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11 February 2013
His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI
00120 Vatican City
Most Holy Father:
I send you my best regards on this historic day, and wish you all the best with your future plans. I realise that you must have quite a lot on your plate right now, what with your recently announced resignation and all. However, I would like to make one final request of you before you leave office as Holy Pontiff: I would like to request permission to get drunk for one day during Lent.
This year, as I have for countless years past, I will be fasting from meat and alcohol during the Lenten season, as a sacrificial expression of my Catholic faith. Normally, this has been a joyous time of contemplation and meditation which has greatly fed my soul. However, this year, my friend Alejandra will be turning 30 during Lent—on the 26th of March, to be precise—and I would like to get wasted at her birthday party.
The thirtieth birthday is a momentous occasion for anyone—the unofficial coda bringing youth to a close and marking the beginning of one’s adulthood proper. It is the day on which one becomes painfully aware of one’s imminent demise; a day to consider the fact that the cold embrace of the crypt grows ever nearer. A day on which you ask not for whom the bell tolls—it tolls for thee.
The “Big Thirty” is a special birthday for anyone, and Alejandra is one of my closest friends. We are so close that the word “friend” doesn’t even begin to express it. We are like this, Your Holiness. (I crossed my fingers closely together when I wrote that sentence, in the universal hand gesture of “buddy fingers”; I then uncrossed them and corrected the spelling errors caused by trying to type with crossed fingers.) Alejandra and I are like family; she is like an uncle to me. And on this singularly sacred occasion in Alejandra’s life, I would like to get totally hammered.
I should clarify—this is not due to a lack of self-control. I have successfully abstained from alcohol during Lent every year since 2004. I am a man who is overwhelmed with self-control; I am master of my domain. Why, I even abstained from pleasuring myself for eight consecutive years of my life—formative, hormonal years, at that. No, my sole interest is to accompany Alejandra into her thirties, as any true friend would (Proverbs 18:24), and to get so inebriated that I can barely speak. I’ll get smashed on 26 March, then resume my fast on the 27th. However, I would feel much better about doing so if I had the Papal green light on this.
I have greatly enjoyed being Catholic under your leadership for many years. I will be sad to see you go, but I must trust the wisdom and judgment of your decision. After all, as the Bible says, “You got to know when to hold them, and know when to fold them”. I wish you all the best in the future!