maxwell’s silver hammer

The pope just died… And somewhere there’s a man getting his hammer ready.

Here’s a clip from Fox News:

When a pope dies, the prefect of the papal household, currently American Archbishop James Harvey, tells the camerlengo, or chamberlain, who is the most important official running the Holy See in the period between the death of a pope and the election of a new one.

The camerlengo, now Cardinal Eduardo Martinez Somalo of Spain, must then verify the death — a process which in the past was done by striking the forehead of the pope with a silver hammer. The camerlengo then calls out to the pope three times by his baptismal name — Karol, Karol, Karol. When the pope does not respond, the camerlengo then announces “the pope is dead.”

They don’t even do that to Freddy and Jason in the movies.

I would have thought that a little tickling would have done the trick just as well, but I guess you’ve got to be extra sure when it’s God’s man here on earth. That would be some super-bad karma wouldn’t it – if you were the man responsible for burying the Pope alive?

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3 Comments

  1. Posted April 4, 2005 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    “I’m not dead”

    Maybe it isn’t so much a strike as it is a tap. And to get a bit gruesome, I’m sure they embalm so I’m wondering if they are planning to save the blood to use for holy relics. It won’t be long, I would imagine, before “Pope blood” shows up on eBay. “Hurry! Supplies limited and it’s going fast!” It will probably be bought up by that casino that purchased the cheese sandwich, pretzel and that “actress'” oversized implants.

  2. Posted April 5, 2005 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    I’m a little concerned about the way they say “a process which IN THE PAST was done by striking the forehead of the pope with a silver hammer”.

    do they have a new, more extreme and trendy way of verifying it now? Has the hammer been replaced with, say, a Bop It?

  3. sharon
    Posted April 17, 2005 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    I’ve been tellin g people that they used to hit the pope on the head with a silver hammer to see if he was dead and people have been laughing at me ! Thank you for the verification! I’m vindicated now !

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