You may (or may not) remember that I decided to canvass the pages of Town Talk in the Suburban Journals each week for my favorite such rants. But as soon as I announced that intention, the paper became completely devoid of anti-Catholic messages. Now that may be a good sign for religious tolerance, but it sure killed the buzz of a regular feature. I don’t want to give you the wrong idea– reading Town Talk is always fun, no matter what the subject matter, but I couldn’t see the relevance to this blog of commenting on parking meter inequities.
I am happy to announce, however, that a few excommunications have done the trick, and have brought the return of Archbishop Burke-bashing. Here is one to savor:
IT APPEARS THAT St. Stanislaus has a dissenter in the form of a resigned board member. Does anyone doubt that Archbishop Burke is pulling his strings? Hang in their (sic) St. Stanislaus and Father Bozek. I think Archbishop Burke was sent to St. Louis to specifically get the assets of St. Stanislaus and if he doesn’t succeed he will be removed from St. Louis, which will be a blessing.
At first blush, this person appears to be a crackpot. But don’t judge too hastily. I checked into this story and I think he is on to something… (insert Wayne’s World-style doodley–doot— doodley–doot— doodley doot, with wavy color wash here)…
Place: Vatican City, Apostolic Palace
Time: Early December 2004
Scene: Pope John Paul II conducts a hurried conference with Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Ratzinger: Yes, Your Holiness! What is it? Are you well, should I call the doctor?
Pope: Forget all that. I need help! The future of the Church depends on it!
Ratzinger: What, infidels?
Pope: No, worse.
Pope: No, no– much worse.
Ratzinger: Oh no, not liturgical dancers!?
Pope: No, thank heaven, it’s not that bad– it’s just that I heard some horrible news. There is a small ethnic Polish parish in the Midwestern United States with $9 million in assets, but of all the bad luck– they are owned by a private Board of Trustees! I simply must grab those assets!
Ratzinger: Which parish?
Pope: St. Stanislaus Kostka in St. Louis.
Ratzinger (opens file cabinet, retrieves file): Your Holiness, are you sure about that figure– the $9 million, I mean?
Pope: Why do you ask?
Ratzinger: Well, it seems to be in a somewhat dicey neighborhood, and there aren’t many families registered there. Might they be overvaluing the real estate a bit?
Pope: I don’t know, let me think. Yes, I think I remember it… I think I visited when I was a Cardinal. Yes, yes, I did. Nice people. Now, why would they exaggerate their financial position?
Ratzinger: I really couldn’t say.
Pope: Regardless, I simply must have those assets, whatever they are. Who’s our man there?
Ratzinger: Archbishop Rigali.
Pope: Rigali… hmm….good man– too diplomatic, though. Let’s move him. How does Philadelphia sound?
Ratzinger: He may not like it, Holiness.
Pope: No problem. I’ll throw in a red hat. What I need in St. Louis in order to get this done is the toughest Bishop we have.
Ratzinger: I’ve heard good things about Bishop Burke in LaCrosse. What do you say?
Pope: Will he back down from a fight?
Ratzinger: No way.
Pope: Good! I want him to stop at nothing to get that money. Pull the priests, suppress the parish, excommunicate any Polish priest from Springfield-Cape Girardeau that may stand in the way!
Ratzinger: Aren’t you afraid the Polish Catholics will blame you, a fellow countryman, for appointing him?
Pope: Make sure he takes all the blame, my son. Just send him in there specifically to get those assets.
Ratzinger: Yes, Your Holiness. But what if he doesn’t succeed?
Pope: Well, if he fails, we just remove him from St. Louis, which will be a blessing.
(Sudden rustling of curtains at the far end of the room, and a shadowy figure is observed hastening from the room)
Ratzinger: Your Holiness! I think someone overheard us!
Pope: You worry too much. Anyway, what are the chances it was someone from St. Louis? And what are the further chances that this person will sound the alarm in a few years by blabbing to Town Talk? Inconceivable! (laughs heartily)
Cardinal Ratzinger bows, and the scene fades to black…
I don’t know, it seems plausible to me.