It will come as no surprise to most people on the planet, let alone those who still read this blog despite my puling broken by silence, that the Catholic Church is having some PR problems.
This is a good example:
Just a week after Pope Benedict made the decision to bring holocaust-denier Bishop Richard Williamson and his ultra-conservative bishop friends back into the fold, Pope Benedict elevated Father Gerhard Maria Wagner to auxiliary bishop in the diocese of Linz, Austria. Now, if you thought Williamson’s assertions on the Holocaust sounded crazy, just wait until you hear what Wagner has to say on everything from Hurricane Katrina to Harry Potter.
Pope Benedict is kicking ass and taking names in the classless Olympics, and I find it an interesting strategy. To be fair, lenient religions tend to experience a decline in membership, particularly in times of crisis (I don't have time to find a source), and so maybe he's hoping to arrest the inexorable slide into irrelevancy that faces the Whore of Babylon (as Rick Warren would call her) by toughening up. Or maybe he's just playing the German Hardass typecast. I don't know. I do not profess to understand the man. I do not desire to.
However, I have some advice. When it comes to saying crazy shit with no basis in reality, it occasionally takes a little soft sell to get the buyers in. Some guy was actually god and so he came back from the dead? Hard to swallow, really, and I guarantee that part of the church's attrition can be attributed to the fact that is says some crazy shit. Transubstantion is the most public example, and relatively recent, too, in that it's a doctrine that is less than half as old as the church itself. Saying new crazy shit all the time, that takes panache. It takes style. It takes finesse.
I would argue that it takes Tom Cruise.
Tom believes some crazy shit. It's not much crazier than other religious shit, but it's still pretty damn crazy. And every time I turn around, another celebrity seems to have converted to Scientology. The common thread? Tom Cruise. This guy must be really fucking persuasive. He could sell anything. He could sell freezers to the Inuit. He could sell slavery to Africans. He could sell crazy religious teachings to crazy religious people. Apparently his charm is boundless.
What we need is to hook the pope up with Tom Cruise. Apparently Catholics have some sort of resistance to the craziness of Scientology (though Katie is in peril), and so the pope would be okay. However, the pope desperately needs to sell his crazy shit better, and I can think of no one who can sell crazy shit like Tom.