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Ross Murray's Border Report
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Ross Murray
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is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at ross_murray@sympatico.ca
Posted 02.21.13
Stanstead, Quebec

ROSS MURRAY

Yes we Vatican!

Dear Pope pickers/pontiff people/pontificators:

I won't beat around the burning bush; I would like to be the next Pope.

I know what you're thinking: "Who are you? How did you get this address? And are you really as stunningly handsome as the enclosed 8.5x11 glossy makes you out to be?"

Working backwards: Yes; Vatican 411; and just a white, middle-aged, North American family man -- someone who is fully committed to putting the "ability" back in "infallibility."

Since Pope Benedict announced his resignation, observers have been saying that the Vatican could use a change. Who are we kidding? The Catholic Church could use more change than the collection plate at St. Peters on Christmas Eve.

And yet any radical change must be simultaneously tempered by a down-to-earth sensibility and a management style that would come with, say, years of getting children to and from soccer practice and negotiating the eating of steamed broccoli -- someone who can be, if you will, pious in a Prius.

If that's what the Catholic Church is looking for, then I'm your man. I'm your Vatican-do guy!

I will confess (good one!) that I am not Roman Catholic, so no need to send round your sinister secret order of priests to uncover my past -- don't break a sweat trying to unravel Da Wimpy Code here. I'm just a regular ol' Protestant. But what I lack in catechism I more than make up for in enthusiasm, not to mention people skills and looking good in robes. I may never have had first communion but in high school I did play first clarinet, which might come in handy for hymn sings.

Plus, I think it's good to bring an "outsider" to the job, add some fresh perspective to holy matters. For instance (and just throwing this out there, off the top of my head), have you considered flavouring the host? You know: "The Body of Christ, now in Zesty Jalapeno!" Might bring the kids back to church. I've got tons of these ideas. Remind me to tell you about my idea for a new Catholic reality show: "Are You Holier Than a Crusader?"

Besides, anyone will tell you that I'm a quick study. I'm confident I can pick up on 2000 years of complex religious tradition and orthodoxy in no time. The Wikipedia entry for "Catholic Church" is only 8500 words, which is, like, 100 words shorter than the entry for "Star Wars," so piece of cake.

Even though I'm not Catholic and not much of a church-goer, to be honest, I still consider myself to be a highly spiritual person. I mean, you should see my Van Morrison collection. I've also got a bumper sticker on my car that reads, "Honk If You're Holy." And one night at college, Jesus came to me in a vision. That same night I also had a vision of Patti Labelle flying through the room astride a giant can of Lysol, so that may have been something else besides enlightenment.

In the last few weeks, I have narrowly avoided four car accidents because I didn't see cars in my blind spot. I really think God is telling me that He has something big planned for me. Or maybe He's telling me to make an eye appointment, but I don't think so!

I do know a little Latin: "Tempus fugit, in a gadda de vida, tu madre es loca," and with my background in communications, I'd be able to tailor my homilies to specific congregations. For example, if I were speaking to the Association of Roman Catholic Crafters, my Mass might be entitled "What Would Jesus Glue?" You get the idea.

As for where I stand on all those Catholic hot-button issues that seem so much more important than the actual spiritual health of the flock, none of that really matters because in this modern era, even the devout are going to adhere to their individual beliefs. Again, I'm the perfect man for the job: a middle-aged, middle-class, white man -- I'm used to waning influence.

Finally, you won't have to worry about me quitting this job in eight years. A job that involves travel, being adored, sitting around tweeting deep thoughts, fancy digs, cool hats -- I want that job for life! I am the pontiff no return.

Looking forward to the white smoke. Pax Nabisco.

Ross Murray's collection, You're Not Going to Eat That, Are You?, is available in Quebec in area book stores and through www.townships.ca. He can be reached at ross_murray@sympatico.ca.

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