Dear Pope Benedict:

First of all, congratulations.

As a wise man once said: Nobody on his or her deathbed has ever said, "I wish I had spent more time at the office."

So props to you, Benedict XVI, for being the first pope in 600 years to realize that.

When you become a retiree at the end of the month, you'll need a new place to stay.

Have you considered moving to Florida? Everyone else has.

I read that the church is planning to move you to a fixer-upper monastery at the Vatican, where you will be downsized to Cardinal and made to live near your replacement.

That's never a good idea. First it's like, "Oh, we're so glad to have you around for your counsel, blah, blah, blah ... " and within a few months, your calls are going straight to voice mail and you're getting all your papal news from Twitter.

Do yourself a favor and make a clean break.

And when you do, there's no place better to land than a South Florida condo.

You'll fit in. Trust me.

Half of the adults-only developments here have Italian-sounding names and were built in the style of the Vatican. And nearly all the landscaping work is done by Catholics.

So think about it. You don't have to commit.

At first, just come for the season.

I guarantee you, once you get here and feel that warm sunshine radiating through your mitre, you'll want to take off all your shmatas and sit by the pool in a bathing suit for deep reflection, a little contract bridge and maybe a late-night cigar.

Which brings me to something else. You probably could use some sharpening of your leisure skills.

I've read that your plan for retirement is to pray. Which is like Tiger Woods saying he's quitting the tour so he can play golf.

Seriously, your Holiness, coming to Florida may be God's way of having you experience some of His most remarkable creations: Like the all-you-can eat buffet at Golden Corral followed by a musical review performed by the Kings Point Players.

We here in South Florida are living in the land of miracles, and I'm not just talking about hip replacements.

A lot of prayers have been answered here.

I know you're feeling old and tired now. In your retirement announcement, you spoke of a recognition that you were losing the "strength of mind and body" to do your job.

Fortunately, you don't need either to enjoy South Florida living. And after a few months in the condo, your immersion into shared experiences will rejuvenate you, even if it's mostly just stimulation by agitation.

Instead of wasting away in that hush-hush monastery atmosphere, you'd be part of the hustle-bustle among other people, who like you, also consider themselves infallible.

Who knows? This might lead you to imagine that you still have some of that papal mojo left. If so, you might consider joining the condo board, where you can enforce rules that make the Inquisition look progressive.

So, think about it, Your Holiness. There's no reason to feel cast aside and too old for the world.

That's why God made Florida.


Frank Cerabino writes for the Palm Beach Post.