Leaked Documents Disclose Ambitions of Potential Successor to Pope Francis

"Nice to see you! To see you..." All respond: "Nice!"
We've had Blessed John XXIII the Smiling, Blessed John Paul II the Great, we're now in the reign of Pope Saint Francis the Humble I and, thankfully, everybody's forgotten about the papal abberation that was German, 'Ratzinger the Regrettable', who came between the second and the fourth with his unique but much disdained blend of Nazi ideology and antiquated theological notions, based loosely on the sad, crypto-lefebrevistic, self-absorbed, neo-promethean, pelagian, restorationist ideas of old maid bronze age goat herdsmen.

Already, the people are asking who could possibly succeed Pope Francis the Humble I. Who can work the crowds like Francis? Who can possibly be more humble and fantastic than Francis the Humble? Who could possibly fill those black shoes? Who has the humility, but the ambition also to take over from the man who crushed the dissenting, schismatic followers of the German Pope whose name was scratched out of the official Vatican list of Pontiffs?

Nichols undergoes intensive baby-kissing training
Next Pope will require mixture ambition and humility

A clue may lie in this picture taken when Archbishop Vincent Nichols visited Rome soon after the election of Francis the Humble I. Graciously humble, but with an ambition that exceeds even the ambition of the Bergoglio papal court, Vincent Nichols is the bookies' favourite to succeed Francis and complete the transformation of the Catholic Church in the 21st century, updating the Bride of Christ to meet the modern needs of modern man in all his modern relativistic glory. Already, Saatchi and Saatchi are working in collaboration with Vincent Nichols' team of Westminster PR experts on how to brand the Archbishop of Vincent Nichols in his election campaign to become Pope - the first English Successor St Peter since Adrian IV.

Artists impression of how Archbishop Vincent Nichols would look as Pope
Leaked documents from Westminster Cathedral suggest that, for an undisclosed fee, PR giants Saatchi and Saatchi will be modelling the great British hope for the papacy on the pontificate of Francis, but with exciting additions to capture the public imagination.

Understanding that humility is reflected in public image, rather than in an interior appreciation of our smallness and dependence in the face of the greatness of an Omnipotent God, the Saatchi team will be styling Vincent along the lines of Francis, but with the quintessential englishness that brought such figures as Hugh Laurie, Hugh Grant and Mr Bean popularity and acclaim in the USA.

In honour of Fr Timothy Radcliffe, the Dominican scholar and chaplain to The Tablet's dinner parties who enjoys pushing the boundaries of Catholic teaching beyond stretching point, as well as the 'nearly-ever-so-nearly' man of English lawn tennis, Tim Henman, the PR gurus are grooming Nichols to name himself Pope Tim. Very quickly, they claim, the Roman public as well as the English speaking world would soon discover how 'nice' new Pope Tim is and, from the balcony, as 'Habemus Papem' rang around St Peter's, the newly elected Pope Tim would walk out to greet the crowd. Exceeding the humility of Francis, who said, 'Good evening' and 'pray for me for God's blessing' on the night of his election to the Chair of Peter, Pope Tim would ingratiate himself with the Roman crowd by announcing, in that manner so beloved of Bruce Forsythe, 'Nice to see you...to see you..." at which the Roman crowd reply, "Nice!".

Flourishing in new role: Vice Poppette, Cardinal Tina Beattie
Catholic Church to undergo a 'make-over' as Roman Institute for the New Age of Universal Human Flourishing

Enraptured crowds would then cry out in delight as Pope Tim would exclaim, 'It's good to be here. All you need is love. Love is all you need.' At this point, Pope Tim would introduce, 'My beautiful assistant', the first female Cardinal and 'Vice Poppette', Cardinal Tina Beattie. Her role in the Church of the future would be to usher in a new and glorious age of marginal musing, a 'Final (no we really mean it this time) Vatican Council' and reforming measures that would see the Catholic Church renamed the 'Roman Institute for the New Age of Universal Human Flourishing', a cause that would be placed under the patronage and protection of Mother Earth. Devotion to the Blessed Mother of God would enjoy less favour under Pope Tim, with many images of Our Lady replaced by iconography of Cardinal Tina Beatie breastfeeding the Planet, protecting it from climate change. The model for the new Church would be similar to that of the Quaker Meeting House, but with less gold, less silence, but more packets of hobnobs available to the throngs of people wanting to become members of the new Church, such as Anglo-Catholics, Catholic Atheists, Catholic Islamists, Catholic Jews, Catho-Buddhists and Satanic Catholics.

