December 15, 2017

Saturday Ramblings: September 27, 2015 – Papal Visit Edition

We had to go with the Fiat, didn't we?

Well, we had to go with the Fiat today, didn’t we?

It’s the first weekend of autumn, here in the northern hemisphere, which means it’s springtime for Argentinian Pope Francis. That’s true in a metaphorical sense as well — the Pope has achieved a wonderful position of popularity right now.

And then he came to the U.S. (motto: “We don’t kiss no stinkin’ rings!”). No, actually, the Pope has been treated like a rock star, so we thought we’d join in the lovefest today too.

Let’s see how many iMonks we can cram into a Fiat today and go rambling along with the Holy Father, OK?

• • •

As the Pope arrived and made his way through the crowd, they chanted the ancient liturgical blessing, “Ho ho, hey hey, welcome to the USA!”

I was watching the ABC coverage of the Pope’s arrival, and some commented that the Pope, known for a simple lifestyle, had nevertheless gained a bit of weight since becoming Pontiff.

The following report from The Onion may tell us why:

Pope Francis Reverses Position On Capitalism After Seeing Wide Variety Of American Oreos

Pope Francis Reverses Position On Capitalism After Seeing Wide Variety Of American Oreos

The Denver Post reported on the impromptu news conference Pope Francis held on the plane before he landed at Andrews AFB.

Pope Francis trying to recall that line in the Creed he always forgets.

Pope Francis trying to recall that line in the Creed he always forgets.

During the flight, Francis defended himself against conservative criticism that his condemnation of trickle-down economics makes him a communist.

“I am certain that I have never said anything beyond what is in the social doctrine of the church,” he said. He said some may have misinterpreted his writings in a way that makes him sound “a little bit more left-leaning,” but he said that’s wrong.

Joking about doubts in some quarters over whether he is truly Catholic, he said, “If I have to recite the Creed, I’m ready.”

• • •

At a huge gathering in Philadelphia later today, the World Meeting of Families, comedian and Catholic Jim Gaffigan will perform for an estimated 1.5 million people. You can hear a great interview with him on NPR’s Fresh Aire from earlier this week or read highlights at the link.

Here’s Jim Gaffigan on CBS Sunday Morning, talking about Pope Francis:

 

• • •

For the first time ever, the Pope spoke to Congress the other day.

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It was a memorable speech, but perhaps the most memorable thing that happened in its wake was that Speaker of the House John Boehner decided to resign from Congress. Boehner, a Catholic who was visibly moved to tears on several occasions in Pope Francis’ presence, later told reporters of a private moment with the pontiff that touched his heart.

1443189471_john-boehner-article“As the Pope and I were getting ready to exit the building, we found ourselves alone and the Pope grabbed my left arm and said some very kind words to me about my commitment to kids and education,” he said.

Then Pope Francis reportedly asked for Boehner’s prayers, a hallmark of the Vicar’s papal style.

“I mean who am I to pray to the Pope?” Boehner said, pulling out his handkerchief.

 

In other news, this week beloved baseball player and wordsmith Yogi Berra died at age 90. The New York Post was kind enough to post 35 of Yogi’s most memorable “Yogi-isms.”

Yogi-Berra1. “It ain’t over till it’s over.”
2. “It’s deja vu all over again.”
3. “I usually take a two-hour nap from 1 to 4.”
4. “Never answer an anonymous letter.”
5. “We made too many wrong mistakes.”
6. “You can observe a lot by watching.”
7. “The future ain’t what it used to be.”
8. “If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.”
9. “It gets late early out here.”
184517_4687960_ver1.0_640_48010. “If the people don’t want to come out to the ballpark, nobody’s going to stop them.”
11. “Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical.”
12. “Pair up in threes.”
13. “Why buy good luggage, you only use it when you travel.”
14. “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”
15. “All pitchers are liars or crybabies.”
16. “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”
17. “Bill Dickey is learning me his experience.”
18. “He hits from both sides of the plate. He’s amphibious.”
19. “I always thought that record would stand until it was broken.”
20. “I can see how he (Sandy Koufax) won 25 games. What I don’t understand is how he lost five.”
21. “I don’t know (if they were men or women fans running naked across the field). They had bags over their heads.”
22. “I’m a lucky guy and I’m happy to be with the Yankees. And I want to thank everyone for making this night necessary.”
23. “I’m not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did.”
24. “In baseball, you don’t know nothing.”
25. “I never blame myself when I’m not hitting. I just blame the bat and if it keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn’t my fault that I’m not hitting, how can I get mad at myself?”
26. “I never said most of the things I said.”
27. “It ain’t the heat, it’s the humility.”
28. “I think Little League is wonderful. It keeps the kids out of the house.”
29. “I wish everybody had the drive he (Joe DiMaggio) had. He never did anything wrong on the field. I’d never seen him dive for a ball, everything was a chest-high catch, and he never walked off the field.”
30. “So I’m ugly. I never saw anyone hit with his face.”
31. “Take it with a grin of salt.”
32. (On the 1973 Mets) “We were overwhelming underdogs.”
33. “The towels were so thick there I could hardly close my suitcase.”
34. “You should always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise, they won’t come to yours.”
35. “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

