I used to want to be a priest. I remember when I was a little kid going to CCD, Father Jerome came in & he made an impression on me. I remember the first thing that went through my young & impressionable mind was: “Dude looks like a Jedi!”

Remember, I was a kid then. This was the late 80s. This was before George Lucas sinned against God & nature. Back then a Jedi either dressed like Old Ben from A New Hope, or like Luke from Return of the Jedi. And in Return of the Jedi, Luke dressed like a priest. Kenobi dressed like Jesus.

In the late 80s, a young & impressionable mind would associate a priest with Luke Skywalker. It’s really not much of a stretch if you stop & think about it. If I were born a generation or so later, I probably would have associated a priest with Neo. If I would have been born a generation or so after that, I would have grown up with the new trilogy, & as a result, I would have hated Science Fiction.

Some people spend their adult lives wishing they were younger. Those are the idiots that don’t understand that our children have Justin Bieber instead of Kurt Cobain & Hayden Christensen instead of Mark Hamill. Its enough to make you thank the Lord & Jesus when you pull out the gray hair & realize that if you were younger, Katy Perry might be your Tracy Chapman.

Don’t you know
They’re talkin’ bout a revolution
It sounds like a whisper
Don’t you know
They’re talkin’ about a revolution
It sounds like a whisper

While they’re standing in the welfare lines
Crying at the doorsteps of those armies of salvation
Wasting time in the unemployment lines
Sitting around waiting for a promotion

Now imagine how fucking warped you’d turn out if you hadn’t entered your formative years with bands like 4 Non Blonds & Rage Against the Machine. You grow up with the shit they are listening to these days & you aren’t going to get properly indoctrinated onto the side of the angels. You aren’t going to get properly indoctrinated into anything. You’re not going to become, as they say, carny-from-carny.

OK, OK, OK, I know I should hate 4 Non Blonds, but…fuck you. In a round about way they introduced me to the Blues & in a very direct way they introduced me to George Clinton, so, fuck you, I’m going to listen to them to the day I die & be fucking grateful that without them, I wouldn’t have discovered Buddy Guy & Albert King, & Koko Taylor until college. Which means I wouldn’t have been the guy with the hardcore blues collection, I wouldn’t have been the college roommate with the Robert Johnson box set…& I really loved being that guy.

What was I ranting about? Right…

Without good people like the musical whore Bono, Springsteen, & de la Rocha pointing out that it is your job to help those less fortunate, that it is your sacred duty to do what you can to counter the oppression & embrace Liberation Theology & Black Nationalism you might very well grow into that rube that “believes in his heart-of-hearts that all cops are honest & would never lie under oath.”

You might walk onto a college campus one fall morning & believe the evil bastard that tells you to kill a Queer for Christ & start calling Black people “Niggers” & Muslims “Rag-heads.” You aren’t going to be prepared when they tell you that Jews eat babies & Muslims hate Jesus.

This is the role of pop music in society. It’s a theological role. Pop is there to give you Jarvis Cocker & The Smiths to listen to when your first girlfriend dumps you & you want to be depressed. And to, on the other hand, give you “Zombie” & “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” to educate yourself on the horrors of life so, when you get older you know enough to scream “Bull Shit!” & start marching in the streets when you’re bastard of a president tells you he’s going to go to war with Iraq for no good reason whatsoever. Pop music is there to teach you that its cool if you want to be Gay, you’re not going to judge. It’s there to teach you that Black people are just people & maybe your white ass should be offended, for humanity’s sake, when you hear some redneck call one a Nigger. It’s there to teach you that you should be angry & offended enough to get involved in that situation. Show a brother you’ve got his back.

It’s a serious fucking role, because the church sure as shit isn’t going to teach you how to be a good person…Wait a minute. This is where my Irish-Catholic-Proud-Chicagoan ass has to take pause. Pope Francis seems like a pretty stand-up guy, doesn’t he? It’s like the Vatican paused & thought, “Shit, that musical whore Bono is getting close to retirement age, we gotta gear up to fill that enormous void.”

I had already known a few Gay people by the time of my first communion. During the sermon, the padre was pounding his fist & shouting about how wrong homosexually was. He was judging them, he was judging a lot of things, so was the Blessed John Paul. He wasn’t doing it as directly, but, through his politics, he seemed to be judging the poor & oppressed so the Vatican could spoon up to the other evil empire.

I was Catholic enough to know that the absolute last thing I should do is judge anyone. As I got older, well, let’s say there is no way I could cast the first stone.

My childhood fantasy of becoming Father Jedi was destroyed by that fist-pounding-collar-monkey. His God, their God, was homophobic. Mine might be too, I honestly have no idea, but I sure as shit know that my God made it abundantly clear that it’s not my job to make that assumption.

Pope Francis seems to have gotten that message loud & clear. I think he looked at the world & saw that even the Catholics were becoming Calvinists &, as all good people know, Calvinists are fucking assholes. Anyone that looks at the sick & poor & thinks that God is punishing them for being sick & poor is an asshole. I’m sorry, that attitude goes against my Pop Music Theology. It goes against the theology that Frank seems to have taken to heart.

For the first time in a very long time, I agree with the Pope. Most of the time, I found myself siding with the Stones & drinking to the Salt of the Earth. But now the Pope is doing that. And you know, you know in your heart-of-hearts that old Padre Frank is a good person because Rush Limbaugh calls him a “communist.”

The beautiful part is that Catholics listen to him. They were listening to Rush Limbaugh back when the papacy endorsed goose stepping. But push comes to shove, I think they are going to take their spiritual leader over a wind bag & they are going to do it just in time for the midterm elections here in the good old U.S. of A.

That is going to be one mother-fucker of a fight. I really think Pope Francis is putting his boxing gloves on for this one. He’s getting his Jedi’s ready. Paul Ryan is going to have to choose between his two masters, Jesus Christ or Ayn Rand, because now the two of them are on opposite sides of the battle again.

The Jedi have returned, & you know what, even my Jewish father is listening to the Pope.

Kudos, Francis, thank you for choosing sides.


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