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Hey, We Can’t All Win Beauty Contests!

May 8, 2013

I was inspired to draw this cartoon after reading a very funny anecdote about Pope John XXIII, best remembered today for calling the Second Vatican Council which ushered in a new era for the Roman Catholic Church.

He was elected pope in 1958 at age 77. The convening of all Roman Catholic cardinals to elect a new pope is known as a conclave.

Hard to believe today, but security was not a major issue back in 1958. Pope John liked to get out of the Vatican and meet people, and would often stroll the streets of Rome dressed as an ordinary prelate.

He was a huge man, and on one occasion he overheard a woman talking about how fat the pope was. He turned to her and said:

“But, Madame, you must know that the conclave is not exactly a beauty contest!” 

Cartoon about Catholic Pope John XXIII who was fat showing him speaking to woman and telling her papal election is not a beauty contest with angel cherub hovering nearby with tray of donuts

He sounds like my kind of quipster.

He was once asked how many people worked at the Vatican. His reply: “About half.”

A little boy wrote asking advice. The boy said he wanted to be either a policeman or Pope, but couldn’t decide which. Pope John wrote back advising him to become a policeman, because “Anybody can be pope; the proof of this is that I have become one.”

Amazing, isn’t it, how humanizing a sense of humor can be.

More Pope John wit and wisdom hereblank vertical space, 24 pixels high

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Got any funny stories about popes, saints, or other religious leaders?

Do you think there will be free donuts in Heaven?

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22 Comments leave one →
  1. May 8, 2013 1:39 PM

    Great post Mark.


  2. May 8, 2013 2:33 PM

    Free doughnuts in heaven? Most definitely. I love that he had a sense of humor, that’s the way God intended it. I’m going to “steal” the line about “how many people work here”! Humor is, as you of all people know, one of the greatest gifts God gave man. And disciples like you are sharing your gift with the world:-) Thank you so much Mark for all you do and what you teach through your gift!


    • May 13, 2013 7:58 PM

      Wow! This was a very unusual comment. When I got done reading it, I looked up and a halo appeared over my head! It looks kinda funny above the little horns, but still… : P

      I couldn’t agree more, Tracey, that humor is one of the greatest of God’s gifts. We’d surely be lost without it. Thank you so very much for your unwavering support, and for that lovely comment. : )


  3. May 8, 2013 4:34 PM

    Awesome report about Pope John, first time I hear about. Thanks for sharing. Still ponder about your donuts question 🙂
    Here some religion for you:


    • May 13, 2013 8:07 PM

      Ah, my dear Tutti, don’t waste your time pondering donuts– devote yourself to eating them! That is truly the path to Nirvana, and/or a big stomachache… : P

      I can see from your post that you are imbued with great powers– great powers of imagination! Nice to see you, thanks for stopping by! : )


      • May 15, 2013 4:51 PM

        Thanks for providing me with cool word. IMBUED was perfect for my need 🙂


        • May 17, 2013 9:13 AM

          Say, that is a cool word, isn’t it?? I use it a lot myself. I’m always asking people: “Do you know Tutti? She’s imbued with a great imagination, wonderful sense of humor, tremendous charm, and many other fine qualities…” : )


  4. May 8, 2013 4:36 PM

    Oh for the love of donuts. But watch out Mark, you wouldn’t want to become a Pope one day, do you?

    Great cartoon and illustration! xoxo


    • May 13, 2013 8:14 PM

      My dear Dolly–! You probably aren’t familiar with donuts. I doubt that’s a subject you hear about too often… : P

      The new Pope usually calls me up once or twice a day to ask my advice on difficult moral questions. But I probably wouldn’t be a good pope myself. That’s because popes do need to be human so they can relate to humankind. And as you know, I’m more like an angel… : )

      Thank you for honoring me with a visit, and for your delightful comment!! : )


  5. May 8, 2013 10:45 PM

    Hahaha! Good one, Mark! Can you imagine how that poor woman must have felt? Well, I guess you can, because you captured her perfectly. I suspect she lived the rest of her life worried about that comment.

    So sorry to have been so long to visit. Life. It just keeps getting in the way.


    • May 13, 2013 8:22 PM

      Wha–??? My dear Maddie!! Do you mean to tell me that you let Life get in the way of visiting my blog?? Well in that case, you leave me absolutely no alternative but to congratulate you on your supreme good sense… : )

      However, it’s wonderful to see you!! All’s right with the world at last… : )

      Yes, I can identify with the woman who dissed the pope. For two reasons: she was rude, and she got caught… : (

      Thanks so much for breezin’ by!!


  6. May 9, 2013 4:22 AM

    My concept of the afterlife is that existence continues here… albeit that our planet, in my belief, is destined to be perfected. I am not sure how donuts will be exalted, but I figure they will still be around. For free? Hmm, I don’t know. Maybe a more glorified version of the arrangement we have already– although we may not need food the way we do now. Perhaps jelly donuts will be filled with light.


    • May 14, 2013 10:59 AM

      Many thanks for sharing your take on the afterlife, Jak. Your phrase about donuts being exalted really made me laugh. I think a lot of us are already exalting them in the here and now! I like the idea of jelly donuts being filled with light. Man, I’m really gonna glow after I eat a dozen!! : )


      • May 14, 2013 7:04 PM

        Hahahaha! Be sure to take some “before” and “after” photos! Krispy Kreme might take notice and you could get work on a new ad campaign!


  7. May 9, 2013 2:24 PM

    I certainly hope there would be donut in heaven! I enjoyed reading this post!


    • May 14, 2013 11:02 AM

      Ha! I’m hoping there’ll be donuts in heaven, too, Seyi!

      Tell you what: when we meet up there, I’ll take you to the Heavenly Donut Shoppe, and it’ll be my treat– anything you want! Many thanks for your kind comment!! : )


  8. May 9, 2013 7:54 PM

    A human Pope that was permitted to be so – sigh… those were the days. How did it happen so quickly that a Pope must be so sequestered?


    • May 17, 2013 8:22 AM

      Hi, Lesley, great to see you, many thanks for stopping by. I think security concerns keep a lot of people sequestered these days, and it’s a shame. A pope’s essential humanity, especially his warmth and humor, are such an important part of his leadership. I think we’ll be seeing some interesting things from Pope Francis.

      Many thanks for your comment and support! : )


  9. May 12, 2013 10:00 PM

    I love this, Mark. I’d never heard those comments from the Pope before. He had quite a sense of humor. Very refreshing. Love your illustration.


    • May 17, 2013 8:27 AM

      Many thanks, Judy, for that lovely comment. Yes, it’s amazing how much easier it is to relate to someone after discovering their sense of humor. Yours is exceptional, of course, and magnifies your natural charm… : )


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