• • •

And finally, we must not forget to mark the fourth blood moon, which shall appear tomorrow night as a “supermoon” with a lunar eclipse thrown in just for fun. John Hagee is dancing in his underwear over this one, folks.

Don’t let the blood moon get ya.

Comments

  1. Dan from Georgia says:

    First! And love the Pope memes and Yogi-isms!

  2. Brianthedad says:

    Dang! Missed by two minutes!

  3. It IS true. Yogi didn’t say all of those reputed sayings.

    And Pope Francis, remember Jesus was cheered when He entered Jerusalem. Three days later…

    • Michael Bell says:

      Two different sets of people. Like Jesus, the Pope is going to have his supporters and his critics.

    • oscar, Do you really think Pope Francis is not aware of how fickle the admiration of the masses can be? Do you think he hasn’t counted the cost? Do you think his love for people is not patterned on the love of Jesus, who also knew the dangers that faced him, but continued to love and serve nevertheless?

      • Robert, stop being such a “stick in the mud”! Does every comment HAVE to bear a weighty tone? MINE certainly wasn’t offered as such, neither was it made in the spirit of criticism. The Pope is not stupid, nor does he exhibit any of the hallmarks of narcissism. His visit has been the highlight of the week and an inspiration for many, just not for me.

        • If failure to notice the “lightness” of a comment that compares the situation of Pope Francis with that of Jesus at the beginning of the week that led to his crucifixion makes me a “stick in the mud”, so be it; conversely, your ability to be so transparently witty about so grave a matter must make you the “King of Comedy and Arbiter of All Things Humorous”.

        • Jazziscoolithink says:

          Oscar, I can say in all honesty that I have benefited greatly from many of Robert’s comments–and many of them have been genuinely funny. I can also say in all honesty that none of your sad attempts at humor have ever come close to hitting my funny bone–except for the deep, unintentional irony of you criticizing others for not having your sense of humor.

        • Daniel Jepsen says:

          Wow, guys, Oscar was just making a a point about the fickleness of the crowd. No need to dump on him.

          • Apologies. Too many bad years hearing every single adult behind the pulpit call the pope the antichrist, and then seeing an allusion to Christ riding into Jerusalem to cheers, similar to how an often preached on fictional character will do while “fooling” everyone cheering him on, but compared to the current pope…

          • Jazziscoolithink says:

            Oscar’s initial point about the fickleness of crowd’s wasn’t the issue for me–more his dumping on Robert, not to mention his discourteous dumping on whatever Ramblings author fails to meet the fickle demands of his sense of humor.

          • Thank you Daniel. Ramblings are supposed to be light hearted, ironic, slightly irreverent and just plain funny. That some may continue to see things in a “heavy” manner is not my problem unless they imply that my comments may be caustic, then it is THEIR’S.

            At least I know who will not be on MY Christmas list…

          • Ramblings are supposed to be lighthearted, ironic, slightly irreverent and just plain funny.

            I didn’t know that was a law inscribed on the Tablets of Stone. Thanks for enlightening me.

          • jazziscoolithink says:

            “That some may continue to see things in a ‘heavy’ manner is not my problem unless they imply that my comments may be caustic, then it is THEIR’S.”

            I’ve read this sentence about 5 times, and I just plain cannot make sense of it.

    • Subtle allusion to the antichrist, nice.

  4. Eckhart Trolle says:

    Pope v. Trump–you know you’d watch that on Pay-Per-View.

