Mar 6, 2013


Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

"Fight the real enemy." ~ Sinead O'Connor

Remember when Sinead O'Connor ripped up a picture of the pope on Saturday Night Live? Good times, good times.

A priest in Italy has stolen her act... and may have even topped it.

An Italian priest set fire to a photo of Pope Benedict during Sunday Mass in protest against his abdication, telling a shocked congregation that the former pontiff had abandoned his flock.

“It was wonderful,” the Rev. Andrea Maggi from Santo Stefano Protomartire church in the small northern village of Castel Vittorio, told La Repubblica daily, defending his act.

He played to mixed reviews. Half of the congregation walked out before the service was over. The best performance art is always controversial.

The local mayor was quick to point out that it was a "fragile" time for the priest, psychologically speaking. One could argue that it is a fragile time for the Catholic Church as well.

Not everyone is taking the idea of papal resignation well. There are so many questions. What is a former pope called? What will he wear? Will having a recently resigned pope nearby cast a shadow over the election of the next pope? Will having a new pope and a living, breathing, fairly lucid, former pope create tension, or even a rift? Will the resignation from a divine-right, job for life, with so many royal trappings, set a dangerous precedent?

vatican, catholic photo vatiqueen_zpsf2286d94.jpg

There is something of a circus atmosphere developing in Rome as these incredibly novel proceedings unfold.

A man tried to sneak into secret talks Monday that are being held by the Catholic cardinals who will select the next pope.

Wearing a makeshift bishop costume, he arrived at the Vatican with an entourage of fake clerics, even posing for photos with a real cardinal.

. . .

The impostor was identified by Italian news agency ANSA as Ralph Napierski. He is a German who said he is part of a non-existent Catholic institution called Corpus Dei (a play on "Opus Dei," a real Catholic group). His attempted infiltration prompted the Vatican to hold discussions on improving security that already includes sweeping the Sistine Chapel for listening devices.

. . .

Napierski milled around the area outside the meetings for half an hour with no problems. He told onlookers his name was Basilius and that he was a bishop in the Italian Orthodox Church, which does not exist.

He was passin'... until some clever dick noticed that his cassock was a little too short. I would have thought the black fedora and pinkish-purple, winter scarf as a sash would have been more of a tell, but what do I know.

The woman dressed as a priest was not so lucky. People noticed that right off.

This morning, during the “appointment” with the general congregation, visitors to piazza San Pietro were treated to the following amusing scene: a woman dressed up as a priest went walking around the piazza, surprising the faithful. According to several witnesses, this was only the latest in a series of provocations of a group from the liberal front of the church, initiated in light of the conclave and the election of the new pope, and aimed at supporting the creation of female priests.

The woman, a foreigner of approximately 60 years of age, refused to make any statements. She was wearing a priest’s white collar, black pants and shirt. Several faithful and tourists present in the piazza stated that they were stunned to see “yet another form of protest against the prohibition of women priests, especially now in light of the elections for a new pope.” In 2011 a group of 150 priests signed a petition to support the American priest Roy Burgeois, after he publicly stated that he was in favor of allowing women into the order.

Remember when Sinead O'Connor became a priest?

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