Hey, Pope Francis. Whatcha doing?

“I’m-a playin’ da foosball!”

You look like you’re having fun.

“The bambinos, they spin-a so fast! Ball-a go this way, ball-a go that way. Is-a fun for-a da whole family.”

Who’s winning?



“He always-a da winner in my book.”

Which book is that?

“Don’t-a be a dumdum.”

Sure. So, Your Holiness: in this time of strife, can foosball teach us anything?

“Si, si. Is-a lessons everywhere. Just gotta poke around.”


“Nothing. Lesson we learn from-a da foosball is-a dis: is-a just a game. Most-a things, they just-a games. You know what’s-a no game? Love. Kindness. Forgiveness. Forgiveness is-a no game. Foosball? Is-a just da game. Lotsa things just games. Gotta know da difference.”

I like that.

“And-a when you play da game, you win or-a you lose. You no pick up-a da game and beat-a da other guy with it.”

I’m sensing you’re not just talking about foosball.

“No, no. Just-a da foosball. Sure.”

You’re actually not bad at that.

“Is-a no fair. I-a have a table at-a da Vatican.”

There’s a foosball table at the Vatican?

“Si, si. In the game room. Is-a custom job. Players is-a priests versus monks.”

Like one of those Civil War chess sets.

“No idea what-a you talking about.”

Wait: there’s a game room at the Vatican?

“Oh, si. Built-a in 1531.”


“Si, but was-a no fun. Game room got-a good in-a da 80’s.”


“1980’s. We got-a da first Pac-Man in Italy.”


“Was-a da big deal. Had that-a made special, too. Custom job. Is-a no Pac-Man, is-a Pope-Man. Little pope, he eat-a da communion wafers. He still-a say ‘Wokka wokka wokka,’ but he-a say it in-a Latin.”

Sure. What about before that? What kind of games did they have in 1531?

“You could-a do stuff to-a da poor people.”


“Not-a my idea of fun, either. The old-a popes were not-a good people.”

Not at all.

“Hey, some-a recent popes ain’t-a been good people.”

Also true. Speaking of which, how’s Benedict?

“In-a da game room!”

Odd that we should be discussing it.

“Is-a no odd. Is-a da Jesus.”

Okay. What’s Benedict doing?

“Hustling pool.”

Oh, that’s no good.

“Is-a bad look. Tourists buy-a da special package, see behind-a da scenes, and there-a he is.”

And he’s betting?

“Si, si. He dump-a da first-a few games. Ask for-a da chance to get even. Who wants to say-a no to da Pope? Even da ex-Pope.”

People feel obliged.

“There-a you go. And-a he raise the stake and-a then he beat them. Don’t even do it good! Brags while-a he does it about how-a he just hustled them!”

He is a terrible pope.

“Is-a no good for business, no.”