A Letter to the Supreme Pontiff from the Supreme Executive Committee

Dear Pope Francis,

purple envelopeFirst off, congratulations. We think you’re off to a great start as the Bishop of Rome and Supreme Pontiff, and we know a bit about being Supreme in the religious world. Like you, we are accountable to no one and our selection process is mysterious. Unlike you, we favor purple limos instead of white popemobiles. We were especially delighted by your choice of name, Francis. We just hope you do even better than Francis performed in Lent Madness 2010. While he made it into the Faithful Four, it was a bit catty when Julian of Norwich took him out.

Though we are Anglicans, we noticed you popes like to issue encyclicals. Here at Lent Madness, we favor top ten lists. So, please allow us to give you some friendly and saintly advice, one Supreme to another Supreme, in the form of a top ten list. That’s no bull. (Get it?)

Top 10 Saintly Bits of Advice for the New Pope

10. You have a bunch of travel in your future. Why not save some time and money by using Holy Skype — the latest in visions. St. Clare mastered this, when she saw Mass on her wall. Maybe you can use something similar to meet with foreign dignitaries and wayward bishops.

9. We know you like to give money to the poor. If you decide to do this, don’t keep too low of a profile, otherwise you’ll end up doing no better than St. Nicholas, who was defeated in the first round of Lent Madness 2012 by Evelyn Underhill. Maybe the whole anonymous “shoe gift” thing isn’t the way to go.

8. Your humble service in the church is an inspiration to all. Keep it up, and maybe write some poetry on the side while you’re at it, and you could end up as well regarded as the famous parson and Golden Halo champion George Herbert, winner of Lent Madness 2010. Sometimes, humility gets you to the top.

7. Get some allies. For example, you could do worse than having the Hawaiians on your side. Last year, Queen Emma of Hawaii almost won the Golden Halo, thanks to her friends in Hawaii. Your papacy could accomplish much if you can find a way to stay in the good graces of these amazing people.

julian of norwich cat6. You need a pet. Seriously, if you had a cat, it would make some great photo ops. Adds the touch of warmth and all that. If you got a white-haired kitty, you wouldn’t even be able to see the hair on your shiny new cassock. Plus, you would be well positioned to sail through life the way Julian of Norwich sailed through Lent Madness 2010 thanks to cat-lovers around the world.

5. Get a strong woman by your side. We know you can’t get married (though we think you could change that, if you wanted). But maybe a nun? Enmegahbowh benefitted greatly from his companionship with Iron Sky Woman. Perhaps a nun with a shotgun would do the trick. You’ll need something to keep those cardinals in line.

4. If travel becomes grueling and the mystical visions in tip number 10 don’t do the trick, you could always try bilocation. It worked really well for Martin of Porres, though not well enough for him to sneak past David Oakerhater in Lent Madness 2012.

3. Get out of the bus and into the popemobile. Sure, the symbolism of riding the bus is awesome. But you have places to go and people to see. Your example here comes from the seventh century in St. Chad, who refused to ride a horse, preferring the more “apostolic” custom of walking. Finally, after pressure from his aides, he agreed to ride a horse so that he could serve his whole diocese. In other words, it’s time for you to start horsing around.

st joseph statue2. If your papacy is a success, in a few centuries, people may use statues of you to implore God’s mercy. As you know, some Roman Catholics bury a St. Joseph statue upside-down in their yard to expedite selling their house. What might people do with a St. Francis of Buenos Aires statue? If you decide to downsize yourself into a tiny apartment instead of the Apostolic Palace, future renters might use a statue of you to get a great unit or perhaps to get out of their leases. Or if you continue to use ordinary cars instead of the popemobile, people might put a statue of you into the trunk of cars they’re trying to sell. Well, it’s something to strive for.

1. You want to be known as Francis the Great? One path to that title is reforming church music. That’s exactly what Gregory the Great did when he popularized Gregorian chant. This one’s actually easy. You can undo the damage of post-Vatican II and ban guitars and overly amplified cantors from your churches. Get back to a more organic (get it?) kind of church music. The faithful will thank you, and Jesus will weep a bit less often.

We are available for consulting, though you might have to reverse your predecessor’s declaration that we Anglicans are absolutely null and utterly void. Come to think of it, maybe this is just the occasion the papacy has needed to reach out to Anglicans. We could all hang out and share tips on how to be Supreme. Trust us, you’re much better off getting advice from us than from these folks.

Anyway, let us know when you want to talk.

Yours in fellow Supremacy,
Scott of Cincinnati
Tim of Hingham

P.S. Can we borrow the chimney from the Sistine Chapel? We think it would be cool to bellow a bunch of purple smoke the day we announce the winner of the Golden Halo. Thanks in advance.

P.P.S. All kidding aside, we’re praying for you. You’ve got an unimaginably big task ahead, but rest in the knowledge that people around the world, not just in your own church, are praying for your success.