Nichols undergoes ecumenical training
'Pope Tim the Nice' to be his 'own man', but loyal to his Predecessor

Quickly then, the Archbishop, with a stunning electoral mandate for reform from the World's Cardinals would be dubbed 'Pope Tim the Nice'. With rumours fast spreading around the world's Catholic blogs that the era under Francis had come to an end amid reports that Nichols refused Francis's black shoes saying, "As The Carpenters sang, 'We've only just begun' so, let's get this party started", it would soon become apparent that Nichols wished to follow the footsteps of Francis's humility, but make sure the World knew that he was his 'own man'.

Artists impression of the rapturous election of Pope Tim
Opting instead for a simple wooden cross over a white cassock and a pair of brown sandals, Pope Tim the Nice would astonish the World with his simple gestures, warmth, humility and moderate tone in the face of a captivated media, his motto, 'Non cognosco in viam', loosely translated as 'I do not know what is down the road'.

The Golden Age of The Tablet

Very soon, copies of The Tablet would be seen for sale in St Peters Basillica and across the World too, in the new dawn of the Catholic Church, in all the different languages of the World, with a special Latin edition produced for the enjoyment of die-hard traditionalists every year who had been reconciled to the Church after the Great and Very Terrible but Humble Purge of 2015-17 under Francis the Humble. A new oath that required them to 'hold their tongues' in exchange for a measure of acceptance in the Church of the future would guarantee the protection of traditionalists who were docile to 'the great spirit of the New Age'. Henceforth, the remaining traditional Catholics who had not been starved off the face of the earth would be allowed eat and drink and have their children returned to them, so long as no criticism of the new direction of the Church surfaced online.

A new golden age under Pope Tim the Nice
The Catholic Truth Society would see a continued period of suppression but new appointments made to the charity would bring it into line with changes at the Holy See, seeing the organisation updated, rebranded and a new line of pamphlets produced by Bobby Mickens, Christopher Howse and Elena Curti sold in what were once called Churches, but will be henceforth called 'Flourishing Centres'. The CTS would simply be called the 'My Truth is My Truth, Your Truth is Your Truth: Ain't That Just the Truth? Society' (MTIMT,YTIYT:ATJTT?S)

With a simple message of peace and love drawing upon the works of Bob Marley, The Beatles and other popular music artists from the era, Pope Tim the Nice would, in the minds of image consultants and PR experts, make a valuable contribution to the vision of the Catholic Church of the future with a gentle, moderate, less insulting, quietly reforming papacy that would capture the imagination of the World, still mourning the end of the most humble and self-effacing papacy in Church history. Saatchi and Saatchi predict that a moderate and sensible Englishman will bring a period of stablility and 'normalisation' to the Catholic Church after the upheavals of the Francis era. The first exhortation of Pope Tim is likely to be entitled, 'Veritas in Temperantia, Comprimissum in Opes', in English, 'Truth in Moderation, Compromise in Abundance'. The only question now, is will Archbishop Vincent Nichols and Dr Tina Beattie glide smoothly into St Peter's, Rome, as Saatchi and Saatchi have planned?

PR firm claim a similar mock up ski slope could be used for the Vincent and Tina 'Dream Ticket' in St Peter's Square


Mike said…
There’s only one slightly suspicious element in this leaked document. It describes Pope Tim as the ‘British’ hope. As everybody knows, Scotland is on its way to Independence, led by our glorious Leader, Alex Salmond, and we have our own nominee, who will be known as Pope Andy.
Supertradmum said…
Don't worry, will not happen. Also, I think the Pope Emeritus will one day, if the Church can be so organized in the future, a Doctor of the Church. So, instead of Benedict the Smiling, can we have Benedict the Teacher of Priests? For that is what he was....
Gertrude said…
I hope this is a spoof. +Vin for Pope - God help us.
Celia said…
That was fun. Rather like one of those nightmares that you wake up from thinking it was real.

But you have, deliberately, I assume, touched on a serious point: at the next Conclave,(which could be not so many years away, early retirement now being an option)will the cardinals be looking principally for someone who will play well with the media? I never have understood, by the way, why cardinal Bergoglio was elected. All the jovial, humble stuff seems only to have started after he was elected- Argentinians appear never to have been treated to it.
Anyway if what my liberal friends hope for comes to pass, the bishop of Rome won't count for anything more than the archbishop of Canterbury in a few years time. And +Vince will be able to be a mini-pope in England.

