Rob Ford looking papal during a recent public appearance/gaffe.
As the leaders of the Catholic Church gather in Rome to elect a new spiritual leader, the Vatican is abuzz with talk about a new dark horse candidate for Pope: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.
The Cardinals’ interests were piqued as news broke on International Women’s Day that Ford was accused of sexually assaulting a former campaign rival at a party organized for politicians to mingle with young Jewish professionals. “He could be our guy,” said a Cardinal who spoke on condition of anonymity. “He embodies everything our organization is about.”
Selecting the Mayor of Canada’s largest city as the leader of a global religion with over a billion followers would be an unprecedented and unconventional choice, but Rob Ford has a proven track record of breaching public trust, embroiling himself in scandals and lying about his unbecoming and sometimes offensive behaviour, making him a perfect fit for the Catholic Church.
“Of course it is just an allegation at this point. We have to see how he plays it down and ignores it going forward, just to be sure he shares our values.”
Several high-ranking Bishops nodded vigorously as they read reports that Ford’s office was offering a terse denial of the allegations. “Text book,” whispered one Archbishop. “He’s a natural.”
Some in the Vatican had their doubts, though, saying the Mayor’s behaviour amounted to mere buffoonery and not quite the calculated evil they were looking for in a Pope. “He seems to genuinely care for other people, even though he clearly doesn’t understand a great deal of them,” said a keen observer. One influential Catholic said he wanted his Church’s policies to be motivated by a burning hatred for women, openly gay people and anyone that doesn’t adhere to Catholicism’s strict interpretation of the Bible. He lamented that Ford’s transgressions seem to stem more from ignorance that malice. “Although I must say, I am impressed by his refusal to adapt to changes in public opinion. We’ll see what happens.”
As Cardinals prepare to enter the Conclave early next week, it’s clear that the Toronto Mayor remains a long shot, but a Ford Papacy is not an impossibility. Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet summed up the mood succinctly, saying, “Who fucking cares? We could pick a Nazi and people would be into it.”
When asked about the possibility of becoming Pope, Ford remained tight-lipped, saying only that the next Pope needs to “stop the gravy tabernacle.”