i'm not as think as you drunk i am

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jul 07, 2004

In the country of Freedonia, the Catholic Church is plagued by catastrophically harmful automobile accidents caused by her clergy. Every year dozens of innocent persons are killed by priests who run red lights or who the cross the center line while driving, and hundreds more are left disfigured or crippled for life. The money paid in liability settlements is staggering -- so much so that in certain places parishes and schools must be closed for lack of funds.

In 85% of the cases, the priest or bishop was drunk when he killed or injured someone with his car. However, despite the fact that Freedonian priests have a notoriously high level of alcoholism, and despite the fact that confirmed incidents of drunk driving by priests are grossly disproportionate to the rest of the population, the Freedonian bishops loudly repeat the claims of therapists (in their hire) who insist that, while alcoholism is a "risk factor" for drunk driving accidents, it does not cause drunk driving accidents (which are attributable not to alcoholism but to poor judgment and impaired motor skills). Alcoholics, it is chanted mantra-style, are no more likely to lose control of the Buick than anybody else who chugs two-thirds of a bottle of Bushmills in five minutes.

Bishop Felix Sunshine, President of the Freedonian Bishops Conference, has gained national prominence for his dramatic displays of concern for victims of vehicular homicide, and has even invited experts from Seagrams and Anheuser-Busch to lecture his colleagues on motoring safety. Sunshine -- who has trembling hands and a nose like a red asteroid -- truculently maintains that "those who want to start a witch-hunt for alcoholics" are motivated by ignorance and malice and looking for a "scapegoat" on which to lay the blame for the problem. The Seagrams and Anheuser-Busch people concur.

The crisis is given a special twist by the fact that the clergy involved in negligent manslaughter are almost always repeat offenders whose problems with alcohol and driving were known to their superiors -- although often earlier mishaps involved only property damage or injury to clergy-passengers, and so did not entail criminal prosecution. There is a poignancy in the scene of Freedonian Mass-goers slumped in wheelchairs and adjusting their braces and eye-patches while listening to a rancorous homily on their duty not to be judgmental: "As church, we are about giving chinners a shecond shance."

The Diocese of Askelon, after shelling out $53 million in personal injury settlements and faced with several dozen new claims, declares itself bankrupt. Many laymen are distressed, despite Bishop Sunshine's reassurance that no collection dollars were re-directed and that plaintiffs were paid out of a special toffee tin kept near the front door and used for extraordinary expenses like Girl Scout cookies and shoelaces. When, however, Sunshine nails a seven point "Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk" covenant to the door of the Happy Hour Lounge in Anglesea (requiring every priest to be driven by a licensed private chauffeur at all times), the Freedonians put aside their doubts, embrace the episcopacy in a new spirit of trust and openness, and live happily ever after.

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  • Posted by: - Jul. 08, 2004 11:46 AM ET USA

    And, as no morally sane person will deny, alcoholics who have recovered and will never drink again must not be distinguished from active lushes who think that drinking and driving is their right and that they shouldn't deny the way God made them. The analogy is actually better than Diogenes thinks.

  • Posted by: Gertrude - Jul. 08, 2004 11:24 AM ET USA

    So is it a universal disbelief in hell that spawns the militant homosexual agenda? Or just a twisted narcissism? Or an amoral conscience that was helped along by our wonderful "entertainment" industry, and no contradiction from 99.9% of our priests and bishops? I keep trying to wrap my mind around how to understand our lavender brothers.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 08, 2004 8:22 AM ET USA

    The Caine Mutiny comes to mind.

  • Posted by: - Jul. 07, 2004 5:48 PM ET USA

    I knew it! The problem really IS the Sauterne in the Sacristy... Just like the song says: "Fairy tales can come true. It could happen to you..."

  • Posted by: - Jul. 07, 2004 5:37 PM ET USA

    Sure the bishops have their share of the blame, but this just makes me incensed at Groucho Marx. As president of Freedonia, he has the responsibility to enforce drunken driving laws fairly and across the board. I think it's time to replace Marx with Gilligan. When Gilligan was president of the island, none of the castways would have ever thought of drinking and driving. Not to mention his iron hand during his administration of the 8th grade camera club...

  • Posted by: - Jul. 07, 2004 12:13 PM ET USA

    Di, is this a fairy tale?

  • Posted by: - Jul. 07, 2004 12:02 PM ET USA

    Diogenes does it again. This is an analogy that even the Bishops Union (USCCB) "should" be able to grasp.