Pope Benedict XVI has revealed that his infallibility is weighing heavily upon him, and taking a lot of the fun out of being God’s representative here on earth.
“From my early days as plain Joseph Ratzinger in the Hitler Youth movement, right up to my time as Dean of the College of Cardinals, I’ve been accustomed to the rigours of robust debate: stating my case and putting forward my beliefs. In the good old days at the College, I would argue with my fellow Cardinals, long into the night, about some insignificant point of ecclesiastical dogma, like how many angels could stand on the head of a pin. It was exhilarating.
“However, since I become Pope in 2005, I have met only with acquiescence and reverence. No-one dares to argue with me any more. These days the Cardinals just nod indulgently and agree with every word I say: ‘Your Holiness this... Your Holiness that...’ It’s infuriating. Yes, I know, infallibility comes with the job, but, frankly, it gets boring to be right all the time.
“Whenever I play the piano - a favourite relaxation of mine - nobody will tell me when I hit a wrong note. Everything I play is perfect, apparently. Even when I’m having a round of golf - the Vatican boasts a testing 9-hole course - I’m simply not allowed to hit a bad shot. No matter where my ball lands - and I’m even worse at golf than playing the piano! - one of the Cardinals will be out on the fairway, digging. By the time I get to my ball, there’ll be a neat hole - and a flag - no more than a two-foot put away.
“Since I have a lower handicap than Tiger Woods, I always win the match. Worse, my opponents always insist on a side-bet and, of course, I win that too. It takes all the pleasure out of the game, and my pockets are full of loose change. It’s not like I need the money. Last week I mentioned, to a visiting cleric, how splendid those flat-screen TVs look; this morning one was delivered to the Papal Palace.
“Sometimes I do outrageous things, just to rile people - like recommending my cat, Boris, for beatification - but whatever I say, goes. No questions asked. If I don’t put a stop to this charade, Boris will have achieved sainthood by this time next year, just like Charlie, my pet canary. Infallibility? You can keep it”...