Eccles: Welcome, Holy Father. We are honoured to have you here today. I hope you will be frank with us, as we explore some controversial issues.
F: Well "Francis" is more usual, but I'm happy to be "Frank" if you wish.
Francis of Assisi, an inspiration to the Pope.
E: Er, excellent. Now, many people are still trying to decide, "Who exactly is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?"
F: A good question, Eccles, and we should not attempt to find an easy answer to it. Clearly, I am not Diego Maradona, even though I see the Hand of God in all things. But then nor am I Pope Benedict. I am reminded here of the motto of a countryman of mine, the Argentine poet Fray Bentos: "succulent and satisfying".
E: Yes, well I'm sure that commentators will wish to argue over these words for many days, to see whether they are a radical departure from orthodox Catholicism, and maybe a sop to Hans Küng. Let's try something less controversial. What is your favourite colour?
F: This is an issue with which Catholics seem to be obsessed. Green is a colour. Red is a colour. But you would not say that custard was a colour.
E: Isn't custard yellow?
F: Not if it's blue.
However, the Holy Father still left my question unanswered.
E: Let's try another question. Now, I know that infallibility doesn't work that way, but tell me, will it rain tomorrow?
F: I often think of the words of your poet Shakespeare, "The rain, it raineth every day," as well as Damian Lundy's "Rain rain, go away, come again another day." Still, unless Catholics also remember Bernadette Farrell's "The sun has got his hat on and is coming out to play!" they are not ready to face the challenges of the modern world.
E: Thank you very much, Holy Father. Do we have time for one final question?
F: No man knoweth the hour, Eccles. But I think I may give you a definite answer here. We may have time, or we may not have time, but time will continue to exist, regardless. Unless it doesn't.
E: Right. My last question is: Are you going to excommunicate those dreadful rebels at ACTA?
But this question was not to be answered. The Pope smiled enigmatically at me, and I was left to wonder whether he meant "yes" or "no" or, more probably, a definite "maybe".
A tasteless caricature of Ann Lardeur of ACTA.