VATICAN CITY – Word was released late last month, shortly after the selection of Joseph Ratzinger as the 265th Pope, that many other, non-Cardinals, were nominated by church officials to take on the role of Pope. Of these outside sources, actor Will Smith was a rumored favorite.
The nomination of Smith and other “popular celebrities” was spurred on by Church officials looking to change the image of the Catholic Church after years of negative press and a decline in membership.
“We saw this as the perfect way to get back the younger generation,” said Cardinal Jonathon Morgan. “Everyone knows that whatever kids like, the rest of the world likes. By nominating these popular people, ones that kids look up to, we feel people will really get excited about Catholicism. The hope is that with these popular names the world will use the buzz words like ‘hip’ and ‘cool’ when referring to the church as opposed to ‘anal’ and ‘rape.’”
In addition to Smith, other rumored nominees included NFL Quarterback Peyton Manning, musician Sting, actor Tom Hanks, soccer star David Beckham and actress Halley Berry.
“The nomination of Miss Berry caused quite a stir amongst most of the clergy,” Morgan. “First of all, and most apparent, is that she’s a woman. Can you imagine what that would do? What with her constant breast baring and those skimpy dresses, the work of God would never get done. Secondly, she’s a woman. If you know anything about the Catholic Church then you know the problem with that.”
While word of the nominations was released after the new pope was selected, many Catholics around the world are optimistic about the future of the church and unconventional popes.
“I think it’s a great idea, the church needs a shot in the arm,” said devout Catholic Phillip Canseco. “Think about it. If they were considering these people this time, the groundwork is there for when this new guy dies in a few years. Look at him, he’s like 90. He’ll die in a few years and then the magic will happen. Man, I hope Peyton Manning gets it, ‘cus I have his rookie card. Can you imagine how much that sucker will be worth if the guy is elected Pope?”
The Church has made no comments regarding future considerations of celebrity popes but at the same time has not discounted the idea.
“It’s clear that we as Catholics must do what’s best for the Church and for its followers. Right now we decided that an old German guy was the way to go,” said Morgan. “Everyone loves Germans – almost as much as Will Smith. And besides, this guy is pretty much just a place holder until we can get our stuff together and do what’s right.”