Edited by June Polewko
Canonization and decanonization. At 10 a.m. Friday, live from St. Joseph’s Oratory, Cardinal Turcotte gave a press conference. The Pope had earlier confirmed that Brother André would be canonized this coming Oct. 17. Hurray! The first saint born in Quebec! Cardinal Turcotte declared that Brother André was being bestowed with the Church’s gold medal.
What a long drug test! Seventy-three years after his death, he finally received his medal. That’s even longer than it took for Sylvie Fréchette. Unfortunately, Brother André isn’t available to answer questions from journalists. What? Now that he’s a saint, you’d think he could perform a miracle. If Elvis is able to put on a new show in Vegas, Brother André is surely capable of projecting his voice in the oratory.
Later that Friday, at 11 a.m., this time in front of the headquarters of the Professional Golfers Association in Ponte Vedra, Florida, Tiger Woods gave a press conference. It’s the first time he’s spoken since the scandal, since America discovered that Woods isn’t infallible, that the Tiger was a bunny, that he had more mistresses than clubs in his bag.
The fates of Brother André and Tiger Woods crossed this February morning. The modest Brother André, who was made to wait too long before finally achieving sainthood. The wealthy Tiger Woods, deified since his early twenties. Mr. Perfect. Because he played a divine game of golf for 13 years, the fans, media and commentators praised him to no end.
Yesterday, Brother André became a saint. Tiger Woods became only a man once again. While Brother André ascended to Jesus Christ, Tiger Woods climbed the steps of the church on his knees to beg for forgiveness. He read out an act of contrition in front of a gathering of his friends. He flagellated himself for a good 15 minutes. Standing alone in front of the microphone, without a spurned and unhappy wife at his side, huge blue curtains were the extent of his backdrop. Midnight blue curtains, behind and beside him.
For a moment, I thought Woods was saving something big for the end. Maybe, after he finished giving his humble apologies, the curtains would open and all of his mistresses, dressed in garter belts and high heels, would start dancing the cancan. And Tiger Woods would look straight into the camera, tear up his notes, and yell, “Go to hell, Sweetheart, Nike, National Enquirer! Fuck you all!” Then the blue curtains would close and the attendees would hear only the sounds of Tiger and his friends having an orgy. Fore!
But that’s not what Tiger did. After apologizing at least 10 times, without ever actually telling us what for (which would have been much more exiting to hear than the spiel he gave), the great Woods threw himself into his mother’s arms. He seemed truly distraught — almost as much as if he had missed a putt. That’s the image he wanted to provide for the photographers: baby Tiger being consoled by mommy Tiger.
Yesterday marked the start of Tiger Woods’ rehabilitation. And he succeeded in placing himself on the right track. It’s unlikely that the Pope will be canonizing him. But Tiger Woods needs to reconcile with Jesus. Because if Woods has pocketed a billion dollars since the start of his career, it’s not only because he’s capable of putting the ball in the hole, it’s because he’s a role model. And that’s where Brother André and Tiger Woods meet. Brother André is a role model for Catholics: humility, sacrifice, altruism. The problem is that there are no more Catholics. Tiger Woods is a role model for anyone: talent, work, perfection. And there are plenty of people who can be that anyone. That’s how he made his fortune. He embodied those values. That’s why Tiger’s infidelities knocked him off of his pedestal. He can still play golf, but he’ll never again be a role model. An acknowledged role model, that is. Because, in secret there are now likely to be more men who dream of being Tiger Woods — and having his harem — than ever before.
It wasn’t so long ago that Brother André’s canonization would have been a national holiday in Quebec. In the 1950s, it would have been more intense than Maurice Richard. Today, the apologies of a sexually obsessed man stole the show. Religion goes to hell.
After his death, we displayed Brother André’s heart because he was a loving man. After he dies, I ask myself which of St. Tiger Woods’ organs we will display. His putter?