WITH BOOKIES already offering odds on who will become the next pope, I have a few suggestions to add to the list.
Listen, I know there’s a whole process for coming up with new popes. A college of cardinals or something. But this is what they’ve been using for several hundred years. The last time a pope resigned was 600 years ago. They need to upgrade their system and just choose people who are famous, not necessarily qualified or pious or Catholic or even want the job.
We need a pope who wasn’t in the Hitler Youth and didn’t shield sex criminals and hasn’t enraged the Muslim world. We need a pope that the whole world will be cool with. So I’m submitting to you my top 15 best picks for popes.
1. Justin Bieber
It seems like a goal for the Catholic establishment is to get more young people psyched on the Church. So they should just co-opt a thing that people are already into. Young people are really into Bieber, ergo Bieber should become the pope.
2. Justin Timberlake
Timberlake would be a good transitionary figure for pope. Today he is a successful singer who’s decided to try to make dreadfully uncool MySpace cool again. He’d do this with the Vatican.
3. GW Bush
This guy is just chilling on his riches. He’s out of work and could use something to do. I’m not saying he should become the pope, but should at least be considered for the position.
4. Janelle Monae
She’s got a cool attitude, cool look, and cool sound. She’d also break many walls as the first female and the first African American pope. She’d also be the first android pope since Clement V of the 14th century.
Never in the history of the papacy has there ever been an advocate for sick beats and wonky basslines. Skrillex could also easily adapt his Twitter username into the pope’s (“pontifex” vs. “skrillex”).
6. Kanye West
It’s less that Kanye would be a good pope, and more that it’d be good for the world to have Kanye ascend to this position, mostly because it’d keep him humble.
Might be confusing because she’s already named after a bigwig in the Catholic canon, but she’d revolutionize the office…and make it more dance-floor friendly.
8. Carrie Underwood
I don’t know much about Carrie Underwood, but I think she is a singer, and as we’ve seen through the 1971 classic “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (in Perfect Harmony),” world peace can be achieved by just getting people to learn their parts and sing together.
9. Whoopi Goldberg
She’s been in Ghost and on The View. Enough said.
10. Bill Murray
It’s less that he should actually become pope, and more that every time I write an absurdly speculative list of celebrities it’s impossible to omit him. Sorry — it’s more my issue than his.
11. Dr. Dre
Dropped some classic records, signed Eminem, and 50 Cent, then convinced a generation to buy $200 headphones. This is the kind of genius that the papacy needs to succeed in a consumer-driven economy. Plus, Dre could update some of those old hymns.
12. Clarence Carter’s song “Patches”
I dunno, it’s just that I’ve been playing this song on repeat a lot and I think it’s pretty funky, but it’s also about an impoverished young man who fulfills his commitment to family, which seems like a value that a pope would be into.
13. Sean Penn
Where the rest of the world turned its back on Haiti, Sean Penn showed that he still cared by using his fortunes to help rebuild their infrastructure. Rumor also has it that the current pope’s favorite movie (which he’s been illegally streaming) is I Am Sam. Because allegedly “that Beatles covers soundtrack is totally freaking dope.”
14. General David Petraeus
When you really look closely at his name it makes you think of pterodactyls, which were flying dinosaurs. We need a pope whose name reminds us of flying dinosaurs.
15. A potato
Yo I realize this a controversial submission, but let’s get down to the cold hard facts: “Pope” is translated into Spanish as “papa,” which is also the word for potato. So it’s basically most of the way there. Potatoes are hearty vegetables that can do the job and feed the world at the same time.
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Josh is a writer from Los Angeles. He has lived in Mexico City, New York, and Berlin with extensive jaunts to Latin America and Europe.