I was generally positive about the history concerning Pope St. Pius V. until I read this article.
It might sound ridiculous, but jesters used to be so common that nearly every powerful and important person had one. And I mean it: pretty much everyone. Kings and princes? Of course. Bishops? Yes. Cardinals? Yup.
But did the pope have a jester? It might sound ridiculous, but yes, the pope had a jester.
The thing you need to know is that jesters weren’t necessarily clowns. They were responsible for entertainment of every sort in the Renaissance period. Just like artists of the time were expected to be masters of sculpture, painting, architecture and even music writing, jesters were expected to be master entertainers. This included but wasn’t limited to storytelling, athletics, acrobatics, singing and acting. And yes, they knew how to juggle, occasionally wore silly costumes, and told jokes. Their trade was expendable, but also respected. So when dignitaries and nobility visited Rome to see the Supreme Pontiff, a little bit of entertainment was expected.
Have to admit that being the Papal Jester would have been my dream job if it had not been eliminated. I can even do some of the things listed – juggling, singing, acting, wearing silly costumes, and of course telling jokes.
Bring back the Papal Jester in a return to tradition.