The Bishop, like, of San Francisco

By Diogenes (articles ) | Oct 20, 2005

The covers of this book are too far apart. -- Ambrose Bierce, reviewing a long-forgotten work.

Hey, why should Andy Greeley monopolize the trash cash? Ex-Jesuit Eugene Bianchi boots up the Mac and tries his hand at the novel-writing business. Below is the synopsis from the promo site (no, I'm not making this up):

Mark Doyle, a unique Catholic bishop, is a church reformer and a martial arts expert. He falls wildly in love with his therapist, Miriam Faberini, a Central American with Italian family roots. Mark and Miriam met during the Nicaraguan civil war. Such a love affair complicates a supposedly celibate bishop's life, especially since Mark wants to continue his work as the youngest Archbishop of San Francisco. His troubles multiply when two of his priests are murdered: Gus D'Amato, a gay pastor in the city’s Castro district and Roger Moriarty, a close friend and liberation theology activist just returned from Latin America. A clandestine Catholic group, Ordo Novus, claims responsibility for both killings, and vows to eliminate Doyle as a symbol of corrupt liberalism and naïve leftist politics in the church.

The fiendish cunning!

The Vatican denies any links to Ordo Novus, but calls Doyle to Rome to answer damaging allegations against him. His shadowy nemesis, a priest defrocked for sexually abusing teenage boys, dogs the Archbishop’s every step. Catholic clergy might deny any similarity to the controversial Doyle. Yet his story displays deep tensions in priests' personal lives and in the still medieval structures of today’s church.

"A fun read you will not be able to put down until you finish," gurgles Rosemary Radford Ruether, in a moment of inspired originality. Your Uncle Di is finished already. He was doing OK until the blurb line "Mark and Miriam met during the Nicaraguan civil war."

So, folks, how do you think Miramax will cast the film version? I'd give Dom DeLuise the title role and assign Pee Wee Herman the part of Miriam, the Sandinista shrink. The Ordo Novus could play itself. All suggestions gratefully, gratefully received.

Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 15 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Oct. 22, 2005 8:49 PM ET USA

    Here's my casting vote: Title role to Jay Leno who falls in love with his shrink, Rosie O'Donnell (such a cute couple!) Liberace's got to be the defrocked "shadowy nemesis" and Tom Cruise, John Travolta (in THE white suit of course!) and all the other celebrity Scientologists as the Ordo Novus. Who couldn't see this cast on the big screen together?? Nuke 'em...

  • Posted by: - Oct. 21, 2005 10:13 PM ET USA

    I think it should be done as an animation, with Bart Simpson in the lead role. Angelica from Rugrats can be Miriam. The Ordo Novus could be played by Wile E. Coyote and Marvin the Martian of Warner Brother's fame. And the Pope could be played by Mr. Magoo. Doyle's nemesis could played by Daffy Duck.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 21, 2005 9:16 PM ET USA

    Don't forget the director - that would be Michael Moore. George Soros would produce it. The staff attorneys would include Judge Greer and George Felos (of Terri Schiavo infamy). The accountants would be the now-defunct Arthur Anderson firm.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 21, 2005 8:51 AM ET USA

    You need Barbara Streisand as Miriam singing The Way We Were to Robert Redford as Bishop Mark Doyle. I can't recall exactly who was the socialist/communist /Dan Schutte type in the movie, but in this musical comedy romp I think it matters not. You should also work in some type of Horse Whisperer angle and then SunDance films can produce it. They can then work in a simultaneous Che Guevera/Save the Rainforests message. We are, after all, all at risk.

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Oct. 20, 2005 5:33 PM ET USA

    You've done well with the Comedy version, Diogenes, as have some of the bloggers so far... good type-casting, by the way (we do need to keep a sense of humor here, for Bianchi & Greeley are such anti-Church deviants producing reams of trash...). For the musical version, how about "Prince" in the title role, "Barbara Streisand" as the Sandinista shrink, "Boy George" as the same-sex-ambivalent "priest" & "50-Cent" the gangsta-rapper as the liberation theologian. Elton John writing the score...

