Pope Emerges From Chrysalis A Beautiful Butterfly

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Vol 41 Issue 16

Losing-Powerball-Numbers Announcement Enters 17th Hour

URBANDALE, IA—The announcement of losing Powerball numbers for Saturday's $83,000,000 jackpot entered its 17th hour Sunday. "3, 15, 17, 35, 47, and Powerball 23," said Powerball host Bill Somerford, reading from his 237-page list of losing combinations. "7, 23, 40, 46, 52, and Powerball 24. 9, 13, 27, 40, 53, and Powerball 14. 12, 15, 18, 27, 52, and Powerball 26. 1, 11, 35, 46, 53, and Powerball 36." The losing numbers will be continue to be broadcast until 10:59 EST Wednesday, after which the losing-numbers announcement for the next drawing will begin.

Study: 80 Percent Of All Hermits Recovering From Broken Hearts

AMHERST, MA—According to conclusions reached by researchers at the University of Massachusetts, four-fifths of the world's dedicated recluse population were once luckless in love. "We have conclusively linked heartsickness to the behavior of dwelling in remote mountaintop caves, in bramble-covered forest huts, and on nameless unmapped islands," professor of solitary psychology Ludwig Meyer said Monday. "The loss of a lifetime's one true love seems to be enough to drive some people into splendid isolation in arctic regions and trackless jungle wilds." The study noted that the remaining 20 percent of hermits were driven from human contact by the desire to run naked around the woods, urinating though their knee-length beards.

Another Comedian Ruined By Parenthood

AUSTIN, TX—Ed Corgi, once hailed as one of the area's funniest and most ribald stand-up comedians, has lapsed into mediocrity due to the 2003 birth of his daughter Grace, a friend reported. "Ed used to get up there and just spit venom against the entire world until the crowd was dying," fellow comic Rick Haste said. "Last week, I saw him do a bit about grape juice and another about how hard it is to get a stroller in a car trunk. He did swear a lot as he pantomimed folding the stroller, but still." Corgi's new sitcom Grape Juice is currently in development at ABC.

Sir Charles Barlow Is Interested Only In Your Dowry

Lydia! Lydia! Pray forgive this unannounced visit to Twelveswood, but I felt you must know straight away. I cut short my stay in London to deliver some unfortunate news. Our hostess Mrs. Heggarty was kind enough to lend me use of her coach and... Oh, no, no, Edgar is well, thank Heaven, as is little Ivor. It's about Sir Charles, the man to whom you are affianced. No, he lives still, although if there were ever a body upon which I wished every earthly evil to be visited, it is his.

TV Shows On DVD

People are increasingly buying television series on DVD instead of watching them on broadcast TV. Why?

Aw, Who'm I Kidding... I'll Never Top 21 Jump Street

It's only natural for artists to compare the creative purity of their early work to the compromised work of their later careers. I'm no exception. As I sit here in my chateau in France, absent-mindedly flipping through the script for The Diving Bell And The Butterfly by Oscar-winning screenwriter Ronald Harwood, I think of the man I used to be, and my heart sinks. I know I shouldn't let thoughts of the past get me down. Rather, I should overcome my insecurities and remind myself that there could be an even bigger success around the corner. Why, you never know what you can achieve if you just believe in yourself and... Aw, hell. Who'm I kidding here? I'll never top 21 Jump Street and I know it.

New Tech-Support Caste Arises In India

NEW DELHI—Thanks to widespread outsourcing of telephone-service jobs, a sixth caste has blossomed in India: the Khidakayas, a mid-level jati made up of technical-support workers. "I am happy to be a Khidakaya," said technical-support agent Ranji Prasat, who speaks English with a flawless American accent and goes by the name "Ron" at work. "While we rank below members of the reigning order, those of us responsible for helping Americans track their online purchases and change their account PINs share many privileges not enjoyed by the merchant class below us." Prasat said he expects to marry another tech-support worker.

Are Tasers Safe?

Most security personnel defend the use of Tasers, but Amnesty International said that there have been more than 100 Taser-related deaths since 2001. What do you think?
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Pope Emerges From Chrysalis A Beautiful Butterfly

John Paul II flits above Vatican City hours after leaving his chrysalis (below).
John Paul II flits above Vatican City hours after leaving his chrysalis (below).

VATICAN CITY—Vatican officials joyously report that Pope John Paul II, who led the Catholic Church during the 26 years of his larval stage, emerged from his chrysalis transformed into a beautiful butterfly Monday.

"John Paul II's emergence was a thing of awesome splendor, his magnificent wings of gold-embroidered silk brocade glistening in the late light of the Basilica as they dried," said Antonini Biaggi, one of the millions who came to Rome to view the pope's chrysalis as it lay in state under the great dome. "I was greatly blessed to see him break free of his outer husk, and then, minutes later, take his first tentative flight around the Vatican."

Roughly two weeks ago, as the pope's metabolism began slowing, John Paul II's attendants reported that the pontiff's outer skin was hardening and becoming more opaque. Despite his weakened condition, His Holiness began to eat his own weight in mulberry leaves every day, storing up energy for his astonishing transformation.

On April 2, when John Paul II' s life functions ceased, he was transferred to a plain cypress molting box, inside of which he lay in state in St. Peter's Basilica. For the next few days, as worshippers and powerful world leaders alike came to pay their respects, the Vicar of Christ underwent the first stages of metamorphosis. Now completely covered with a hardened red-velvet-and-gilt outer shell, he had entered the papal pupal stage.

"It was a time of great mourning," said Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor of London, a Grand Intercessor of the Church and a trained pontifical lepidopterist. "After all, His Holiness' survival into the short-lived adult phase was not guaranteed. Not every pope makes the transformation—we still mourn the great tragedy of John Paul I."

Although the pope's long, early stage of life as the Chosen God on Earth is over, his new stage began at the moment of his passing.

Continued Murphy-O'Connor: "Inside his chrysalis, John Paul II's thorax was lengthening, his mandibles stretching and dividing into a four-part lateral jaw, his eyes dividing into many-faceted, compound sight-organs, and his once vestigial and subcutaneous limb-buds were growing into the four beautiful wings—and six limbs—of the adult pontiff. No longer truly one of us, John Paul II was becoming something closer to the divine. It's one of the most wondrous processes in, and symbols of, the Catholic Church."

"Also, I'm told much acute and pious suffering is involved," Murphy-O'Connor added.

The newly reborn pope spent most of Monday flitting about the Eternal City, alighting briefly on Michelangelo's "Creation of Adam" fresco in the Sistine Chapel, various colonnades of St. Peter's, and several visibly emotional visitors. Once, His Holiness even landed upon the balcony from which he delivered his Sunday addresses to worshippers, slowly opening and closing his nine-foot wings for several moments. Church officials hastened to remind onlookers that, in this part of his life cycle, the pope is no longer a sentient, thinking being.

The College of Cardinals said the pope's eggs—which the pontiff immediately began to release from his ovipositor and attach to various architectural features around Rome with a cement-like secretion discharged from his distended mandibles—have hatched, and from the larva, the next Successor of the Prince of the Apostles has been chosen.

Although the transformed Pope John Paul II will live for only a few days before crawling off to die somewhere in the recesses of the Vatican, Catholics see these brief days on earth as a gift from God and an indication of his ongoing love of man.

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