On the day that the Pope announced his retirement to the shock and awe of the Catholic world I had some fun on Twitter, suggesting that I should put myself forward as a possible contender for the vacancy in the Vatican. I do rather fancy the jewel coloured robes... very flattering to the fuller figure and as for hand-made shoes... I bet they are so comfortable. I also fancy living in a fully staffed palace in Rome which is one of my favourite cities. Yep, the idea of being Pope is one that appeals to me greatly.
So with my Twitter buddy Carole Whelan (@carolewhelan) lined up as my personal assistant (or GlamAss as she prefers to be called) it seemed that I was all set to begin electioneering. But I needed a manifesto. So I got to thinking about what I could achieve on my first day as Pope – with the help of all the staff I would have at my disposal. So here it is. My first day as Pope.
In the morning I would dress in the most colourful bejewelled robes available. I would slip my feet into the famous papal slippers. I may not bother with the mitre... I reckon I don't need to the extra height. Suitably attired I would begin my first day's work.
The very first thing I would do would be to announce the conversion of the Vatican from a palace into a holiday resort to provide respite and a break for carers from all over the world. My Vatican would be a place of rest and recuperation for those who spend endless hours caring for a loved one. Those who volunteer and make our communities a better place to live would also be welcome to stay for a break in my Vatican.
Next job would be to instruct that all crucifixes (images of torture) be removed from churches and replaced with images and statues of angels.
I would then sit down and write two letters. The first letter would be to all children in catholic schools telling them that Jesus message was one of love..... pure and simple. I would tell them that he didn’t qualify that love. So we may take it that all love is equally precious and beautiful... including gay love.
My second letter would go to every convent, parish and monastery asking them to comb the streets of their local town or city at sunset in search of the homeless. I would ask that they offer every person they find sleeping rough a hot meal, bed, shower and breakfast. I insist that they do this every evening at sunset.
Then I would have lunch. One fabulous lunch served to me in the opulent surroundings of the Pope’s apartments.
After lunch I would head into the Sistine Chapel where I would ordain the first women and marry the first priests.
Ceremonies over I then would instruct the conversion of Castel Gandalpho into an animal rescue centre where all manner of four legged friends would find a place of safety and love.
Another letter would be written dismissing all the hierarchy and instructing that all bishops’ palaces be given to their local community for use as centres for artistic expression. The gardens of these palaces would have to be used as animal sanctuaries.
Over coffee and some fabulous Italian pastries I would call on my papal staff to help organise an auction of all the papal fine robes and handmade shoes which could take place the following day. The money from their sale would be used to provide education for girls in countries where they are denied this basic right. If necessary the girls would be brought to Rome if education in their own country was not possible.
I would then organise a second auction of other works of art etc (other than what I would consider belongs to the people of Italy – such as the Pieta etc). The money from this auction would be used to form a foundation to work on the elimination of child poverty around the world. I might ask Bob Geldof to head this up!
Over a splendid dinner I would dictate a Press Release to be issued the following day announcing the end of the Papacy.
I would then pen an article which I would publish here on my blog suggesting that local churches elect a committee of men and women committed to following the way of Jesus as opposed to the teachings of Peter. These committees would be the new priests.
In my article I would also ask the faithful to begin to re-imagine God, not as a judgemental father but as a loving, forgiving, endlessly patient embodiment of Mother and Father.
What do you think?