Dear Dr. Boli: The news media (by which I mean KDKA, which is the only station my old Philco radio gets) keep saying that the resignation of Benedict XVI sets a “precedent.” Is that true? What does it mean? —Sincerely, Raoul Castro, Havana (North Dakota).

Dear Sir: It means simply that other people in positions of power who find their labors more difficult than they anticipated will now feel empowered to step down. Already we see the effect of the precedent in Pittsburgh’s Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, who suddenly refused to run as the machine candidate for mayor, explaining that he had stopped enjoying politics because sometimes people were mean to him. The difference is that the Vatican knows exactly what to do when a pope retires, but no one has any idea what to do when the machine candidate for mayor of Pittsburgh drops out at the last minute. Right now the Vatican is cheerfully implementing the Celestine Protocol, but in a smoke-filled room somewhere near the City-County Building in Pittsburgh there are men praying sincerely for a comet to strike the earth before the primaries in May.


  1. Clay Potts says:

    Road to the Mayor’s Office; The Grant Street Protocol

    “Let’s get Bob elected Mayor, he is becoming a stifling force as Council President”.

    “Oh, Great, now that Bob is Mayor we need to elect a new Council President!

    I know, lets play, “rock, paper, scissors” for the position.”

    “No, I have a better idea, let’s elect that young Luke boy to be President, that way we will be able to exert control over the whipper-snapper, and, thus over Council, without taking any of the blame”. “I like it, I like it!”

    “Oh, Great, did you hear about Bob, may he rest in peace?!” “Yeah, now that whipper-snapper Luke is going to be appointed Mayor!” “It should’ve been me!”

    “Don’t worry, he doesn’t stand a chance of being re-elected.”

    “Well, I guess he is more popular than we anticipated.”

    “My money is now on that Luke boy for another term!” “He is too green to have any skeletons in his closet.” “Ok, so its agreed, Luke will stay Mayor”.

    “Did you hear the News?!” “Oh, Great, Now what do we do?!”

    “I know, let’s do what we’ve always done.”

    “Agreed, ready gentleman, on three, “rock, paper, scissors….”

  2. Katie says:

    Aww…Havana, North Dakota. I spent a year learning ministry among the faithful people of that little town.

    Now see, Dr. Boli, you’ve gone and made me all sentimental when I have to work to do!

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