Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Everybody's Hailing Pharaoh

Talk about playing nice, Philly got some reflected sunlight yesterday. In his installation homily, the new archbishop of Atlanta offered this tip of the hat:

In the words of a bishop whom I deeply admire, spoken to his priests in a similar situation, I now utter to you: 'You mean everything to me.'

Those words were used by Justin Rigali at his installation as archbishop of St. Louis, and again at the "now from the heavens descending" coronation in Rome -- er, Philadelphia (Rigalian slip, sorry) -- 15 months ago.

Wilton Gregory then proceeded to strangle the newly-retired Jim Keleher, who created the "sex-ring" mess in Belleville the former was sent in to clean up, then took credit for his successor's efforts.

Just kidding, at least about the choking part. Many congratulations and happy returns to Joe Naumann, new archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas, my fellow Wendy's late-night regular and, by all accounts, a prince and a gentleman.

Can John Blake of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution be forgiven for taking the "everything" comment out of context, presenting it as being uttered to the whole congregation? No, of course not... what did Wilton say about encouraging "expert commentary" from the secular press, members of RNA? And now his beat guy can't distinguish the presbyterate from the whole? Crikey -- I'm so much better than even I thought at this.

On Monday, the Belleville News-Democrat ran another gem from one of the most quotable people out there: Ronald Modras, a professor of theological studies at St. Louis University. Modras will be remembered by history for crowing that "Cardinal Re is the new pharaoh of the Vatican" when Justin Rigali was named to Philadelphia. And yesterday, another memorable salvo:

"I know some of us in St. Louis wish [Gregory] was sent here rather than Atlanta."

Some?! I guess "some" in this case means everyone who doesn't wear a mantilla or have excess millions for an ostentatious Marian shrine in the middle of cornfields. This is an understatement of understatements -- and time's shown that Cardinal Re is not the new pharaoh in the Vatican, but Modras' poppy quotes get him off the hook for that. (Plus he knows the difference between a comment addressed to priests and one for the whole congregation.)

Have faith, people, have faith. I haven't gotten any whiny e.mails from Jamie Allman just yet.... But I'm waiting, it's still early.

Bring it on, Jamiebomber.



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