Pope John Paul II had a way with words.

How Did I Miss That? Sexy Pope Letters; Potato Chip Showdown

Steve Russell

The New York Times reported on a trove of correspondence made public between Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka and Karol Józef Wojtyla, who would become Pope John Paul II, referred to by Catholics since his canonization in 2014 as Saint John Paul the Great. The relationship with Ms. Tymieniecka began in 1973 and continued until the Pope’s death in 2005.

The sexual tension in the relationship between the married Polish-American philosopher and Pope-to-be is apparent, but there is no smoking gun that would suggest any physical consummation. The BBC reported that Dr. Tymieniecka “professed her love” for the then-Archbishop of Kraków in 1975.

The Archbishop wrote to the philosopher a year later: “Last year I was trying to find an answer to the words, ‘I belong to you.’ Finally, before leaving Poland, I found a way — a scapular.” We secular gossips are not informed if the gift was the sort of scapular that signifies an indulgence, nor are we informed whether she was in need of an indulgence. Or he was.

If I were a Roman Catholic, the intimacy of this relationship would make me feel slightly better about JP-2’s role in telling others how to manage their sex lives. The general response of the Church hierarchy appears to be, “Move right along, ladies and gentlemen, nothing to see here.”

My cousin Ray Sixkiller, a traditional Cherokee with little patience for Christian weirdness, just rolled his eyes.

In Vatican news involving the immensely popular current occupant of the throne of St. Peter, Pope Frank has gotten in a public dispute with The Donald Trump. Answering a reporter’s question on the immigration reform debate, the Pope opined:

A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel.

The Donald called those words, “disgraceful.”

“The Catholic Church is run by a bunch of losers,” Cousin Ray snarked, “who are always making bad deals.”

I asked him if he thought electing The Donald to be Pope would make the Church great again? “You bet,” Cousin Ray chuckled, “just like the days of the Spanish Inquisition.” He added that only about a fourth of the voters are Catholic, “and it’s not like Trump was seriously chasing the Hispanic vote.’

I likened the last Republican debate to a school cafeteria food fight, and that’s putting it kindly. All the candidates except Gov. John Kasich and Dr. Ben Carson spent time talking over others.

Joe Scarborough pointed out a Trump comeback I missed.

Trump attacked Jeb! Bush, focusing on Bush’s failure to offer any establishment reaction to George W. Bush’s blunder in the second Iraq invasion.

Jeb! retreated to more defensible terrain and was referring to the Bush matriarch as” a saint.”

Trump interrupted, “Then your mother ought to run.”

George W. Bush stumped for his brother Jeb! In South Carolina with a long string of one-liners, including, “Labels are for soup cans.

Cousin Ray was pleased that President Bush cleared that up.

Janell Ross, writing in The Washington Post, hammered Trump for re-tweeting photos of Megyn Kelly posing for GQ in a black slip about three years before she got a show on Fox News. Trump’s position appears to be, Ross pointed out, “she has forfeited her right to ask a presidential candidate questions.”

Moving on to the GOP candidate who claims to be running nip and tuck with The Donald in South Carolina, we have a comment from Stephen King. The horrormeister gave an interview in The Daily Beast to flog his new TV project based on his book, 11.22.63. The book is about time travel, but any talk with Stephen King has to get into the horror genre that King has dominated. Talking scary stuff naturally led to the current Republican Primary and a question about the Texas horror stalking Washington, Ted Cruz:

He’s very scary. I actually think Trump, in the end, would be more electable than Cruz because Cruz is a fundamentalist Christian and it would almost be like electing the analog of an Imam—someone whose first guiding principle would be the scripture rather than the Constitution. But I don’t think he could get elected. 

King has proved, if it needed proving, that literary talent cannot insure against wishful thinking.

In another election, HuffPost reported that Frito-Lay, purveyor of what passes for pub grub in the U.S., is promoting a competition between four new flavors of potato chips and the most similar “classic” flavors. Frito-Lay says the “Flavor Swap” promotion is the real deal in that the loser is going away, replaced by the chip that beat it. The contestants are:

Korean Barbecue v. Honey Barbecue.

Smoked Gouda & Chive v. Cheddar & Sour Cream.

Olive Oil & Herbs v. Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper.

Fiery Roasted Habanero v. Flamin’ Hot.

I asked Cousin Ray which chips he thought would win, but he refused to opine upon discovering none of them yet have SuperPACs.

I had a good time imagining a SuperPAC devoted to potato chips, so I tried to return the favor by pointing out the words of A.O. Scott, reviewing Creed in The New York Times:


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