The Vatican's new target demographic
Photo: Getty Images/ PhotoStock-Israel
Courtesy of: PhotoStock-Israel
Vatican City -- In a continuation of the work begun by the late Pope John Paul II, the Vatican, representing the wishes of Pope Benedict XVI, is asking Cardinals throughout the world to reach out to hip-hop artists. "The Church realizes that its healthy future depends on attracting and keeping the young people in its fold," says Vatican spokesman Cardinal Bishop Roger Etchegaray, 81.
"If we're perceived as old-fashioned and out of step with the times, we'll lose the young people we have and won't be able to incorporate future generations. But if we can reach the most cutting-edge of those young people today -- the hip-hoppers, then young people everywhere will realize the Church can be "funky fresh," and to those young people I would say, on behalf of the Church, boo-yaa!"
The campaign to reach out to hip-hoppers started in January of 2004, when Pope John Paul II presided over a performance of break-dancers who leaped, flipped and spun their bodies to beats from a boom box. The 83-year-old pontiff, watching the performance from a raised throne, seemed to approve, waving his hand after each dancer completed a move, then applauding for the entire group. "For this creative hard work I bless you from my heart," he said.
One dancer planted his head on the inlaid marble floor of the Vatican hall and spun to loud applause from his group and from Vatican officials. Another performer flung his body around in a series of spins and handstands. "Artistic talent is a gift from God," John Paul said.
"But now that the Pontiff has been called to God," states Etchegaray, "it remains for the rest of us Cardinals to continue the mission to attract hip-hoppers to the Church." Vatican officials have outlined a three-step plan to reach out to hip-hoppers:
- Wardrobe. Cardinals will be provided with new hip-hop clothing, including: diamond-studded sunglasses, a du-rag, a hooded sweatshirt, giant alligator belts with a silver dollar-sign belt buckle, a platinum pimp cup, Fubu Nitro-Tech athletic shoes, and a bling bling neck chain from which dangles a gold-plated crucifix.
- Language. Hip-hop versions of all major Catholic prayers will be provided to Cardinals. For example: "The Lord is my totally dope shepherd; I'll not bounce. The Dude makes me step off in fly pastures. With Him I be ballin'. He be totally def, dog. Ay yo trip though I walk through this
here wack 'hood filled wit macks and honeys, I remain a player."
- Dance. The Cardinals will be provided with instruction in all the current hip-hop dances to enable them to hang out in the hippest clubs and approach potential church-goers. Dances to be mastered include: Top Rockin', Chair Freeze, Back Spin, Brooklyn Uprocking, Apache Lines, Jerking, Scooby Doos, Popping, Bopping, Twist-O-Flex, and Filmore Strutting.
Hip-hoppers, however, are by no means the only group targeted by the Vatican to become future church-goers. Etchegaray reveals that once "Operation Hip-Hop" is complete, the Vatican will also unveil additional plans to have the Cardinals go after politicians, lawyers, members of the Witness Protection Program, the Amish, and anyone who has appeared on The Jerry Springer Show.