MONDAY, APRIL 16 This week of exploding bovines, strategic pooping, and continued shame for the Catholic Church kicks off in Rome, where today Pope Benedict XVI celebrated his 85th birthday. Meanwhile, the Vatican was putting final touches on a report chastising nuns in the US for their radical feminism. Details on the report (which the Vatican will release the day after tomorrow) come from the Washington Post, which reports that the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an umbrella group representing most of America's 57,000 Catholic nuns, has come under Vatican fire for "not speaking out strongly enough against gay marriage, abortion, and women's ordination." The Post went on to quote the report's charges that the LCWR sponsored conferences featuring "a prevalence of certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith." Appointed to oversee the radical- feminist-nun hunt: Seattle archbishop J. Peter Sartain, who recently announced a plan to have local parishes collect signatures to overturn marriage equality in Washington State.
•• Speaking of Archbishop Sartain: Today brings another story invoking the starchy archbishop, this one out of Seattle's Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church, where yesterday Reverend Tim Clark stood before his Sunday congregation and announced the parish would not participate in signature gathering to repeal same-sex-marriage rights, inspiring his congregation to give him a standing ovation. "The parish became the sixth in Seattle to opt out of the petition drive for Referendum 74 that has been endorsed and foisted on parishes by Archbishop J. Peter Sartain," reports Seattlepi.com, which received an explanatory e-mail from Reverend Clark himself: "The standing ovation experienced during one of the Masses says less about me and much more about the health of this parish," wrote the good reverend. "I only wished the archbishop could have experienced the sustained applause—the 'sensus fidelium'—of the people. He needs to listen to this 'voice.' That is my prayer."
TUESDAY, APRIL 17 Nothing happened today, unless you count the Associated Press story about how the US Forest Service may blow up frozen cows. Entitled "Forest Service May Blow Up Frozen Cows," the AP report concerned "a group of cows that wandered into an old ranger cabin high in the Rocky Mountains," then couldn't find their way back out of the cabin and eventually froze to death. Which brings us to today's saga of frozen carcass removal. "Obviously, time is of the essence because we don't want them defrosting," Forest Service spokesman Steve Segin said to the AP, which reports, "Officials are concerned about water contamination in the nearby hot springs if the cows start decomposing during the thaw. The options: use explosives to break up the cows, burn down the cabin, or [use] helicopters or trucks to haul out the carcasses." And so we're back to the headline: "Forest Service May Blow Up Frozen Cows." (Alternate headlines put forth by readers of Slog, The Stranger's blog: "Cow-Boom," "Cold Beef Explosion," and, for the eventual editorial on the subject, "A Bomb in a Bull? Abominable!" But the headline winner, forever, is the original.)
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18 The week continues with a filthy bit of business involving the Secret Service, 11 members of which stand accused of prepping for the president's arrival at a summit in Colombia by consorting with prostitutes in their government-funded hotel rooms. Today brought an update: "Three Secret Service agents who were implicated in the agency's prostitution scandal are leaving the agency as investigators seek to determine whether the embarrassing episode led to a security breach," reports the Los Angeles Times. "The other eight agents implicated in the scandal are on administrative leave and have had their security clearances suspended."
THURSDAY, APRIL 19 In stupider news, the week continues with Ted Nugent, the '70s-era rocker/eternal far-right gun nut who last week told a group of NRA supporters that he'd be "dead or in jail" next year if Obama was reelected. Today, he met with the Secret Service, who took time out of their busy consorting-with-Colombian-prostitutes schedule to question Nugent about his remarks, which were perceived to be threatening to the president. "The agency confirmed the issue had been resolved," reports Reuters.
•• Speaking of Ted Nugent, this week the website Liveleak provided revelatory details on the amazing shenanigans Nugent pulled to avoid being drafted for the Vietnam War. "[Nugent] claims that 30 days before his Draft Board Physical, he stopped all forms of personal hygiene," reports Liveleak. "The last 10 days he ingested nothing but junk food and Pepsi, and a week before his physical, he stopped using the bathroom altogether, virtually living inside his pants caked with excrement and urine. That spectacle won Nugent a deferment."
FRIDAY, APRIL 20 Nothing happened today.
SATURDAY, APRIL 21 The week continues with another glorious day for Catholicism, courtesy of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, which CNN reminds us is embroiled in the criminal trial "of the highest ranking US Catholic Church leader charged with covering up the crimes of priests against children." Monsignor William Lynn, 61, stands charged with child endangerment for his handling of abuse complaints, including allegations against Reverend James Brennan, who stands charged with attempting to rape a 14-year-old boy in 1996. "Both men have pleaded not guilty," reports CNN, before sharing the bracing statements of David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests: "These revelations and disclosures have to help parishioners face the painful reality that, just like victims, they, too, have been horribly betrayed and misled. When you see handwritten memos from very smart, high-level church officials, this unambiguous deception and selfishness really cuts through denial."
SUNDAY, APRIL 22 The week ends with Earth Day, commemorated in Seattle with gloriously warm and sunny weather. For Last Days, this weather was experienced at Volunteer Park, the crowd-pleasing pleasantness of which was marred only by the loud argument being had by a nearby group of hotheads, one of whom was apparently a teen girl who was forbidden to date a teen boy, causing everyone to yell and emote and place poxes on houses. Eventually, some people pretended to die. Whatever. Get a room, people.