In my holidays I went to Rome to talk to the Pope, who is a big fat man who is always right about everything. They say he is "incorrigible", which means that it is impossible to correct him, because he is always right. He's also got a Magisterium, which means that nobody can ever ever say he's wrong or the smoke of Satan will choke them to death. Cor lumme!
"They were sold out of 666 shirts."
"What do you do, little boy?" the Pope asked me.
"I play the piano," I said.
"Oh, you tickle the Ivereighs?"
At that moment a small man with silly glasses who was cleaning the Pope's shoes with his tongue looked up sharply.
"Oh sorry, Austen, I wasn't referring to you," said my friend the Pope. "Don't worry."
"They tell me that one of my cardinals is on the fiddle," he continued. "It's traditional for this to happen while Rome burns. Perhaps you can do a duet with him."
The Pope told me that he is directly appointed by God, who is a big man with a beard. This is why everything he says is right, and if you disagree with him you are a nasty nasty dissenter, and will go to Hell, which is a nasty place a bit like Luton, and you will never again be invited to tea with the Pope.
I think this may be God.
"So you see, my lad, if I want to repeal Curriculum Vitae, which is something Pope Paul VI wrote, then I can do so, and you know I am right. The same goes for those bits of the New Testament that aren't very popular."
"What happens if another Pope comes along later and says something different?" I asked, for I am only nine years old and the Pope is a lot older than I am. So I may have to come and worship a new Pope.
The Pope said something under his breath which I didn't understand because I am only nine years old, but it ended with the word "SARAH!". Then he spat on the floor, which Mummy tells me is rude, unless a Pope does it, when it is the Will of the Lord.
I think I understand now that a new Pope can say that Pope Francis was wrong, but the Holy Spirit will make sure that he doesn't. Only Pope Francis can say that someone else was wrong. This is called Theology, and I was told to ask our teacher Mr Faggioli to explain it. We call him "Beans" in Year 6.
The Pope took me to see the Sistine Chapel, which is a big room with funny paintings on the ceiling. He told me that his adviser Father James Martin had recommended that it should be repainted with rainbow-coloured stripes, as that is more welcoming to gay people. Mummy says being gay is sinful, but Mummy is rigid, and Pope Francis says we should get rid of her. Maybe my father can divorce her and marry Fräulein Kasper from next door, as that is what is recommended in the world's greatest book Amorous Lascivia.
Cardinal Maradiaga says he knows a man who will offer him a good price for these paintings. No questions asked.
Anyway, it was very nice meeting Pope Francis who is always right, and he is not at all like it says in the very rude book The Dictator Pope. I was with him for an hour, and he didn't send anyone to the torture chambers, so that proves he is merciful as well as always right, doesn't it?
Very good, Stephen! You really do understand the consequences of Vatican II.