No pressure

So yesterday, I get an email from John Norton at Our Sunday Visitor informing me that L’Osservatore Romano just did a story on two pieces I wrote for OSV a couple of months ago. Sez he, “The Pope knows about you now.”


As it happens, I have a friend who knows Italian, so she read the PDF file to us. It was, I am relieved to report, a favorable piece that caught the whimsical tone of the pieces pretty well. I was particularly amused by the Italian struggles to translate American English slang like “kick the bucket” into the Mother Tongue. It is, when you think of it, hard to explain why “kick the bucket” is slang for “die”. So the Italian writer just skipped it and used an Italian slang (roughly translated as “throw out your heart” as near as my friend could tell) to say the same thing. Anyway, if you missed the pieces, they are at the link above, as well as a bit of coverage of the LR piece.

A strange feeling, thinking the Pope is reading your babble with his morning tea.

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  • Marthe Lépine

    Do you know if any of your books is distributed in Canada, and if so, where or by whom? Or are the only ways to order them is to contact you or purchase on line?

  • Ted Seeber

    You’ll have to contact the websites of the second article and see if their logs contain increased .va domain visitors……

  • Michelle

    Without looking it up, my guess is that “kick the bucket” refers to the practice of kicking away the support holding up someone about to be hanged.

    … Okay, after writing the paragraph above, I gave in and Googled:

  • Noah D

    “The Pope knows about you now.”

    I can’t help but hear this in a Marlon Brando ‘Don Corleone’ voice.

  • Katherine Hibbs

    Congratulations! That must be a wonderful feeling.

  • Roberto

    Mark: “tirare le cuoia” is the perfect translation to “kick the bucket”. It literary means to “pull the leather” and I think that both expressions refer to the hanging process, although neither, by now, refers to a death penalty, but to ordinary death.
    The critic at OR definitely likes your work: congratulations!

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    I was gonna suggest tirare le cuoia too. Learned it from a kid from Bergamo.

    Don’t know who read it to you, Mark, but I miss Sal most of all.

  • Marty Helgesen

    Another possible explanation of the phrase is that when someone kicks a real bucket it tips over and the contents spill out.

  • Tominellay

    Congrats, Mark!
    …don’t know about tea, but I hear that BXVI drinks orange Fanta…

  • Alfredo Escalona

    All I can say is… heckuva “booby prize” the Holy Spirit tosses your way
    what with the L’Osservatore Romano piece, old man.

    You have arrived.

    • Mark Shea

      The question is “Where have I arrived?”

      • Benjamin Shea

        The Pope reading your work? Big deal.
        David Miscavige reading your work? Now THERE is something to blog about……time to rethink your priorities, I’m afraid.

        • Mark Shea

          Er, who?

  • Julian Klee

    Funny that this post should coincide with your nasty exchange over at Vox Nova. A little puffed up with pride, are we? Wherever you’ve arrived, He is not there.

    • Faith

      Well, Julian, you seem capable of being even nastier. This little piece of snark was completely lacking in charity and nothing but a mean dig. Perhaps we should work on the logs in our own eyes?

  • B.E. Ward


    Please do note that it is commentors who are saying Mark has ‘arrived’, not Mark himself. In fact, Mark is clearly uncomfortable with such talk. Why not just congratulate the guy for hearing the Pope has learned of his work?

    • Julian Klee

      Mark wrote the post. Clearly he is eager for everyone to know that Benedict reads him. Which is wonderful. Having brought out the news, Mark has his reward. But what did that blessing produce? Rather than be humbled and gratified by the occasion, he simultaneously lashed out at another Christian on old matters. Hey, I’m not above such behavior myself. But I hope in the fellowship of love, we can call each other on it.

  • Very cool!!!!! Congrats!

  • Bruce

    Think of it now he is reading you writing about him reading you. I think you have a future in sci fi. How does one translate “hoary chestnut” into Italian?

    Wonder if the Holy Father wrote something in the combox? Congratulations.

  • lauermar

    This is great news. All the more reason to be vigilent about correcting those grammatical and spelling mistakes before publishing. You just never know who will be reading.

  • Theresa F.

    Laudate Dominum! Way to go, Mark 🙂
    Hope to see you at the April CPOS meeting.
    May Our Lord shower you and yours with many blessings this Holy Week.

  • JMJ

    I also read comments by Biden, Pelosi, Kerry, Obama and you, but, it doesn’t mean that we accept what all of you are saying or thinking. +JMJ+

  • Mary Elizabeth Williams

    Dear Laurmar: That’s “Vigilant.”

  • Bob

    Calm down, Julian. Mark’s article was next to Romano’s comic strip section, there’s his humility. Just kidding, Mark! I take pride in the fact that I discovered your wit before the Holy Father did!

  • Burt

    Wow really? His holiness reads Marks blog? I wonder if he reads the comments too?
    Well just in case he does I would like to say Hello Your Holiness…I am glad you are our Holy Father…please say a little prayer for me and all the other contributors to Marks blog ..we pray that you are given every blessing by Our Lord to guide His Church according to His Blessed Will.