I got an emotional phonecall from my old friend Luca Bacchetta, the only trapeze artist to have become a cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church. As the Vatican’s official physical trainer, he has pioneered bending and stretching exercises which conform to the principles of human dignity set out in the Catechism. The Pope himself is a frequent bender, but a less enthusiastic stretcher.
“Our situation is unbearable, GB!” he bleated. “The Chief Exorcist has taken up residence after announcing that the Devil is in the Vatican. He is currently snooping around the place, spying on all the cardinals for signs of demonic possession. You can’t have a shit without fearing that Father Gabriele Amorth will poke his head over the cubicle and ask you why you’re taking the Lord’s name in vain. He says that constipation is a sign of satanic effluvium in the bowels.”
“Can’t you get the Pope to do something about him?” I asked.
“Are you joking? The Pope is more terrified of him than anyone else. ‘Father Amorth must not be impeded in his holy mission,’ says the High Pontiff. The real reason, of course, is that he’s shit scared of being condemned himself. That madman wouldn’t think twice about denouncing the Pope as a Satanist, so the Holy Father is behaving like his punk.”
“Is there anything I can do to help?” I asked, purely as a courtesy.
“I’m so glad you asked, GB!” replied Luca excitedly. “You’re the only person I know who could put that bastard is his place. If you came here, the heat would be well and truly off us. Amorth will call you a demon and order you to flee to the bowels of Hell, but his powers will be impotent because you’re a gorilla. When he realises he can’t harm you he’ll be like a castrated bull without horns. He’d be at your mercy, GB, you could squash him like a dog turd!”
“I hope I’d find some other way of reasoning with him,” I said. “Squashing humans is always a last resort for us gorillas. Let me consider your request and get back to you. A few more days of being witch-hunted won’t kill you. Do you remember when Mariana the Magnificent dug her fingernails into your arse on the trapeze? Just grin and bear it as you did then. Be a man, Luca!”
I’m not the kind of ape who accepts an assignment without doing his homework, so I googled the exorcist’s name and found this article. It seems that Luca’s allegations about him are well-founded, although one has to give Amorth credit for being so full of pep at the age of 85. I suspect the old viper has kept himself sprightly by drinking milk from his own personal wet nurse – directly from the teat, I’d wager. I’m tempted to visit Rome simply to meet the man and ask for his views on having gorillas in the clergy. Who knows, we might hit it off and stage a coup d'état against Pope Benny, who is clearly a snivelling poltroon with no ability to inspire the faithful.
If I became Pope Bananas, I would revitalise the Catholic Church in a hundred different ways. The first thing I’d do is legalise masturbation, so a billion guilty Catholics could spank the monkey in peace without saying a thousand Hail Mary’s afterwards. Progressive reforms like this would win me the verdict of history.
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