Feb 13, 2014


Hey, kids!  While you're waiting for some Olympic stitching updates, please enjoy a rant that percolated in my tiny brain last week.....

The new pope of the Catholic Church is a real pip.  He's got this bizarre notion that priests should tend to their flocks instead of amass airline miles attending conferences, and he has been consistently delivering this message:  "Wake up, kids.  Time to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort the sick, etc. etc. etc.  We need to get back to spiritual basics and re-prioritize ourselves."  And then he went and fired the Bishop of Bling in Germany (or wherever the guy was), refused to move into the Papal Ritz, and pretty much eschewed the wearing of the gold lame' and the big fat ruby ring.

(Rumor has it that he's not wearing the red shoes, either, but I haven't seen a picture of his feet yet to confirm this, so stay tuned.)

It is my humble opinion that this guy has the mental fierceness of a Jesuit, combined with the good nature of a Fransciscan, all wrapped up in the outfit of an old-school priest who didn't think a thing of inviting his homey to ride in the Popemobile with him for a spin around St. Peter's.

(Did you see that, by the way?  There's the Pope....tooling around the masses in the middle of the square, when all of a sudden he sees a guy from home and invites him to hop on board and go for a ride.  Can you imagine the conversation that took place in the Secret Service office THAT afternoon?)

Anywhoose....my point is, I think this guy is pretty interesting as popes go, and I can't wait to see what he does next.

So, with all of that in mind, I share with you the news that a) my beloved Alma Mater just inked a $100 million dollar deal with UnderPants (or some other crazyass uniform place) to dress up the football team for the next billion years and b) they announced a $400 million expansion of the football stadium.

$400 million.


Of the FOOTBALL stadium.

Now all of this wouldn't have been so bad were it not for the fact that the Board of High Exhalted PooBaas of my beloved university had a audience with the Pope (pleasee see above for context here), the day AFTER the announcement of the $400 million expansion of the football stadium was announced and TWO days after the $100 million deal with UnderPants was effected.

Let's go to the Vatican, shall we, and peek in on what I really really hope was the conversation....

BABBO (that would be the Pope):  Fr. John, welcome to Rome!  Thank you for coming to visit and for bringing along your very highly exalted entourage of what I presume to be extremely important peoples.

FR. JOHN (that would be Jenkins.  John Jenkins. President of You Know Where):  Thank you, Babbo.  It's a pleasure to be here (he bends, kissing the ring).  

(It is at this moment that a papal aide discreetly clears his throat to get Babbo's attention.  He leans forward, whispers something in Babbo's ear, and hands him a copy of the previous day's South Bend Tribune.)

(The Pope reads...brows furrowing.)

BABBO:  Fr. John, I see here that you announce great things.  But my English...it's not so good.  What is "stadium".  Is this a place for prayer and contemplation?

FR. JOHN:  Uh, no, Your Holiness.  The stadium is where we play football.

BABBO:  Ah!  Football!  So you are going to take this $400 million and make a place for all of the little children of the world to come play soccer in the name of wolrd peace, no?

FR. JOHN:  (Looking sideways for help from his entourage).  Uh, no, Your Holiness.  Football, as in American style football.  You know -- with pads and helmets and a funny shaped ball?  We have a team called the Fighting Irish, and they play their games in this building.

BABBO:  Oh, I see.  So the $400 million is going to help pay for these poor young men to better themselves on the field of sport, while getting in touch with their Catholic identity as students at your university?

FR. JOHN:  Uh, not exactly Your Holiness.  You see, our football team is already pretty well funded by our new corporate marketing partners, UnderPants.  THAT deal, which we just announced, was worth about $100 million.  THIS deal is for the expansion in which the new $100 million team will play.

BABBO:  Hmmm.  OK.  Again, my English.  It says here that the building will house new features that will further the tradition and Catholic identity of the university.  So these rooms here (he points at the architectural rendering on the front page of the paper)...this is where the praying and the ministering to the poor will take place?

FR. JOHN:  Uh, no.  Those are the new luxury sky boxes.

BABBO:  Sky boxes.  So that one can draw closer to heaven?

FR. JOHN:  Uh,  not exactly.  Sky boxes so that our wealthy alumni have a special place to have cocktails and watch the football game.

BABBO:  (Again pointing to the rendering).  And this room here?  A chapel?  A place for the poor of the community to come if they are in need of shelter?

FR. JOHN:  Nope.  That would be the new ballroom.

