Quanti scudetti ha il papa?

It looks like Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is about to lose his job. His coalition lost this week’s elections by a metric smidgen, though there may be a recount. The pundits will analyze and theorize and conjecturize in their vain attempts to understand why the Italian Republic’s longest-lasting governing coalition has finally fallen.

Some might say it was because of his support for the War in Iraq. Could be, but both he and his opponent, Romano Prodi, promised to have Italy’s 3,000 soldiers out of Iraq by the end of 2006.

Some might say it was because of Italy’s recent economic performance. Italy’s economy “grew” at a rate of less than 0.2% in 2005, and wasn’t much better in the years before. Unemployment has been around 8%, Berlusconi hasn’t been able to pass some of the reforms he wanted, and he hasn’t cut tax rates as much as he’d planned.

Some might say it was because of history and probability. From the passage of the Constitution of 1948 until Berlusconi’s current term began, Italy had 56 governing coalitions, averaging 358 days in power. Silvio’s coalition has controlled the government since June 11, 2001, and you can only beat the law of averages for so long.

Some might give those reasons… and they would all be wrong.

Normally, I would subtly allude to my remarkable intelligence and good looks while explaining the deep political and socioeconomic forces underlying such matters. But this time, it is by sheer luck that I have discovered the true reason for Berlusconi’s defeat:

While feasting upon steak and eggs at Bob Evans this morning, I happened to notice the following story in the Chicago Sun-Times: “Milan soc-rilege upsets Vatican.” AC Milan was supposed to play Inter Milan this coming Saturday. However, last weekend it was announced that the game would instead be played this FridayGood Friday—in order to give AC Milan more time to rest before their Champions’ League semifinal match against FC Barcelona next Tuesday.

On Friday Night, Pope Benedict XVI is going to act out the Stations of the Cross on television, and the game was rescheduled to be broadcast at the same time. The Vatican is obviously upset about it. True, the match between Milan and Inter would probably be more entertaining than watching La Via Crucis. But it’s Good Friday… and it’s the Pope… and if you’re inItaly there’s really not much more to say.

Why would this fiasco cause Prime Minister Berlusconi any ill fortune whatsoever? Because he has been the President and owner of AC Milan since 1986.

That’s not to say it was specifically his fault that the match was moved to Good Friday in the first place; it probably wasn’t. But as a team owner, as Prime Minister, as the richest man in Italy, as the majority shareholder in Italy’s biggest media corporation, and as a Catholic he was certainly in a position to influence the decision.

Karma is not a feature of Roman Catholicism–but I’m sure that something like “what goes around comes around” is in there somewhere. As many have learned throughout the ages, you disregard the Pope at your own peril. Hence the fall of the Berlusconi coalition.

Today, it was announced that kickoff would be moved up 2½ hours so that it wouldn’t be broadcast simultaneously with the Stations of the Cross. Nice effort to placate the Church, but the game is still on Good Friday, and chances are the re-rescheduling is too little, too late–the Righteous Anger of God has been stirred, and someone’s gotta get turned into salt.

3 Responses to “Quanti scudetti ha il Papa?”

  1. Doctor Hmnahmna Says:
    April 13th, 2006 at 8:07 PM

What’s the conversion from a metric smidgen to a British smidgen?

  1. Vincent Viscariello Says:
    April 18th, 2006 at 4:32 PM

To calculate the number of British smidgens, multiply the number of metric smidgens by –e^(i*pi).

  1. Doctor Hmnahmna Says:
    April 19th, 2006 at 9:12 PM

That’s the first sinusoidal conversion factor I’ve ever seen:

-e^(i*pi) = -cos(pi)-i*sin(pi)