    • Jazziscoolithink says:

      There’s no way Trump would fight fair. Frank’s only chance would be an ex cathedra condemnation of Trump.

  5. Not many personages could replace the Saturday Rambler with a Fiat. He must really be something! Anyway, we don’t need no stinkin’ Ramblers….or……something. He’s thrown the whole thing into a tizzy. Did he make Boehner resign?

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > Did he make Boehner resign?

      No, but bringing the Pope to address congress has been one of Boehner’s dreams/goals for a long time. Previously the Vatican has demurred on his requests. This makes the perfect cap-stone to Boehner’s career, at a time when many in his party are headed in a different direction; it is the an elegant retire-with-dignity off-ramp for him. And he is a recently minted grand-father.

  6. On a side note, I think Stephen Colbert gave a good example with his coverage of the Pope’s visit this week on how to publicly express religion with wit, respect, and intelligence.

  7. Speaking of blasphemy, any thoughts about the new Office/Modern Family styled Muppet Show? I thought it lacked humor and was cynical to the point of being depressing. Supporters downplayed critics by making it all about the blue language (yes, cussing Muppets) and that old timers need to get over the past and get with the times (wow, sounds like church). It just wasn’t entertaining. Sadly, I think I expect more from a Muppet than I do from a Kardashian. What could be edgier than the Muppets and Alice Cooper?

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      Thanks for the review; I couldn’t bring myself to watch it, it seemed it would inevitably be awful.

      Classics are wonderful often as a result of the context in which they were made … remaking a classic rarely works for this reason.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      Sounds DAAAAARK(TM) and EEEEEEEDGY(TM).

      Like Women In Refrigerators — SEE HOW CLEVER I AM?

    • I might still give it a chance and watch one or two more episodes but I agree – it doesn’t look good…
      (But hey, I have to do something while waiting for Fresh Off the Boat to come on…)

  8. Daniel Jepsen says:

    Awesome Ramblings. I loved the Yogo-isms.

  9. Loved the ‘caption’ on the photo of Francis speaking to our Congress 🙂

  10. “It’s not easy being Catholic today in America. It’s a little like being a Cubs fan for the last hundred years.”

  11. Brianthedad says:

    If it’s cloudy and overcast tomorrow night here in Alabama, and we can’t see the blood moon, what does that mean for my fundamentalist hageeite acquaintances?

  12. I marvel at the courageous faith of Pope Francis. His availability to the crowds who come to see him, his wading into the thicket of those crowds, exhibits the spirit of Jesus himself. He knows the danger, but as a shepherd he is unwilling to let that danger keep him away from the people he loves and seeks to serve. Here is a true shepherd, embodying the great Shepherd who sent him. God bless and protect Pope Francis; may all be inspired by his example, and touched by his brave love.

    • Amen, Robert.

      • I do not agree with all that the Roman Catholic Church teaches, and I do not agree with everything this Pope says or does. For instance, I don’t like the choice that was made to canonize Junipero Serra: I suspect that the desire to make a highly symbolic public gesture at this particular moment, rather than the merits of the individual, played too great a part in that choice.

        But I have been humbled to see how authentically and intentionally Pope Francis has adopted the spirit of Christ, and how much love he has for people, Catholic and non Catholic. Even where I believe he has made mistake, I have no doubt that they were mistake made with the best intentions, and with a heart of love for all people. I feel as if I’m watching the unfolding story of a Saint in the making. It actually has brought tears to my eyes.

  13. And yet…And yet…

    What has Pope Francis actually done?

    I live in Washington DC and I’ve had a front row seat this week to the Pope Francis diabetes inducing love fest. Even otherwise sober pundits who are prepared to skewer politicians right and left have succumbed to the temptation to gush.

    So I ask again…what has Pope Francis actually done?

    Well he occasionally lets slip comments that thrill people who want to believe the Church might fundamentally change. But a week or ten days later a Vatican lackey scuttles out and assures the faithful that in fact nothing will actually change. Of course the media latches on to the first statement and broadcasts it globally and the notice about the “clarification” is buried below the fold in the newspaper on page 14.

    Shortly after the Pope was elected the Vatican hired ex-Fox News correspondent Greg Burke to assume the position of Senior Communications Adviser to the Vatican’s Secretariat of State. Now if a politician or a sports team had done this we would expect a massive PR campaign. Of course Popes don’t do that kind of thing now do they? Do they?

