Thursday, August 25, 2005

Religious Consumerism

Good day, Children.

I apologize for the sporadic musings, but being the Holy Roman Pontiff is no small chore. I have a lot of pressing issues to deal with, but haven’t been able do much toward resolving them, because I have been being assaulted by the Religious Consumerism that I had spoken of during World Youth Day.

Apparently those purveyors of unadulterated consumerism and greed were quite impressed by the success of WYD – Cologne. The pontifical phone line has been ringing off the hook with various offers to shamelessly market my humble self and/or the great Holy Roman Catholic Church.

Here are some of the ridiculous and offensive proposals that have come in:

The American network, CBS was first to call. They suggested a Catholic version of Survivor called Survivor-Los Angeles. Their idea is to film a bunch of young men in a seminary that is located in a liberal diocese, then see if any of them can survive without becoming a heretic; whoever makes it through formation with their orthodoxy in tact becomes the winner, if no one makes it, then the least heretical person wins. Shocked by the mere suggestion, I rejected them outright.

Bravo called with an offer to do a show called Queer Eye for the Sacred Guy. Their idea was to send in some homosexual men to update various parishes. One man would be responsible for redecorating the parish by removing all of the “passé art” and functional furniture, like pews and kneelers - then replacing them with cushioned or bean bag chairs. A fashion advisor would design some flashy pastel or rainbow colored vestments that are as he said, “modernly classic, yet playful, and just scream, ‘Hug me, I’m the father you always wanted’”.

Another gentleman would focus on the priest’s appearance. Offering him tips on shaving, bath gels, hair dyes and “ready-to-go hairstyles that say, ‘I’m not all business’”. The priest would then receive pointers on how to “reinvent himself into the mod-guy who everyone is just dying to be around.” He would be instructed on how to not offend anybody’s sensibilities and how to keep the focus of the homily on himself. To these folks, I just said, “No thank you. You are suggesting nothing new, we’ve been seeing these very things played out for forty years; the only difference is, there hasn’t been a camera crew chronicling it.”

MTV wants to do a Real World -The Vatican, starring the likes of Cardinals Martini and Mahony, Bishops Lynch and Clark, along with myself and Archbishop Burke. They are even trying to secure the SSPX’s Bishop Williamson to mix things up a bit more. I simply told them that the real world is not something to attain, that they should focus on our Lord and His Kingdom.

Fox has an idea for a spin-off of the Simple Life. They want to take an Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) Sister and an Adrian Dominican and send them down to live with Mother Angelica’s Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration. I actually thought about that one for a moment, but I had to tell them that while it could only be edifying for the dissenting duo, it would be like imposing on those wonderful and humble Poor Clares a severe penance at best, or a horrible cancer at worst. I just couldn’t allow it to happen.

NBC offered to have a series called The Last Homilist Standing. I reminded them of how poorly they managed the Last Comic Standing and in a moment of clarity, they withdrew the offer on their own.

CTND (Catholic Television of Detroit) called with a suggestion called Vocation Swap. Their idea is to have an IHM nun spend the weekend as a priest, doing priestly duties, while the priest spends the same time protesting outside of nuclear power facilities and promoting a new kind of ancient spirituality that possesses a radical feminist agenda. My reply: No way, Jose, but thanks for reaffirming that you definitely need Abp. Burke over there in Motown!

Another producer from NBC called and wants me to star in a show called The Acolyte. The idea is to have a group of young men and women vie for the position to be the server at my Masses. I would give them difficult tasks to do, like memorizing the De Profundis or the Rite of Exorcism in Latin, designing a new miter for me, and finding innovative ways to remove table altars and restore beautiful high altars. At the end of every show, I would have to pick some one and say something like, "Little Sally; you’re excommunicated!" I just told them that I am not qualified to have this show, because I don’t have a hideous wig to wear.

Then he had the nerve to suggest a show called Fear of God Factor where a bunch Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist would have to do things like approach the altar without genuflecting, retrieve the Blessed Sacrament from the tabernacle, self communicate, and numerous other perilous deeds. I just hung up on the guy...but not before anathematizing him and all he produces!

