What the pope could learn from … Tiger Woods?

Amid a church-wide sex abuse scandal and accusations of inaction while serving as the archbishop of Munich, Pope Benedict XVI isn’t exactly having the best week at work. Demonstrators line the gates of Vatican City; new revelations of Priesthood abuses surface almost daily; and resounding calls for the pope to resign are being heard around the globe.

So what’s a pope to do?

Well, in The John’s opinion, Pope Benny need only look at the tactics and strategies employed by the Holy Father of all worldwide scandal survivors—Tiger Woods.

The world’s greatest golfer (in the world!) was outed for sleeping with nearly 20 porn stars/Perkin’s waitresses, enjoyed the surely scintillating experience that is nympho rehab, and watched his Swedish supermodel wife move back to Scandinavia with an IOU for half of his millions.

But that didn’t stop Tiger. Oh no. When Nicklaus’ heir returns for the Masters in April, not only will his swing be sharp due to unlimited practice rounds at Augusta (where he retains membership), but the eyes of the world will be zeroed in on his super-hyped—and possibly victorious—return to the game, generating a massive TV-ratings windfall.

Sure, he’s lost some endorsement money—mere pocket change for a man approaching billionaire status thanks to his golf course design company. And yes, he’s fallen a few rungs down the respectability ladder these last few months. But the PR campaign that Tiger and his people ran to minimize the damage should serve as a textbook guide for other public figures mired in colossal public scandal.

For the pope, this means a controlled response: a public apology to the victims of abuse suffered on his watch; a self-imposed suspension from the papacy (just long enough for things to cool off); an appeal for forgiveness and diligent repentance (should be easy for a life-long Catholic); and even a bit of sensitivity training so he’ll know how to react when presented with evidence of Priest-prowling in the future.

Queue triumphant return, and poof—like it never happened, the scandal fades into short-term pop-culture memory.

Some have openly discussed the possibility that this scandal could bring down the once-strong Catholic church altogether (much the same as Tiger’s absence cast serious doubts on the legitimacy of the PGA tour). But—with a few expert lessons from His golf-Holiness—the pope, the church, and Catholics everywhere could still save for par.



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