Pringles presents Pope Verizon


The recent television coverage of “Conclave 2005: Where There’s Smoke…” inspired Catholics around the world to become re-energized about the Church. Following last year’s investigative study, “Catholics Replace Spiritual Voidwith Reality Television,” (Journal of Papal Affairs and Dehydrated Meat Products, Vol. 265) on behalf of myself and a handful of my colleagues, I would like to propose a set of Pope-related entertainment opportunities that could bring young people back into the fold and inspire them to stop committing euthanasia while masturbating.

“Amazing Race (to Heaven)” Pitch: Eleven pairs of devout Catholics travel the world performing acts of faith in order to convince the Pope they are worthy of redemption. Episode one: the pairs drop from a plane thirty-thousand feet in the air without a parachute and have faith that Jesus will save them. At the end of the episode, the contestants are reunited with their loved ones.

“Nanny 911″Pitch: The Cardinals head across the Atlantic to help Catholic parents deal with their rowdy children and try to touch them in a meaningful way. Can the Cardinals whip these little boys into shape?

“Pimp My Ride”Pitch: Xzibit takes on Benedict’s busted n’ rusted 1986 Popemobile and pimps it out with all the latest gadgets the Pope’s been praying for ever since he was a Cardinal. Leper-print seats, eye-for-an-iPod in the dashboard, and a DVD station complete with “The Ten Commandments,” “The Passion of the Christ,” and “Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle.”

“The Apprentice”Pitch: The Street-Smarts battle it out against the Book-Smarts – that is, the Good Book – to see who gets to be named the next Papal Apprentice. Weekly tasks include: Which team can convert the most Jews? Who can sell the most Holy Water ices? Who can design a crucifix that doubles as a laser printer, for the religious businessman on the go? Watch the excitement as one team becomes bankrupt – morally bankrupt. Join Benedict along with me, Boston’s Cardinal Law, in the boardroom each week as they eliminate one more contestant and send them straight to the ground floor, if you know what we mean. “American Idol-Worshipper”Pitch: A panel of Cardinal judges watches as a group of eager heathens perform music and sacrifices to false gods each week. Songs include: “Bless It Like It’s Hot,” “Like A Virgin Mary,” and “Who Let The Gays Out?”

“The Real World”Pitch: Watch what happens when sixteen Catholics stop being pious and start being real. Trips to the confessional take on a whole new meaning in this installment of the long-running MTV series. See who gets kicked out of the house for eating meat on Friday. Controversy ensues when one of the housemates gives up deodorant for Lent. Watch what happens when the night-vision cameras catch one of the housemates using the rosary beads in a way they were never intended.

“Extreme Makeover: Pope Edition”Pitch: Pope Benedict has been accused of having a face for Christian radio. Watch as we transform the wizened sage into a teenybopper magazine coverboy. We’ll give him a new nose, fuller lips, a tummy tuck, cheek implants, and a tattoo on his ankle of the Japanese symbol for infallible And, we’ll pin back his ears and restore his natural hairline. Plus he’ll be trading in his traditional papal wardrobe for some new threads, courtesy of Pope Urban Outfitters and FUBU.

“The Simple Life: Vatican”Pitch: Paris Hilton and Kimberly Stewart spend a month traveling through Vatican City. Be amazed as the cardinals perform an exorcism on Paris’s vagina and expel the evil spirits… .and syphilis. Gaze in horror as she films a sex tape in the Sistine Chapel with a senior citizen tour group from Tokyo. Now that’s hot.

Plus:”Average Joe (Ratzinger)””Growing Up God-y””The Permanent Bachelor””Everybody Loves Jesus”

What’s more, beyond this slate of new television programs, we feel like the most recent Papal selection process missed the chance to capitalize on the money-making opportunities involved in product placement. We propose a series of reforms for the next time around:

Rather than allowing the new Pope to select his own name, we ought to auction the name off to the highest bidder. Imagine: Pringles presents Pope Verizon, with additional support from State Farm Insurance. Millions of dollars in sponsorship money lies out there, unclaimed.

The Pope’s hat (the simplex mitre) contains a great deal of heretofore-unexploited advertising space. Firestone has already expressed interest in placing its decal on the hat; Chili’s wants to advertise its new ‘God is Awesome Blossom’ and there’s been a call from some people making Atkins-friendly wafers.

There is a great deal of opportunity in licensing “official” products of the Catholic Church. Just as Kodak was the official camera of the 2004 Olympics, let’s make Kingsford the official provider of black smoke for the conclave. And, even though it’s a cardinal sin to use condoms, Trojan’s willing to pay to be the official banned birth control product of the Catholic Church. And instead of sacramental wine, we can get big money to use Sierra Mist. Who ever said the blood of Christ can’t have a crisp and refreshing citrus taste?

So, as you can see, the opportunities are nearly endless in this untapped market to bring the Church into the 21st century.

Cardinal Law did not really write this article.

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