April Fools Day

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April Fools Day

Postby LessIsMore » Sun Mar 01, 2015 7:21 am

I know it's still a month away but thought I'd share this. Before I retired, I'd post a copy of what you see below on the employee bulletin board every April 1st ... sometimes with the words "April Fools" at the bottom, sometimes not (grin). What I'm posting came from "The Anarchist's Cookbook" (a follow-up to the "Armchair Anarchist's Almanac," by Mike Harding). Numerous variations of this appear on the web. It celebrates the kind of disinformation we nowadays refer to as "urban legends." Here goes:

It is often thought that Pope John Paul II was the first Pope of Eastern European origin. But, although he was the first "sitting" Pope with Eastern European origins, he was not the first "elected" Pope with Eastern European origins.

In the year, 1315, the Catholic Church had no sitting Pope. Pope Clement V died in 1314 - and was not replaced until 1316 by Pope John XXII. It is a common belief that the reason for this delay was due to a French faction that elected their own Pope (called an "antipope" in Rome). But, that is only part of the reason.

When Clement V died, cardinals called for an immediate conclave to elect the new Pope. Cardinals came to Rome from all over the Catholic world. One of them, whose given name was Gregori Goestheveezl, came from an area of the Holy Roman Empire which, today, is known as Romania. In addition to the cardinals, a number of Catholics from all over the Catholic world came to Rome ... to wait in St. Peter's Square for the selection process to complete..

In late March, 1315, the assembled faithful erupted in applause as white smoke could be seen coming from the conclave chimney ... announcing that a new Pope had been chosen. The Papal Carabinieri (police) went out among the crowd, passing out ceremonial wine in celebration. And while no official announcement was made immediately, rumors spread throughout the crowd that Cardinal Goesthevezzl had been chosen.

Hours passed by without anyone appearing on the balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square. And during this time, the Carabinieri continued to pass out ceremonial wine - until some in the crowd became intoxicated. Then finally, a single cardinal came out and called for silence from the crowd. He confirmed that Goestheveezl had been chosen. But shortly afterward, Goestheveezl died - requiring cardinals to go back into conclave to select yet another Pope.

After the announcement, a small number of intoxicated Catholics from Britain began singing a short song over and over. It infuriated the masses to a point where the Carabinieri finally had to eject them from St. Peter's Square. The song went:

A half-a-pound of tuppenny rice,
A half-a-pound of treacle,
That's the way the chimney puffs,
Pope Goestheveezl.

While the lyrics were changed and other verses were added, their song eventually became the classic traditional children's song, "Pop Goes the Weasel."
"People with a clever plan can assume the role of the mighty."
Paul Kantner

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