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If I Were Pope

02/12/2013 12:51 pm ET | Updated Apr 14, 2013

If I Were Pope

If I were pope
I'd proclaim the end of my infallibility
and banish the word sin from the doctrines of faith

I'd ask half the bishops and cardinals
to replace themselves with a thoughtful woman
and complete their ministries in a prison or homeless shelter

If I were pope
I'd pay the mystics to write poetry all day
and have their words read at the Sunday Masses

I'd pay the prophets to upload their message
in five minute videos
for youtube viewers around the world

I'd hire a thousand displaced workers
to construct a new Sistine Chapel and cover it with mirrors
instead of male images

If I were pope
I'd announce a contest
for 10 new sacraments that celebrate
peace-making, justice, and interfaith creations.

I'd send envoys to the villages
to talk about birth control
and distribute condoms wherever they are needed.

I'd establish a tuition-free college in every country
to train young students how to think
non-violently and act ethically.

If I were pope I'd convert closed churches
to housing for the needy
and meeting places for the marginal and walking wounded

I'd buy farms in rural places
and dedicate each one to organic farming
and cooperative, sustainable, community-based agriculture.

I'd convert every old Motherhouse and seminary
into a training center for spiritual activists, cultural creators
and community collaborators.

I'd auction off my skullcap, my mozetta cape and my darling red shoes
to the highest bidder and send the money to Haiti
for the construction of schools and health care centers.

I'd sell my Fisherman's Ring on ebay
and donate the proceeds to the Gulf shrimpers.

I'd trade my red and gold embroidered fascia
(the stole with the fringes) for a villa in Tuscany
and give free spa retreats to women who've served the church
for five years or more.

If I were pope, I'd throw a party at the Vatican
and invite everyone who's left the church
because they didn't feel welcomed.
(The overflow crowd would be treated to weekends
at Italian vineyards.)

If I were pope, I'd announce my retirement,
and as my last act in office, at the final party,
I'd ordain to the priesthood any woman who was ready,
marry any gay couple who wanted my blessing,
and marry any priest, male or female.

Then I'd get in my jammies,
say a prayer of gratitude,
and crawl into bed for a much needed nap.

Excerpt from Jan Phillips' book, 'No Ordinary Time.'