First and foremost my children,
Let me say, peace to you all,
Whatever your race, your standing or your call.
But I must also say though,
I find it most distressing:
This obsession with materialism.
North Americans today seem to
Live only for wealth, money and power,
Of their waking lives
They appear to devote far more attention
To their bank accounts than to their wives;
And their children,
What profit it a man to drive
An '83 model four door Cadillac,
And draw a 40,000 dollar a year salary
If he be spiritually poor?
My children, you must all of you purge yourselves
Of materialist thinking,
And return to a spiritual way of living
Before you destroy yourselves,
Before you lose your souls
And his servant, Mammon.
Please heed my words, my children,
Before it is too late.
And now, I must draw your attention to another matter,
That is the sad, indeed, distressing state of the Vatican's finances,
And those of the Catholic Church in general.
Without the support of the faithful, the Church would collapse,
I would have to travel economy class,
Perhaps even trade in my papal vestments
For a plain velvet cape and hat.
So, please give generously my children
When the fathers bring the collecting boxes around,
And, if you are a senior member of the congregation,
Please remember, you can't take it with you,
And ask for a form C4 on your way out:
Thank you my children, good night, and God bless you all.
[The above was first published in the 1987 anthology We're Coming For Your Telecom Shares].
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