To Your Excellency, the Most Rev. Gerald Kicanis, Bishop of Archdiocese of Tucson:
I have a question for God, but I thought I'd run it by you first. I have to be careful how I word it, because I don't want God to think I'm trying to strike a deal with Him. When I was young, I went to a friend's black church. The preacher shouted, "God don't negotiate!" (I was going to raise my hand and correct his grammar, but he was on a roll. In retrospect, it was probably better that I didn't.) But he made his point.
My family and I went to church on Easter Sunday a few weeks back. I thought I'd be over it by now, but I'm not. I've been a Catholic a long time, and I understand that there are lots of people who only go to church on Christmas and Easter. That's better than nothing. My parish pastor even made a point of welcoming them during his sermon. That's fine; I'm not holier than anybody.
Before I forget, is it a sin to fantasize about stuff during Mass? Not that; something else. Every time the guy at our Mass starts to strum his guitar and sing, I dream that I'm John Belushi in Animal House. I'm standing on the stairs, and I grab the guitar from Stephen Bishop (no relation) and smash it against the wall. That can't possibly be a sin, right?
If the guy who sings (and sings and sings) at our Mass were a Native American, his name would be Guy Who Turns Two Words (Alleluia, Alleluia) Into Five Verses and Four Choruses. And, Bishop, if you happen to know that guy, please tell him to stop trying to get me to sing. I don't like to sing. I stink at singing. When I try to sing, my voice sounds like a moose that's gargling Drano.
Anyway, I usually go to Mass on Saturday evening, because I work on Sundays. But, as you know, there's no evening Mass on Holy Saturday because of that whole resurrection thing. (This is like an industrial-strength example of preaching to the choir.)
So my family and I went to Mass later in the day on Easter, hoping to get a more-experienced crowd. No such luck. You remember how, in the old days, you'd show up for Mass 10 to 15 minutes early, and you'd sit there and meditate or pray or reflect or whatever? We showed up early to get our regular seats and then watched in horror as the church filled up.
First off, since when did Easter dresses go slutty? It's really embarrassing. I saw one teenage girl walk in, looking exactly like Snooki. If you don't know who Snooki is, she's on this TV show about some (illiterate) fallen angels who live on the Jersey Shore. I've never actually seen the show, but with what passes for celebrity these days, she's everywhere. And if she keeps eating those pork rinds, she's going to be everywhere plus an extra three feet on either side.
Then, at least 30 people ambled into church, texting as they walked. Can't God just smite one of 'em as a lesson? Just one.
Finally, as I was trying to reflect (or whatever), I realized that there was a steady drone of conversation throughout the church, and it was loud! It sounded like the start of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On?" I kept expecting to hear, "Solid, man. Everything's everything."
I thought to myself, "Holy cow (in a non-sacrilegious way), I'm going to church with the Clampetts!"
They kept on coming and coming, although about 15 minutes into the Mass, the stream of arrivers slowed to a trickle of only a couple dozen per minute. That reminds me: You know how the church gets really full on Christmas and Easter, and then the priest gets up and asks everybody to squeeze together so that the people who got there late can sit on the aisles? Is that some kind of test, because, if it is, I fail miserably. I get there early so I don't have to sit in the middle. Why do I have to scoot over just because Jethro took too long getting out of the cee-ment pond?
Most people had stopped texting by the time the sermon started, although some of them still had their phones in their hands. I think they were gauging whether it would be possible to use their phones to peg the Guitar Guy.
My question is this: Can those of us who go to church the other 50 weeks of the year skip Easter and Christmas—like, maybe get a note from you saying that it's OK? I know that Easter is the holiest day of the year, but it gets kinda frustrating.
I really like going to Mass on Christmas and Easter. Maybe you could have a special secret Mass for the regulars. We could be like the Stonecutters on The Simpsons, the ones who know that the real emergency number is 9-1-2.
My wife went to the Vatican last year. I was going to have her ask the pope that question, so then I wouldn't need to bother God with it.
By the way, do you think it's a good idea to tell a German that he's infallible?