "I do" in front of Mom, Dad, and some very confused grandparents are two very different things.
It's long past time the Vatican calls central casting to find a leading man who can finally take the Catholic Church into the 21st century.