A leaked e-mail from the Vatican HR department

Date: 1 March 2013

To: Benedict, Pope

From: Ricardo, R, General Manager, Human Resources, Vatican

Subject: Your Retirement Arrangements

Your Holiness

Sorry to take a while to get back to you. As yours is the first resignation from the Papacy in about 800 years, it’s taken the HR team a little while to get the policies and processes updated. It seems that the details of the last resignation were water damaged in the archives and the IT department back then didn’t perform daily back-ups, so we’ve sort of started from scratch.

I’ve talked with Legal and IT about aspects of your resignation, your farewell functions and also your handover to whomever takes the new role.

I’ve summarised the details below:

Payroll – Your pay will change effective 1/3/13 as you move to a new classification. As the classification of Pope Emeritus hasn’t been used for quite a while, we’ve had to get Finance to do some re-work. They’ve come up with a new base rate, but you’ll be pleased to know there is a 7.8% cost of living allowance which the Vatican is allowed to pay. (Please don’t share that with the other cardinals though, there’s a little bit of simmering anger about that from the cardinals in expensive places like Paris and New York). You’ll get to retain the credit card too, but your limit I’m afraid is reduced. They’ll be in touch and let them know if you change your bank account details.

IT –Our IT department have copied all your personal files onto a disc and will set you up with a new laptop in your office when you are back from Castle Gandolfo. We’ve changed your e-mail address to [email protected], and arranged for an out of office reply to be sent to anyone who sends you a message.

I’ve spoken to the guys downstairs about your Twitter account. They’ve agreed you can keep the account going, but the new bloke will take the Pope hashtag. They considered your first request of TAFNAB (which I was told stands for The Artist formerly known as Ben) but we think we’ll just go with #EmeritusPapa. This will be up and running by next Monday evening, as I know you’ve been wanting to twitter your thoughts on the room reveals on the Block (and I agree, that Dani is a real piece of work)

Farewell functions – I wanted to warn you in advance that the Maintenance team have prepared a few surprises when you arrive at Castle Gandolfo, which I believe include glad wrap and the toilet. Also, don’t be surprised if the Pope Mobile we loaned you for the handover period is wrapped in loo paper. Those guys like a laugh.

Rosa from Accounts Payable has organised a card, and is getting all the cardinals to sign it when they arrive. She’s also doing a small whip around, and the company will match them lira for lira. I can confirm that the request you put in for the 2 DVDs of The Sensational 70s and AFL Biffo from the 80s has been ordered but I think they’ll be enough cash left over for that Rolling Stones Box Set and the new sand wedge you asked for.

Legal did want me to say though that for the Farewell party, you can’t bring in cup-cakes for everyone due to OH&S concerns. The kitchen will do you one small cake that only you can blow the candles out on, (apparently new local council laws). We also have to provide enough San Pellegrino to go with the Lambrusco, so we aren’t encouraging people to go home blotto although I did manage to convince the kitchen to set aside your favourites, a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black and some crème caramel.

Exit procedures – I’ll have to ask you to hand back the access pass to the top floor and I’m afraid you lose your rights to the Pope’s gym. Your Foxtel subscription is an annual one in your name, so you get to keep that until the end of the AFL season (I did like your line about the Bombers not having a prayer, good one).

I’ll drop by in about a week to do an exit interview, and your comments on the need for a service on the Pope Mobile and wanting to take your monogrammed towels with you are noted. The collection of Wide World of Sports memorabilia on your office walls I’m afraid was purchased by the company not you, so will have to stay. If the next bloke isn’t a cricket man, I am sure you can discuss this. I can tell you though that the Finance bods assure me this stuff always increases in value over time.

Next Steps: As we’ve never had a modern retired Pope hanging around, there are a few protocols we need to establish. We’d prefer you didn’t go on 60 Minutes to talk about the new bloke, and I think that guest gig on Footy Classifieds is a no go one for Legal.

You did mention during your papacy that you were a supporter of St Jude, the patron saint of lost causes, and that’s generated a few job offers since your announcement. I wouldn’t be inclined to go with the role chairing the Match Review Panel for the AFL in Melbourne as I think that’s too hard, but the one with Ziggy’s governance review seems pretty cushy with the outcomes drafted already I’m told.

