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Metcalfe chained to beliefs

| Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

VATICAN CITY (Exaggerated Press) — A Pennsylvania legislator today chained himself to a pillar in the Vatican gift shop and demanded Pope Francis resign over his recent inclusionary remarks regarding homosexuals.

The Corpo della Gendarmeria dello Stato della Citto del Vaticano, the Vatican police force, identified the man as state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Cranberry. The dogmatic lawmaker long has expressed irritation over anyone who doesn't adhere to his strict moral standards, particularly if they are gay.

An incensed Metcalfeimmediately flew to Rome on Monday because Francis was conciliatory in comments concerning gay priests. The pope asserted he was loathe to judge a gay person who seeks the Lord, and added that homosexuals can't be marginalized.

“Those words were an obvious affront to intolerant people everywhere, regardless of their faith,” Metcalfe said in a brief phone interview shortly after attaching himself to the pillar.

He added: “Pope Francis basically has turned his back on those who have inexplicable and unwarranted animus toward people who have done them no wrong. He has shunned the righteously bigoted in favor of those who want to live their dirty little lives like the rest of us in our otherwise pristine, sin-free society.”

Metcalfe said the pope's words make it seem as though he was being mean-spirited and oppressive last month when he prevented a gay colleague from speaking on the House floor. Utilizing a procedural maneuver, Metcalfe kept Rep. Brian Sims, D-Philadelphia, from commenting on the Supreme Court decision declaring the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.

“I was afraid that Sims would say something stupid and sacrilegious — you know, that homosexuals are actual human beings,” Metcalfe said. “It's a bitter irony that Pope Francis would just casually blurt out the very thing I feared Sims would say to rile up all the marauding gay gangs.”

Asked if the pope's compassionate comments were the most disappointing defeat yet in his ongoing effort to repress a significant segment of the population, Metcalfe paused.

“It's certainly as bad as when my repeated efforts to have a voter referendum to ban gay marriage in Pennsylvania went nowhere,” he said. “But I don't feel bad for myself. I feel bad for the pope. I can't imagine the Lord is going to like His will being casually subverted like this. Francis needs to do the honorable thing and resign.”

A Vatican spokesman said Francis has no immediate plans to step down. He added that Metcalfe was free to remain chained in the gift shop for as long as he desires, unless his presence negatively impacts the sale of saints' medals and rosary boxes.

Metcalfe did not say precisely when his protest might end, but indicated he is in it for the long haul.

“I can easily stay until the House's summer recess ends in mid-September,” he said. “Also chained to the pillar is a storage crate containing a large supply of Dinty Moore beef stew, plenty of Diet Pepsi and a 30-gallon Rubbermaid bucket.”

Eric Heyl is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7857 or eheyl@tribweb.com.

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