It seems to me like we will see Pope Francis II (unless God says enough is enough). I came across this “leak” at the always well informed Vaticaninsider written by the even better informed John R. Allen:

"(...) There are three reasons why O’Malley is positioned to be among the most important influences on Francis.

First, the Catholic Church in the United States is an important force in global Catholic affairs. (...)

Just as Cardinal Francis Spellman of New York once upon a time was the most important American prelate under Pope Pius XII, and Cardinal John O’Connor played the same role under Pope John Paul II, O’Malley is now the “go-to” American under Pope Francis.

O’Malley speaks fluent Spanish and Portuguese and knows Latin America almost as well as the United States, based on decades of work as a missionary and delivering pastoral care for Hispanics. During one of his many trips across the continent, he stayed in the residence of then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Buenos Aires, forming a bond of friendship and trust that’s endured.

As a result, when Francis needs a read on American realities, O’Malley is the man he’s most likely to tap.****

Second, it’s well known that O’Malley himself was a serious contender in the conclave that propelled Bergoglio to the papacy, and for many of the same reasons.

He represents a humbler, simpler conception of ecclesiastical leadership. He’s unquestionably orthodox, but a man of the social gospel for whom the poor are a towering pastoral priority. He’s committed to a more collegial vision of the Church, and, like Bergoglio, an outsider to the court dynamics of the Vatican.

In July, O’Malley candidly acknowledged in an interview with the National Catholic Reporter that “if the conclave had lasted another day or so, I would have been in great danger” – meaning, of course, that he might have been the one wearing white.

The fact that O’Malley had significant support among his brother cardinals certainly is not lost on Francis. It’s undoubtedly a core reason why he named him to the Council of Cardinals, and why he’s disposed to take whatever advice O’Malley gives him seriously.

Third, O’Malley is widely acknowledged as the most authoritative voice among the cardinals on the Church’s child sexual abuse scandals, an issue that Francis certainly will have to confront, but one on which he doesn’t bring a great deal of personal experience.

As Francis consults widely about his priorities, he will hear repeatedly the importance of turning a page in the fight against clerical abuse. That input will likely nudge the pope to rely even more on O’Malley, who has carried out clean-up operations in three successive dioceses, and who has emerged as a global leader in the effort to reach out to victims, to prevent future abuse, and to respond aggressively when it does occur.

Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari recently said in a conversation with Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi that he doesn’t believe the Church will ever see a “Francis II.” With O’Malley very much in mind, some observers believe he just may be wrong about that.

Francis will be 77 in December, they note, and one logical trajectory of his effort to reinsert the papacy into the College of Bishops would be to follow the lead of Benedict XVI and resign, perhaps when he reaches 80. If so, that would mean stepping aside in late 2016 or early 2017, at which point O’Malley would be just 72, four years younger than Bergoglio when he was elected."


*** here everybody can read up on the American realities in O´Malley´s diocese:
Lynda said…
Ooh, too close to the truth for comfort!! You vie with Eccles and Bosco for most effective use of satire.
Pelerin said…
Oooh - you are naughty!!
Anonymous said…
Can you please qualify your reasons for posting this, or explain what brought it on?

I ask as there is a world of a difference between Pope Francis Bergoglio and ++Vincent Nichols, and I am not referring to the offices they hold.

Bemused said…
I dunno, Saatchi & Saatchi will have to work hard to trump this:

Physiocrat said…
It wasn't quite clear what shoes Pope Tim will be wearing. Trainers from TK-Maxx would hit the right note - you never know what they will have in stock so that will make things more interesting for the press observers.

What odds are the bookies giving for the next card of papal runners?
JB said…
couldn't we please just have an Italian again? is this the It's a Small World After All ride at Disney World? for cripes sake.
gemoftheocean said…
"Who could possibly fill those black shoes?"

Lucky I wasn't drinking milk when I read that. I would have snorted a cow through my nose.

You really should try your hand at writing a comedy play and take it to the fringe festival.
Mark Slater said…
I find this post to be dis-graceful and offensive. Nothing humorous about it at all.
Tim said…
You're excommunicated.
Physiocrat said…
That ski slope looks like one of those Escher drawings of endless staircases, or perhaps a href="http://mathworld.wolfram.com/MoebiusStrip.html>"Mobius strip.html, an endless surface with only one side.