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To Bee or Not To Bee

The pope is reading in his study one day, and he receives a phone call from God. The Creator says, “John Paul, my son, I have some good news and some bad news. What do you want first, the good news or the bad news?”

The pope says, “Let’s go with the good news.”

God says, “OK, this is really good news. I’ve decided there no longer will be any strife and dissension among God’s people. I’m uniting all the world’s faiths under a single leader.”



The pope says, “I’m floored. This is incredible. My prayers are finally answered.”

God says, “And now the bad news.”



The pope says, “How can there be any bad news after a pronouncement like you just made?”

“Well,” God says, “I’m calling from Salt Lake City.”

This is Father Bob’s joke. When he told this at Mass a while back, he fairly shook with mirth. He evidently thought this was about the funniest joke he’d ever told, which it was.

Father Bob likes to amuse his flock with self-deprecating stories about his seminary days. The way he tells it, he wasn’t much of a scholar, and certain priestly administrators made it plain they thought his talents must lie in some other field. Perhaps he’d like to reconsider his choice of vocations. … To their chagrin, however, Father Bob persevered and even learned Latin.

Linda particularly enjoys his explanations of Latin and Greek word derivations. She’s the paid church pianist and comes home chirping about Father Bob’s latest homilies. She once went so far as to call herself “an honorary Catholic,” but I think she’s just a big Father Bob fan.

She hasn’t met the archbishop. He visited our little church in Silt some years back. Just to break the ice, I mentioned that I was missing a World Series game to meet him. He didn’t see the humor in my remark, however. “Oh, that’s just a game,” he said gravely.

Unless you just dropped in from outer space, you know that the archbishop recently warned Catholics about voting for any politician who supports abortion rights. When I e-mailed him inquiring if he would mark my ballot for me, his curt 5:30 a.m. reply advised that “Sarcasm is not a Christian virtue.”

So much for pulling the bull’s tail. When I told this story to a priest who is not Father Bob, he chuckled and looked at it from another angle. “Where I grew up,” he said, “we called what you did ‘peeing on the pump handle.'”

There are no perfect Catholic candidates, of course. Anti-abortion-rights candidates tend to oppose the pope on the death penalty, the war, the environment, labor rights, and what the church calls “the option for the poor.” Conversely, pro-abortion-rights politicians often strongly support the church on these and other social issues. You apparently can’t have it both ways.

Father Bob preaches against abortion but so far hasn’t told anybody how to vote.

Certain Catholics do regard Father Bob less than favorably. When he reflected on the Iraq war in the light of the Gospel, somebody actually walked out, and a contingent at one of his three parishes started attending Mass elsewhere. They came back when Father Bob went on sabbatical last January. Father Bob merely shrugs and smiles wryly when he points out that collections rose while he was away. He preaches from the heart (and, of course, doctrine) and lets the chips fall where they may.

That’s really what the Christian message is all about, isn’t it? You love your neighbor ” and your enemy. You believe, and you act.

Then you shrug, and leave the rest to God.

Peach Valley beekeeper Ed Colby hopes you’ll vote your own conscience in November. Ed’s

e-mail: esc@sopris.net.


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