The Man Who Won’t Be Pope

April 23rd, 2005

Hans Grapje was raised in a Catholic orphanage in The Hague and, as a young man, aspired to become a priest, but was drafted into the Army during WWII and spent two years co-piloting B17s until his aircraft was shot down in 1943 and he lost his left arm. Captain Grapje spent the rest of the war as a chaplain, giving spiritual aid to soldiers, both Allied and enemy.

After the war, he became a priest, serving as a missionary in Africa, piloting his own plane (in spite of his handicap) to villages across the continent. In 1997, Father Grapje was serving in Zimbabwe when an explosion in a silver mine caused a cave-in. Grapje went down into the mine to administer last rights to those too severely injured to move. Another shaft collapsed, and he was buried for three days, suffering multiple injuries, including the loss of his right eye. The high silver content in the mine’s air gave him purpura, a life-long condition characterized by purplish skin blotches.

Grapje is now a cardinal, having devoted his life to the service of God as a scholar, mentor and holy man. However, commentators and analysts completely discounted him in the recent conclave.

The Church is simply not ready for a one-eyed, one-armed, flying purple Papal leader.

(Sparteye of the UnaBoard told this joke, but I get the blame of repeating it here.)

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