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With the imminent departure of Joe Ratzinger, Pope Benedict the Whatevereth (aka, JoPo), from the Holy See, speculation is running rampant on who will replace him.  Some are hoping for a reformer who will bring the Church rocketing forward into the 17th century.  Others are hoping for a more conservative leader in Benedict's vein, who will continue the current divinely-inspired program of protecting sexual predators, punishing victims, denying Communion to pro-Choice Catholic politicians, and being A-OK with giving Communion to unrepentant war criminals - you know, keeping the Church's moral authority nice and shiny.  So I've cobbled together this list of the top 5 candidates to replace Benedict, covering the whole spectrum of opinion.

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5.  Bono.

Bono

Who doesn't love Bono?  As a man of profound principle and compassion who, for some bizarre reason, still seems to hold the Catholic Church in some esteem, Bono as Pope could turn the Church into something it's never been before: A bastion of decency.  His papal name would no doubt be something like Pope Awesomeness I, and he would be the first Pope who might actually win net converts to the Church since the days when conversions occurred at the point of a sword.  Of course, he's not a Cardinal or even a member of the clergy, but at this point that's kind of a good thing.  However, his vocal opposition to child rape would be controversial among the College of Cardinals, so he is considered a long-shot.

4.  Rick Santorum.

Pope_Santorum

A boon to the ultraconservative wing of the Church, Santorum - who would be known as Pope Goatse I if selected - is famous for regularly making Tobias Fünke-like unintentional homoerotic double entendres while excoriating 99.2% of the global population as godless heathens destined for Hell.  His political positions would definitely place him strong in the running, as he is only opposed to priests having sex with adult men, and opposes abortion in all cases except when performed with a cruise missile or in an NRA-sponsored rampage killing.

3.  Indoor Potted Plant.

Indoor Potted Plant

Centrists in the Church looking to avoid controversy in either direction have been buzzing about this one.  Although it would be the first member of the plant kingdom ever to lead the Holy See - it would be known as Pope Pleasant I - Vatican-watchers expect its tenure would be relatively uneventful.  The plant would also please members in the Church hierarchy who have been critical of extravagant expenditures in the past, since it would only require watering and some soil nutrients.  The Popemobile would also be ideal as a mobile greenhouse that would provide ample sunlight on tours.  However, Vatican progressives are already criticizing the idea since the plant could not do anything to reform the Church, and conservatives feel the plant would be too easygoing on witches and heretics.

2.  Gina Carano.

Gina Carano

Those looking for real change are asking, why not a woman Pope?  And if a woman Pope, why not a hot MMA fighter woman Pope who could kill you with her kegels?  Not only would a woman Pope be less likely to put up with child molesters, but this particular woman could personally dish out their comeuppance.  Granted, the Papal robes might need to be modified a bit to allow for roundhouse kicks, but the quality and integrity of ecclesiastical leadership would markedly improve after dealing out a few ass-kickings to the subordinate clergy.  She would transform the Church from a punchline into a line of clergy waiting to get punched by a woman.  The only downside is that the handful of clergy interested in adult women might be tempted to impure thoughts by her presence.  Her papal name would be Pope Punishment I.

1.  George Carlin.

Dogma-George-Carlin1

Okay, he's dead, but come on - it's not like Ratzinger was a spring chicken either.  Besides, George Carlin would bring a much-needed sense of humor and credibility to the Church.  Even as a corpse, he's funnier and more intelligent than the hierarchy is today.  All they have to do is keep the Popemobile at a low enough temperature so that he doesn't decompose too quickly.  He would be known as Pope Fuckyou I.

Extended (Optional)

Poll

Who should be the next Pope?

10%20 votes
5%10 votes
25%47 votes
10%20 votes
47%89 votes

| 186 votes | Vote | Results

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