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With the upcoming election of a new Pontifex maximus (Great Big Bridge Builder, or Head of Streets and Sanctification), rumors are abounding that changes may be afoot in Church teachings.  During the time of the last Pontiff, many issues such as priestly celibacy, the ordination of women, and the right way to whisk and egg all were forbidden a place in Church discussions.  Now, depending on who the next Pope is, partisans of every issue from birth control to the excommunication of guitar-strumming choir leaders are daring to hope that change might be afoot. 

Using our deeply planted sources, sleeper cells set up years ago for this very event, Muskrat News presents the unofficial but authoritative guide to what may change about the Church’s eternal and unchanging teachings:

Subject:  Ordination of Women.

Not going to happen.  Even left-wing Cardinals appreciate being able to hang out in the Curia without having to talk about their feelings.  Sometimes a fisher of men just wants to be a drinker of beer, and letting girls in the club would ruin that.

Subject:  Ordination of married men/dropping vow of celibacy. 

Shortage of priests may lead to adoption of grandfather rule:  already-married men, hopefully too old for hanky and/or panky, may be let in.  Younger men currently under vows not to be released.  The thought of seeing “The Bachelor: Father Bob seeks a mate” on Fox enough to turn the strongest stomach.  Also, our rabbi friends say the social pressure to marry some frump is unbearable.

Subject:  Ban on Line Dancing.

Ban likely to remain.  Currently little known and never enforced, bringing it up would just remind people of Paul VI’s angry and irrational hatred of “Hee-Haw.”

Subject:  Slavery, Pre-emptive war, Nuclear Weapons.

Odds of change small.  Mass death still seen as “bad,” unless long-shot Paul Wolfowitz wins papacy, in which case all bets are off. 

Subject:  Papal Supremacy

Moving from current absolutist position to a more nuanced model, perhaps with conciliar elements, could end schism with Lutherans and Episcopalians, going a long way to reunifying the Western Church.  Still, who wants to get elected just to lose all you powers?  Might as well stay in home town, where at least you’re somebody.

Subject:  Designated Hitter Rule

If this is not declared anathema right away, then what’s the papacy for, anyway?

Subject:  Birth Control.

Some laypersons hope for a shift in Church position, to allow married couples to sequence childbearing.  Some laypersons are kidding themselves.  That would open the door to pre-marital sex.  And if that ever happens, then look out!  The Huns will be at the gates in no time.  Oh my God!  There, down in the square!  Germanii!  Armed with video cameras!!  We *told* you!!

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Previous Lines of the Day
Viewer reactions to my December 2004 appearance on Jeopardy!  (all from (My version here)

Was it just me or did Tom seem strangely confrontational? His looks at Alex were giving off a "you wanna take this outside?" vibe. Odd man."

Tom acts cold and arrogant and just seems like a big dickweed."

Tom ... seems more consumed by betting big and looking like a stud than playing a well-managed game. I suspect he'll implode before racking up too many wins."