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Open letter to Pope Jean Paul II

upon his visit to Toronto in 2002 for World Youth Day

Dear Pope
I hope
you enjoyed your stay in Toronto for
World Youth Day
and for the pleasure of your company, the city paid
7 million dollars, but hey! That’s okay!
‘Cause he’s the Pope, Pope, Pope, Pope, Pope!

Yeah we pulled out all the stops,
we put on extra cops,
the charities all donated,
the garbage was evacuated,
the workers were legislated back to work
’cause he’s the Pope, Pope, Pope, Pope, Pope!

And for the pleasure of his company, the city paid
7 million dollars and as of May,
the Toronto Social Housing Connection
had nearly 70 thousand applications
for affordable housing
and only 227 homes available for those in need of a place to live.
And as of July 25 there were 150 thousand pilgrims
who came to Toronto to visit with him:
well, at least the public transportation situation
was under control: you could buy your Papal Mass Pass for only $4!
Yeah, the TTC never misses a marketing opportunity,
and he’s the Pope, Pope, Pope, Pope, Pope.
Yeah he’s the Pope, no joke, he’s so clean he doesn’t need soap,
he is the Pope, Pope, Pope, Pope, Pope.

Well once there was a Pope, and her name was Joan.
Then she had a baby, and the church disowned her, Joan.
They named a bar in her honour on Toronto’s Parliament Street,
now that’s where all the lesbians meet for a drink.
Isn’t history full of mystery?
Isn’t the Papacy full of irony!
And maybe
if that Catholic Church wasn’t so dead set against contraception
then Joan wouldn’t have got herself knocked up,
and she could have kept her chosen gender identity intact.
She was the Pope, Pope, Pope, Pope, Pope.

But Pope, did you hear? Here in Ontario being queer
has taken on a whole new dimension, now the court has made it clear
we can marry each other, woman to woman, man to man:
well I know some Christian’s who’d think that puts a wrench in the holy plan,
but Pope, you came to speak for World Youth Day, so you must
be aware that there are kids here who are gay,
who are going to the Prom, and who are getting their way,
yeah Marc took his boyfriend to the high school dance
and his Catholic High School to the court of law,
and he won!

And in this multi-faith city you are planning to speak
of Jesus as the one and only salvation,
the universal healer for our nation.
But maybe World Youth Day should be called Catholic Youth Day,
since there is more than one way
to be a believer.

And one thing i know is that Jesus was a social revolutionary,
a utopic visionary, a man who believed in equality,
and we sure could use some leadership like this around here now,
here in this crisis of civilization, this population explosion, this corporate corruption

Dear Pope, I hope you enjoyed your stay here,
though the religion of the masses is clear:
rich is what we pray to be,
money is our deity,
the exalted arches of malls are where we
listen to our top ten hymns on the radio
we believe sales are what will save us.
And maybe that is our original sin,
but Pope, if there is a heaven, well I don’t think anyone’s getting in,
’cause the Papacy is as full of hypocracy as the city of Toronto
who will pay for a celebrity visitor but not take care of it’s own,
yeah how many homeless and poor
are knocking right at our door
and we won’t let them in.


© evalyn parry 2002 (SOCAN) all rights reserved