The Pope’s New Beard

Pope Francis confirmed today that God has removed the final obstacle to Catholic-Orthodox reunion. “I woke up this morning,” he explained to reporters, “looked in the mirror and, lo and behold, there I was looking back at myself with a full beard. It had grown overnight! It’s a miracle and sign, I say, a miracle and sign! God has made me Orthodox! Let us make Eucharist together!”

The Ecumenical Patriarch, however, was a bit more cautious. “It’s a fine beard, to be sure,” declared Bartholomew I, “but is it truly an Orthodox beard? I’m not sure. In these papal whiskers I noetically sense the absence of a patristic phronema. I have no choice, therefore, but to convene a pan-Orthodox synod, which I shall formally name ‘The Holiest and Greatest Council Yet!’ The Russians won’t be able to stay away this time. After all, they think of themselves as the world’s experts in beards.” He then whispered, “Patriarch’s Kirill’s beard is particularly handsome, isn’t it? I wonder who trims it.”

Meanwhile, Cardinal Leo Burke, speaking on behalf of the Society of Clean-Shaven Priests, angrily denounced the Pope’s announcement. “Satan is at work here. Beards do not grow overnight. That’s not how the Almighty works. If anything, Francis’s beard demonstrates what we have long suspected—he is not, and never has been, the true Pope. He is a heretic and anti-Pope, maybe even the Antichrist. The College of Cardinals must convene immediately and elect a new Supreme Pontiff. May I humbly add that I have never had a beard. I don’t even shave. That makes me eminently qualified for the position.” When asked about the Orthodox, Cardinal Burke remarked: “If they are sincere in their desire for reunion, let them shave their beards and solemnly recite the Filioque. Then, and only then, shall I admit them to the one true Church.” One reporter pointed out that he was not yet the Vicar of Christ. “Deus vult,” the Cardinal retorted.

After presiding at Solemn Evensong at Canterbury Cathedral, Archbishop Justin Welby was asked his opinion about the Pope’s new beard: “I can neither confirm nor disconfirm the miraculous nature of the Pope’s beard. We Anglicans aren’t even sure there are miracles. All I can say is, I’ve always wanted to grow a beard—but Mrs. Welby doesn’t like them and she wears the cassock in our family.” The Archbishop then retired to the Old Palace for a glass of sherry.

In response to the exciting news in Rome, the Lutheran World Federation and International Conference of Reformed Churches issued a joint statement: “The Churches of the Reformation are united in this one solemn truth: no one is justified by their facial hair. Beards are adiaphora. If the bishop of Rome wants to wear a beard, good for him. Quite frankly, we don’t give a damn.”

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11 Responses to The Pope’s New Beard

  1. David says:

    As a bearded Calvinist, I love this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Charles McCann says:

    Too funny.
    My beard has somebody’s gray hair in it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dee of St Hermans says:

    I love this! Sometimes I get into hot water when I insist that having the ‘outside’ appearances (icons, for example) doesn’t make a Roman Catholic, Orthodox. The Orthodox get it, but more often than not, not so much the Roman Catholics. I guess now if I should protest, they’ll just think I’m splitting beard hairs.

    Thanks for this! It’s made my day!


  4. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    For an instant, I thought it was a photo of Jordan Peterson…


  5. The growing of the beard is the penultimate step before full and final theosis. I have it on good patristic authority from St. Isaac of Alexandria and St Clement of Ninevah; “Without a beard shalt no one be saved. If anyone be clean shaven, anathema sit.” Women are not dispensed from this requirement, hence why there has historically been pessimism among the fathers about the possibilities for women to be saved. Some even argue that the soul of a man is his beard, hence why very few women were thought to have souls for such a long stretch of church history

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Grant says:

    To be fair, the beard look actually suits him 🙂 .


  7. NE7 says:

    On a more serious note, the beards were actually quite common in the West up until the Crusades when the military commanders deemed it better to shave in order to distinguish themselves from the Turks.


    • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

      This spurred me to a quick Wikipedia browse, which found (according to the offered depictions) (H)adrian VI (1523) the last beardless Pope until Clement XI (1700-1721)… I wonder if there are any handy books surveying clerical hairstyle (in the broadest sense, e.g., including epsicopal wigs, e.g., like that of Cornelis Steenhoven (1725) in de la Court’s portrait of him lying in state)?


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