Happy April 1

I think we were all surprised at the news this morning that Bishop Robert Finn, citing his conviction for failure to report sex abuse, had decided to resign as Bishop of Kansas City. But, even more surprising was his decision to accept a position as National Spokesman for the Survivors’ Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP). This takes the whole Nixon to China meme to an entirely new level. We here at NCR wish Bishop Finn well in his new post.

Both saddened and surprised at the news that Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFM Cap, was arrested last night for igniting a barroom brawl. The Capuchin Cardinal is famous for his simplicity of lifestyle, mild manner and abstemiousness when it comes to alcohol. Authorities said he had started with the Church wine, then went to a bar around the corner from the cathedral and, like Sebastian Flyte in Brideshead Revisisted, he was “unused to wine.” When another patron at the bar mocked his friars’ schmatta, O’Malley slugged him right in the nose. A brawl ensued and police were called. The cardinal posted his bail and was expected to preside at Tenebrae tonight at Holy Cross Cathedral, where the master of ceremonies expressed the hope that the dimly lit service would not highlight the cardinal’s shiner. We here at NCR wish the cardinal all the best in his forthcoming legal battles.

Newly installed Archbishop of Chicago Blase Cupich used the occasion of his first Chrism Mass in the Windy City to make a major announcement. The Catholic University-trained liturgist decreed that all parishes in Chicago would now offer the Extraordinary Form of the Mass every Sunday or be shut down. At the priests’ luncheon after the Chrism Mass, +Cupich passed out birettas and fiddlebacks to the presbyterate and showed off his new pair of buskins and gloves. “Latin is God’s vernacular,” the archbishop told his priests. “That’s what’s been wrong with the Church since the Council: God hasn’t understood a word we’ve been saying.”

Businessman Charles Koch announced his purchase of the Catholic University of America from the U.S. Bishops for $200 million.

Pope Francis announced he was tired of all the noise at the Casa Santa Marta and was moving into the Apostolic Palace. When he became pope a little more than two years ago, Francis said he did not want to feel isolated in the remote palace, that he needed to be around people. “Once I got to know these people, you’d have to be crazy to want to be around them,” Francis told a journalist in announcing his decision. “Noisy, obnoxious, always praying at all hours of the night. I can’t get any sleep. I am moving into the big house.” In a related development, President Obama announced he was resigning and turning over the White House to Vice President Joe Biden. “It is the only way I have found to get away from Biden’s incessant chatter,” Mr. Obama said.

Hillary Rodham Clinton will announce later today that she is officially a candidate for Mayor of Chappaqua, New York. “Someone has to fix these potholes,” Mrs. Clinton said.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, the embattled Archbishop of San Francisco, will announce he is entering the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Dianne Feinstein. “California is as blue as it gets,” Cordileone said, “so if you want any shot at the job, you have to win that primary. I am not sure how many Democrats are interested in my candidacy but I think more of them are opposed to rights for those who suffer from same sex attraction than you can imagine. I had a long talk with Gov. Mike Pence about this last week and he agreed the nation’s politics was ready for a backlash against the agenda of those who suffer from same sex attraction.” Cordileone is expected to name USCCB Associate General Secretary Anthony Picarello as his campaign manager. Cordileone is expected to begin his campaign in earnest as soon as Holy Week, and the current round of “Will & Grace” reruns on TBS, are completed.

The National Catholic Reporter is joining with the National Catholic Register, America and Our Sunday Visitor in issuing a joint editorial calling on Pope Francis to re-appoint Cardinal Raymond Burke to the Apostolic Signatura and name him General Relator for the Synod on the Family this October. “We are tired of all this claptrap about mercy,” the joint editorial begins. “Bring back Cardinal Burke now.” The cardinal could not be reached for comment. Aides said he was in negotiations with Hollywood producers interested in doing a re-make of the 1996 movie “The Birdcage.” Sources close to Time-Warner said they knew they wanted Cardinal Burke in the re-make but they were undecided whether to cast him in the role of Albert, played by Nathan Lane in the original, or that of Sen. Keeley, played by Gene Hackman. “It is so easy to see him in either role,” the industry source told NCR.

Later today, Michael Sean Winters will announce he made a mistake.

Happy April Fools' to one and all.

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