Shurely Shome Mishtake?

The Guardian used to be noted for its typos (hence its nickname of Grauniad), although I think the Independent is currently worse. But this phrase, from their coverage of the funeral of Pope John Paul II, struck me as a little, er, unthought through:

“The funeral service for the third-longest reigning pontiff in more than 2,000 years was a religious occasion of the first order.”

Now, theologians and/or Catholics can correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t Saint Peter the first Pope? And the Pope is the head of the Christian church? So assuming Peter only became Pontiff after Jesus Christ was crucified, died, rose again and ascended* and not counting all that subsequent faffing about writing letters etc., surely he couldn’t have been Pope before, ooooh, 33AD. It’s currently 2005AD. So how on earth can John Paul II be the third longest reigning Pontiff in more than 2,000 years?

Meanwhile, an Irish online bookie has had to remove one of their potential runners for the new Pontiff after the Washington Post took them at face value and suggested their readers could put a 1000/1 bet on Father Dougal MaGuire of Craggy Island becoming Pope. (media Guardian link – reg. req.). Ah, gwan.

Dougal: God, I’ve heard about those cults Ted. People dressing up in black and saying Our Lord’s going to come back and save us all.
Ted: No, Dougal, that’s us. That’s Catholicism.
Dougal: Oh right.


* assuming there really was a Jesus Christ and/or he did all that business.

edited to correct schoolgirl error – you can tell I was more interested in Thomas poking about in the stigmata and John off on one than the rest of the New Testement.

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