Friday, 27 August 2010

Introducing - The Celestines

Sunday marks the last day of the Celestine year, celebrating 800 years since the birth of Pope St. Celestine V and your last chance to pick up a plenary indulgence by visiting his relics in Italy, so if that's your kind of thing, you'd better be hopping on your private plane around about now and jetsetting on over to Roma.

I happened to be reading about Celestine V the other day (I do that sort of thing) , and it struck me that he must have been a pretty hard man. He founded his own monastic order imitating famed desert-dwelling, hair-shirt-wearing preacher-man John the Baptist because he didn't think the Benedictines were ascetic enough, he lived in caves, migrating from cave to cave when he got too comfortable, and generally preached it up, pretty damn cool in its own right. Then, out of the blue he gets elected Pope because he wrote the cardinals an agony aunt letter, and he tries to avoid the job, but he's dragged off to Rome. It only takes him 5 months to pass a law saying that the pope can resign, then he goes right ahead and resigns and goes home. The new pope wasn't too happy with the idea, though, so he chases Celestine around the country, inprisons him in Rome in poor conditions, and our man ups and dies (with a suspicious hole in his skull, but no-ones ever proven anything).

Anyway, the point is that the poor guy tried the best he could, was nice to everyone and just tried to serve his God as well as he knew how, which mostly involved praying all the time, and he pretty much ended up living a life that can't have been very much fun. So I drew this for him, as I think he really needed to take the load off for a while and relax with some barbershop harmonisings. The history books don't show it, but I wouldn't be at all suprised if ol' Celestine V was a hell of a baritone.

Celestine V (or "Pietro", as I like to think of him) is in the back row on the far right, and is accompanied by his namesakes St. Celestine "the Deacon" I (bass, back left), Celestine "Guido" II (lead, back centre), Celestine "Giacinto" III (tenor, front left), and Celestine "Godffredo" IV (counter-tenor, front right), all of whom could have done with a bit of a laugh, and who I like to think of collectively as the Celestines, the first time-travelling papal barbershop quartet. I am aware that quartets generally have only the four members, but given that CII, CIV and CV managed less than a year of papal duties between them I figure they decided to play it safe and bring along a spare part for emergencies.

The Celestines are part of a very sketchy idea that's been floating around in my head and in late-night conversations, which includes popes, time travel, my terrible drawing and general mayhem. I really don't know why but I can't get it out of my head, and it keeps me up a night sometimes, so there you are. I think it's called "Habemus Papas" (extremely original, I know), and I have no idea what's going on with it except that there's apparently papal barbershop quartets and more popes that you can poke 200 sticks at. Anyway, I think the Celestines probably sing all the regular polecats, with modified lyrics as befits their position as moral leaders (Popes called Celestine were a pretty good mob, compared to some of the other guys around, anyway). At the moment they're singing a version of When It Comes To Loving The Girls.

I see lovers, lovesick lovers dance.
That's not for me, for I oppose romance...

When it comes to loving the girls I say that it's out of line.
If you'd be so kind, I'd rather be confined,
Prayin' all the night and day to vespers from compline.

An' when it comes to retiring and shy, I've got Rainman beat' a mile.
As I was washing stoles down by the river bed,
A girl went walking by and I turned kinda red.
'Cause it comes to looking at girls I know that it's out of line.

And when it comes to keeping a vow, I've got continence to spare
I've got a Lord in Jesus who's my hearts desire,
I don't need contraception just a cleansing fire...

When it comes to loving the girls I say that it's out of line.
Yes I'm rather blessed,
now that I've confessed,
praying without rest,
in my Sunday best,
put me to the test, I know I'm going to shine.
Toe the party line...All the time.

Yep, I'm terribly sorry for exposing you to that, not one of my best efforts. But I hope the remainder of the Celestine year goes well for you anyway, and that you're not exposed to any worse rhyme than that.


Alethea said...

oho! How could you keep your delightful creativeness away from me, Tom?

The question is, will there be Pope Olympics?

UnwiseOwl said...

I imagine that there will be Pope Olympics at some point, I certainly have a few ideas.

You realise that this is all your fault, right? You've created a monster.