39 Comments to "A Letter to the Supreme Pontiff from the Supreme Executive Committee"

  1. Rev ALF's Gravatar Rev ALF
    March 17, 2013 - 8:49 pm | Permalink

    Those of you on the Supreme Executive Committee are a hoot! Keep it up!! I am also learning a ton!!

  2. Judith Chumlea-Cohan's Gravatar Judith Chumlea-Cohan
    March 17, 2013 - 8:55 pm | Permalink

    Ah! Irreverence is bliss.

  3. Craig Clere's Gravatar Craig Clere
    March 17, 2013 - 9:03 pm | Permalink

    Funny article but seriously, his comparing gays and lesbians adopting children as “child abuse” and the “work of the devil” leaves me concerned.

  4. Roman Catholic girl's Gravatar Roman Catholic girl
    March 17, 2013 - 9:05 pm | Permalink

    While a nun with a shot-gun would be pretty intimidating, I feel you underestimate the amount of dammage a nun with a yard stick can do. The Blues Brothers movie does quite an excelent job of demonstrating this phenonminon. I just learne about Lent Madness this year from my parish priest, just know that this is a great tool for all Christians to get together!

  5. Alan Medsker's Gravatar Alan Medsker
    March 17, 2013 - 9:07 pm | Permalink

    I’m disappointed that you did not invoke the Stripes quote “Lighten up, Francis”, even once.

  6. March 17, 2013 - 9:08 pm | Permalink

    Not a single word about St Patrick? And on what would have been his day? Nothing about converting the unbelievers, using the tools in front of you (new Pope has been on Twitter for awhile), or cleaning house.
    (Okay that last one might be too far.)

    • March 17, 2013 - 10:51 pm | Permalink

      Liturgically speaking Monday is Saint Patrick’s day . . .

      • March 18, 2013 - 2:57 pm | Permalink

        Ooh — good point. I just put the second corned beef on, having inhaled the first one yesterday.

  7. Barbara Mays-Stock's Gravatar Barbara Mays-Stock
    March 17, 2013 - 9:10 pm | Permalink

    Nicely put. You guys are simply amazing.

  8. Patricia Nakamura's Gravatar Patricia Nakamura
    March 17, 2013 - 9:17 pm | Permalink


  9. March 17, 2013 - 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Roman Catholics aren’t the only ones who bury St. Joseph. I have blessed and prayed over buried St. Joseph many times and kept St. Jospeph kits in my desk for parishioners who needed to sell their homes. Every St. Joseph I planted and prayed over did the trick. Every house sold. I suspect a St. Francis I kit will likely be as good for apartment dwellers.

    • March 17, 2013 - 11:06 pm | Permalink

      Oh-oh! This time next year may just see St. Francis I kits alongside Lent Madness mugs. Reed & Barton silversmiths will have the jump on it, since Francis I — with its 26 individual pieces of fruit on each spoon — remains one of it’s most popular flatware patterns, much loved by brides with big hair and indulgent daddies (it’s the #1 pattern in Dallas which pretty much sums things up).

  10. Lynn Harrington's Gravatar Lynn Harrington
    March 17, 2013 - 9:26 pm | Permalink

    Witty, wonderful with a touching and true PPS! Thank you for blessing our Lent.

  11. Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
    March 17, 2013 - 9:44 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps in the spirit of ecumenicity, we could introduce the Roman Church to Protestant hymnody; get those folks singing in four-part harmony!

  12. Jill's Gravatar Jill
    March 17, 2013 - 10:04 pm | Permalink

    LOVE this!!! TBTG!!

  13. Ed Adcock's Gravatar Ed Adcock
    March 17, 2013 - 10:25 pm | Permalink

    Snarky, but I whole-heartily agree with last prayer. Pope Francis has a rough row to hoe.

    As is typical with links included within LM posts, I spent an enjoyable hour+ clicking on links and sub-links concerning the discussion of the validity of Anglican ordination vis-à-vis the Latin Church.

  14. Judye Nazareth's Gravatar Judye Nazareth
    March 17, 2013 - 10:27 pm | Permalink

    I snorted my drink at number 1! Too funny!!!

  15. linda of new orleans's Gravatar linda of new orleans
    March 17, 2013 - 10:28 pm | Permalink

    you guys are awesome! i really hope the Pope will take at least some of your wisdom and use it in the coming days…esp when you say you’re available for consulting. he could learn a thing or 2 from you all and all of us humble episcopalians.

  16. linda of new orleans's Gravatar linda of new orleans
    March 17, 2013 - 10:30 pm | Permalink

    oh-and we DO need the chimney from the sistine chapel for our purple smoke. get on that ASAP, please.

