Pope Joan the Second

Pope Joan ~ a fantasy

Pope Joan story and art by Mo Conlan

I had a strange dream about the next Pope. I don't know how my dream might come to be, in reality, because this pope happens to be a woman. Pope Joan the Second.

In history, there is a Pope Joan, as lore has it, only she pretended to be a man. And she came to a bad end -- as only a woman pretending to be a man occupying the papal throne might.

This second pontiff Joan would be a woman, fully acknowledged. She would not come to a bad end.

I am not sure why I chose to write and make art about this issue. I have a rather simple religion, myself. Further (verb) Goodness. It is something to strive for.

As for absolutes, the powers that rule the universe, I figure they can take care of themselves. Still, it might be nice to give a woman the chance to rule over such a large spiritual realm. I can think of several who could do a good job of it.

There is some controversy among historians as to whether the first Pope Joan truly existed. Donna Woolfolk Cross wrote a bestseller: "Pope Joan: A Novel." There is a movie (2009) based on her novel. Another movie, released in 2003, about Joan the First starred Liv Ulmann.

Was it just a folk story, or true?

In a time when the only way for women to gain learning and knowledge lay within the church, and with a woman burning for knowledge and a life beyond childbirth and home -- I like to think Pope Joan the First truly was. And at some time and some place, Pope Joan the Second might also be.

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