    Look I’m not a Roman Catholic and consequently there are a lot if issues in the Church that are beyond my concern. I don’t care if priests are celibate or whether the wafer actually turns into the body of Christ. You folks have a blast hashing those things out for yourselves. But many of the doctrines of the Church have a world wide impact on the lives of billions of people. For example in a world of mass overpopulation and the resulting consequences it’s dogma on contraception seems simply immoral.

    And until the Church addresses the issue of sexual abuse and the Church response to sexual abuse – I mean REALLY addresses it- the Church has no moral authority to speak on any other issue. NONE.

    I say these things not out of malice or cynicism. The Church could do a lot of good in this world. But it’s always on the cusp of big changes but somehow never manages to actually change. Why is that?

    • I understand what you’re saying. I agree with you in part. As a mainline Protestant and former Roman Catholic, I disagree with many teachings of the RCC, and some of what this Pope has said and done. This recent canonization of a man who was as much a colonizing invader as a loving sharer of the gospel, a canonization objected to by Native Americans and done at this time for reasons I believe to be not entirely spiritual, is an indexer to the kinds of problems and deficiencies the RCC has in its relationship to the rest of the world. The Pope has done some good things in addressing the abuse scandal, but it seems to me he could do more, and should do more. And like you, I believe that the roadblocks the Church has put in the way of distribution of contraceptives in poor nations has actually led to terrible suffering for many.

      But perhaps we are not privy to just how difficult it is to change things in Rome, even for a Pope who has the best intentions. You can say that it’s an internal RCC matter that doesn’t concern you as a Protestant, but the streamlining of the annulment process, which puts far greater authority and power in the hands of local bishops to proclaim annulment, and is actually far more than mere streamlining, may be an indicator of the kinds of changes this Pope wants to make. Decentralization of the power, authority and decision-making of the RCC would probably lead to local bishops in many places making pastoral decisions that move in the direction of the kinds of changes that you and I would like to see; but this would be gradual, and less than dramatic. No violent, sudden revolutions here, and maybe not something that would satisfy our taste or desire for swift and marked change, but real change nonetheless.

    • One example of a major thing that he has done is his selection of cardinals. Combined with his admonishes to the cardinals to change their attitudes, this is something that will have a long-term impact that we can only glimpse now. Think of the impact of priests in the 1960s who were inspired by Vatican II — they heard a message and responded in a variety of ways. Another not insignificant change is Francis’s demand for financial transparency, including instituting a reform in accounting at the Vatican. That sounds a bit dull, but it is is a very large undertaking and it has sent shockwaves rippling out around the world. Here’s one discussion url=http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/09/14/holy-orders-letter-from-the-vatican-alexander-stille discussion

      That financial piece is a concrete realization of the Pope’s emphasis on a church with a greater focus on the poor. A recent example: a German bishop came under scrutiny for a luxury renovation of his residence; was met with Pope Francis and was suspended, then later resigned. Any Pope might have disciplined an overspending bishop, but in the context of Francis’s other statements, something like this sends a message that Pope Francis is serious about wanting a more humble, modest Church.

    • Final Anonymous says:

      He demoted Burke. Earned his crown right there.

    • I’m going to push back on this a bit and point out that a person could ask the exact same question about Jesus.

  14. I thought it was humorous that Opus in the Bloom County cartoon strip was running for president this week (of the national punctuation day) under the wedge issue of two spaces after each period.

  15. My favorite “Yogi-ism” was actually uttered by his son, Dale, who at the time played for the Pittsburgh Pirates. During and interview with sports reporters after a game he reportedly got a little irritated when everyone wanted to compare him with his father, Yogi. His retort? “You can’t compare me with my Dad …our similarities are different!” A chip off the old block, methinks.

    Savor the weekend, all … 🙂

  16. How is it the “Vicar of Christ” never once mentions him? Politics rule the day.

    • Everybody knows whose name Pope Francis comes in; there was no reason to belabor that point before the chief political body of a republic that’s supposed to represent all citizens of whatever faith, or no faith. You can be sure that this Pope is not afraid of the name of Christ, of living in the light of that name, or of dying for it, if necessary.

