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Your Holiness:

I heard you are about to jump into Twitter, and you've settled on "@Pontifex" as your handle. I think that's just great. Good for you! It's nice to see that you are trying to make the papacy more modern and relevant.

Anyway, I figured you might like tips for how to bring off this updated style - I'm not a pop culture expert, but I know a few things about what the kids are into these days. Good luck!

Equal rights for women. You need to look into this, because it's bigger than Mumford & Sons right now. Treating women like they are full-fledged adults with jobs and privacy rights is absolutely amazeballs. Everyone is doing it. Seriously. All the women I know are crazy into three things: Ryan Gosling, footwear, and equal access to healthcare. It's trending volcanic.

Respecting gay people. Homophobia's kind of played right now. You can still find people doing it, but it's stale. Letting people have the right to marry who they want is the shiznit. And part of this is because it has a classic style. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." See? A lot of the new trends are just old trends that survive and resurface because they are great. Like black Converse and Bill Murray. Recognizing the dignity of others is one of those great new/old things everybody is just wild about. You should try it!

Not engaging in a massive criminal coverup. I know, I know. This one is the exact opposite of what it used to be. Trends are weird that way. But it used to be totally adorbs to sit at the center of some kind of bizarre and menacing conspiracy, silencing victims and having an army of henchmen tell law enforcement that you just haven't got time for the haters. But now with social media, everything gets out into the open immediately, and you just look crazy and evil. So, if you've been fending off serious felony charges around the world for decades, the really cool thing to do is to cooperate. And yeah, you can still say "cool." It's timeless.

Not letting the continent of Africa completely perish from AIDS. Don't get me wrong: everyone loves bringing the 80's back. I'm as guilty as anyone - I make my kids listen to Thomas Dolby, for crying out loud. But you have to pick and choose. Using an old Polaroid (not an app) or playing Sierra On-Line games is absolutely acceptable. But not ignoring a massive, deadly pandemic. That is actually wicked. Not good "wicked," but bad, plain, ordinary "wicked." The kind you're used to. Stop it.

I hope this helps, and that soon you'll have fun exploring and communicating in the 21st century with the rest of us. Or even just the 20th, maybe. Let's not overdo it.

(NOTE: If you like my humor, check out my book about love, loss, and cat-sitting. Kindle and Nook versions available.)

(Photo by Mangouste35 used under Creative Commons license. Information here.)

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