Although the public is not privvy to it, lots goes on during the Enclave before that final round of Papal elections. Several activities, intended to determine the most suitable candidates for the Highest Office in the Holy Church, are employed. When the swimsuit competition was removed in the late sixteenth century and the pistol competition in the mid eighteenth century, bake-offs and essay contests were introduced and have since been widely successful. During the Papal Enclave of 2005, I entered my mother’s Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte to qualify for the top ten (it beat the snot outta Cardinal Morelli’s Banana-Sour Cream Cheesecake). Then came the essay round: what follows is my entry, which won over the judges and got me elected.

by the Most Reverend Cardinal Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger,
Dean, College of Cardinals, Cardinal Bishop of the Suburbicarian Diocese of Ostia

Mostly I wanna be Pope because once, when I was a young boy, Saint Peter himself came to me in a Sacred vision, prophesizing that I would one day be elected Pope. No shit! It happened while fishing by the brook in my childhood village of Marktl. I looked across to the opposite bank and there he was, sitting at the edge of the water, dressed in my mother’s morning coat and holding a bottle of orange Schnapps. Joe! he called out… You must leave home, head for the Vatican and dedicate your life to the Holy Roman Catholic Church. And bring a sweater, for crap’s sake – they keep that place cold enough to freeze ice!

Well, you can imagine my surprise. But I heeded this Sacred vision, packed a bag and went off to the seminary in search of my destiny. Unfortunately, my destiny also included conscription into the Luftwaffenhelfer and German Infantry. But I don’t like to talk about that, so let’s just flash-forward to the day I was ordained a priest. I’m telling you, the very moment I read my vows, the skies opened and a burst of heavenly light shone down upon my face so bright and brilliant, no one there dared look upon it. Alas, I learned later that it was only the cinematic spotlight from my mom’s Super-8 movie camera…

Anyhow, lots happened pretty quickly after that. I got a few college degrees, wrote a ton of papers not too many people read, and gave a lotta boring lectures on dogmatic theology. In my leisure time late on Friday evenings, I would tutor the young village girls on contemporary Catechism in a private room at the local beer hall. I believe it was this charitable work, along with the custom-tailored Lederhosen I gifted Cardinal Bocaletti (which was hand-delivered by Gretil, my most [ahem] enthusiastic student), that kickstarted my Vatican career. Jump ahead twenty years: I’m in charge of the College of Cardinals (damn, I look great in red!) and working for the front office of the Holy Roman Catholic Church.

I think back now to my humble beginnings and that Sacred vision, more than sixty years ago, when I witnessed our beloved Saint Peter, the Rock upon which Jesus himself built this church, seated himself upon a rock across from where I was fishing on that warm summer afternoon in Marktl. And I now realize that it probably wasn’t Peter at all, but more likely my strange Uncle Vilma who would, when the moon was full or the mood simply struck him, dress in my mother’s clothes and terrorize the local boys with his pornographic Navy tattoos.

Damn: I coulda been a plumber.

Anyhow, even though it wasn’t Saint Pete, I still wanna be a Pope. I’ve got all the requisite experience and I look fabulous in white, thanks to my delicate Bavarian complexion. Just give me a few years in the big chair so I don’t end up looking like a stupid, freaking failure on my resume. Then I’ll fake sick to make way for the next guy. To show you how serious I am about this, I’m enclosing $214 Euros (I had more, but lost it the other day at the Blackjack table during Pre-Enclave Casino night).

Thanks for your time and kiss the kids… Joey R.