Monday, April 21, 2008

If cats get communion, what's the sacrament?

With the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to New York, we've been treated to a wealth of data about him and his pre-election life, including some of his hobbies, likes and dislikes.

As it turns out, the Pope is an animal lover with a specific fondness for cats. While in his previous Vatican job, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger cared for the cats in his neighborhood, who often walked him to work in the morning. In fact, following his election to popehood, his housekeeper worried about who would take care of the kitties after he moved to the papal apartment.

Unfortunately, even if you take the travel and time-consuming nature of his job out of the equation, the Pope can't have cats now. Interestingly enough, he suffers the same restrictions of so many other apartment dwellers: no pets allowed. Forget about the strays in the courtyard; he couldn't bring his two indoor cats with him, either.

What's that all about? I mean, he's the Pope. Doesn't he have the right to change the rules? I sincerely doubt that God put a 'no cats' clause in the lease. And what happens if he breaks the rule? Does he get kicked out of papal housing? Does he get fired?

You have to wonder if maybe this whole pet restriction thing has played into papal elections in the past. There's been a great deal of conjecture over the secret discussions that take place, so the potential is there. Imagine it: the College of Cardinals takes the vote and informs the winner that he was selected by his peers to get the big job with the big hat. And the lucky cardinal turns it down when he finds out he can't take Fluffy and Purr Purr with him. Who knows? Maybe that's what it would take to get the rule changed.

I have to believe this rule is a fairly recent phenomenon. Turns out that Pope Paul VI was so crazy about his cat that he once dressed the feline in Cardinals' clothes. Perhaps Felix Cardinal Catus got defrocked after missing the litterbox once too often, or for breaking the rules of celibacy. One bad apple spoils it for the whole barrel.

1 comment:

PhDilettante said...

Maybe it's really that the cats refused to go with when they found out he was no longer a rat-zinger!