Does the Vatican have a sense of humour?

Beneath the pious charade, one begins to suspect so. Two instances come to mind.

First, back in 1976 the guy in charge in the Vatican – Paul IV – was scouting around for a new cardinal, preferably from Asia. One of his assistants mentioned a certain Archbishop Jaime Sin, from the Philippines. ‘Shit yeah’, said the pope, ‘he’s our man’. ‘Why?’ someone asked. ‘You can’t pass up the opportunity for a Cardinal Sin’. So Cardinal Sin he became , and remained so for almost 30 years.

Second, in 1974 the famous church historian, Cardinal Jean Daniélou, was found dead in a brothel at the age of 69. On his person was a bag of cash. When the archbishop of Paris was asked to comment, he said in a deadpan voice, ‘Cardinal Daniélou was … on an errand of mercy’.

I’m sure there’s other examples out there.

(ht ks for the second)


13 thoughts on “Does the Vatican have a sense of humour?

  1. Whether Daniélou was paying the stripper’s boyfriend’s bail (or whatever the story was exactly) or going there to wet his whistle, I have more respect for him having now read the account of his death and the debate surrounding it than I did when I used to read Daniélou volumes while in the bathroom of the Catholic bookstore I once worked at. If only I’d known that story then, I might have read more intently, looking for something suggestive.

      1. I’d love to see a thorough Marxist analysis (maybe you’ve done it already – I’m waiting till the Christmas money comes in to buy the first book in your series) of Daniélou – it could be titled – Lap Dances with the Lord of History.

      1. From youtube! It’s the ending of The Fall of Berlin, which Zizek sometimes mentions (ironically and embarrassingly, of course).

  2. Apropos the Archbish of Paris’ explanation for why Danielou came to die of a heart attack outside a hooker’s apartment while carrying a briefcase stuffed with cash (“Cardinal Danielou was on an errand of mercy”), did the Archbish have in mind the great Cannonball Adderley blues song ‘Mercy, mercy, mercy’?:

    I know life has many a twist
    Loving you is the thing I can’t resist
    Your love and understanding you’ve been giving
    Without it I just can’t go on living

    Baby have some mercy please don’t
    Make me beg on bended knees oh please
    Mercy, Mercy,Mercy Please have mercy on me
    Mercy ,Mercy , Mercy Please

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