Pope Francis has declared that he plans to chew coca leaves on his forthcoming visit to Bolivia. Now I’ve heard of patronising local produce, but this just may go too far.
As a general rule of thumb, perhaps prelates should refrain from doing (or sampling) things that would make Ali G bump fists with them and say “Respect!”
I wonder whether this papal wish is coincidental, or he actually decided to visit Bolivia specifically because coca is grown there.
One can just imagine Pope Francis asking one of his cardinals, “I say, Eminence, where can one score some decent merda but without too much wallop?” “Well, Your Holiness, that depends on the kind of merda you’re after. If you want a mild high, perhaps Bolivia…” “Say no more!”
I wonder if Columbia is on the papal itinerary too and, if so, whether His Holiness will feel it his duty to try, and thereby endorse, the crop for which that great country is so justly famous.
There is of course the minor matter of chewing coca leaves being illegal in Bolivia (except for medicinal reasons), but then divine law must supersede man-made regulations. His Holiness is an earthly envoy from a kingdom that’s not of this world, meaning that it’s higher than this world. So if he wants to try some local merda, who’s to say he can’t?
And who’s to say he shouldn’t explore the rich possibilities offered by coca leaves? Granted, alkaloid cocaine makes up only about one per cent of the coca content. But it’s an easy enough matter to synthesise it and then – the sky is the limit.
Let’s not ignore the commercial opportunities either. The Pope, after all, is not only the Bishop of Rome and leader of Western Christianity. He’s also sovereign head of the Vatican City State, established by the 1929 Lateran Treaty.
Both the religion and the state are in dire need of funds and, now His Holiness has given his blessing to the mildest coca stimulant, the path is open to marketing a broad range of derivative products with a greater effect and appropriate trade names.
Vatican Snow would be bog-standard cocaine powder, whose generic name really rolls off the tongue: benzoylmethylecgonine. As mentioned before, it’s a synthesised concentrate of coca, and its effect is much more satisfying than that of chewing coca leaves au naturel. Vatican Snow is a sniffed stimulant whose excessive use can damage the nasal membrane. However, there’s no shortage of doctors who specialise in nasal restoration, so no problem there.
Papal Freebase would be produced by heating Vatican Snow with ether, which can be easily done by putting the mixture on a metal spoon and holding a lit lighter underneath. The resulting fumes can then be inhaled or smoked to add to the sum total of the world’s joy. To enhance the commercial opportunities, Papal Freebase could be marketed in a kit, also including a silver spoon, a lighter and the addresses of bail bondsmen in the area.
Ex Cathedra Crack would be obtained by crystallising Papal Freebase, a derivative of Vatican Snow. When smoked, the crystals release dopamine, which produces a feeling of euphoria that’s nothing short of divine.
Sanctified Speedball also offers promising opportunities for line extension. Since this mixture of Vatican Snow and heroin is injected intravenously, it could be packaged with a syringe, a designer belt and a venous catheter for repeated use. Chemically speaking, heroin is diamorphine, whose raw material is poppy flowers. These could be obtained in bulk on a papal visit to Afghanistan, should the pontiff decide to proselytise to Muslim infidels.
Another possibility is… Well, I shouldn’t let my morbid imagination run away with me. It’s just that reading about Pope Francis’s intention to get a mild kick from coca made me think about his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.
How likely would you say he’d be to sample the local delights on a visit to South America? About as likely, I’d suggest, as he would be to carry on at length about the evils of capitalism, the damage it does to ‘our planet’ and the economic inequality it engenders.
The likelihood of any such actions or pronouncements in the previous papal tenure would have been exactly zero. Pope Benedict didn’t seek the kind of mass appeal that’s harvested by leftie populism. The greatest modern theologian, he was the true Vicar of Christ who understood and communicated the Word of God to those in desperate need of it.
Pope Francis, unfortunately, is cut from a different cloth, and it’s not the kind of which papal vestments should be made. The colour is wrong; it should be closer to purple than to pink.
One can only regret the Pope has missed this year’s Glastonbury Festival. But not to worry, Your Holiness: it’s an annual event. Respect!