Fox wanted to do a show called Average Peter. They would find a group of young schismatic men and introduce them to a “new pope’ who was just elected by Internet conclave, but who in reality is just a non-practicing Unitarian” and let the contestants vie for the new pontiff’s blessing and gain a plenary indulgence. I said, “I’m sorry, that’s just a little too real.”

I’m sure that is not all of the offers I had, but you get the idea. So you see, children; the Religious Consumerism is alive and well and ever-present. Be solicitous that you do not fall into the allure of its empty promises. It is indeed just another deception of the infernal enemy.

Monday, August 22, 2005

WYD Photo Album

Well Children, we are back from World Youth Day. What a marvelous time we had! I now more fully appreciate the sentiments of my late friend, Pope John Paul the Great, when on his deathbed he said regarding the youth, “I have looked for you. Now you have come to me. And I thank you."

I enjoyed being in my homeland once again, but I am anxious to get back to work on my encyclical. Before I get busy, I thought I would muse a little. My brother George took the time to gather some photos that were taken over the past week and assemble them in a virtual photo album. He then presented me with this most thoughtful gift to have as a keepsake of my very first World Youth Day. I am just so touched by this wonderful and personal gift that I thought I would share it with my St. Blog’s friends.

First, there are a couple of photos taken before we left for our homeland. I am particularly fond of the one with the crucifix.

Here’s one of my big brother. He looks good, which makes me happy. I just thought it was so nice of him to consider how much I would appreciate a picture of him.

Here I am on the airplane. If you are wondering why I look unhappy it is because the stewardess confiscated my Blackberry before the plane even got off.

It was quite breezy when I was getting off the plane. I even lost my zucchetto!

Talk about flattering...they even rolled out a red carpet to match my shoes.

Here I am giving the first speech of my trip.

Well, actually it almost blew away and I had a devil of a time collecting it.

Here I am on the boat passing Cathedral Square.

That blasted wind!

He even found a couple of pictures of the two of us together in our civilian clothes.

George certainly has his appetite back, but I cautioned him about all those carbs.

Ahh… Blessing a beautiful baby who has been suffering so.

Here I am addressing the youth.


Who says I’m not as fun as John Paul II?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Reaching out to the youth

Greetings children,

As you know, World Youth Day festivities are already underway. We (my staff and I) are getting the last minute things prepared for the trip to my homeland. I am very excited about having this opportunity to address the youth. As I reach out to those who are the future of the Church Militant, it is my heartfelt desire that they respond in kind and lead the Church through the New Springtime.

A very dear friend of mine, was quite effective at reaching out to the youth, you probably know who I am talking about, so it wouldn’t necessarily be namedropping to mention Pope John Paul II, a.k.a. John Paul the Great of happy memory. One of the many things that was so endearing about him was his extroverted personality and his ability to transcend generational barriers in order to reach the youth.

However, I have quite a different personality, yet I am confident in the success of this year’s WYD. The way I view things, even if I don’t reach the youth at the same level as my predecessor, those wonderful youth will help make up the difference.

All that being said; I have been working on my opening address to the youth. Some of my advisors have suggested that if I want to reach the youth I must step out of my ‘comfort zone’, as they call it. Ironically, I am not sure I am very comfortable doing that, but I have been giving it an honest try. I would like to share with you a sample from one of the working copies of my opening address. I have to admit that I am not very comfortable with the text, especially when I account for how it would sound with my accent. See what you think.

World Youth Day Address - working copy III

Word to your mother!
The Word came to us through our Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary; which was a really rad thing, ya know? Lord Jesus Christ didn’t come in a Beamer all decked in bling bling; no, he came to us in a lowly manger, clothed in humility and poverty. As Our Good Lord’s main-homey right now, I come to you in humility and without bling bling, save my Pescatorio and pectoral cross.

