Catholics Should Take Pope On Tour, Like Conan O'Brien

The Catholic Church! Man, they are in the pits, right? Their Q score right now rivals Kate Gosselin's. Heck, it's probably worse than Michelle "Bombshell" McGee's.

Ever since international media reported the Pope, wacky Benedict, willfully ignored reports of kiddie-diddling priests, the church has had to go on a public relations offensive to save face.

On Larry King, catholic cheerleader Bill Donohue suggested it's not really pedophilia if the boys are post-pubescent. (Head explodes).

May we make a suggestion, Catholic Church flacks? Take a page from the Buddhists: go on tour! A Buddhist temple in Australia has kicked off an international tour of their Jade Buddha just to promote international peace. So far it's attracted thousands of worshippers and donations.

It's in Miami through Sunday, April 18, at the Wat BuddhaRangsi temple in Homestead, because according to their secretary, this is the only officially blessed Buddhist temple in Miami. Homestead! Who knew!?

The 4.5 ton Buddha, which is supposed to be the largest one made out of jade stone, attracted 4 million people in just one stop in Vietnam. And at its first day in Miami, it attracted at least a thousand people, said Khanya Kmoolsiri, the temple's secretary.

Consider the possibilities, Catholics. The pope hasn't gone in a world tour in a year, but with just one timely, little tour, that's 4 million that don't hate your hypocritical, lying guts. We suggest a papal tour with props. Maybe a Father Alberto Cutié effigy, and some old shrouds of Turin. Look, even Conan O'Brien thinks going on tour is the best way to stay in the public eye. He's Irish, isn't he? Imagine a Conan-Benedict double bill.

Also, the Buddhists really know how to write a press release. Listen to this: "The Jade Buddha is a symbol of peace to inspire the world for millennia to come." Millenia! Catholics are always so downbeat, with their insistence on The Rapture, and the Mayan calendar. The Buddhists are plugging a product that will last you a thousand years. That's getting your money's worth.

So far, the best the Catholics have come up with to fight the bad press is an iPhone app, called iFaith, and horrible TV appearances. The Jade Buddha has a youtube video that has 28,000 hits and a facebook page.

By the way, today is a special day to visit the Buddha because it's the beginning of the Thai new year. So happy new year to our tens of Thai readers. The temple is at 15200 SW 240th St., Homestead and is open from 7 a.m. through 9 p.m. Admission is free, but, donations are accepted, natch.

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Erik Maza