Perry’s mass of cleavage (she went with cleavage instead of bare fleshy undercurves) was overshadowed when the current Pope, Pope Benedict XVI announced what many people thought was impossible – his resignation. It is not the first time a pope has resigned as we now all know from that quick Google on your smart phone.
Once we’d established that popes can and do resign the next question is who will be the new pope? One thing is for certain, that it won’t be a woman.
Wait a minute, I’ve seen the Caryl Churchill playTop Girls (OK I haven’t, but I have read it) where the character Marlene converses with powerful women from history. Including Pope Joan.
The street Pope Joan gave birth on Via Sacra became known as The Shunned Street.
Born in Mainz, Germany the young Joan studied Greek and Latin at a monastery founded by English missionaries. In Top Girls Joan tells Marlene that because girls were not educated she dressed in the drag of a boy in order to study from the age 12 onwards. The story goes that she fell in love with a monk and, disguised as a monk, accompanied him to Athens.
It was in Athens she took the name John Anglicus, before moving to Rome. There Joan, or John Angelicus, taught the liberal arts and became so knowledgeable as to have no equal. She worked her way up from a papal notary and became a cardinal.
In 855 she was elected pontiff and reigned as Pope John VIII. It was during a papal procession from St Peter’s to the Lateran that Joan, pregnant by her companion, began to give birth (on horseback) and publically revealed her gender. The street Pope Joan gave birth on had been known as Via Sacra (or The Sacred Way) became known as The Shunned Street.
According to the Vitæ Pontificum Platinæ historici liber de vita Christi ac omnium pontificum qui hactenus ducenti fuere et XX, written in 1479 Pope Joan reigned for 2 years, 1 month and 4 days. She died giving birth and was buried in the Shunned Street “without any pomp.” Though other writings suggest she survived, living in penance and her son went on to become the Bishop of Ostia.
It is also said that post the Pope Joan scandal new Popes were examined to check for the presence of testicles. The cardinal selected to verify and vouch for the testicles upon finding them would say “Duos habet et bene pendentes” meaning “He has two, and they dangle nicely.”
Speaking on BBC Radio 4 Today on the direction the Catholic Church might take with a new Pope, Cardinal CM O 'Connor said: “Catholic teaching would be wise to focus on marriage and family life, rather than say ‘we condemn this, that or the other.’” How would they deal now with a Pope Joan, lacking in testicles and with surprise offspring?