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Jingles for Jesus deadline draws near or maybe not

Considering their dubious quality, it’s hard to imagine why readers took so long to pen their Jingles for Jesus. Sic, in a rare move, has been lax about deadlines. But we warn the tardy that our patience is running out. (Lest we forget, this worthy venture was inspired by no less a papal prospect than Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, who suggested a little song and dance might re-fill the steadily emptying churches.)

Fr. Thomas Durkin writes from Maui on a letterhead borrowed from the Westin Hotel chain -- a relic “from my stay at the Call to Action conference in ’97.” His jingle goes to the tune of “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?” Too bad he didn’t send it. This has been that kind of competition.

* * *

Walter the Penniless, as every historian knows, is famous for helping to stir up the First Crusade. Back home in France, Walt was known by his real name, Gautier sans Avoir. It’s OK not to be amused by this.

* * *

James Cassidy, who naturally signs himself J.C. (well, it beats Butch), decided only “antiphons” would do. He sent in five, each an ecclesiastical land mine. For example:

Come and join the one true church.
Just learn the rules and end your search.
Our leaders lack agility,
But not infallibility.
In Lincoln just forget the attraction
Of signing up with Call to Action,
Unless you’re just anticipating
The sternest excommunicating
To give the bishop satisfaction.
* * *

Sic, thinking politics might be a good career move, has hitched (watch out, we are about to massacre a metaphor here) our wagon to the coattails of George W. Bush. As loyal readers know, we flirted with infallibility for a while, but infallibility -- even if it worked (and the trouble is, one is never sure whether it’s working) -- seems no match for those bags of Bush money.

Bernie Usera from Sturgis sent a clipping in which Bush said of the rumors about his drug-taking (which, if it happened at all, was when he was 6 -- in short, a youthful indiscretion), “They’re ridiculous.” This Space stands by our man.

* * *

What amused Usera was the juxtaposition of the Bush story in The Rapid City Journal with that of NCR’s art search for a contemporary Jesus, featuring his nibs on page 2, who was on the “Today Show” (a mediocre performance, if you ask Sic) the same day as Bush.

The papers have been full of rumors that Boris Yeltsin stole approximately half the wealth of Russia and moved it to Switzerland. Not true. Boris gave the money to the Bush campaign because everyone knows any money not in George W’s treasure chest by Election Day will no longer be legitimate currency.

* * *

Jingle persons who are reading this stuff only to see if they won the John Allen Memorial T-shirt may desist now -- the winner will not be announced until next time, if even then -- it’s a Sic prerogative. And a T-shirt with the pope on it deserves as much exposure as possible.

* * *

For those enthralled by the first Cassidy antiphon, here’s another:

Come and join the one true church.
Just learn the rules and end your search.
Though things are bad right here at home,
The pointy hats are cocked in Rome.
In Philly though there’s church expansion:
It’s mostly at the cardinal’s mansion.
And something made a prelate queasy
With Dick McCormick in Big Easy.
For one could just as well be Trojan
As a working theologian.
You kneel devoutly in your pew,
But thought could be a horse on you.
* * *

Sic’s friend Amica passed on “Things to Say if You Get Caught Sleeping at Your Desk”:

“They told me at the blood bank this might happen.”

“This is just a 15-minute power nap like they raved about in that time management course you sent me to.”

“Whew! Guess I left the top off the whiteout. You probably got here just in time.”

“I was testing my keyboard for drool resistance.”

“I was doing a highly specific yoga exercise to relieve work-related stress. Are you discriminatory toward people who practice yoga?”

“Someone must have put decaf in the wrong coffee pot.”

“ … In Jesus’ name, amen.”

* * *

Fran Soule wrote from Santa Barbara, “I couldn’t resist proving that I can write worse stuff than appeared in your Sept. 3 column”:

It’s really great to be a priest.
Or so it seems, to say the least.
You never have to want for food
Or shelter, ’long as you be good.
So guys, come swell the thinning ranks
Of clergymen (you gals: no, thanks!).
Then you’ll go out to bring the dim in,
And fill the pews with those laywomen.
* * *

And finally (for now) an offering from Thich Nhat Cleary:

Where to worship? Who can guess?
Mary’s Catholic? Surely, yes!
Joseph’s Quaker, lost in fog,
Jesu’s at the synagogue.
How to choose without a fuss?
Holy Family, pray for us.
* * *

(Between ourselves, it must be extremely frustrating for the average pope to know he’s infallible and yet to have his supreme self questioned by people who have the gall to call themselves the faithful, and especially by liberals.)

National Catholic Reporter, September 24, 1999