BABBO:  Ballroom?  You mean for more of the football?

FR. JOHN:  Uh, no.  Ballroom,  For dancing and parties, and concerts and other important scholarly functions that will help further the identity and mission of our Catholic institution.

BABBO: What about on this side of the football place? (He points to the eastern expansion).

FR. JOHN: (Smiling brightly.) Oh!  That's the new three-story rock wall!

BABBO:  Ah!  Rock wall!  You mean for praying and reflecting, like the one in Israel?  A very holy place where the peoples can come to talk to God and unburden their soul to Him?

FR. JOHN:  No (face falling), a rock wall that our students, faculty, and wealthy alumni can climb on for recreation.  You, know, Your Holiness, for when they get bored or have an extra twenty or thirty thousand dollars a year that they'd like to donate to us in the memory of somebody that was important to them.

BABBO:  (Looking at the rendering while mentally calculating the number of peoples that the $400 million could have fed, clothed, educated, nurtured, and otherwise saved.)  Well, thank you for coming to visit us today, Fr. John.  Here's a blessing for you (he makes the sign of the cross over group).  Please have a safe journey home.  (He turns to his papal aide, slowly shaking his head in disbelief, finishes his work for the day, gets in his Ford Focus and drives himself home to his studio apartment.)

The entourage makes its way to the exit, gets into the waiting limousines, and heads for the luxury jet that will take them to the next destination in their journey -- a yacht moored off the Amalfi coast.

The End.

I'm posting this here rant almost two full weeks after all of that happened.  Can you imagine what the rant would have been like if I would have actually let loose on the very day?  There's not enough soap on the planet to wash out THIS potty mouth, I tell ya!

Olympic stitching is coming along pretty nicely.  I will try to get a few pictures taken and give y'all an update! Until then....hope you're surviving whatever it is that's going on outside your window, and that you're warm and safe and dry with needles loaded and flying!


  1. Brava! I couldn't have said it better myself.

  2. I am on the same page with you on this ... only my rants focus on the Church in the archdiocese of NY.

  3. I love it when you get on a rant. You say it so much better than anyone else!

  4. I had no idea colleges were still doing corporate deals and building huge stadiums, particularly CATHOLIC institutes of higher education. Didn't they learn better there? Rant on, Spinster. Them deserve it!

  5. While reading, my blood pressure was rising to new heights. Again, the Church wishes to bring back their lapsed members. The new Pope apparently sneaks out at night, dressed as a priest to minister to the poor. Good gracious, what would Jesus do? I tried going to Mass after too many years to count. The Pope quit, so did I. Guess he heard about me. Thanks for the wonderful rant Coni.

  6. Coni - Methinks you should cc the South Bend Tribune, Sports Desk, with a link to you amazing rant. I am in awe of your well-written rant. When I get to this level, I tend to sputter, mutter, and swear. Good on ya!!!
    Tucson, AZ (Where it's supposed to be 88 tomorrow)

  7. Very interesting but not surprising. Football brings in money and sports rule in today's collegiate money battles. I did get to see your beloved university back in Sept and I toured the beautiful chapel and it's little museum with Papal artifacts. Some gorgeous needlework on those vestments to be sure. This funding is just a tiny example of priorities these days...unfortunately. I do agree that the new Pope Francis seems like breath of fresh air even though I'm not a Catholic.

  8. Wait. That wasn't true about the yacht, right? That was just hyperbole, or the writer's license, etc. Right? Right?

  9. I am a huge fan of another university that plays a little football. My school, the University of Alabama, spends a lot of money on its football program as well. The return on the football investment is huge, it pays for all of the sports that do not make money but that Universities are required to offer, a la Title 9. It probably also pays for the entire English department. I know it sounds awful, but there is another side to the story.

  10. Now - I'm not Catholic, but now that you put this all this way, YOU GO GIRL! I agree that this is a sinful waste of money when we have homeless on the streets, people who really want to work can find work and on an on and on...in our own Country no less. So thx for the rant. I like this Pope - He's got it goin on.

  11. I agree with your rant, Connie. For those who posted on any side, here is my question: Is there also a fund for TBI (TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY) that doesn't show up for years, but is a very real side effect of all of this?

  12. SPOT ON! Best rant I've read in years!!!

  13. I wonder if you can send your diploma back to them and ask if you can get one issued from a different university??? Doesn't look like claiming ND affiliation is all that wonderful anymore.