  17. Raggs Ragan's Gravatar Raggs Ragan
    March 17, 2013 - 11:29 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps your supremenesses can spread the word that as a Jesuit this Pope is at least as likely to be thinking of Francisco Javier as he is Francesco Bernardone.

  18. Christine's Gravatar Christine
    March 18, 2013 - 12:18 am | Permalink

    Where can I get a copy of the lovely picture of Julian of Norwich (and her cat)? Max, Nancy, Malcolm, and Boris would also like to know. Thanks!

  19. Aleathia (Dolores) Nicholson's Gravatar Aleathia (Dolores) Nicholson
    March 18, 2013 - 12:39 am | Permalink

    You guys walk a fine line as no one before you and, I feel safe in saying, no one to follow you, mostly because any threats to your quirkiness pretty much are non-existent. Your fertile little brains are in overdrive and it must be some strong coffee y’all are drinking. Let’s hope the Pope does read this and invites y’all to the Vatican for a look-see and ring kissing.

    • Peg's Gravatar Peg
      March 18, 2013 - 9:01 am | Permalink

      I didn’t know the SEC wore rings!

      • Susan Chacon's Gravatar Susan Chacon
        March 18, 2013 - 12:20 pm | Permalink

        If they ever do, I expect replicas for sale in the Lent Madness store asap!

      • Aleathia (Dolores) Nicholson's Gravatar Aleathia (Dolores) Nicholson
        March 18, 2013 - 7:30 pm | Permalink

        Peg….they will kiss the Pope’s ring. There is an Episcopal bishop whose name I will not divulge who, when approached by an admirer asking to kiss her ring said” “Never mind the ring, kiss the Bishop!”. The SEC should kiss the ring, not the Pope…..hopefully.

  20. Michaelthomascollinsforshaw's Gravatar Michaelthomascollinsforshaw
    March 18, 2013 - 1:54 am | Permalink

    I have noticed that Pope Francis is not using what I call all the FRU FRU that Benedict used–those poor rabbits-Francis is quoted as saying CARNIVAL TIME IS OVER. I wish in some Anglo-Catholic circles we could heed this and reform some of the things we do in the Liturgy–and make it less of a circus and a meaningfull meeting with God through Word and Sacrament.
    On a lighter note I can’t wait for tomorrow to vote in the next round. Keep up the good work. While Lent is serious business we do not have to be so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good.

  21. Marguerite's Gravatar Marguerite
    March 18, 2013 - 5:56 am | Permalink

    Great advice to Francis I; I just hope he proves worthy of it.

  22. Christine's Gravatar Christine
    March 18, 2013 - 8:03 am | Permalink

    Was thinking the intercessions of Hilda might be useful too -vis-a-vis the snakes in the curia! could be looking at replacements for garden gnomes.

  23. Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
    March 18, 2013 - 8:20 am | Permalink

    There’s GOT to be something in here about The Supremes!

    • linda of new orleans's Gravatar linda of new orleans
      March 18, 2013 - 9:46 am | Permalink

      well-there were 3 of them…so, the Trinity? not trying to be sacreligious, but you did say there’s got to be someting in here about the Supremes! i immediately thought of diana ross and her bunch!

  24. carla's Gravatar carla
    March 18, 2013 - 9:27 am | Permalink

    Nuns in the Curia with or without shotguns…rulers work

  25. March 18, 2013 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    Being a former R-Cahtolic and now Orthodox, well, the singing needs work, yes. This list was pretty good! My favorite was the nun with the shotgun. That actually brings back memories of parochial school…those girls were tough! ha!

  26. March 18, 2013 - 10:00 am | Permalink

    I spelled Catholic wrong! haha! oiy!

  27. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    March 18, 2013 - 10:59 am | Permalink

    If you had a face to face with the Pope, would you say any of this stuff to him?
    Probably not.
    Words/Pictures in Social Media take on a life of their own and are frequently twisted and turned.
    The impact on the subject and/or the original poster can be unkind to say the least.

  28. Skip's Gravatar Skip
    March 18, 2013 - 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Very funny and educational, it helps break the LMW.

  29. Linda's Gravatar Linda
    March 19, 2013 - 2:56 pm | Permalink


    I have a better story about an Episcopal bishop and his ring. Someone (a female) asked him, upon being introduced to him, if she should kiss his ring. The bishop said yes, and quickly took off the ring and stuck it between his teeth!

  30. John Carter's Gravatar John Carter
    March 20, 2013 - 9:38 am | Permalink

    I cannot say enough about how much I appreciate your approach to Lent. As a Roman Catholic, currently a candidate for a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Ministry from Loyola U (New Orleans, a Jesuit institution) I admire the manner in which you educate, and promote dialogue. I thank you for your heartfelt wishes and prayers for Francis, and for you consistently pointing out that all children of God have more in common, than things that separate us. Keep up the good work.

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