Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Pharaoh of the Road

Yesterday was a quiet day in Philly because everyone went to West Virginia.

May sound like a joke, but it's true -- the caravan flocked to be present and cry like 200 mothers of the bride at the ordination of our own Michael Bransfield as bishop of Wheeling-Charleston.

No sooner had Bransfield -- known in some circles as "Million Dollar Baby" for turning the Basilica of the National Shrine in Washington into the mid-eight-figure cash cow that it is -- been anointed when he started speaking like a bishop. Addressing WV governor Joe Manchin at the end of the ceremony, Bransfield exulted: "I'm thankful I have a Democratic governor who is pro-life."

My, oh my... Ted McCarrick probably fell out of his chair.

And I thought you were smart enough to know, Michael, that anti-abortion doesn't mean pro-life.... Don't let me down.


The conservatives want the pope to go skiing.

Not so he can kill himself; they're interceding with Sr. Lucia -- who died nine days ago -- to restore his vitality and make him healthier than your humble writer. Not just stopping at one mountain-mover of an intention, they're also asking God to heal Terri Schiavo so she can dance the Marcarena and eat a steak dinner.

This is further proof of how out of sanity the Right are, and why if JP doesn't act smart, the same people who love him but hate every bishop and cardinal he's named will push global Catholicism to the depths of schism. Mark my words, my gentle snowflakes.

John Allen won't, but who said he was a snowflake?


Speaking of the Philadelphia diaspora, its mascot John Foley got some ink the other day for bristling at the use of anonymous sources in the coverage of the Holy See. This is because John Foley gets no off-record info to leak -- he went to Columbia J, he should know better.

The poor man is like the red-headed stepchild of the Roman curia.

I love Foley, we all love him because he's a widow of Krol -- and anytime he talks to any group of English-speaking people, he will tell them a story about Cardinal Krol. He spoke about Krol in Italian to the gathered press on Monday morning. It's just fabulous.

But Foley's again without a Number Two at the loneliest dicastery in Rome, the pontifical council for social communications. After just over a year with Boccardo -- the pope's former travel agent -- at his side, the secretary was moved to the Governorato (the government of the Vatican City-State), and now has another American to idle time with as he waits for the next big opening.

The Italians always like having a battle over this job. It's a feather in the cap for a faction to be able to send one of its own to supervise Foley -- Pastore, Boccardo... let's see who wins this time.

Bets, anyone?



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