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CHURCH CHADS The recent presidential postelection confusion prompted the National Catholic Reporter (Dec. 8, 2000) to look for precedents and lessons from church history. "As far as I know," writes Tom Roberts, "there were no hanging chads or dimpled ballots back in 217, but a recount probably wouldn't have made any difference in the of the disputed papal election between Callistus and Hippolytus [the church's first antipope].... No single winner for a long time in that one--and there was no supreme court. Both Hippolytus and Callistus were declared winners by their supporters."

The newspaper also says that a spokesperson for the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania "reports that a seventh-century bishop, a candidate in a contested election, was named--we are not making this up--Chad. Chad, elected and installed as archbishop of York in what is now England, relinquished the position when other bishops objected.... Sensing a rift ahead, Chad stepped aside and took a lesser see." But, Al Gore may be pleased to note, "he had his reward in death: Saint Chad is honored March 2 in the Episcopal Church."

Roberts adds that the church might also provide a practical lesson in avoiding postelection controversies: "In a papal election, you know, they declare the winner by burning the ballots."

CHANGE OF HEART? Last October, "France's Communist Party, once a bastion of anticapitalist and antireligious fervor, ... hosted a glamorous fundraising party ... with the fashion house Prada, and a week later staged an art show featuring 30 works portraying a heroic Jesus Christ." (Chicago Reader, Dec. 8, 2000)

THE [PROTESTANT] EVIL OF THE BIG MAC

Fast food, an Italian theologian proclaimed in November, "is not Catholic. It completely forgets the holiness of food." Father Massimo Salani, the author of a book on the relationship between faith and food, was interviewed in the Italian Catholic newspaper L'Avvenire. Munching a Big Mac with fries was the antithesis of receiving Communion and should be spurned by Catholics, Salani said. He added that the fastfood habit of eating quickly and alone was better suited to the "Lutheran mentality of an individual relationship between man and God" and labeled fast food a "Protestant, even atheist" aberration.

The ensuing public controversy--the Italian newspaper Il Messagero pronounced the "excommunication of the hamburger"--prompted McDonald's Italia to issue a statement defending the compatibility of its product with the world's faiths and led Rome's Lutheran pastor to rally to the defense of Martin Luther. "I find it very difficult," the pastor was quoted in Ecumenical News International (Nov. 21, 2000), "to imagine Martin Luther sitting down all alone at a small metal table eating a Big Mac. You always need someone to take the blame for the ills of humanity, and this time, once again, it's our dear Martin Luther who is the target--the person who became famous for his Table Talks and who preached gratitude for the gifts of the creator."

PUNK POWER "Being Christian in this day and age seems to be the most punk rock thing you could do."

--Dan Quiggle of the Christian music group Disciple (quoted in Utne Reader, July/August 2000)

BIBLE HEROES "That the scriptures are brim full of hustlers, murderers, cowards, adulterers, and mercenaries used to shock me. Now it is a source of great comfort."

--Bono of U2 (quoted in The Other Side, November/December 2000)

You awake us to delight in your praises; for you made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.

--Saint Augustine (354-430)
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Publication:U.S. Catholic
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4EUIT
Date:Feb 1, 2001
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