I make good pie, so it's worth the investment.
Maybe about two years ago I found myself visiting the in-laws on the night when their local Roman Catholic private school was having its annual fundraiser. Since my niece and nephew attend the school, I was given to understand (in a nice way, my i-l's are swell) that if I wanted to eat I'd have to buy the goods at the fair.
The eats were so-so and pretty pricey, but I found little to quibble with about that Catholic School fundraising fair. First of all, you could buy beer and wine, as much as you wanted, or until your dough ran out. Then there was the gambling. Roulette and Bingo till the wee hours. And the schoolgrounds were jumpin', let me tell ya. It was so crowded that my brother-in-law gallantly stood in line for all the beer, all the time.
That left my sis-in-law and myself together at a picnic table. We rarely get to talk alone, so it was nice.
I said to her, "Golly, this fair must pull in heaps of largesse for your school! Look at this place!"
She replied: "Not really. We have to send half of all our profits to the Vatican."
I said: "My dear, surely you jest! You pay tuition here, and this fundraiser covers the rest, but you have to give up half the money to that fat guy in the white gown?"
I said it just like that. My sister-in-law knows me.
S-i-l said: "Did you know that just one of those Cardinal's robes costs $30,000? They need the money from these fundraisers to pay for that lavish stuff."
Yes, she was bitter. And I was glad, because I felt free -- especially after several expensive cold Budweisers -- to vent freely about her church.
(What I didn't tell her is how I plan to work with my niece and nephew when they get older so that they lapse brilliantly.)
I was reminded of this incident day before yesterday when I read the Philadelphia Daily News. A young Hispanic girl is spending her senior year of high school working in a pizza parlor because her parents have an outstanding bill at a Catholic school in Philly called "Little Flower School." The girl's parents owe the school $4800.
(I'm not bothering to link you to Little Flower, because they have a deliberately user-unfriendly site that makes it impossible to send nasty emails. Trust me on that one. I really wanted to crack on them.)
Not only can this girl not attend her parochial school, she also cannot attend public school, because the LITTLE F***** FLOWER POPE-CLOTHIER will not release her transcripts until the bill is paid!
This girl's parents aren't scofflaws. Her dad had a massive heart attack and had to go on disability. They have offered to work out a payment plan to discharge the debt.
When the Daily News reporter called the school, this is what the Catholic Church had to say about its tuition students:
1. We give lots of scholarship money out. You never write about that.
2. If we didn't have this no-transcript policy, our students would bail to the publics and leave us with unpaid tuition.
3. We do not negotiate payment plans, because after students graduate, their parents don't pay up.
Someone please tell me how anyone could kneel to such a church. They are ruining a young girl's life in the name of collecting $4800, of which presumably $2400 will go to the Vatican to buy pretty red robes. And I love the trust they place in parents and students who are supposed to be educated to the plimsol line with sound Catholic doctrine.
The girl's mother says this is testing their faith in God. If you ask me, they ought to flunk that test and go looking for a better god.