Messages: That Andrew Demetriou keeps calling. I know you talked to him a lot about infallibility (I personally think he’s taken the advice too far) but he said he wanted you to be a mentor to young Gill. You have his number.

Mad Monday: Whilst I reiterate my objections to you and some of your personal staff going on Mad Monday celebrations after the official farewells happen and the cardinals get locked away, I can see that this is a good way for you to blow off steam with your mates. I did draw the line at the Hannibal Lector costume but Matthew Scarlett has returned your call and has a few other costume suggestions.  I think starting at the in-house Vatican Bar, JPs, and then kicking onto the Nasty Nun for a few sherbets and pints of crème de menthe is reasonable. Just keep yourself nice and stay away from the Stillnox.

Good to work with you Ben (I can call you that now) and I’ll handle all the paperwork at my end.

About Sean Curtain

"He was born with a gift of laughter, and a sense that the world was mad". First line of 'Scaramouche' by Sabatini, always liked that.


  1. The Wrap says

    Lenny Bruce couldn’t have said better Sean.

  2. Neil Anderson says

    Great Work Sean! This is when we miss all the satire sketch shows like Comedy Inc. and Skithouse. I’ve already pictured someone like Damian Callinan as the Pope in retirement. Of course if it was Damian, he would be an Aussie Pope kicking back in the loungeroom with his new slippers up on the pouffe watching the telly. He would be singing out to his new man-servant for life in the kitchen, “Bring us a couple of tubes would you mate…and can you show us how to switch over to pay-tv”. ” Free to air’s got Eddie Mc Guire and Sean Mickaliff on every bloody channel!”
    Keep the satire going Sean. We really need it in sport and politics at the moment.

  3. Very clever and very witty Sean. I particularly liked the Mad Monday concept. I’ve known a few Benny’s to run amok as soon as the pressure was off.
    Personally I thought “Big Ben” was more of a Bundesliga man, but you have convinced me.
    Do you reckon he will be in the next round of AFL ‘cultural cringe’ TV ads, now that he is no longer contractually obligated to Inter Vatican?
    Once we’ve converted the Yanks and the Chinese, he ought to be able to help us with the Micks (and large chunks of South America).
    Thanks for the smiles in a period when we only have Test Crap and NAB Crap to amuse us.

  4. Terrific read. I imagine there’d be a fair bit if paper shredding going on when this email was sent.

  5. Lea Mother in Law Partridge says

    You are , my boy, an unmitigated genius!
    One thing though…….. As Ben (His Ex Holiness to me) took off in the white chopper, rising etherially above the gilded domes and parapets of Vatican City, I was quite moved. As a non catholic, I was left to ponder his attempt to
    a) seem more angelic or
    b) get the Hell out of the place.
    Your contemplation of these alternatives would be appreciated.

  6. Neil

    I think there’s definately a skit waiting to be done with the ex Pope sitting around generally nagging people, saying ‘well, in my day…’ and boring people or perhaps letting himself go to pot and being an embarassment to the office he once held.

    Maybe there’s a regular column somewhere with ‘The Thoughts of Pope Emeritus’, where Ben gives his views on the week in football, as a cranky old bloke.

    Peter B, yes, pity he didn’t get included in those awful AFL international ads, he could be filmed in a Rome coffee shop doing high 5s after an Eddie Betts snap.

    Lea, I was reminded of those helicopter trips the US presidents make when they finish office. Nixon was interesting, again, the world hadn’t been ready for a resignation and he didn’t really grab what had happened when he flew away with that big wave at the door. I think our Ben was happy to be out of there myself.


  7. Did you cover not taking intellectual property? Oh, why you: not much sign of that at the vatican.

    Biting satire, Sean. Laugh riot read

  8. Sorry, HR has come back with a couple of last minute issues for TAFNAB that require his signature:

    There’s the non compete clause, in that he can’t go and work with a rival religion or competitor for 18 months, and I am sure that if he set up his own business, it can’t be within the geographic confines of the Vatican area.

    There’s a non poaching clause, so he can’t seek to take any senior Vatican managers with him if he went to a competitor religion or set up a new business

    And the non solicitation clause, which seems to cover altar boys if I read the policy carefully…..!!??

  9. Love it…laughing out loud on the train. Very clever indeed.

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