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Monday, March 08, 2010

Here, Have a Stick in the Eye

The National Catholic Education Association (NCEA) has announced (last November actually) that Garrison Keillor will be the keynote speaker for the 2010 national convention to be held in the Twin Cities next month. The usual "blowhards" are "shrieking." But what is an orthodox Catholic supposed to think other than,"Here we go again?" After all, even if you're not a conspiracy wing nut and want to give people the benefit of the doubt, it is not hard to imagine the Ad Hoc Sub-committee for Selecting a Keynote Speaker deliberations going something like this:
Sub-committee Member #1 (chair): OK, this meeting has come to order. We need to select a speaker to recommend for the keynote address to this year's convention. The table is open for discussion.

Member #2: Let's try to get someone local to give the speech and not just get an award. I heard a rumor there was some grumbling last year.

Member #3: Good idea. Who are some famous Minnesota Catholics? Any politicians? Someone who knows how to give a speech?

Member #4: Wasn't there a Catholic governor not too long ago? "Governor Goofy," I think they called him. I bet he'd be entertaining. Rudy something-or-other. I think he was even a Democrat.

Member #1: I'll check my iPhone.

Member #2: Giuliani?

Member #3: No. It was was Percocet, or Popovich, or something like that.

*** short pause ***

Member #1: Here it is. Rudy Perpich. It says he died 15 years ago.

Member #5: There goes that. Any other ideas? It doesn't have to be a politician, does it?

Member #3: How about Herb Brooks? He's from Minnesota and with the Olympics being this year and all that, it might be kind of exciting.

Member #5: He's Catholic?

Member #4: Yeah, it surprised me, too. I remember that ESPN showed his funeral procession, and it was at the St. Paul Cathedral... ummm...

Member #2: Hey, I remember that.

Member #5: His funeral? Excuse me... How's that going to work?

Member #1: You're right. It looks like Herb Brooks died in 2003... car accident.

*** extended silence ***

Member #4: Why do we have to have a Catholic? I mean, after all, we do welcome anyone in our schools. We could make a powerful statement!

Member #2: Oooh, that is a good point. And how about someone funny? I know she was inspirational and all, but that Rwanda lady last year and her life story arc of genocide... a bit of a buzzkill, if you ask me. Let's lighten things up this year!

Member #1: Now we're talking!

Member #3: I've got it! Al Franken! He's a senator... a comedian... He's even Jewish... an elder brother in the faith...

Member #2: Perfect!

Member #5: Maybe. He'll probably have to stay in Washington to help protect real health care reform from the obstructionist Republicans.

Member #3: That's true.

Member #4: Not to mention all those tea bagger protesters we'd have to deal with.

Member #1: He's a good choice, but let's keep thinking...

*** more silence ***

Member #3: I've got it! Garrison Keillor! He's from Minnesota.

Member #2: Perfect! He's soooo folksy.

Member #5: Everyone likes Lake Wobegone. Isn't that where all the children are above average?

Member #3: Yes! A nice change from the way the Bush administration failed our children for 8 years.

Member #4. What a powerful message!

Member #2: Perfect!

Member #1: It says here that he's Episcopalian...

Member #4: That's practically the same as being Catholic!

Member #1: ... and he also put out a gospel album.

Member #2: Perfect!

Member #3: Maybe we can do a "meet and greet" after.

Member #1: There. I think it's settled. Without objection, we have our recommendation.
Nobody can be surprised, much less disappointed, that the NCEA has selected a cookie-cutter lefty, with his look-down-the-nose manner in the image of our new messiah, who rails against the settled teaching of the Catholic Church. Can they? Sure they can--it's not like we're talking about the NEA. The "C" ought to stand for something.

Now, Mr. Keillor certainly has the ability to deliver a perfectly appropriate and witty and inspirational and entertaining speech. And I expect he is shrewd enough not to challenge the Church directly, even though there will be plenty of sympathetic ears in the room. It looks like once again we're in a wait-and-see mode as another Catholic organization flirts with being of and not just in the world.

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