Rome---Not long after stunning his followers by announcing his sudden retirement, Pope Benedict XVI has delivered his farewell speech before a huge crowd of cheering supporters.
In his speech the Pope explained his reasons for quitting, something no Pope has done in centuries. Here is a condensed version of the Pope's address:
Dear followers, I greet you, and I am honored by your loyal support. I speak to all Christians. In spite of our differences, we are all humble workers in the vineyards of the Lord.
When I first took office eight years ago, it seemed I faced insurmountable problems. The fallout from the scandal of the child sex abuse cover up, the growing divisions between progressive and traditional Catholics, the indifference of a secular world. All these problems seemed almost too great to face.
Through years of great spiritual turmoil, I have pondered these issues at great length. I knew that millions of Catholics looked to me to solve these issues, or at least face them with all my strength and courage. Finally I have come to a conclusion. After years of struggle, I say: Fuck it.
These problems really are too great for one man to face. And really, the rewards are not that great. Once you've reached the top of the Vatican, you've made it. There's no extra incentive.
Let's face it. I am already Pope. What more do I need? I'm in the history books. Someone else can go down in the books as the guy who solved these problems and saved the Church. Me, I don't need it. I'm doin' okay. I've got free cable, I've got a nice pad. I'm gonna be Pope Emeritus. That's enough for me.
I know you all loved John Paul. He was a hell of a Pope. A rock star Pope. But what did he really solve? Look at how popular he was, and yet he left us with all this mess. All that flash, but in the long run what did it really mean?
When I first campaigned for this job, it sounded really great. Be Pope, get your name in the papers, be beloved by millions. It ain't that great. Tell the truth, I'd rather be a movie star. They get all the fame without all this stress. And all the solemnity. It's a lot of stress to keep up appearances, let me tell you. I'd rather be George Clooney. He gets the babes. Or that Justin Timberlake kid. He's got some moves.
To all the loyal Catholics who eagerly await the recovery of the Church from its recent struggles, I say: Forget about this sinking ship. Even if we do recover, the world doesn't care. I recommend you join one of those hot, new religions. How about the Mormons? They're different and wacky, why not? Plus, I hear you can marry all the babes you want. You can't drink, but you get to marry thirty different women. It's a little too late for me to do that. I'll give myself a heart attack just thinking about it. Or how about the Muslims? Shoot, those guys scare me, what with their beards and bombs and stuff. Better join them before they blow you up.
Yeah, I know you guys were counting on me. Just remember, we can't all be winners. Sure, everybody remembers Jesus, but do you know how many false messiahs there were besides him? John the Baptist, he wasn't too shabby, but even he was no Jesus.
Please don't lose heart. I mean, if you're still with the Church after all that's happened, you're probably going to stay forever. I mean, you guys are loyal. You're kind of like Cubs fans. Loveable losers. Hey, I admire it. You're admirable, in a goofy sort of way. Keep the faith, it's kind of cute.