Parting Glances: Swiss Guard buttons

By |2018-01-16T12:50:52-05:00March 30th, 2006|Opinions|

Beloved friends! I bring you greetings from good Sr. Serena Scatterpin, Renegade Sisters of Mary, who’s just returning from a fabulous Q-Line Cruise of the Mediterranean, with a special two-day busing layover at Rome and the Vatican, planned especially with American Recovering Catholics in mind.
Sr. Scatterpin journeyed with Father Chalice Everhope. (His Bank of Opus Daily credit card covered all expenses.) In addition to sightseeing and much checking out of Vatican Swiss Guard uniforms, our intrepid sister privately had a special mission — purely spiritual, to be sure.
(ASIDE: For months your humble BTL columnist has been pledged to a vow of celibacy — er, I mean, secrecy — but because of recent media coverage concerning one Cardinal A. J. Maida’s $150 million ecclesiastical White — not necessarily Republican — Elephant, I’m now at liberty to confess all.)
According to Sr. Scatterpin, she advised the financially beleaguered cardinal — through her — that the $1 million of parishioner donations spent to fight the 2004 Ballot Prop 2 might better have been spent to hire big name entertainers for a PR gala at Pope John Paul II Cultural Center. (Even though Dubya officially cut the ribbon)
“Think what a difference it would’ve made to have Sir Elton John kick things off, or the Ballet Trocadero do the Martyrdom of St, Sebastian. Or Ellen give a monologue and a sprightly genuflection or two,” confided Sr. Scatterpin by long-distance cellphone.
“Did you get an audience with the Big Guy?” I asked, knowing full well that Sister fluently speaks several Berlitz travel languages, including High (and Low) German — though her church Latin tends to lose something in translation.
“Actually, Pope Ratzinger . . . Beg pardon, Pope Ben-e-dict XVI, was either off puttering in his Vatican garden or playing a game of Bocce with some Italian prelates. I did, however, meet a handsome Swiss guard hanging around St. Peter’s, obviously taken with my DKNY wash-and-wear wimple.”
“Did you get a chance to see the Pieta? We’ve heard there was a possibility it might be loaned to the Center?”
“Che bella! No, I didn’t. But here again: that fortune spent on Prop 2 could’ve neatly paid for shipping, insurance, and Pinkerton security to bring the sculpture here. Throw in a couple of klieg lights and some dazzling indoor plumbing. You’ve got your money’s worth. Rumor has it the Shroud of Turin’s a real consideration. Or — hold your breath — Michelangelo’s David.”
“Do you think there’s possibility of same-sex marriage in Italy — like Spain, the Netherlands, and England?” I asked, a little concerned that my cellphone minutes were costing me big bucks.
“My impression — and mind you this is only from the perspective of a Renegade Sister of Mary — merely the opinion of a once-virginal, ever-repentant (but still looking) religious — I think the Italians are ready for same-sex marriage but only if there’s no sex before same-sex marriage, if that makes sense?”
“I don’t know, sister,” I answered. “That might work for Sicilians, converted High Church Anglicans, and the occasional Monseigneur-at-large, but I don’t think your run-of-the-mill Italian Protestant (and what can be more run-of-the-mill than a Southern Italiano Baptist) would buy into that.”
“You just . . . might . . . have a point there, Charley, my boy,” shouted Sr. Scatterpin, her voice beginning to fade out over the ocean’s roar.
“Anyhoo. Do you think a Swiss Guard in tight pants might draw much of a museum crowd?”
“Only with a concession stand!” I signed off, wishing Sister Scatterpin a safe — smelling salts free — voyage back home, steerage class.

About the Author:

Charles Alexander