I bring you the 411 on the freedom that is the faith in Jesus Christ. The message of Christ is beyond cool; in fact, it is really quite bitchin’. One cannot view the Church as a bogart with a bunch of rules and bans. To the contrary, the Church is da bomb. It is like having a Lear jet to take you to new heights while you and your friends are chillin’ with your new found freedom.

I also come to remind you to just say NO to Relativism; for a soul is a terrible thing to waste. You see, my young homies; the Relativist would feed you a bunch of BS and tell you young men that it doesn’t matter if your pants hang down to your knees. Don’t be a chump, it makes you look like a punk and everyone knows it. Just say NO to Relativism!

Young ladies, the Relativists hook you into believing that going around half-naked makes you look hot, when in reality it saps you of your true beauty and often times just makes you look skanky. Simply reject those who would dis’ you and say NO to Relativism! I challenge all of you to ditch the chains of Relativism and hook up with da Man-God Himself, Lord Jesus Christ.

Children, you are free to let me know what you think about the above text; upon reading it again, I am more convinced than ever that I should stick to the manner and material I know, and simply trust the Holy Spirit to facilitate the connection between me and the youth. After all, being the pope I am the boss, no? Who is to say that some unnamed clerics, like Archbishop Marini, know more about these things than I?

In conclusion, Father Norbert has set me up with a laptop to take along with me. I don’t know how much time I will have for musing, but I will certainly have time enough for addressing the comment boxes. Please remember to pray for all the youths attending WYD and may God bless you all.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The assault on dignity

It has become apparent to me that a number of people are somewhat bewildered by the topic of my forthcoming 25th encyclical. Perhaps I should explain how the subject even came to light.

About two weeks ago, when they allowed me to have visitation with Chico, Chico and I were browsing the Internet seeking cat pictures. - BTW, a little side note: the latest Carnival of Cats is up at the Mind of Mog blog. - Anyway, Chico and I were having a grand old time Googling images of various cats. We searched about every kind of cat you can imagine; from Abyssinians to Turkish Vans, we sought them all. At one point Chico was feeling a little frisky, so we even Googled some Sphynx (hairless) cats. Oh what simple pleasures!

Unfortunately, Chico and I experienced evil firsthand. That brush with pure evil is what made me realize how depraved mankind can be and recognize how man sells out his own dignity as well as that of God’s lesser creation. The images that popped up on the monitor were so disturbing that Chico didn’t sleep at all that night. So disturbing they are, that I have to caution you before you proceed any further; that they are not for the faint of heart.

Please do not display the following images while your pets or little ones are in the room. I know how you children think, you are asking, “Papa, if they are so bad, then why are you displaying them?” To that I answer, I trust that you are mature and well enough formed in your faith to deal with such matters. Besides, I figured that if as Catholics we can chop up people’s dead bodies and value the tiniest of pieces, then we should be able to deal with anything in the material world, no matter how unbecoming it may be.

Father Norbert, my resident holy-geek, spent a lot of time setting this post up so that you could click on the thumbnails and have a larger version pop up. However, some relativist at Blogger has made it so we are free to insert any Java script we want, just as long as we are satisfied with it not working. Obviously, he is someone who attends one of those ‘communal penance services’, so popular in many liberal parishes in the USA. Anyway, Father Norbert was instead forced to add (as he put it) ‘cheesy links’ to the larger photos.

First we have an example of man taking morbid delight in the nature of beasts. Oh, that poor little kitty!
Larger image of: Dogfood kitty

Here we have an example of man’s twisted mind attempting to turn nature on its head. Shameful!
Larger image of: I taught I taw a Putty Tat

It just makes me want to ask, "Brother, do you not have anything better to do than think of ways to humiliate God’s fluffy little creatures?"
Larger image of: Immodestly dressed kitties

Oh gluttonous man!
Larger image of: Catfood
Will your perverted appetite ever be satisfied?

Poor baby…the inhumanity of it all!
Larger image of: A tall glass with a nice head

Just look at what an undignified thing man did to this kitty; that look of despair-turning-to-rage just haunts me. I sure hope you children aren’t smiling; that would just be sick!
Larger image of: Undignified grooming

Not one...
Larger image of: Gutter cat 1

but two examples of man poisoning innocent kittens for fun and profit.

