The Second Chance of Mr. Wang

We in the media are constantly----well maybe not constantly, but a lot---- being hammered for always trafficking in bad news.

So this morning a good news story.

Call it the second chance of Mr. Mao Qin Wang.

Mr. Wang applied for refugee status admission to Canada. In his application, he said he feared that should he be returned to China, he would be persecuted for his religion.

Mr. Wang is Roman Catholic.

The Immigration and Refugee Board adjudicator wasn't sure however much of a Roman Catholic Mr. Wang was.

So she interrogated him on various elements of Catholic history, dogma and liturgy. Some of the questions were pretty tough.

For example,. Mr. Wang apparently was unable to name the grandmother of Jesus.

Also he wasn't clear on the name of John the Baptist's mom.

He was able to describe pretty accurately every stage of the mass, the liturgy of the Eucharist and the conclusion rites.

Even so, his application for refugee status was turned down.

Mr. Wang appealed the decision to the Federal Court of Canada and last week the court found in his favor.

Mr. Justice Michel Beaudry ruled that the questions asked of Mr. Wang were trivial, adding that Mr. Wong was "held to an unreasonable high standard of religious knowledge.''

The judge added that the immigration board adjudicator "had erroneously determined the applicant's knowledge of the Catholic faith."

Good news for Mr. Wang. But it's a good thing the adjudicator stopped questioning him when she did. The remainder of the test was extremely difficult.

I have managed to obtain a secret, eyes only copy of the complete test, the official questionnaire that Catholic refugees must answer. And I can tell you, as somebody who practically memorized the Baltimore Catechism, even I had a hard time.

Here are some of the questions:

1. St. Paul wrote a number of letters to the Ephesians. Why did they never write back to him?

2. When Jesus turned water into wine, at the wedding feast of Cana, it was his first miracle. Who catered?

3. Name the 10 commandments, the five mysteries of the Rosary, the seven deadly sins, the seven cardinal virtues, the 12 Apostles and the Hollywood Ten.

4. Jesus had a cousin named Murray. Was he A) an accountant B) a chiropractor or C) an orthodontist?

5. Define Vatican Two: Is it A) the channel number for Vatican television B) an ecumenical church council or C) half of the score in a game between the Vatican Visigoths and the Bologna Bulldogs?

6. The least successful Pope in history was A) Pope Frederick the Indifferent. B) Pope Innocent the Simple or C) Rabbi Norm Fogelman.

7. What is the difference between the seal of the confessional and a seal IN the confessional?

8. What is the name of Joseph's second cousin by marriage who owned a lumber yard.?

9. St. Dismas the Good Thief is the patron saint of A) thieves. B) hedge fund managers C) Roofing repair companies or D) all of the above?

There are a few more but you get an idea of just how tough the questions are. I doubt that even the most learned experts on Church history could correctly answer half of them.

But apparently the idea of Roman Catholic trivia has attracted the attention of some big name toy makers here and in the United States.

Rome is currently looking over some of the proposals.

And maybe some time next year, maybe in time for Christmas, the first edition of Holy Smoke ---The Board Game.

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