Saturday Poem / They're Selling Their Mansions

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For Pope Francis, who lived in a rented apartment in Buenos Aires, cooked his own meals and took the bus to work

The bishops are selling their mansions.

In Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik moves

into a seminary apartment.

He gives up the fine art and antiques in

the thirty-nine room house with five-car garage,

breakfast nook, butler's pantry, Wuerlpool tub.

Just the taxes run $44,000.

Why? Penance for the pedophile priests' sins?

Shifted around but never charged or jailed.

Never placed out of reach of the children.

Who will light the ten fireplaces, restock

the wine cellar, teach young priests to tend bar?

Where will they entertain the next George Bush

when he calls weeks before the election?

The house sold for two million, a real deal.

It looked like one man's form of repentance.

Now, the archbishops are selling their mansion.

The stone Victorian Gothic pile

where Philadelphia archbishops lived

since 1935 is up for sale.

Former home to archbishops and four red hats --

yes, the cardinals are selling their mansion --

the house had welcomed Pope John Paul II,

President Reagan and his astrologer.

They've promised the proceeds to inner-city

parishes. The house has sixteen rooms, five

baths, granite walls, slate roofs, on eight acres.

Don't know the price. If you have to ask, don't.

The archbishop may choose to live beside

the cathedral in a rectory built

for archbishops when they were less royal.

It's all so sudden and quite delightful --

as though Luther had risen from the dead

still stunned by the opulence of old Rome.

-- Ann Curran


Ann Curran, a member of the Squirrel Hill Poetry Workshop, lives in Mount Washington. When she learned that Pope Francis had refused to live in the cardinal's mansion in Buenos Aires, she sent in this poem from her manuscript "Me First," scheduled for publication by Lummox Press of San Pedro, Calif.


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