Larger image of: Gutter cat 2

Okay children, NO laughing! But just what kind of warped mind would take their God-given artistic talent and use it to exploit God’s innocents?

Admittedly the artist was very clever in creating the flower, but nevertheless it is just seems so evil.

Larger image of: Clown Mass Mascot

Then sometimes you just have to ask in amazement, "what the…?"

Larger image of: Scary cat

Mind you children, that this was just a sample of the horrors that are out there. The dignity of the cat is under full assault and for every exploited kitty out there; there is a man who is falling further and further short of the glory of God. We must pray for them, that they may return to the dignity that our Lord intended for them, and with that, the cute and fuzzy kitties will be truly free.

That is all I have to say on the matter for right now, you can read the rest in Dignitatis Felidae when it is promulgated.

Monday, August 15, 2005


Good news, children. I just received an e-mail from Kathryn Lively, administrator of St. Blog’s webring. Your Papa is now an official member of your humble parish, complete with his own envelope number and everything! I am honored to be counted among you.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Back to the drawing board

Hello children,

I am sorry that I haven’t been musing lately. Believe me when I tell you that I would much rather be musing than working on this dag-nabbed encyclical, but thus is the vineyard in which the Good Lord desires his humble servant to labor in right now.

As you may have detected by my tone, my work on the encyclical has not been going too well. I had it nearly completed before I allowed my friends and advisors to look it over. They loved it immensely and had commented about how unique and brilliant it was, but they advised me that they thought it was too heavy and thought provoking for a pontiff’s first encyclical; that my first encyclical should be a little lighter and conventional.

One dear friend whose opinion I value greatly, suggested that I shelve it for now and issue it as my 25th encyclical, provided that nothing else becomes more pressing at that time. I know you are as curious as a cat, but this trusted friend’s name is not important to this musing, nevertheless I am referring to Cardinal Arinze. The only person who didn’t like it was my brother, George. He said it was a stupid idea, but I think he is just jealous that his little brother became pope before him. You know brothers!

I figured that since my fellow St. Blog’s parishioners are so loyal to the Holy See and take an above average interest in these things, that I would give you a little taste of my forthcoming 25th encyclical. I only ask that you be discreet and keep this among yourselves; this is one cat we don’t want let out of the bag. We wouldn’t want the folks at the National Catholic Reporter or America Magazine to get a head start on finding ways to dissent from it. So without further ado, here is the introduction:

Dignitatis Felidae

To the Bishops
Priests and Deacons
Men and Women religious
lay Faithful
and all People of Good Will
on the Dignity, Value and Inviolability
of Feline Life


Venerable Brothers, and dear Sons and Daughters
greetings and the Apostolic Blessing!

The splendor of creation shines forth in all the works of the Creator and, in a special way, in cats, created for man to give him companionship and affection.


And the Lord God having formed out of the ground all the beasts of the earth, and all the fowls of the air, brought them to Adam to see what he would call them: for whatsoever Adam called any living creature the same is its name (Gen 2:19 [D.R.]).

By allowing man to name the creatures, God gave man dominion over them. This gift of power given to man by God increases the dignity of man without detracting from the dignity of the lesser creatures. In fact, the dignity of man is intimately connected to the dignity he affords the lesser creatures, not the least of which is the domestic cat. When man fails to respect the dignity of the cat, he in turn diminishes his own dignity. Let us examine this sublime relationship between man and cat.

Pretty good stuff if I don’t say so myself. Unfortunately for you, you will have to wait a while to read it in its entirety. For now you will have to be content with twenty-four encyclicals of the tired old stuff like the collapse of the Church in Europe, Relativism, etc. Unfortunately for me, it’s back to the drawing board. I just don’t see how I can get an encyclical out before World Youth Day now. Please remember to pray for your Papa.