  • Posted by: - Oct. 20, 2005 3:42 PM ET USA

    If creative aging is all about changing my spirituality, and considering that passionate uncertainty never was my cup of tea, I'll just have to keep aging crankily while I hunt for the certainty of the nearest Tridentine parish. No fun read here – just more of the tackiness we've come to expect from the "liberal" wing of the Church. Nothing unique about it.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 20, 2005 3:20 PM ET USA

    Indeed, Fatimabeliever, this is truly sad. But this is just one example of what passes as actual Catholic thought in many parts of the world. When folks like Greely and Bianchi can gain even a modicum of credibility from a fictional work that spells big trouble because the mainstream media will not hesitate to seek them out for commentary on real religious issues (similar to when a know-nothing actor is called before Congress to testify on issues related to a role they once played in a movie).

  • Posted by: - Oct. 20, 2005 3:11 PM ET USA

    It must have taken him a whole two minutes to come up with the plot. Ordo Novus? Something about that name sounds familiar... What scares me is a comment after the synopsis. Someone said that if this is a preview of the Church to come, we are all in for a roller coaster ride. He closed that statement with another that proves that liberals are out to get the Church. "What fun!"

  • Posted by: Fatimabeliever - Oct. 20, 2005 2:25 PM ET USA

    Here is another blatant attack against the Catholic Church. Should we be making fun of it? What about the good Bishops who don't deserve this? Do these writers (Greeley and Bianchi) care anything about their soul? Think about the damage this kind of garbage does to Catholics when those outside of the Church read this and think this is what goes on all the time in the Catholic Church. Isn't it time someone put a stop to it? But then, once again, they'll hide behind freedom of speech. Sad!!

  • Posted by: Sir William - Oct. 20, 2005 11:40 AM ET USA

    We can have a special "beyond the grave" appearence of Larry, Moe, Curley Joe and Shemp as General T. Kettelkamp and other USCCB spokespersons.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 20, 2005 10:59 AM ET USA

    You know what frightens me!If I never decided to subscribe to CWNews I would have contd tobe nieve about many aspects of life in the Church. betwn CWN Geoge Weigel Michael Rose I have learned so much. You see I live in the Caribbean and we in this part of the world have not got a clue what is going on.I tell my fellow Catholics it is essential that they educte themselves or they'll be led down a terrible path!I never knew that all this garbage existed. I have a great deal to be thankful for.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 20, 2005 10:49 AM ET USA

    I see that the self-proclaimed cuckold RB Kaiser has also lent his literary talent and reputation to the back-flap blurbs. The Church of the future, full of calamity, infelicitous priests, and an archbishop who likes to swing with his therapist, who is herself so unethical she "canoodles" with her patient. What fun!!

  • Posted by: - Oct. 20, 2005 10:45 AM ET USA

    Whoever directs the film version (financed by the Society of Judas) will have to begin a severe winnowing process if s/he wants to have a real Jesuit play the parts of the martyred flamer and the kiddie diddler. On the other hand, casting the NO may be difficult -- it's such a secretive organization, intellectually lightweight, and so traditionalist. Bianchi is certainly fixated on the past -- the Nicaraguan usurpation was probably the last time the SJ had any appreciable numer of heterosexals

  • Posted by: - Oct. 20, 2005 10:16 AM ET USA

    Let's really make it interesting and have Danny Divito in the lead role and Gena Rowlands as the shrink. It is good to see that Rosemary Radford Reuther reads great literature instead of just that old dry wiccan theology. Unfortunately for trees there is a big market for pulp fiction of this type especially among those of the same gender orientation as Ms. Radford Reuther. The DaVinci Code proved that too many women confuse Oprah with Shakespeare.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 20, 2005 10:08 AM ET USA

    Starring Tony Orlando as peace-loving Nicaraguan Dictator Daniel Ortega, James Earl Jones as Archbishop Wilton Gregory, Ricardo Montalban as Pope Benedict XVI, anyone from the cast of "The Birdcage" to play the two priests, Antonio Banderas as a priest leading a revolutionary base community in El Salvador, Susan Sarandon as an anti-death penalty nun (Hey, she was good at that role!), Whoopi Goldberg reprising her role as Sister Mary Clarence, and Janet Reno as Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson.