Big Benny & his crew

On Wednesdays at 10.30 a.m the pope makes a public appearance. I think it's supposed to be a public service, but effectively it's just a popularity contest.

The congregation sits in the large, circular courtyard of St. Peter's Basilica - St. Peter being the first ever pope - on thousands of grey, plastic chairs positioned towards the covered terrace of the massive church. Whilst waiting for the high priest, names of visiting parishes and arch-diocese from around the globe are read out into the microphone... most of which are from the United States - they all cheer and scream like teenagers at a rock-concert when they hear the name of their group read out.

Religion is the ultimate manipulation. "I don't need to see him. I can feel his presence," said one brainwashed American woman beside me. Perhaps she doesn't realise the pope is just a man... and this man was in the Hitler Youth when he was younger.

Ten minutes later Pope Benedict XVI (or Benny 16) makes an appearance... circling around the courtyard in his all-terrain vehicle, throwing out waves and blessings. Different priests read out the same bible passage, each in a different language. Then the pope has his say amongst coughs and hints of death.

This pope isn't liked so much. Whereas the last pope made some compromises, apparently Benny is straight down the line. Very conservative. Very right wing. The catholic church is failing. Every young Italian I spoke to had no belief in religion.
Perhaps it's due to this pope's individual unpopularity that the audience was relatively sparse. There were a few thousand people gathered there but there were still many empty seats. "I came six years ago and it was packed," said a nearby victim from the US. "People were standing all the way to the back."

Dressed all in white - to match his hair - even his holy talk could not drown out the sound of Rome's sirens. He's surrounded by about twenty of his ministers - sitting behind him, sitting beside him - dressed in black with magenta skull-caps and cummerbunds... gang colours. It's ironic that after having so many gods thousands of years ago, they're now condensed down to one all-powerful God. Worshipping so many gods must have been a pain in the ass, so about 3oo years after Christ's intensive, global manipulative program Emperor Constantine accepted Christianity and saved everybody an hour a day.

A high minister continues...

... and apparently St. Paul promises us that faith will give us an inheritance in heaven. The minister blessed everyone and everything on behalf of Pope Benny 16. He blessed us, our homes, our families and all sick children. Also, any items of worship brought along with us.

Sitting for the whole ceremony, only his lips and right hand moved. At the end he finally stood for a quick song, after which all his homeys lined up to kneel and kiss the bling on his right hand. The audience slowly filtered out.

After it all ended I helped clean up and stack some chairs... so the pope bought me a drink. He's not a bad guy. He likes whiskey and prefers ho's with big breasts and false teeth. His favorite movie is The Exorcist and he loves the part in Titanic when Leonardo Di Caprio dies.

Devoting your life to religion, as a Catholic priest does, is a huge gamble. At the end of it all, you might pass through that long dark tunnel, get to the light at the end and find out, "Oh poo! There's nothing here. I wasted my life. I could've been drinking and taking drugs and having [normal] sex."