On Tuesday, June 30, the Vatican released a detailed schedule of the Pope’s upcoming visit to the United States, which will include a stop in New York City. The Vatican’s press release indicated that the leader of the Catholic Church will celebrate mass at Madison Square Garden on Friday, September 25, a venue that’s a bit of a papal departure since Popes Benedict and John Paul II opted for the larger Yankee Stadium. NYC fans of good music are hoping that the MSG Papal Mass is intended as an exorcism of sorts and will permanently expel from the premises Billy Joel, who has been defiling the arena monthly with his ungodly bad, melodramatic fare with no end in sight (tone deaf local press use the oxymoron “artist in residence” to describe the tympanum-offending arrangement).
Today the Vatican leaked why Pope Francis chose the home court of the New York Knicks for his largest NYC mass: He will meet with Phil Jackson afterward to give the Zen Master advice on how to turn around the ailing franchise, whose play last year the Pope has described as “sinful” and “a disgrace to the 2nd largest Catholic diocese in the US.”
A source within the Vatican told the sports desk at Bud Fox News:
It’s clear to the Pope that the Knicks need God more than they need Zen. Francis does like the triangle offense though because it can represent the Holy Trinity. The Pope will give Jackson a simple message: Go with unselfish players, those who look to make their fellow teammates and their fellow men better people both on the court and off. He also likes defensive players, that is, those who focus on preventing bad things from happening. Too many bad, almost devilish things were happening on the court last year for the Knicks. The Pope likes the Robin Lopez signing because he has a Christ-like appearance, which the Holy Father thinks will bring the team luck during the Christmas and Easter holidays. The Porzingis pick wasn’t so much a transgression before God but an insane act: The young man might already be too injured to play for the Knicks summer league. This with the fourth pick? Jesucristo. Carmelo Anthony is venal and obsessed with material things, but he must be brought into the light. What GM in his right mind would do a deal for him?
For those wondering whether the Pope is qualified to counsel Jackson on basketball, look no farther than the Pope’s most recent encyclical, which discussed, among other things, climate, a topic about which the Pope clearly knows little considering he uncorked this canard:
The problem with this statement is that even some Chicken Littles of the carbon ilk will admit that there’s been no global warming for almost two decades. Here’s another puerile passage from the Pope’s letter:
In recent decades this warming has been accompanied by a constant rise in the sea level and, it would appear, by an increase of extreme weather events, even if a scientifically determinable cause cannot be assigned to each particular phenomenon.
The inimitable John Hinderaker, in his typical fashion, pithily points out:
Sea level has been rising for approximately 12,000 years…Extreme weather events are not increasing. This isn’t an opinion, it is a fact: there is no plausible empirical claim to the contrary.
Come to think of it, the Pope probably knows more about basketball than he does the environment. And the Knicks can use any help they can get.