The Gospel Truth

Heaven’s Nursery | February 10, 2011

Anyone know any good jokes?  Any good Catholic jokes?

There is something distinctively Catholic about comedy, good humor and story telling.

The 14th century Italian poet, Dante Alighieri referred to the nine circles of Hell in his classic The Divine Comedy.

To the ordinary reader this makes the term comedy seem like a misnomer.

Since the Renaissance comedy has revolved around the banalities of everyday life while tragedy was dealt with heroes in pursuit of honor, love, or patriotism.

Tragic figures maintain their honor but usually die in the process while comic figures lose their dignity but live to tell the tale.

Had the right idea

At the heart of all comedy is humor.  Humor is a citizen of two worlds.

While it is anchored in this world, humor ultimately looks to the heavens above in anticipation of the next world.

In laughing one must hold his sides while looking upward at the Divine Toastmaster.

Humor can be uplifting, derisive, and bawdy.  It can be self-effacing, intellectual, whimsical, and puerile.

It ranges from the clownish pratfalls of a Chevy Chase to the delicate nuances of a Shakespearean witticism.

Wit was at the center of his humor

Chase’s pratfalls on Saturday Night Live probably cost Gerald Ford his re-election. in 1976.  In one he nearly killed himself trying to mimic the president in the voting booth.

Chase actually fell off the NBC stage and broke a couple of ribs.

Years later he had to detox at–get this–the Betty Ford Center in California.

What great irony is that!

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Probably cost him the election

While laughter is the outward appreciation of life, it involves an inner assent to God’s creation.

To a secular America devoutly religious people seem to lack a sense of humor.

With their visible puritanical resignation to life’s trials, religious people can easily lose sight of the legitimate earthly joys and pleasures that God has designed for them.

With one’s eyes permanently downcast, it is too easy to fall prey to the Manichean trap that condemns all earthly fun in the name of piety and salvation.

A sense of humor is a necessity for one to be a good Catholic.

A  church that cannot laugh at itself will not be able to serve its flock properly.

The Catholic sense of humor relies on the thinking and attitudes that make us distinctively Catholic.

A good example might be a joke I chose to tell for speech class when I was in high school.

A little boy, the sixth of nine children was feeling restless at his baby sister’s baptismal.

When he wouldn’t behave, his father sternly warned him: Timmy if you don’t stop it, we wont bring you next year!

Humor is God’s gift to a humanity that takes its pride in large doses.

Laughter is the ontological opposite of pride, which is taking oneself so seriously that it obscures the image of God in the human soul.

One need only be reminded of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden.

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God let them keep their sense of humor

The first parents thought that they were God’s equals, only to find out later that the joke has been on them and their descendants ever since.

In The Passion of the Christ, amid the bloody carnage of Jesus’ graphic suffering and violent death, director Mel Gibson flashed back to Jesus as a young carpenter, frolicking with and teasing his mother Mary who revealed her own dry sense of humor.

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A rare look at Jesus laughing

Gibson’s film was unlike any other depictions of Jesus’ life and death.

Too often filmmakers and the religiously devout are so awe-stricken by Jesus’ Divinity that they forget His humanity.

Life without laughter, even Jesus’ is like a day without sunshine.

Just as human love can reflect Divine love, humor can transcend man’s mortal boundaries and provide a glimpse of God’s Divinity.

Laughter is just the tease, the psychological rush that will prepare God’s faithful servants for an eternal basking in the warmth of His Divine smile.

On his highly popular 1950’s TV show, Life Is Worth Living Series, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen reminded his viewers that humor is really about child’s play.

Jesus told his followers whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Mt. 18:1-4)

He also stressed that unless you become like children, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Mt. 19:13-15)  I believe that the face of a laughing or smiling child is a reflection of the face of God.

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A reflection of the face of God

With a childlike gleam of anticipation in his radiant eyes, Bishop Sheen once ended his program with his fervent prayer that enlisted his audience to look for me in the nursery of Heaven!

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Look for him in the nursery

Editor’s Note:  Please feel free to send your favorite Catholic or religious jokes to my comments page on this post and get your friends to do likewise.  Get those endorphins flowing.

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5 Comments »

  1. Another solid post, Pop. Keep at it.

    Comment by Matt — February 10, 2011 @ 5:23 pm

  2. Bill:

    Most of my favorite Catholic jokes are the ones that grew grew out of my Catholic parochial school days, deriving most of their punch from our downtime as altar boys serving Mass. All, of course, came with Catholic guilt for even harboring the thoughts we hatched for a cheap laugh among buddies.I have to claim ownership of a game we used to play with Latin called, “I wonder what that really means?”

    One example: “Dominus vobiscum et cum spiritu tuo.”
    If expressed by the priest near the collection, I assumed it meant, “Dominick, go frisk ’em, and then bring the loot to me.”

    Worse. More guilt. …

    We had a priest who sounded like Johnny Addy, the ring announcer at Madison Square Garden, whom I only I knew through the Friday Night Fights. When this priest would take us through the Stations of the Cross during Lent, the two characters, Addy and the priest, would sort of blend together in the theater of my mind as one and the same, and I would hear … something more like this:

    “THE 9TH STATION OF THE CROSS …. JESUS FALLS THE THRID TIME …. THE WINNER BY A TKO …. PONTIUS PILATE!”

    Yes, I know. If my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ was not bigger than the one I only learned to fear in parochial school, I would have been struck dead a long, long time ago, had Jesus and God Almighty, the Father, and the Holy Spirit not been much more powerfully benevolent than my earliest childhood imaginings. Fortunately for me, my adult Catholicism faith came fitted with room to grow in my understanding that above all else, God is Love – and that Love always smiles upon a sense of humor.

    Comment by Bill McCurdy — February 10, 2011 @ 10:41 pm

    • Bill:

      I hate leaving a post or comment with typos, word repeats, and letter inversions. That compulsivity goes back to my parochial school days too.

      Don’t you have access to the WordPress edit function for use by commenting readers? The inability to clean up errors will pause me from writing when I don’t have the time to proof what spills out on the page – as just happened. I left all kinds of errors all over the place, – No real perfectionist ever recovers from that kind of aversion. Those who say they have – are lying. 🙂

      Comment by Bill McCurdy — February 10, 2011 @ 10:54 pm

      • I think you can edit anything you post even after. I’ll look into it. BB

        Comment by bbprof — February 11, 2011 @ 3:19 am

  3. This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

    Comment by Mary B — February 11, 2011 @ 3:05 am


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About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at bbprof@sbcglobal.net

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