Wednesday, June 29, 2005

State: "Boston Sucks!"

Buona festa a mi!

Let's face it, snowflakes, St. Rocco was just some Frenchman who got his leg licked by a dog -- it's apocryphal. Ergo, as almost everyone calls me "Rock," and we know what that translates into in Latin, welcome to my feast day. It's pallia time....

The subject line deserves some explanation. Once upon a time, I was sitting in the bleachers of Yankee Stadium (site of the first papal mass ever in the Americas, appropriately enough), and it was Free Hat Day. So, like a fascist army, the pinstriped masses were all outfitted in complimentary blue caps, and even more fired up because of it.

That day, the Toronto Blue Jays were the opponent. But, out of nowhere, as "Happy Birthday" sounded on the legendary organ, a chant overswept the crowd....


Someone held up a t-shirt with said statement printed on it from one of the shops across the street. And the birthday pause didn't matter a fig -- as always, BSox hate trumped everything else. Even when The Team That Ruth Left hadn't won a World Series in 84 years. Even when a Canadian team was on the field.

I've gotten a lot of e.mails asking about the prior posts about the curial tendency toward turf warfare -- i.e. "score 2 for CDF." And the baseball analogy goes a long way to explaining it. Apparently, some people are late to the realization that, like any bureaucratic structure, the Roman Curia is a very territorial place.

Because Italians are involved, this is more the case than usual.

Think of State as the Bronx Bombers -- they've basically run the table through the 20th century, thanks to three popes who hailed from and empowered it (Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI). Under them, there was no question of what office constituted la suprema, and where the focus of the Holy See lay -- ad extra, in the affairs of princes and states.

Despite the dominance, however, the "1918" (or whatever the Roman equivalent) banners and chants would still be pointed toward Sant'Uffizio from the Apostolic Palace.

Yet six months after Red Sox Nation came roaring back in 2004, whupped the Yanks in the LCS and won the Series, the first Grand Inquisitor in memory became Pope. And suddenly, just as the Sox were restored to their historic glory, so was the CDF -- the longtime suprema of former days. (Remember well that the leaders of the faction which tried to block Ratzinger's election were the titans of State, uniting all the great diplomats who usually squabble amongst themselves: Re, Sepe, Sodano, Rigali, Cacciavillan, et. al. Talk about your miracles....)

In these first days of a CDF Pope, the divide has basically broken down into State people vs. CDF people. It extends through the whole of the hierarchy, if you look closely enough. And everyone's keeping their eye on the box scores.

Could anyone imagine the Evil Empire and Fenway at peace? Just take that logic and apply it to 168 acres of Rome. Don't be surprised to see how well it fits.



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