DEATH OF THE POPE
By Kathryn D. Green
AUTHOR'S NOTE: On April 19, 2005, several months after I wrote this story, the Catholic church elected a new pope. By an eerie coincidence, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger opted to call himself the same name that I gave my fictional apostate pope in this story that was written in 2004--Pope Benedict XVI. As events turned out, the differences between the real-life Pope Benedict XVI, who has since retired and made way for Pope Francis, and the fictional Pope Benedict XVI of my story were, thankfully, huge. For starters, the now-retired real-life Pope Benedict is a German, and the fictional Pope Benedict in my story is an Italian. The former real-life Pope Benedict appeared and still appears to be a conservative Catholic; the fictional Pope Benedict in "Death of the Pope" is a New Age apostate. Throughout his time as pope, the real Pope Benedict charted a basically conservative course for the Catholic church. K.G.
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