Thursday, April 21

4/21/05 Antipope vs. KITH Sketch Subject

It’s time for Jose Melendez’s KEYS TO THE GAME.

When the white smoke streamed from the Vatican chimney on Thursday, Jose is certain that many of his readers, perhaps some of whom stood with the jubilant masses in St. Peter’s Square itself, waited nervously for Matthew Paul Clement to emerge as Pope Clement XV dressed in the traditional home white vestments. And then, as the world waited for the first Pope with a 90+ mph fastball since Pius III to step forth, something happened. Something unexpected.

Out came a 78 year old German whose name is perilously close to the guy who played Cliff on Cheers and can barely break 80 on the radar gun. (Note: Not that radar guns are reliable for any magistrate’s reading this.)

Jose knows a lot of you, Catholic and otherwise, are bitterly disappointed, both with the fact that the fact that the College of Cardinals bypassed Clement and the fact that Jose’s insights into the opaque world of Vatican politics were so badly flawed. To you Jose says “Keep the Faith!!!” This is not over, Jose concedes nothing.

While the mainstream media has yet to realize it, we are at the beginning of the third Great Schism in the history of the Church. The first occurred in 1045 when Pope Leo IX and Patriarch Michael I excommunicated each other, splitting Christendom into Catholicism and Orthodoxy.

The second more relevant schism, known as the Western Schism, came in 1378 when the papacy returned to Rome following 73 years in Avignion, France, where the Pope served largely at the pleasure of the French King. The first Pope elected following the return to Rome was Pope Urban VI, a basically competent guy who went mad with power, sort of like Dan Duquette, so the College of Cardinals decided to elect another Pope Clement VII to replace Urban VI even though he was not technically dead.
The two popes excommunicated each other, as was the custom at the time, and then the Cardinals picked a third pope Alexander V who was rapidly succeeded by John XXIII. So now you had three popes running around excommunicating each other. Somehow it all worked out in the end, but rather than Jose running on and on about it, you can read about it at wikipedia which is where Jose has been paraphrasing from anyway. (Note to Peter Gammons: See, if you remember to cite in the original article the first time, one need not face embarrassing, and unfair, plagiarism accusations and print undignified corrections.)

This brings us to today… Thursday. Jose has in on good authority that a faction of Cardinals (note: possibly the St. Louis Cardinals, but Cardinals nevertheless) is going to acknowledge Clement as the true supreme pontiff this afternoon, thereby setting up rival power centers in the church, a Rome papacy and a Boston papacy. In the schismatic tradition, the two popes should start referring to each other as the antipope soon thereafter. (Note: Is the antipope made of antimatter? If he were to touch the real pope would they explode? Jose is pretty sure there was a lot of antimatter in the Vatican thriller Angels and Demons; how did Dan Brown not address this?)

So be not disappointed. Matthew Paul Clement will pitch tonight for the first time as Pope (or Antipope) Clement XV. Look for the traditional gray road vestments and puffs of white smoke coming off of his fastballs.

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DoItAgain said...
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