Dear Mrs. Vera: Why is Pope Benedict XVI resigning?

Dear Mrs. Vera,

What do you think is the REAL reason that Pope Benedict XVI is resigning?

Sister Mary Margaret McFeely
Convent Station, New Jersey

Photograph of Mrs. Vera Newman with a bowl of fruit salad, forlorn.

Mrs. Vera Newman
San Francisco, California
Photo: Mr. Tina

Dear Sister Mary Margaret McMana Banana Fofanna FEE Fi Fo Fana McFeely,

As one of my most FoFrequent correspondanana-ents I want to publicly thank you for the many fascinating moral dilemmas your behaviors have presented me with over the years, like some kind of clairvoyant challenger-level Sudoku wizard-champion with her nose buried in the puzzle page falling head over heels down a staircase, or perhaps in a blender, or very occasionally walking into a bar with a Rabbi and a Witch Doctor (or Lutheran). If I’ve done anything to help you, and your wisdom, to be read all over, I consider all your gossipy concerns well worth it!

You know how I feel about passing along gossip (Officially: against it), but after seeing those photos of what Mother Superior sleeps in, you will recall that we both agreed the Lord would be more forgiving about outright making-up gossip, as long as whatever one comes up with: A) helps to alleviate the grinding boredom, B) never reaches the imaginary source, and 3) makes the world a less depressing and unflattering place. I’d like this week’s column to combine this dread of dreariness we share with the critically important changes occurring in the Catholic Church, and what the impact will be on the fate of the souls of the hundreds of millions of your subscribers and the hardworking incense providers who service their needs globally.

Luckily, The Pope agreed to a heart-to-heart interview with me on St. Valentine’s Day, when he came over to try on some hats. He said he was looking for one for himself, but he was adamant about getting one that was too small to fit him and in a style suited to someone very much junior, whom he hoped to give a leg up to in his career. My dear readers, you would be surprised at how much of the Holy Doctrine and the rise through the ranks of the Vatican are, at the core, hat-based decisions — Or perhaps not.

PB16 was very chatty about his future plans over our salty pot of sodium pentathol tea, and much jelly and many pork and beans were spilled on a strictly need-to-know basis.  So get ready and take it from me — you need to know this stuff!

1. He’s tired of the infallibility. Falling is a human right, but PB16 has been so lightweight, since his conversion to helium ruined his speaking voice, that without the heavily brocaded raiments and leaded velvet vestments he favors, God would have called him up into the sky long ago. Even when he trips or throws himself down the stairs of St. Peters Basilica, he just hovers, head down, a few inches from the floor madly kicking his pointy-slippered Pope feet in the empty air where his head should be.  He resents having to be tethered to the furniture, and trying to drive while getting all smooshed up on the ceiling of the Popemobile, which happens whenever he has to pick up some cardinals at the airport because, He recalls thinking at the time, “Where the heck is everybody, anyway? I always have to do everything around here!” Well, who wouldn’t want a break from that, honestly?

2. He needs new challenges. PB16 confides to me that Human Resources is a bit of a dead end, and he doesn’t want the other Bishops thinking he’s content The Pope Greets Customers at Wal*Martto just end his career moving around problem employees and dealing with customer service complaints.  Some people, who have been with the company for-evah, are chronically unable to improve their performance at not getting caught and/or keep getting caught with their hands around cookie jars and Nintendos and the hands of frightened parents engaged in tugs-of-war over their youthful, future ex-Catholic children.

3. Real Estate. Popes are known for amassing property and wealth from the poor to help the poor, but modern heavenly economics reveal the hidden costs of maintaining decrepit, abandoned buildings and creaky, aging money bins with gigantic iron padlocks so big you could crush a saint with one.  The Go-getter Popes of today can see the writing on the wall and clearly, as more property gets sold to settle ever more lawsuits, there is an opportunity to be made in sales and deed transfers.  His Holinessessess’s lifetime ability to shift blame for others has also landed him any number of offers from Streets Wall and G, and being courted by bankers and lobbyists in America, where no one give’s a Ratz ass about these people’ sins, is like a breath of fresh (hypocritically rancid) air!

4. Palling around with Mel Gibson, and announcing his new single status on!

5. blue jeans!

6. So sick of babies, old people.

7. Genuinely wants to help Street Popes get cleaned up and set back on a path towards being valued, contributing members of society. Heart is broken by number of Black Popes under the age of 30 incarcerated in state and federal prisons, and the crushing pressures that drives poverty-trapped Popes into Pope gang culture.

8. Nude beaches.

9. Spaghetti from a can!!!

10. God told him to.  And he wasn’t asking.


Mrs. Vera NewmanMrs. Vera Newman is a San Francisco absurdist character, humorist, artist, writer, community organizer, clothes horse and co-founder, with Mister Tina, of The Verasphere. She has been answering the unasked questions she receives from the lonely, empty rooms of America’s heart-shaped circulatory pump room ever since it began beating. Nestled in the politically bent bowels of the Nation since she was a young girl babysitting the very same newborn Nation, her ability to self-reflect about anyone else’s embarrassing shortcomings, inept fumblings or lousy recipes has enabled her invisible rise as a modern-day Cassandra, whatever that means. Feel free to dispose of all your worries by leaving them on her doorstep!


  1. This is my first time reading one of your posts here. You are hilarious! I look forward to many more. And, after reading all the speculations in the Washington Post about PB16 over the weekend, your article is the most entertaining!

    • Thank you, naked girl in a dress. As a political manners ball-of-wax professional I wanted to compliment you upon your clever choice of name/proper business attire and do my annual reminder regarding the likely hazards of nude jewelry in the workplace:Nobody cares if it’s real, or how much it costs, But it it is too cheap and it breaks, the wearer will!


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