      It was funny to watch the two partisan sides of the congressional body each in turn rise and applaud, or sit down and remain silent, depending on whether or not they agreed with what he was saying at that particular moment. It’s a great tribute to the Pope that he had the two sides repeatedly standing and sitting in succession, like confused congregants at Sunday Mass; I doubt that any other speaker has ever given them a better workout. It was comic, and it pointed to just how much what he had to say, which is rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ, confounds and frustrates all human political expectations.

      Yes, the Pope was being political: he was practicing the politics of the Kingdom of God.

      • “I believe in the sanctity of human life at all stages of its development…”

        *thunderous applause*

        “Which is why I also fight for the worldwide abolition of the death penalty.”

        *crickets*

    • I don’t think anyone was in danger of misconstruing who the Pope is and Whom he represents. 😉

    • Haven’t heard the address myself, just going off of reports I’ve read, but if he didn’t take at least a little time to preach Jesus crucified, risen, and Lord of all, then that is sad. He is, according to Catholics, supposed to be the representative of Christ on earth, the successor of Peter. I can’t imagine Peter standing before such a body and not mentioning Jesus. Sometimes the problems with preachers and Popes is not what they say, it is what they don’t say.

      • His very presence preaches. That’s one of the reasons he doesn’t wear business suits, or street clothes. People know what he’s about.

      • If you want to know the difference between the Pope’s addresses and his sermon’s, then listen to them. I don’t think the Pope was invited to ‘preach’ to the Congress, he was invited to address them. When he gives a sermon, it’s a sermon.

        I think he comes speaking for Christ every time he comes speaking for the hungry, the poor, the homeless, the refugees, the cast-off members of our human race. And when Francis speaks for them, we know Who he is representing, yes.

        I’ve had enough of Duggars spouting ‘Jesus’ and then producing the boy-wonder of fundamentalism in all his unfaithful glory. I’ll take the simplicity of Pope Francis asking folks to reach out and help the helpless. If you can’t hear an echo of the voice of Our Lord in Francis’ plea for the helpless, listen again, this time from the heart.

        • Don’t you know, Chistiane? You gotta sell that fire insurance every chance you get, otherwise you’re not a faithful believer. In fact, the whole creation is just an auditorium dedicated to the sale of fire insurance.

          • Yup. It doesn’t matter how you treat people or what difference you make in the world as long as you make the pitch.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            See “Wretched Urgency” by Internet Monk.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

            You gotta sell that fire insurance every chance you get, otherwise you’re not a faithful believer.

            And don’t forget “…or God WILL Punish YOU!”
            op cit Ezekiel 33 and/or Revelation 3:16.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          I’ve had enough of Duggars spouting ‘Jesus’ and then producing the boy-wonder of fundamentalism in all his unfaithful glory.

          And before the Duggars it was John & Kate Plus Eight spouting ‘Jesus’ (even to the point of having their own Christianese celebrity autobiography and theme study Bible in the Jesus Junk stores).

      • Yes, he should have had an altar call!

        • Good point! You know, that was a great deficiency in Paul and the Apostles: They didn’t have altar calls.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Jon apparently has mistaken a Papal Address for the Four Spiritual Laws Romans Road Chick Tract ending in The Altar Call. (op cit Wretched Urgency)

        • Wow. Just Wow. I don’t think I’ve personally been on the end of such a bunch of load of crap responses before, I thought those were just saved for Oscar. I didn’t say anything about fire insurance. I didn’t say anything about altar calls or about wretched urgency or anything like that. Why don’t you all just take your cynicism and set it aside for a moment. I said that a man who is supposed to represent Christ on earth should at least mention him when making such an historic address. I don’t care if it is an ‘address’ rather than a ‘sermon’. And notice that I didn’t attack the Pope for anything personal. I didn’t attack his positions or call him a liberal or say he is not really a Christian because he is Roman Catholic. I just said I think he ought to speak of Christ. I didn’t realize that thinking that the head of the largest Christian body on earth should speak of Christ was such a controversial thing.

          • Jon,
            My apologies to you for the part I played in attributing words and thoughts to you that were not yours. I don’t like it when it’s done to me, and I’m sure that you like it just as little. Again: my apologies.

            I do think, however, that the “should” you are imposing on the Pope is unfair. That he didn’t meet your expectations might mean that there’s something wrong with your expectations rather than with what he chose to articulate.

          • Robert,
            As far as the Pope’s address goes, we just have a disagreement, we’ve both stated our points, and it is probably best to just agree to disagree. But I do appreciate the apology and I do realize that much of what people say here is a reaction against what they have experienced in their past.

