This March 2016 is the end of Pope Francis’ Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. The Vatican has been less than transparent regarding the Pontiff’s projected success metrics but Papal–watchers have hinted that the Vatican either has to dial back expectations or perhaps give itself an extension. The top floor is going to find it hard to justify year-end performance bonuses.
There have been mitigating circumstances to explain the Vatican’s less than stellar year-end report. It did not help that the last quarter of the Year of Mercy just happened to coincide with the start of the Year of the Monkey. There was a sudden eruption of ancestral Monkey-brain energy and skittish hopping from one perch to the next just as the Church should have been laser-focused on nailing its Jubilee landing.
In early February precisely when the Holy Festivities should have been peaking, the High Holy Day of the 50th Super Bowl sapped its last lap. The NFL’s graphic designers brazenly used the Arabic “50” instead of the Roman Numeral “L” in its logo. No word yet on the Arab states reaction, but many football-loving lesbians took the L-diss even more personally than Sue Grafton’s 1995 alphabet mystery series slight: L is for Lawless. Adding insult to head injury, Beyonce’s co-dependent Super Bowl halftime rescue-set with Coldplay caused a morning after ruckus when revelers realized she was referring to the Black Panthers not the Carolina Panthers. Another unfortunate diversion.
As a friend of mine always says, “You make your plans and God laughs.” Who could have predicted that McDonalds would have picked The Year of Mercy to re-introduce their beloved All Day Breakfast? Their move is a desperate salvo in the vicious Fast Food Wars with Chic-Fil-A, Chipotle et al. McD’s ad campaign used a fried mozzarella prod to suggest an altruistic feed-the-hungry beatitudinous vibe. It reminded me of that creepy 1984 Reagan campaign ad, “It’s morning again in America.” My friend would always add, “So everyone have yourselves a big breakfast.”
There were other factors in the disappointing results of the Year of Mercy: the destruction of Syria by its own president; the refugee crisis; ISIS and Christian militias; always the Mideast, Africa, Russia; the careening Chinese economy; the Monsanto virus; the GOP’s hoped for US constitutional crisis caused by the death of a strict dead letter constitutionalist; the Survivor-style American presidential election; the war on women; the vicious anonymous, cowardly bilge of the anti-social media; the poisonous infrastructure; the poisoned environment, etc.
I am sure the Pope was disappointed in the year, but he just keeps on keeping on about love and forgiveness. In his own church this message is heretic in tone. Time will tell if there are follow-up heretical actions. While I’m in this holy wait and see period, I decided to vote for an extension of the Year of Mercy.
I was already leaning toward the quality of unstrained mercy after the reports of an extraordinary physics experiment that confirmed Albert Einstein’s 100 year old theory of energy. The oscillation emanated from the collision and merging of two black holes 5.88 trillion miles away. The cosmic jiggle gave new meaning to epic and reinforced our own puny speckness. Why not give the Pope a shot at redemption on the mercy thing?
And then some Divine Plan unfolded; something yuge happened to seal the deal. Flying home from his trip to Mexico, the Pope maybe after a mojito or two, suggested that the Donald was not Christian because he wants to build a wall at the Mexican border and not a bridge. Perhaps Pope Francis does not check Angie’s list and was unaware of Trump’s building credentials. Mercy, mercy. One more year! One more year!