Let Us Choose the Next Guy
From the office of the Secretariat of the Communist Party of China Central Committee.
Venerable Brothers of the Catholic Church,
We hear you have a quitter on your hands. Wait, we aren’t here to poke fun. We’ve been having trouble with one of ours as well. They just don’t make bishops like they used to.
Therefore, we humbly propose that you allow us, the Communist Party of China, to assist you in selecting the next Bishop of Rome.
Come back, we’re serious! Sure, we haven’t always seen eye to eye on appointments but this is our chance to bury the hatchet, to start communicating, instead of excommunicating. If we put our heads together, surely we can find some guy we both like who won’t puss out at the first sight of an internecine power struggle.
Why are we suited to the task? Well, if you think about it, the Communist Party and the Catholic Church aren’t so different.
We’re both highly secretive organizations with infallible leaders following a comically anachronistic system of belief; ruled by a small, corrupt oligarchy which covers up systemic human rights abuses; with internal cultures which are allergic to progress and change, not to mention gender equality. Heck, Benedict XVI even looks like a pruned Deng Xiaoping.
Moreover, we both know how important it is to choose the right leader. It’s no secret we’ve both made mistakes. Let’s just say Mao Zedong was our Urban II and the Great Leap Forward was his First Crusade.
By now we realize that the leader of an organization which rules over millions of fickle, superstitious subjects has to be old, bland and acquiescent.
Please understand that we have no desire to change the way you choose the Vicar of Christ. In fact, our leader is chosen the same way—by a group of elderly men huddling in a room and without any semblance of democratic discussion.
We hope by now you see that partnering with us to appoint the Supreme Pontiff would be a great boon to both our organizations. The Catholic Church could finally reach the millions of faithful in China who are too scared to practice openly for fear of being sent to a labor camp. As for us, the CPC could finally be associated with an organization that’s universally loved and respected.
We think that you will find this proposal to your liking, so, if we may be so bold, we’ll get started on drafting a list of possible candidates. You guys are cool with an Asian, right?
— The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China