Yes, it may be a bit self-centered of us to think, as soon as we heard the news yesterday of Pope Benedict XVI's impending resignation, which St. Louisan should replace him? But really, isn't it high time there was a Pope from the Western Hemisphere? And why not from St. Louis, the most Catholic of cities, named for a great French king/saint/Crusader, where its citizens are defined for life by which Catholic high school they attended, where fish fries are a reliable source of late-winter entertainment?
Here, then, are a few humble suggestions for St. Louisans to serve as the next Pope and speculation as to how they would reign.
6. Father Lawrence Biondi Being a university president, we imagine, is not that different from being Pope, with the exception of all the world travel and the wardrobe of glittering vestments. You still have to deal with contentious academics, rebellious young people and constant criticism, not only for your style of governance but for your taste in art.
Father Biondi has been battling controversy throughout most of his tenure as president of Saint Louis University. He's a proven fundraiser, boosting SLU's endowment to unprecedented levels (hey, somebody's got to pay to keep the Vatican open), but he's also been the recipient of a faculty vote of no confidence. As Pope, Biondi would be likely to make lots of money while simultaneously pissing off the faithful by installing really ugly topiary sculptures of the Holy Family throughout Vatican City in the spirit of SLU's Topiary Billiken.