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These would be collectible trading cards which depict all the popes in Catholic history in all their lurid grandeur. In cases where no one knows what the pope looked like, cartoon artists are set to work, doing their best to create fantastic representations of the pope based on the facts known about
All historical information would be derived from questionable web resources to improve saleability. All historical information would be punctuated with exclamation points. For example:
Pope Honorius reigned from 625 to 638 A.D.! He was condemned as a heretic by the Sixth Ecumenical Council! He was also condemned as a heretic by Pope Leo II, as well as by every other pope until the eleventh century!
In 769, Pope Stephen IV came to power with the help of an army which conquered the previous Pope! Stephen gave orders for his papal rival to be flogged, have his eyes cut out, have his kneecaps broken, and be imprisoned until he died! Then Pope Stephen sentenced a second man to die a slow, agonizing death! He had pieces of his body cut off every day until he finally died!
Rarity would be according to the lengths of the time the pope held the office, so that short-term popes would be harder to find.
If the cards proved really popular, we could get on to (in)famous cardinals and bishops, too.
The cheap paper packaging would include a round pink bubble gum wafer imperfectly imprinted with a popish-looking cross. The packaging would state, "A portion of the proceeds is converted to gold which is stored in the Vatican catacombs!!!" This, however, would turn out to be untrue.
Questionable Web Resource
Used to find lurid facts for my description. [Soterios, May 03 2005]
Stephen VII was a bit of a lad too.
A lot of references to antipopes. If you mix a pope and an antipope, do you get mutual annihilation? [AbsintheWithoutLeave, May 03 2005]
[jutta, May 03 2005]
John Paul II trading card
Apparently it's worth $8k [Acme, May 03 2005]
Trading card set for John Paul II
(Not the valuable thing; something new created after his death.) With bonus commemorative Benedict XVI card. [jutta, May 04 2005]
Monty Python's 'The Bishop'
The Bishop skit [Soterios, May 04 2005]
Nyeh! Nyeh! You missed one! [DrBob, May 05 2005]
||Presumably Pope Joan will be a
particularly rare card.
||Alexander VI and his colourful family.
||What about a Top Trumps version?:
Length of reign
Top speed of Popemobile (note: not Vespers!)
Cardinal Majority upon election
Assassination attempts survived.
||Lots of collectors after that valuable Pope John XX card.
||Gnome, UB, that's exactly the sort of thing I mean.
||If there was a commercial for these cards, I would want it modeled right off of MP's 'The Bishop' skit. (See link.)