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Sic, in lieu of infallibility, decides to give prophecy a whirl

Sr. Romana Hertel from Milwaukee writes, “Your page in the Nov. 20 issue is the best ever.” Why can’t everyone write such beautiful prose?

* * *

We are suddenly and inexplicably in the year 2017. Those bedraggled people lined up at the courthouse door are the last few Americans waiting to testify to Judge Starr. There has been no U.S. president since 2012 ’cause no one has been cleared by Starr for the job. You read it here first.

* * *

Move over, Shelley and Shakespeare. James Cassidy of Elmhurst is Sic’s latest poetry dude. And on the hottest topic in town:

Are you really on the level
That you’re looking for the devil?
Through Forums and Acropolises
You seek for Mephistopheles.
In modern and in ancient times
He walks in many different climes,
From 40 days of Jesus’ fast
To canvassed paintings from the past
His location is in question.
That should not cause indigestion,
For though you may not want to hear it,
He’s unseen for he’s a spirit.
You cannot really shoot or club
Pure spirits like Beelzebub.
* * *

The Cassidy opus arrived just as This Space was giving up the hunt for Satan. Between ourselves, there’s nothing so lacking in humor as a devil who doesn’t show.

* * *

The pope is coming to St. Louis in January, and you can’t imagine how complicated things are for the locals. A letter to all priests from Msgr. Stika warns against vendors selling papal wine without license from the archdiocese. “Nor will they be,” Stika adds adamantly.

This raises the question: What’s to stop This Space from selling pope-on-a-rope soap to the citizens of St. Louis? Furthermore, Sic has appointed ourself official columnist of the impending visit. Go ahead, tell Ratzinger.

* * *

“Dearest Sic,” begins Sally Butler, who refers to a New York Times magazine piece on status. The status symbol for RC clergy is cuff links, they say. For nuns it’s more complex: “I think the ability to add the most recent disaster to a prayer group’s list of intentions,” writes Butler. “The disaster must have taken place in an extremely remote part of the world and during the previous night.”

Butler invites suggestions for other status symbols. Well, let’s go.

* * *

And Jerry Filteau of San Antonio was “surprised to find in the McBrien column of Nov. 20 the astounding revelation that even as he railed against presidential sex, Special Prosecutor Starr himself engaged in ‘lip-pursuing moralism.’ ”

* * *

There’s also a booklet with “volunteer opportunities” for the papal visit. Here Sic sniffed our chance at last to place the pointy hat on the papal head, or maybe be back-up driver for the popemobile, but we can tell you right now, all the good jobs are gone.

What’s left is bleak: Bus Ticket Checker, Transportation Crew, Commemoratives Vendor (has an asterisk that we failed to nail down), Miscellaneous (don’t be fooled by this one; it means “willing to be assigned to any job not yet identified, inside or outside, anytime of day or night at any location” -- but not including commerce with the pope’s pointy hat), Walk Marshal, Bus Greeter -- you get the idea.

Each job requires certain skills, usually “pleasant, outgoing and firm.” That “firm” comes up a lot, for example Greeters: “firm, outgoing and diplomatic.”

* * *

These are children’s alleged letters to God.

Dear God: Instead of letting people die and having to make new ones, why don’t you just keep the ones you have now? (Jane)

Dear God: I went to this wedding and they kissed right in church. Is that okay? (Neil)

Dear God: Thank you for the baby brother, but what I prayed for was a puppy. (Joyce)

Dear God: Maybe Cain and Abel would not kill each other so much if they had their own rooms. It works with my brother. (Larry)

Dear God: You don’t have to worry about me. I always look both ways. (Dean)

Dear God: I think the stapler is one of your greatest inventions. (Ruth)

Dear God: I didn’t think orange went with purple until I saw the sunset you made on Tuesday. (Eugene)

* * *

Speaking of Linda Tripp: She’s out of work ’cause no one will work with her at her regular job. Go ahead, hire her.

* * *
But back to Cassidy’s “Sic Seeks Old Nic!”

You won’t find him lest in hell;
And bloodhounds can’t, he doesn’t smell.
The FBI’s out for they’d hate
Commingling of both church and state. ...
Your search must never end in panic
If it discovers what’s satanic.
It will cost much more by far
To leave it up to Kenneth Starr.

* * *

We now move forward to 2037. Starr is the only living person left in America. He had to subpoena people into not having more people in order to halt the population until he could interrogate everyone extant. People eventually died from boredom, even those with book deals, which was everyone who testified to the grand jury, which in turn was everyone alive, at least until the grand jury died one by one from a fungus caused by Kenneth’s powerful moral whatnots.

* * *

As anyone can see, Sic has moved from our infallibility phase to prophecy. We found infallibility a bust unless you hit a home run, i.e., something irrefutable and an eye-popper to boot. Other well-known practitioners have settled for an infield single or even a bunt, offering infallible stuff no one on earth could prove one way or another. As any theologian can see, this is a dubious infallibility that any conperson could practice without help from on high.

Prophecy, now: Just wait until 2037 and you’ll see how Sic hit the home run.

National Catholic Reporter, December 18, 1998