VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis unleashed his how you like me now mission statement for his (so far anyway) perpetually perplexing papacy Tuesday. During which he attempted to explain - via a variety of highly suspicious words otherwise recklessly distributed through a series of run-on sentences carefully prepared for him by his resident team of clerical clerics, indentured servants with bright toothy smiles, fully inflated hangers on, and, oh yeah, one, surprisingly enough, ultra-free spirited/decidedly flamboyant in-house eunuch named Rudy (but that's another story) - an otherwise full-tilt assortment of recently hatched how's and why's as to, well, how and why the Catholic Church, the papacy itself, and (on weekends only) all participating Red Lobster restaurants, must now be decidedly reformed in order to officially create a more missionary-friendly position (no, not that kind, at least not until after a few drinks) a thoroughly more modern Millie (whoever she his, although based on the sound of Cardinal Katchatory's singing voice in the showers, I think I know), and, well, as long as someone (I'm not saying who) is still in the neighborhood, an evermore increasingly merciful church (steeple included) that gets its hands dirty (and not it's collective you know what) as it seeks out the painfully poor, the overly oppressed, and, if at all possible, a quality starting pitcher and, with any luck, someone who can hit a screwball or a change-up anywhere near the strike zone for next year's edition of the soon to be even more perennially hapless Chicago Cubs.
All throughout the 185-page hand written (in crayon with all punctuation done up in Silly String) document - extensively decorated with colorful charts and graphs, wacky yet thought provoking cartoons spotlighting the priestly experience (up to a point, that is, due to any ongoing legal considerations too lengthy to go into right now without an attorney present), detailed illustrations of many former Pope's either arm wrestling or trying on hats, and, just for the fun of it, an extensive photo layout of three rogue nuns from St. Norbert's in Milwaukee sitting around their convent playing cards, drinking beer and smoking cigars with their hair down and their shoes off - Pope Francis goes way, way out his way to properly string together a series of random, excessively wordy, semi-conscious (when not entirely unverified) facts that somewhere along the way gradually brings into almost (but not quite) focus the main, singular sensation, go-to-must-do-honey-don't priorities he (with special help from his crack team of reasonably well-bathed advisors, except for Father Mario of Perth Amboy, New Jersey - again, another story) has often spelled out (slowly at first, but then watch out!) in the past and upon request (with additional age appropriate bird calls and balloon animal tricks specifically designed for bachelorette parties).
Only this time around - thanks to a co-mingling prearranged rearrangement of eight and a half months of homilies, after dinner speeches, keen observational one-liners, and interviews with vampires who have successfully passed a broad range of advanced placement testing - Pope Francis has found a new and improved way to put what he's apparently meant to say all along in a more broader, well informed context, that (with any luck, if read silently with your lips moving) might very well finally re-establish the church's evangelical zeal-based brand within an otherwise semi-clueless outside world still more often than not commonly measured by its own highly developed multi-leveled high wire act of complete indifference, unflattering secularization, and - depending on whether or not anyone ever admits to leaving the cake out in the rain - monumentally well established income inequalities. Especially when it comes to any and all hats being passed around.
Pope Francis also went to great lengths (rumored to be 8.5 inches when fully deployed - no, wait, wrong length package, sorry!) to more or less explain (once he finished watching "Black Narcissus" - What, again? - on TCM) his most ill-fitting remarks to date. All of which now and forever appear to be rooted in the critical assessment of the church and it's ongoing tendency for nothing if not a totally transparent "obsession" centered around its continuous need to further exhibit a mismatched set of "Who, me?" doctrines that can't help but further suggest that in the church's own primary go-to "hierarchy of truths" pity is paramount, proportional control is universal, and, as luck and a certain amount who knew WTF fate would have it, "Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 - The Secret Service Years" is either on the shelf or, better yet, still in turnaround at Sony.
And what counts most - besides telling the faithful to "Come on down!!" - is to, by all means necessary, hang around in in the nearest available woods long enough to hear if that there that tree really does make a noise when it falls down and no one's listening cause they're either too busy updating their insignificantly mundane status on Facebook, and/or all went to Best Buy looking for the big ass TV of their choice at an ungodly hour on Black Friday.
No pun intended. But, if the shoe fits, look for one that hopefully matches and wear 'em both home before someone else does.
Meanwhile, in an even more startling development, Pope Francis went on to further say that, if need be, there does exist the right about now (and how) possibility that some of the church's long standing (when not unofficially slouching something fierce) customs of a historical nature might soon enough be cast aside if it's proven that they no longer provide a noticeable value that is capable of communicating, one way or another, with the faith, and/or, anyone pretending to still be paying attention at this point of the program.
By citing precedents previously issued by St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas - and, in a more modern era, aggressively spoken under his breath by longtime St. Louis Cardinals broadcaster Mike Shannon - Pope Francis stressed the ongoing need for moderation in norms (no, mention of Cliff) "so as to not burden the lives, and, more importantly, alcohol-fueled wild and crazy times of the forever tapped out faithful."
Meanwhile Take 2, at almost but not quite the same exact time time (following a light snack of cake and coffee, followed by a brisk walk, and a long sip off a short beer) Pope Francis reaffirmed the church's across the board opposition to abortion, thereby making it perfectly clear that this doctrine is, as always, non-negotiable. And thus, still very much at the core of the church's never give an inch insistence on the dignity of every human being, and the ever present ability of it to keep on mass reproducing itself until it officially runs out of room to logistically maintain an erection, assume an otherwise well choreographed position in which to properly utilize said semi-naturally induced down the way extension, or - best case scenario - discovers a new hobby, whichever comes first.
Again, no pun intended. But, if need be, sure, go ahead, knock yourself out.
(To be or not to be continued. That's not a question. Or, at least isn't supposed to be.
But, then again, these days, you never know.
In other words, it's early yet. Or, is it? Okay, sure, that's a question. At least for now.)