There has been a lot of talk in recent years about Pope Benedict’s role — or lack thereof — in battling the clerical sex abuse crisis, as well as some other alleged “crimes against humanity” such as not believing condoms are the solution to the Aids epidemic and opposing gay marriage. A number of people, including members of the New Atheists movement, have previously suggested they would seek to carry out a citizen’s arrest to have the Pope tried for those crimes against humanity.
As the head of a sovereign state, the Pope was able to claim immunity from any such action. But when his retirement was announced, some of the critics resumed their drumbeat and said once he leaves the Vatican, he could be subject to some sanctions of one kind or another.
And then came news that the choice of name in retirement, Pope Emeritus, could lead to a law suit from a California rapper.
The Vatican’s plan to call the retiring pontiff Benedict XVI “Pope Emeritus” hit a snag today, in the form of a threatened lawsuit by an Oakland-based rapper who has been recording under that name since 2006.
“I don’t care who he is, I ain’t let nobody mess with my brand,” said Mr. Emeritus, who prior to 2006 recorded under the name Notorious P.O.P.E.
While the Vatican said it was unaware that Mr. Emeritus had already claimed the name seven years ago, the Oakland rapper scoffed at that idea: “They should have done what I did before I picked it out: Google it.”
Furious at what he is calling a clear case of trademark infringement, Mr. Emeritus said that he has no intention of stepping aside for the former pontiff: “He’s the one who should step aside. Call himself P. Biddy or something. This is wack, yo.”
According to a source close to the Vatican, Benedict is likely to choose another name for himself rather than risk a legal tussle with the aggrieved rapper: “The last thing the Church needs right now is another lawsuit.”
OK, so if you clicked on the link above, you’ll have seen the story is from the Borowitz Report, the satire website now part of the New Yorker’s stable. So the story of the Oakland rapper isn’t true, there’s no law suit and the Pope can retain his new name without fear.
Sorry for a potentially misleading and mischievous post, but I’ve been blogging about serious stuff for a few days now and needed something to get back into my marshmallow comfort zone. There will be plenty of time for serious posts in the next several weeks preparing for, observing and conducting a post-mortem on the conclave.