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Art Buchwald

The Prince of Darkness Revels in Giving Rome a Bad Time

April 02, 2002

"What's going on?" I asked the man in a white collar, after I read in the paper about trouble in the church.

He said, "The Devil made me do it."

It was a smoking gun, so I decided to go to visit the Devil, a.k.a. Satan, and check it out.

I found him in Hades, making junk calls to Earth.

"I knew you were evil, but I never believed you would stoop so low as to make junk calls."

He chortled and said, "The Devil does a lot of things that no one knows about."

"Can we talk?" I asked. "They say you made some priests in the church do some really terrible things."

He had a triumphant look on his face.

"This will teach the angels in heaven a lesson."

"But why attempt to destroy so many fine men?"

"It was a quiet day, so I thought I would cause some mischief."

"That's not enough reason. Do you realize you've cost the church millions of dollars in hush money?"

"They should have thought of that when they made a pact with me," Satan said.

"You made a pact with the priests?"

"Only those who were tempted in the first place. They were heading straight to hell anyway."

"What if the church decides to let priests marry? Would you try to stop that?"

"No, because the Devil can break up any marriage he wants. I've done it before and I'll do it again."

"You have no pity."

"Why should I? I am the king of the underworld. Anyone who messes with me better fasten his seat belt."

"What's in it for you?"

"All I'm trying to do is raise hell. If I can't, who can?"

"Are you sure you are not picking on innocent clergymen?"

"I only pick on one when I'm sure the church is paying off a young man for something the priest did, and then the bishop moves him to another parish. I know I haven't made a mistake."

"I hope you get caught and punished for all your sins."

"They wouldn't dare."

"Can they exorcise you from those people in trouble?"

The Devil laughed. "They keep trying all the time, with little success. I am the Prince of Darkness, and the root of all evil. That is why I'm giving Rome such a bad time."

"I better go," I said. "It's getting too hot down here."

He said, "I hope you write about me. I need the publicity."

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