Sheena Not Fulton Sheen Is a Punk Rocker and So We Shall Always Be [Rocket to Russia Variation]

The Pussy Riot trial and aftermath should flummox Cold/Culture warriors in perpetuity: should but won’t I mean c’mon we weren’t born yesterday! Very early in the Cold War the soon- to-be sainted U.S. Catholic Bishop Fulton J. Sheen dubbed the Soviet Union ‘The Mystical Body of Satan.” Now the Russian Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia condemns Pussy Riot for, what else, “doing the work of Satan.” But wait, isn’t he the same asset reportedly code-named ‘Mikhailov’ by KGB pals back in the bad old days of “godless communism?” And everybody knows Vlad Putin’s story: meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

So Russia remains in the clutches of ruthless, authoritarian, human rights denying despots, but none dare call them godless! Two years in a Russian prison surely beats a lifetime in Siberia, or worse, but a “reasonable” sentence for punk-rocker/moms (two of three the latter) in a re-emergent Christian nation? Can this be the outcome Fulton Sheen envisioned in the early 50s, as he led millions of Americans in fevered prayers for the conversion of Russia?

On his top-rated TV show “Life is Worth Living,’ Sheen spun bizarrely embroidered yarns of a communist plot to assassinate Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli—the future Pope Pius X11—in Munich way back in 1923, when Pacelli was the papal nuncio to Germany and the tide of Marxian not National socialism was the Vatican’s greatest dread.

Sheen’s extravagantly theatrical, nationally televised  performance of this Cold War fable climaxed  with the Bishop whipping a miraculous medal from the chain around his neck, the very same medal that caught the bullet intended for Pacelli’s heart! Unfired bullet, from a non-existent gun, that is, as Sheen himself might later have acknowledged in a more chastened era: even the priest-promoter running Pius XII’s campaign for canonization now readily concedes the Munich assassination-attempt story is ‘imaginary.’ But was Russia converted?  Conversion for what?

I have good story instincts but no chops for logic: none. There should be a prize awarded to first author who can make orderly political-historic sense of the Pussy Riot case WITHOUT resorting to Cold War/culture war, pious bromides emanating from Left, Right, or the car wash beneath Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior, above which Pussy Riot beseeched the Virgin Mary–in heavily salted vernacular–to free their people from the vise-grip of tyranny. File it under ‘theology, liberation.’

And because we like our history with all wrinkles intact, consider too that “Uncle Fulty” Sheen found himself exiled to a bishopric in Rochester, NY in the late 60s (SEE: his bitter enmity with the far-less beloved “American Pope,” Francis Cardinal Spellman). Though a terrible time for Sheen personally, this late chapter saw him re-born as an ardent champion of the Second Vatican Council’s reforms, an advocate of civil rights for African-Americans, and an opponent of the U.S. war in Vietnam, all of which ensure that in sainthood Sheen too will bedevil culture warriors.

History! You can run but you can’t hide.

The Ramones made great rock and roll that kicked out the jams that jammed kids up in cultural and tribal ghettoes: that’s what the music was created for! So today we picture the Ramones–living and (mostly) deceased including Johnny, who was raised to think like Sheen the Cold Warrior and did but played guitar like a Queens Blvd. banshee, to Joey, who wasn’t, and didn’t–firing this punk rocket to Russia, surely emblazoned Free Pussy Riot!


3 thoughts on “Sheena Not Fulton Sheen Is a Punk Rocker and So We Shall Always Be [Rocket to Russia Variation]

  1. As Charles DeGaulle said, “we denounce Russia for its ideology, but if the ideology fades Russians will still be Russians. They will use religion or some other economic policy to justify their inherent vileness.”

  2. I recently reviewed a history of Heaven’s role in the American imagination; set record for lateness in part because it was so disturbing to learn that nobody in the U.S. has apparently ever crafted a vision of heaven as place i’d wish to live. But my all-time favorite formulation? Provided by none other than Fulton J Sheen who promised that heaven is a place of ‘knowledge without research.’ Talk about projection!

  3. Still, who of us listening to the Ramones as contemporaries have believed that the “new boss” would be a man who flies shirtless on a hang-glider with a flock of cranes, the holiest bird in Russia? Could we yet see ads or news reports of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan be bought to political events on the wings of drones got up as doves? The Republican candidate for President is a member of the Cult of Mormon, almost as much a Cult of Mammon as the Catholic Church itself. And that happens to be the very devout professed religion of the Mormon’s running mate!

    This makes no historical sense unless you understand that both countries are attempting to be ruled by members of the Aristotcracy – the new one, who believes that you are valued by the amount of money you cab steal from the public. This is not because these secretive groups love venality. It is because they love the *Aristocracy* They love the idea of a country, and a great power, being ruled by an incredibly wealthy class of people, all of whom know each other, and who make all the major decisions about that country by themselves. *They* decide when a country will go to war. *They* decide what its economic policies, and internal security procedures, will be.

    Romney, Putin, and their backers are attempting to undo the 20th Century, by collecting up all of their former wealth disseminated to the general populace of the nations that should have remained their *kingdoms,* from their point of view. They will get all that money back, plus even more, because they will load the nations, and their citizens, up on debt from financial derivatives created for that very purpose. They intend to make the citizens, and their untold generations, working as wage slaves to pay back those debts. The New Aristocracy is planning a new Medievalism, perhaps with a few plagues thrown in to cull the herd. Climate Change will certainly due its part to thin out the “useless” populations of the more equatorial zones.

    In this new vision, Money and God are conflated to the public, so that their new leaders are not only elected by the people, but anointed by God. Protestors are not only traitors to the State, through its great representative personage, but are actually blasphemers against God, sinners against the Lord himself.

    Putin, like Romney, is a member of a cabal that has been plotting this direction for their nations for decades. can read history, and see the sweeping arcs, as well as we can. They envision a world in which a period of democratization and economic equality was gradually overthrown by men of great wealth who saw their ways to buy back their power of the crown, if not the headgear. They are the absolute members of that cabal. It makes perfect historical logic.


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