The Rip Post

House of Glut

by Rip Rense
(Originally published in The Rense Retort.)

The Maker works in mysterious ways. This morning He wrote the following letter through me, and ordained that it appear in this space.

To Cardinal Roger Mahoney of the Los Angeles Catholic Archdiocese:

Dear Roger,

You're a real card. (Pretty good pun, eh?) Here I've charged you to act charitably, to be my emissary to mankind in Los Angeles, to minister to the needs of your very troubled city. I've entrusted you to do My will for Angelenos. This, you rascally old Cardinal, you, is no trifling task, as we both know. It's really quite a plum job, working right in the City of the Angels! And I've been good to you, too, buddy. Remember, I got you out of that prostate cancer scrape a year ago.

But, Rog', I just don't understand. I assure you that creating the most expensive cathedral in the history of the United States is not part of My will.

Where in My name did you get this idea? I never asked you to do this. Yes, I know, the earthquake I sent a couple years ago fractured dear, humble old St. Vibiana's downtown, and all the experts said she needed to be torn down. That's OK. I understand your need to replace her. (Sorry about that.)

But, Rog', I don't need a $163.2 million house.

No one needs a $163.2 million house. Not even Madonna.

Not even The Madonna.

Card', old boy, who have you been praying to? Or maybe I should ask, who in um, hell, has been answering your prayers?

I don't need a 5.6-acre spread with room for 3,000 worshippers that comes with a three-acre plaza big enough for 6,000 more! I don't need a conference center, a cloister garden, and a 160-foot-tall bell tower. I don't need natural lighting filtered through the most extensive alabaster-framed windows (27,000 square feet) in the world. I am natural lighting! I don't need a statue of the Our Lady of Guadalupe as big as Godzilla, so that all the people gridlocked on the Hollywood Freeway below can pray they don't get shot on the way home.

Most of all, Rog', I don't need a 600-car underground parking garage! I hate -- er, that is, I dislike -- parking garages. They're ridiculous. What you need down there in Freeway Heaven (pardon the expression) are fewer cars!

You know, they say that you Californians are rowing without a paddle, sucking without a straw, playing tiddly without the winks, and I'm starting to find Myself agreeing. I mean, first your city builds the most expensive subway in the history of Earth, at about $300 million per mile -- then abandons the whole project, not half-finished, because somebody finally figured out that it was expensive. You could have built a whole citywide light-rail system for what you've spent on that subway! (Besides, I like light rail. It travels closer to Me.) Then you build a $270 million high school downtown, but decide to cancel the whole deal because -- as you knew all along -- I put lots of methane and petroleum in the ground below!

And then you nutsos build yourself a brand, spankin'-new sports center -- and name it after a stationery store -- when you've already got two wonderful sports palaces! Not to mention your Music Center, Rog'! That's a splendid building, only about 35 years old or so, and here you so-called Angelenos (Angel people -- I ask you!) are erecting a goofy $240 million Frank Gehry thing to take its place! It looks like cardboard boxes in the rain, for My Son's sake!

What the devil's going on in the City of Angels, Rog'? I haven't authorized any plague of insanity down there, at least not outside of Hollywood.

Me! Oh, my Me! Me Almighty! Now, I've gotten Myself all in a sweat! I only know why I bother.

Listen, Card', old boy, let me give you My word. Let me tell you what I need for the El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles de Porcioncula, before it's too late. I need you to take that $163.2 million and divide it up. Find yourself a cheap warehouse somewhere and turn that into a Cathedral. You know, My houses don't have to be grand. A shack in the woods is just as fine to me as the Vatican, as long as it's filled with sinners. I don't need my abode designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jose Rafael Moneo. Hey, I see that the old post office headquarters downtown is empty. Maybe move yourself in there, Rog'. It's a grand, Spanish-style building. Or that nice landmark Herald-Examiner building that they now use as a movie set. It's a real stretch from a post office or a newspaper to a church, I know, but it's cheaper!

Then take the rest of that cash -- maybe $150 million or so? -- and spend it on stuff I'd really like. I know it's hard to shop for He-who-has-everything, but I'll tell you, I'm easy to please.

I can never get enough sanity, decency, good judgment, and unselfishness, for instance. Those things are priceless to Me, and they don't cost you humans anything but a little ego, and pride. So if the money's burning a hole in your robes, Card', hey, go on a spree! Head down to South-Central, and go to some Boys' Clubs or elementary schools. You know, the ones where the drinking fountains don't work and the toilets don't flush and there aren't enough books. Just write 'em a check. Then find some good, smart, well-meaning people and give them a stake to start small businesses down there. And in other loused-up parts of town.

Then buy one of those old sturdy abandoned downtown office buildings, hire some counselors and doctors, and open a big clinic for all the crazy, sick people sleeping on the sidewalks. Get some food and clothing and medicine for poor families. You can buy a lot of sandwiches and blankets with $150 mil. Think what Mother Teresa might have done! Oh yeah, and bribe all the city councilpersons, board of education members, and board of supervisors to quit their jobs. Then pray to Me that smarter people take their places.

And as for that smiley, big-money mayor you've got ... Well, Rog', I know he claims to be a devout Catholic -- and threw a million of his own smackers toward the new Cathedral -- but tell him I've got my eye on him. You can't buy your way into my Grace, you know. I'm not pleased with the way he panders to corporate interests while terribly neglected children fall prey to gang lifestyle, and his police department crumbles. (And tell him to wipe that grin off his face.)

Oh, and give a couple of bucks to that columnist, Rense, while you're at it.

Beyond that, use your imagination, Card'. You're supposed to know what I want, anyway. I shouldn't have to tell you. You should damn well know that I didn't want a new $163.2 million house!

And when I say "damn," it really means something, Roger.

Over and out,



2002 Rip Rense. All rights reserved.