Holy See Sued By Pilgrims
Flushing, New York - Two sisters, Regina DiAngelo, 75, and Gloria Maloney, 77, are suing the Holy See, the official jurisdiction of the Vatican, for $30 million for "extreme emotional distress and travel expenditures." Both women recently returned from France after making a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes. Upon arriving back at LaGuardia Airport the two devout Roman Catholics were informed that His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI had just announced that all visitors to Lourdes in calendar year 2008, in addition to being eligible for a chance to win a miracle cure, would receive indulgences to shorten their time in Purgatory.
"You can imagine how I felt," said Mrs. DiAngelo. "I mean, if I had known that going to Lourdes in January rather than going in December would have meant I got an indulgence too, I would have waited a month." Mrs. Maloney felt the same way. "I went to Lourdes for my fallen arches, but I've lived with them this long, I could have lived with them another month."
Both women inquired at their local church, Our Lady of Unrelenting Misery, to see if the indulgence offer was retroactive. They were informed by the diocese that indulgences could not be postdated. Their parish priest suggested that the two women take advantage of the 2008 February indulgence special and pray at a church dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes. But, when Mrs. DiAngelo and Mrs. Maloney investigated they found that the nearest applicable church was in the Bronx.
Mrs. Maloney, who says her feet still bother her, said, "If the Pope thinks I'm going to change buses and take a train to get an indulgence when I've already spent a fortune to go all the way to Lourdes, he's crazy." Mrs. DiAngelo inquired if she could journey to the Bronx and bring back an indulgence for her sister, but was informed that indulgences were not transferrable.
"I'm not going to have my sister sitting around in Purgatory forever without so much as a t.v. just because its hard for her to get to the Bronx. Besides, I saw that church and frankly, they may be lovely people, but I'm not comfortable in that neighborhood, and it gets dark so early in February. The special offer is only good from February 2 through February 14 and my husband's niece is getting married on one weekend and the other one is Valentine's Day and we usually go out to a nice restaurant. We went all the way to Lourdes, we both got terrible diarrhea from that crazy food they have over there and we spent a lot of money to go even though we both are on a fixed income. We shouldn't have to schlep to the Bronx too."
That's when the two women approached attorney Martin Ostrowsky of the law firm, Gettum, Gettum, and Goode about suing the Vatican. The New York State Attorney General has also indicated an interest in this case saying, "The Vatican knew all along that some pilgrims would get shortchanged by going to Lourdes in 4th quarter of 2007. This is deceptive marketing, and that's illegal in New York."
Representatives of the Holy See were not available for comment.
Written for Assimilated Press by roving reporter pinko