“If someone had told me I would be Pope one day, I would have studied harder” – Pope John Paul I

We haven’t seen this much genuflecting since Good Friday, 1962. Back then they did the Litany of the Saints in Latin. It was really hot that day and we had our altar boy outfits on with the addition of a stiff starched collar and big bow tie. Our buddy, Larry, passed out from the heat. The priest used to chant this one phrase, flectamus genua, about a hundred times and every time he did, we had to genuflect. That’s how you say, “take a knee” in Latin, by the way. Wish we had known that then. It would have seemed cooler. Also, I wonder what would have happened if we decided to protest the unfair treatment and overheated working conditions we altar boys were subjected to?

Idler 246 B

Us: “One more Flectamus genua, Father, and we’re taking a knee!”
Father: “Right!”
Us:  “Except Larry. We think he’s staying on the floor.”
Father:  “Sister will have a word with him.”

But we don’t think that rank and file NFL players have suddenly become pre-Vatican II Catholics. We know they want to protest but we don’t know why they chose to genuflect during the performance of the national anthem. Where we come from, kneeling seems more like a sign of deference and respect than standing.

Tell you the truth, we’re pretty fed up with the whole thing. For as long as we can remember there’s been an understanding, right? a working relationship. We snarled at each other all week about this political issue or that; marched and demonstrated; wrote letters to the editor and called our congressmen. Then the weekend came and we cracked a brewski, waved a towel and watched freakishly large men collide with one another at high speed.

Five days each week were devoted to political bushwa – if you want to throw in Sunday morning, okay – but what was left was non-political. Equally important to many viewers, but non-political. You could compete with your goose-stepping crypto-nazi co-worker in your devotion to the Steelers, or hop in the van with your manifestly delusional, soft-on-communism Trotskyite neighbor for a trip to the stadium. We know of one group where, if someone got political you could “throw a flag” in the form of a napkin or, if necessary, a dorito, and call a penalty for political crap. Is it over? Is the understanding all gone?

Say it ain’t so, Alejandro.

We could try just waiting it out. That’s what the aforementioned Catholics do, you know. Over the weekend a group of theologians, sixty-two of them, as a matter of fact, got together and took a knee against the pope by issuing what is known as a “filial correction.” Hardly anyone had ever heard of such a thing. Asked when was the last time a filial correction was issued, a Vatican official answered, 1333. So it’s been almost 700 years since anyone thought they were more Catholic than the pope.

Let’s say you know of a guy who is absolutely no good. He’s a lying, thieving, two-faced, lowlife crook who owes you $100 which you haven’t any hope of recovering. And let’s say further that you’re invited to his birthday party. When they get around to singing “Happy Birthday”, should you take a knee? What if he wins an award? Should you take a knee when they sing “For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow”?

What about the pope-correctors, how are they supposed to get their point across? Taking a knee among a bunch of Catholics won’t get you much attention. You’re probably going to have to stand still while everybody else is taking a knee. Or two.

Anyway, we’re hoping this controversy doesn’t prompt sports organizations to stop doing the anthem before games. We kinda like to sing along on the grounds that it’s one of the few occasions in life, church being the other, when we can sing out loud without anybody telling us to shut up. Also, we all need time to sort this thing out. This is no time for knee-jerk reactions.

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