      • Richard Hershberger says:

        Here’s a hint: you know how when you go to a funeral, the preacher will sometimes take this as an opportunity to evangelize a captive audience? It just pisses them off and makes them dismissive of Christianity.

    • I can’t speak for him, but my suspicion is that a) he’s not entirely speaking politics, in our common American definition, anyway; and b) He’s intentionally not saying a lot that he could, because he’s keeping his audience in mind. In fact, I don’t think there are any Pope in recent memory who didn’t speak to politics, they just weren’t as apparently left-leaning as this guy.

      I’ve been noting recently how much slander there is right now about how P-Frank is a socialist (and thus, too political). Pope Francis’ quote in the Ramblings seems to confirm my suspicion: this is the rank, unfounded logical leap of people who have had their pet political view attacked. There is absolutely no evidence what Francis is, politically, other than anti-capitalist.

      Politics is Christian. The course of human history, its refugee crises, its treatment of Creation and the consequences thereof, our treatment of the poor, families, children, and the vulnerable, are all very Christian, biblical and theological concerns. The Pope is not being as explicit as some would like about the theological underpinnings of what he’s saying, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. America has to get a grip and realize that Christianity has something to say about how the world is run. In Brian Zahnd’s words, we basically think that Jesus is “secretary of afterlife affairs.” I wonder what the average Christian thinks, regarding Jesus, the word “King” means, anyway?

      If I was going to complain about anything, it seems like he’s a little too optimistic about the ability of secular nations to deal with great problems. But I can’t really criticize optimism. At least he’s not saying things like “the earth is going to be consumed in a ball of fire…”

      We seriously need better ecclesiology in the popular Christian view of politics and faith ’round here…

      • …and by “round here” I was thinking of the USA, not iMonk…

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        At least he’s not saying things like “the earth is going to be consumed in a ball of fire…”

        That’s for the Fourth Blood Moon.

      • Richard Hershberger says:

        I strongly suspect that the “socialist” charge is made by people who think that “socialist” means “anything to the left of me” except, of course, for Saint Ronald, who gets a pass for his actual actions and policies.

        That being said, while “socialist” may be an inaccurate description of the Pope’s position, I am intrigued by the characterization of it as “slander,” as if one cannot be both Christian and socialist. As usual, I refer interested parties to Acts 2:44-45.

        • I meant “slander” as in saying something that is not true. Not necessarily that it’s intrinsically negative. Although the word is pejorative in the mouths of most of these people. I would have no problem with Christian socialism, if it was nuanced the right way. I’ve always thought the Acts 2 church is a a strong challenge to anyone who thinks communist principles can’t be Christian.

  17. The story of the congressman swiping the pope’s drinking glass and sharing the contents with family and friends is quite curious.

  18. I have even more admiration and respect for Pope Francis after his words and actions on his U.S. visit. What a great example of a deep and humble faith. And fearless — never afraid to speak truth to power. He’s getting attention and respect from those who have been repelled by certain segments of American Christianity. That is something the cause of Christ really needs.

    I hope the few remaining rabidly anti-Catholic fundamentalists are having some second thoughts, or at least experience an uncomfortable level of cognitive dissonance. 🙂

    • “I hope the few remaining rabidly anti-Catholic fundamentalists are having some second thoughts, or at least experience an uncomfortable level of cognitive dissonance.” They probably won’t, John, because Catholics are just too darn stingy. True story: a friend of mine was in Missouri when John Paul II was declared pope. He heard two women in the grocery store:

      “Did you hear they got a new pope?”

      “Yup. Catholic again, too. How come they never let anyone else have a turn?”

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      He’s getting attention and respect from those who have been repelled by certain segments of American Christianity. That is something the cause of Christ really needs.

      During my early days in SF litfandom, I observed a similar phenomenon. Old-school SF authors and litfans tend towards agnosticism, but a lot of them (even if hostile to religion in general) tended to have respect for the Catholic Church. (However, the pedo-priest sex scandals seem to have worn away most to all of this respect.)

  19. Substituting a Fiat for our Rambler?? Hurumph!

  20. At the papal mass right now….lots of people….

  21. Pope just drove by us….stopped to kiss a few babies

    • Mass about to start…about a third of the way back from the alter. See if you can see me….what a huge crowd