Finishing Frank Thomas's "What's the Matter with Kansas" today at lunch, I had almost drifted gently and without obstacle through the book (which stubbornly refuses to find larger meaning to its well-written examination of a very boring and foolish state) before I hit a snag. In the last chapter, Thomas casually spends some time commenting on a Kansan formerly known as David Bawden, now elected Pope Michael I after a 32 year interregnum of the "true" Catholic Church.
Pause, if you will, and consider that for a second.
Apparently, since the Vatican II reforms (don't ask me, I only speak Secular), the Vatican and other sects have been on the wrong track. The false church's supporters can all be discounted due to various sins or false testimonies. The only remaining person eligible for the papacy, in other words, is David Bawden, and so he has donned the robes and funny hat. If you really feel up to it, you can visit the Pope's website to uncover this controversy in more detail. I'm not aware that anti-Popes John Paul II or Benedict XXAIV3 have clumsily-coded home pages hosted through generic free servers, so that may be a point in Michael I's favor.
I know that from a purely dispassionate perspective the Catholic Church is everything I loathe in a religion--dogmatic, superstitious, utterly medieval in structure and method--yet I can't help but feel some fondness for the Church. It just seems to get a better class of crazy than the openly-hostile Protestant fundamentalists.