Friday, August 05, 2005

A brotherly musing

Good day, children. Playing my piano in the soft glow of my candelabra and reflecting on yesterday’s events, I couldn’t help but to think to myself, “I wish my brother George was here.” Then I had a brilliant idea: I will muse about him!

I am sure most of you are aware that my brother George, who has been visiting me here at Castel Gandolfo, had to be taken to the hospital yesterday. The doctors implanted a pacemaker to regulate his heartbeat and they expect a satisfactory recovery.

However, I am asking you dear children to pray for my big brother, George. He is a very good man and an excellent priest and would be very appreciative. In case you are wondering; no, I’m not just saying that because he’s my brother and therefore I have to say nice things about him. I really mean it, and that is in spite of him calling me a twerp all the time when we were kids, or all the wedgies he gave me, or the time he was swinging an incensor in the house and broke Ma’s lamp, then blamed it on me. I could go on and on, but out of charity I won’t.

Nevertheless, he is a good guy and I harbor no ill feelings from my childhood. In fact, if I really wanted to get him back, I could. You see dear children, when George and I were young, we used to play priest. Oh what fun we had! One day when we were playing, George said that he just got word from Rome, that there was a conclave and the cardinals elected him pope, and that as his first pontifical act he was going to excommunicate me for using his football without asking (that is a soccer ball to you Americans).

I was so upset that I was beside myself. I begged him to lift the excommunication, but he refused. He held that thing over my head for years it seemed. It may not seem like a big deal now, but at the time I was traumatized over the whole thing. What is beautiful about Providence is that there really was a conclave and take a wild guess as to who was elected pope? That’s right - your Papa Ratzi. Perhaps when George is released from the hospital and we know everything is OK, I’ll remind him of the time he “borrowed” my bicycle without asking.

In concluding this humble musing, please keep my brother, Fr. George Ratzinger, in your prayers and God bless you.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Good news, bad news

Good day, children. I would like to apologize for not musing lately, but I trust you will understand. This week started out rather rough. Sunday, being my busy day at work, didn’t allow for any musing time. Yesterday, my computer started malfunctioning, so I called one of the holy-geeks, Fr. Norbert, to come fix it. Apparently I had a bunch of ‘spyware’ on my computer, so Fr. Norbert had to take my computer away to fix it and brought in a loaner. He also explained about the browser wars, web standards, operating systems and security issues.

You see, dear children, your Papa was unwittingly operating contrary to the principles laid out in the encyclical by Pope Leo XIII of happy memory, Rerum Novarum. In using the browser that came packaged with my computer’s operating system, I was supporting the efforts of a monopoly bent on dictating the market and denying computer programmers their dignity to create and market superior products that will benefit all of society, especially the poor.

As is so often the case with issues of social injustice, you can find Relativism in operation behind the scenes. Considering the web browser issue, the relativist would say the common good is defined by whoever controls the market. To them, the only operating principle is the power to control, and there are no principles directing the means to gain that control.

The resulting consequences are price gouging, lack of innovation, inconsistently applied standards and their forfeiting of security in order to maintain their dual monopoly in the market place.

For this reason, Fr. Norbert is going to install something called Firefox. He informs me that it will change the way I browse forever. He has also assured me that it is the product of benevolent individuals working for the common good, rather than the fruits of a monopoly or some socialist utopian scheme thought up by some Jesuits.

The good news that I have to report is that they allowed Chico to visit me today. What a joy it is; I graciously thank our Lord for this most wonderful treat. I think Chico is really impressed with the Internet; we spent at least an hour googling images of cats. The loaner that Fr. Norbert left for me to use has one of those cheap little webcam thingies on it; so Chico and I had a videoconference with an admirable and dear Franciscan friend; not to be a namedropper, but his name is Archbishop Chaput.

Chico sure seems to have a flair for the limelight. He was all over the place trying to hog the camera! I thought it was so adorable when Archbishop Chaput stepped out of the camera’s view and Chico tried to follow him off the monitor.

I snapped a picture of my Chico to share with you dear children. Isn’t he lovely? Anyway, I have to go for now; litter box duty, you know. God bless you.