VATICAN CITY - Described as Joan Rivers meets Howard Stern's Private Parts, Pope John Paul II's latest book, Is the Pope Catholic?, is a rollicking tell-all that contains startling revelations about the world leaders and celebrities the pope has met during his twenty-seven years in office. From Mother Theresa to Madonna, from Tony Blair to Tony Soprano, no one is spared the acid wit of John Paul II-or JP2 Dogg as he prefers to be called.
Is the Pope Catholic?, which arrives in Italian bookstores on February 23, grew out of conversations around the card table at JP2's Wednesday night poker games. "The Dogg had us in stitches one night with this great story about running into Hillary Clinton, a Chihuahua, and Rosie O'Donnell in the lady's room at the Four Seasons in New York," said Cardinal Umberto Ugotsi, the Vatican webmaster. "When Dogg finished the story, somebody said, You ought to write a book.'"
According to one reviewer who has seen an advanced copy of the pope's work, "a lot of people are going to wish he hadn't taken that advice."
President Bush, whom the pope refers to as the Commander in Chimp, won't be flattered to learn that after their first meeting the pope whispered to an aide, "I've had better conversations with a bidet."
Bono, who lectured the pope on third-world debt relief, isn't going to be happy to read that the pope later told his mistress, "There's one big difference between me and that fish stick: I only expect people to kiss my ring."
In addition to revealing a knack for one-liners, the pope also reveals a number of previously unknown facts about himself. Only the second pope to have two names, he considered Billy Ray, Tommy Joe, and Jim Bob before settling on John Paul "in honor of Led Zeppelin's bass player, John Paul Jones."
The pope also confessed that he wanted to be a male nurse when he was young, has regular conversations with God about soccer, often wears cut-offs under his papal robes, doesn't like Italian women, never misses an episode of the Sopranos, and wants to get a vanity plate for the popemobile.
In related news, according to London bookmakers, the latest odds regarding the pope are: resigns in office, 15-1; dies in office, 2-1; gets lost in office, 9-5, soils himself in office, 6-5 .