Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Limericks and Photos from a Celebration of Saint Patrick

A Few of Deacon George Fitzsimmons’ Epic Limericks

We wake up excited for each new day
Full of new opportunities to learn and to pray
Yet there’s just one little thing
This is not Burger King,
You don’t get to have it your way.

At times, your complaints fall on ears of tin
And some days it feels like you just cannot win
To this there’s one man who can truly identify
And that’s none other than Karlo, the A.V. Guy
Just when he thinks he’s out, they keep pulling him back in.

In very many ways it is true
That being a seminarian is like being part of a crew
At times we’ve been nice, at times we’ve been naughty
Which leads me to just one question for Dr. Crotty
Do you think that Muldoon writes jokes about you?

For 4th Theology, the end will be here soon
And the future will bring both a challenge and a boon
One of us often out to Waltham springs
And it’s only on the Feast of the Korean Martyrs that he sings
Let’s hear it for the King - Jiwon “Straight A” Yoon.

Those guys from Manch-Vegas live large
5 gentlemen who academically are always in charge
Rather than die – they live free
As the go back and forth on 93
And what a fearless leader they have in Sarge

There’s a young man here who always has a ball
Be it winter, spring, summer or fall
You’ll never hear any gloom
Coming out of a certain 4th Floor room
With Billy’s trademark, Hey what’s up, y’all?

Back and forth each week from Georgetown he flew
And his classes contain many laughs, it’s true
And while he is seldom dower
Bad writing still always makes him glower
Fr. McManus, thank you for teaching us how
to be forewarned and forearmed against boo.

Now’s the last time I will return from this podium to my chair
As yes, this is the last ever limerick that I have to share
And if any of my words have offended
Please don’t be blue, but let your heart be mended
Remembering always that I only kid because I care.

A Limerick by Abishai Vase: The Examen

Who knows how long it will be
Whether there'll be 4 Hail Marys or 3
Or the length before the priest
Begins to bless our feast
Whilst the ending we long to see.

Many hope it'll just go away
Friends, the examen's here to stay!
No skeptics will there be
after yet another homily
on this "integral pause" in our day.

Limericks from the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council

This year we celebrate a half century since the third of four sessions of the Second Vatican Council, So I offer seven limericks written in the early 1960’s by the Council Father themselves and preserved in a collection of Father Joseph Komanchak as found in his blog, In verbo veritatis.  The first one refers to the propensity of some Council fathers to write limericks during long speeches:

The Limerick’s inferior they say 
To the poetry of Shelley or Gray.
But the Bishop of “X,”
Without wishing to vex, 
Composes at least one a day.

This one’s about the Archbishop of Boston, a great advocate of religious liberty, albeit in English:

Cardinal Cushing of Boston avows 
That he freedom to all men allows;
Though he’s no Latin scholar
He can certainly holler
At the Council he brought down the house.

Or the merits of Bar Jonah, the coffee bar in Saint Peter’s:

We are two thousand Patres in Session 
Who feel a great weight of oppression
What with Cardinals talking
And lesser lights squawking,
Thank goodness, the bar’s so refreshing.

Issues were debated at some length at the Council, like contraception, a question not fully resolved until several years later with the Encyclical letter Humane vitae.

Some moralists claim that the Pill
May be used even though you’re not ill.
It gives the ability
To banish fertility,
But I can’t really think it’s God’s will.

Or the restoration of the permanent diaconate: celibate of married?

We all admit that the deacon
Could shine in the Church like a beacon.
“But...with a celibate’s vows,
Or as a man with a spouse?”
Is the question whose answer we’re seeking.

There are several limericks on the subject of Coadjutor Bishops, those who enjoy automatic succession of the ordinary.  I recall, in this regard, one Bishop describing to me the difference between an auxiliary and a coadjutor.  The auxiliary comes in every morning and says, “How are we doing, Bishop.”  The coadjutor begins each day by asking “How are you felling today, Bishop.”  

Coadjutors are very intent
Lest their bishops whose lives are far spent
In a moment neurotic
Take an antibiotic
Without their advice or consent.

Finally, it’s easy to forget that the three great liberals of the Council were Rahner, Kung, and a young professor named Ratzinger.  Meanwhile, the archetypical curial conservative was Cardinal Ottaviani.  I conclude with a witty little limerick designed to describe the creative tension in their relationship.

There were Ratzinger, Rahner and Küng, 
Whose praises by Liberals are süng,
But said Ottaviani
“You just wait till domani;
I’ll have all those clever guys hüng.