LET them cartwheel, wriggle, jump, and juggle lighted candles where a sense of doom is no slouch, where those in dire need of salvation cower and crouch. Who says children’s parties and the circus are the only places for clowns? Send them in, quick. Let them make the rounds of the Roman Catholic Church.

Come on, all ye faithful, could we allow the devil to have the last laugh? Times are tough, amen. Although the sky is not falling yet, the thunder is already trundling down the pulpit. It’s enough to ruffle even an angel’s feathers.

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In a flash, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) may as well have banged the bells against the Department of Health’s gospel of disease prevention and population control. And blessed in the eyes of the CBCP are some self-anointed moral crusaders who came in protest of the DOH’s campaign to distribute free contraceptives, their lips stiff and smoky in a chorus of “condomnation.”

Never mind if the birth rate will go on booming sky-high while the economy keeps on skidding down the sewer. Forget the grim mumbling of the cynic, shy of screaming: Blessed are the poor, the Lord made so many of them.

So many, in fact, that they become quite a catch to those fishing for the privilege of becoming their saviors. To guide the voters from being carried away by those knee-walking in the waters of politics, Cardinal Vidal recently set a seminar for Cebu’s priests with the Commission on Elections.

Once the priests would no longer be babes in the woods of poll automation, they are expected to guide their flock into coming to grips with the nitty-gritty of high-tech balloting.

The Cardinal hopes this will be enough to dispel “doubts because of the newness of the technology and the prevailing atmosphere of distrust caused by past experiences of electoral fraud in our country’s political history.”

And so the morality of reproductive and electoral issues might compel our clergy, in utter earnestness, to develop an allergy to humor. This is sorely needed, especially now that catastrophes all over the world are not enough to bury a spate of sex scandals involving the clergy, continuing to rock the Vatican. What a spine-bending burden, indeed, to wake up the churchgoers who might plop unconscious under the drone of weighty matters that hardly lift the spirit.

“Will the faithful work done by so many Catholics be overshadowed by a church hierarchy that goes on the defensive when questioned about cover-ups and complicity?” wonders Serene Jones, a renowned professor of theology, religion and gender studies who’s also the first woman president in the 172-year history of the multi-denominational Union Theological Seminary in New York.

Citing the good work of “countless nuns and priests…for the poor, hungry, and homeless,” Jones waxes nostalgic about the Catholic Church’s power “to affirm economic justice, offer a moral critique of capitalism, and, most importantly, insist that a radical love of the powerless and marginalized is the truest form of faith.”

Without doubt, Jones’s thoughts are timely as the Christian world slows down in meditation over the Messiah’s crucifixion and resurrection. No less loud are the wing-borne words to the terror-struck shepherds once upon a time. "Do not be afraid," the angel hushed them, "I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people."

Hopefully, our priests would not be hard-pressed for a homily peppered with stand-up hilarity against everything gone horrid.

Or else, desperate to be steadfast with the task of spreading joy, they might rue the day they’d be tempted to pray for clowns, instead of angels, to come to their rescue.