St. Peter's Basilica in Rome seen from the roo...

St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome seen from the roof of Castel Sant’Angelo. Location: Rome Taken: September 2004 Source: Own photo Photographer: Wolfgang Stuck (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Despite the Catholic Church suffering the backlash from scandals that involved sex, drugs, rock n’ roll, fraud, money-laundering, dwarf throwing and the VatiLeaks saga, Pope Francis is quickly becoming the most popular Pontiff in history. Could it be down to the Pope’s natural charm, phoning up his followers for a chat, his invaluable tweets, or his willingness to get up close & personal with fellow Catholics, which includes his willingness to be dragged into a stranger’s ‘selfie’? After years of some well deserved negative press, the Catholic Church is currently basking in the ‘Francis Effect’ which has been credited with a 20 per cent rise in congregations in Britain, and similar boosts around the world.

The man’s name is not Monsignor Greg Burke but plain Greg Burke, 53, a native of St Louis, Missouri, the Vatican’s publicity shy PR guru…or if you prefer, senior media advisor who is credited with turning Pope Francis into a man of the people. Appearing to have the ‘common touch’ should not be sniffed at. Winston Churchill had it. Burke by name but not berk by nature is the American author/journalist  who in June 2012 was snatched from Fox News to help the Vatican improve its relations with the mafiamedia. Having worked for Time magazine in Rome for 10 years, and Reuters news agency, the man is amply qualified to turn around the fortunes of the premier Christian church. Mr Burke is a lifelong Opus Dei (God’s Work) member in which backlashing (self-flagellation) is considered de rigueur. Unfortunately, non Opus Dei members like me, must pay for S & M! One of the first things Mr Burke suggested was the shutting down of the Cardinals private bowling alley and disco, however the Friday night poker sessions are still ongoing!

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it wasn’t Greg Burke’s idea for Pope Francis to publicly unveil for the first time, the nine fragments of bone thought to belong to the first Pope, St Peter. Thousands of worshippers packed St Peter’s Square to catch a glimpse of the bronze chest containing the fragments found in the necropolis under St. Peter’s Basilica during excavations in 1939. What a publicity coup…if short-lived! Unf**king-fortunately, Romanian Gypsy fortune-teller Madam Cucai ‘lifted’ the ‘runes’, intending to incorporate St Peter’s ‘leftovers’ in her ‘act’. Promises of fertility and good fortune had never had such provenance! ‘Entrepreneurship’ should be encouraged at all levels, don’t you think?






Bollocks (Photo credit: mallix)

Speaking at a conference in 2013 on angelic art in a lavishly-frescoed Renaissance palace in Rome, Catholic Church official, ‘angelologist‘ and ‘demonologist’ Father Renzo Lavator said angels do exist,  but that they ‘do not have wings or look like cherubs, but are more like shards of light. You do not see angels so much as feel their presence. They are a bit like sunlight that refracts on you through a crystal vase’. Ah yes, a surfeit of BOLLOCKS from someone who doesn’t have to work for a living, but can afford to sit around all day pontificating! Early images of angels in a once predominantly Catholic ruled world may well have driven poets and artists employed by the Vatican to produce great works, but do get real…let’s not confuse angelic art with reality! If you choose to believe in angels, by the same token you must also believe in goblins! Some of us choose to live in the 21st century!


St. Peter's Basilica at Early Morning

St. Peter’s Basilica at Early Morning (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pope Francis has taken the unusual decision of allowing lay persons into the secretive bowels of Vatican City in order to attempt to relieve the Church of financial constipation! McKinsey & Company will modernise the Vatican’s communications operations, while KPMG will bring it’s accounting up to international standards. Good luck with that! Why the last firm of accountants allowed access to Vatican bowels…Messrs ‘Cohen, Levy & Rosen’ struggled to make head or tail of Church ledgers! Most of the stone tablet accounts were inscribed in Latin. “It’s all ‘ancient’ Greek to me,” said Robert Cohen. “And what’s with the three columns…red, black…and miscellaneous?” Hopefully KPMG will have fluent Latin translators among their staff.


emblem of the Papacy: Triple tiara and keys Fr...

emblem of the Papacy: Triple tiara and keys Français : emblème pontifical Italiano: emblema del Papato Português: Emblema papal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Catholic Church is seeking the opinions of ordinary people on gay unions, contraception, sex before marriage and single-parent adoption, in an extraordinary bid to become more ‘credible’. But with so many recognised minority groups in existence, are there any so-called ordinary people still in existence?

A questionnaire has been sent from the Vatican polling lay parishioners as well as bishops and theologians on its teachings on all issues affecting families and relationships, including divorce and single parent families. This must be the Vatican’s long overdue attempt to re-connect with lapsed Christians who may have abandoned the Church in favour of sex, drugs and rock n’ roll! Now there’s a powerful Trinity!

The 38-question survey, (which presumably includes a question on the ethics of masturbation in the workplace) comes ahead of a meeting of the Synod on the Family in 2014, is the first time that the church has asked these questions of ordinary people since the 1960s. I think the Synod will be shocked at the survey results.

Pope Francis has already said the Vatican needs to tone down its strict teachings on the family. If the church continues ‘to obsess’ about issues such as divorce and abortion it ‘risks falling like a house of cards’, he said in September. Having received mostly bad press over the last few years…Vatican Bank malpractices and sex scandals…I suggest 21st century Catholics are no longer prepared to be dictated to as once they were.


Cover of "Perfect Day"

Cover of Perfect Day

As a tribute to Reed who died on Sunday, the Vatican’s culture minister, Gianfranco Cardinal Ravasi  tweeted lyrics to Lou Reed’s Perfect Day to his 57,000 followers without realising they refer to drugs. Ravasi tweeted ‘Oh, it’s such a perfect day  I’m glad I spend it with you Oh, such a perfect day You just keep me hanging on  (Lou Reed)’ from his account @CardRavasi. Once the faux pas had been brought to his attention, Cardinal Ravasi re-tweeted, quoting the Bible. He wrote: ‘Be under no illusion: God will not  be fooled. You’re going to reap just what you sow (Galatians 6,7 and Lou Reed in  Perfect Day’.

Cardinal Ravasi…you call yourself a culture minister? Before attempting to appeal to the masses, you should get out more. Don’t act cool unless you arecool! Drugs may be a sin, but so is general ignorance!