Chi Trib’s Rex Huppke has found something he likes pope-wise, even if he disguises it in a splurge of irony and faux detachment. He plays the naif — “Who, me?” — laying schmaltz on heavier than a high-school sophomore going for the prize.

There are some who doubt the efficacy of trickle-down economics [what Pope Francis condemned]. Those people, according to conservatives, are either communists or, apparently, the pope, whose exhortation insulted the memory of Reagan (patron saint of letting rich people keep their money) and REALLY upset Rush Limbaugh (patron saint of saying things loudly so nobody notices that they don’t make sense).

Thought I’d die laughing, Zelda. That man is SO funny. REALLY!!!

He gives a rundown on millenaristic theory and prediction having to do with the papacy and the world ending with a bang simultaneously, then provides an aw-shucks moment.

The smart thing to do would be to ignore all of this, let conservatives fret about the overt bigheartedness of the new pope and just get on with our Christmas shopping. But I’ve never been one to do the smart thing.

He might want to leave that last one alone.

For a slap-bang conclusion, he works a Santa Claus definition around until it’s clear that Claus should replace Francis on the papal chair, making his final trickle-down point, that Santa’s “a savvy businessman who set up his whole operation at the North Pole to avoid profit-stifling government taxation and regulation,” so that he has “enough cash for a sweet sleigh, magic reindeer and a very full belly, AND he uses his wealth to give gifts to everyone, including the poor.”

Zowie, the joy of it, to take the fun you have at parties and put it in the newspaper, providing a stunning clincher: “That’s trickle-down economics, people.”

All in all, he says, replacing the pope with Santa is “a most holy imaginary solution to a wholly imaginary problem.”

Holy, wholly, get it? Wow. I give that kid an A. Would have broken his heart to get anything less.

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