YANGON — Pope Francis I arrived in Myanmar today to address the Southeast Asian nation’s leadership as well as its small but fervent Catholic minority. Human rights activists the world over had anxiously awaited this particular papal visitation in the hopes that Francis would use his speech to shine a light on the plight of the country’s benighted Muslim population, but were disappointed when the pontiff could not seem to place the name of the ethnic minority.
In his speech to a large auditorium full of dignitaries, the shepherd to the world’s Catholic flock said, “The future of Myanmar must be peace, a peace based on respect for each ethnic group and its identity. Especially…” He shifted behind his podium. “Especially those — you know, I knew this, I even wrote it down. Somewhere…”
Charles Cardinal Maung Bo, noticing the urgent glances of His Holiness, snapped his fingers and said ruefully, “Dang, this was on Jeopardy last night!” He then trailed off.
“It’s right on the tip of my tongue,” continued the pope, sweating visibly now. “It’s funny, I even know the region they inhabit, it’s called the Rakhine!”
De facto civilian leader Aung Suu Kyi, seated in the front row, avoided the pontiff’s pleading eyes completely, looking around the audience before finally cupping her hand to her ear and calling out, “What? Ok I’ll be right there!” and sprinting out of the room.
At press time, military brass in the front row were seen innocently shrugging at each other in an endless loop as Francis nervously reached for the papal kerchief.