Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fr. Stan Fortuna Not Welcome Here

I recently took a leisurely stroll through my neighborhood, the much-ballyhooed "Little Italy" of Buffalo, New York.  Well, much-ballyhooed here, anyway.  I shant compare it to New York City because NOTHING here compares to  New York City, but as Little Italies go, it's pretty little.  Not to mention marginally Italian: in the two or three blocks to the left and right of my street there is a Greek diner, a Thai restaurant, a Mexican eatery, a Chinese take-out and a Halal market.  Of course, there are Italian establishments as well: a seafood place, a cafe, a gift shop, a tailor, several pasta joints, a head-shop (with perverbial Chevy Monte Carlo's parked nearby), an Italian accountant, and a great Italian consigliere who will defend you if you have too much vino and decide to drive the Monte Carlo into a bus shelter.  Oh, and we have a Walgreens. 

I never thought I would live in the city; I am a suburban boy by birth, but I have come to love North Buffalo for all it's charms and peculiarities.  It's a good neighborhood.  The people are friendly, the streets are clean, and there is little crime to speak of...except at the Credit Union.  The place gets robbed fairly routinely.  I don't know if the crooks think the credit union is too poor to buy security, or maybe they think the place is brimming over with cash, but it is a favorite spot for least three that I can remember in the last couple years, maybe more.  It gives the kids an opportunity to be on TV running around making funny faces behind the reporter being filmed for the six o'clock news.  "Look, it's little Tony!" can be heard on every block when the report is aired; the story is secondary, if that.

The Credit Union decided that evasive action was required.  No, they didn't hire a professional security guard.  They didn't install a new alarm system.  Nor did they teach the tellers jujitsu.  No, they hung this sign on the door:

I'm not privy to any security tapes, so I don't know what the crooks were wearing during the robberies, but I'll bet they weren't wearing business suits, zubazz pants or leotards.  Therefore, if you are wearing a santa suit, kilt, pajamas, fishnets and mini-skirts, Tyvek suit or pantaloons, welcome.  Sunglasses?  Squint or get lost.  Hat?  Let's see that bald spot, punk.  Hood?  Franciscans take a hike. 

It is certainly the right of any business to limit who has access to it based on attire.  Heck, the Vatican will throw you out on your ear if you try to sneak in wearing Bermuda shorts, so the Credit Union is not setting a precedent.  That being said, the situation caused me to think about the way I have been excluded from discussions, events, and even friendships because I was too Catholic. 

I'm sure I'm not alone...friendships lost or drifted apart, discussion taboos among family, passed over in co-worker get-togethers and conversations; all these and more because I fit a pre-determined archetype that didn't fit the circumstances in the minds of the participants.  I consider as well Catholics in the arts, in literature, science and politics who are politely and not-so-politely excluded because of their faith.  All because we belong to the Church that invented the concept of the college and university, fostered art and saved culture through wars, invasions, and Dark Ages, nurtured great musicians, sculptors, painters, and writers, and literally invented the scientific method of study....pretty awesome, huh? 

Heck, we are far more interesting than the rest of the world!  So if we are too Catholic, too bad.  We don't want to be in your dinky little club, anyway.  Oh, and somebody better tell Fr. Stan Fortuna he can't go in the Credit Union.  Thanks. 


  1. Love this!!! I definitely get that "not welcome because you are Catholic" feeling in many places! (Sadly, sometimes even from my teenage son!) Thanks for helping me feel so not alone! Great story, love your humor!

  2. Praised be Jesus Christ!
    now and forever!

    We are not alone!
    and Father Stan ROCKS!

    He may not be welcome at that place on Hetel, but He would be welcome at the Mission.

    I can relate to the certain topics are not up for discussion thing, in my own family, at my one job, etc..

    Blessed are you when they persecute you and revile you and utter everyslander against you!
    for your reard will be great in heaven!


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