A plume of white smoke rising from the Blacktip Island landfill Thursday afternoon signaled the election of a new Honorary Island Pope, the Blacktip Ecumenical Council officials said. (photo courtesy of Jerrod Ephesians/BEC)
White smoke rising from the Blacktip Island landfill Thursday afternoon signaled the election of a new Honorary Island Pope for the small Caribbean island, Blacktip Ecumenical Council officials said.
“Honorary Island Pope started years ago, when there was white smoke at the dump on Easter,” said the former-Reverend Jerrod Ephesians, the council’s presiding officer. “Someone made a joke about a new pope and everyone had good luck for the next few months, so we kept it up. Who’s eligible changes daily depending on the combination of date, day, month, and year.
“Thursday, Elena Havens’ name was up,” Ephesians said. “There’s no real duties and really doesn’t take much of anyone’s time. Most people forget about it after a few weeks. But you get to wear the outfit on formal occasions, so that’s a perk.”
Outgoing Honorary Island Pope Jay Valve was happy to pass the mitre to Havens.
“A year and a half’s a long time to serve. It’s time to move on,” he said. “Elena’ll do fine, and’ll look great in the hat. There was a robe, too, but I’m not sure what I did with it.”
Havens was honored by the unexpected election.
“I’ll be encouraging religious inclusion, even among the island’s atheists,” she said. “Blacktippers tend to twist teachings, religious and otherwise, into whatever they want to hear, and I won’t stand in the way of that tradition.
Not all residents were happy with the announcement.
“The very concept is offensive, and the Ecumenical Council should know better,” the Reverend Pierre Grunt said. “It’s blasphemous, making light of a two-thousand year old pillar of Christianity by handing some randomly-chosen layperson a hat made from a bar napkin.”
Havens downplayed Grunt’s concerns.
“The title’s really more sacrilegious than blasphemous. On Blacktip, that’s progress,” she said. “And the reef is my church. Anybody desecrates it, they’ll face the wrath of me. “That includes the Reverend and his out-of-season fishing and lobster poaching. I’ve smacked that fish-killer before, and I’ll do it again.”
Council officials noted not all island residents are eligible for the honorary papacy.
“Dermott Bottoms lost his eligibility permanently after a brief stint in office,” Ephesians said. “ The pope can’t be falling-down drunk every night. And urine is not Holy Water.”