My sister chooses to believe in the possibility of transubstantiation. I don’t dismiss it out of hand. It’s true, though, that I can’t remember that word without thinking of Tom Lehrer’s irreverent “The Vatican Rag” from the 1960s, a song guaranteed to offend at least a few.
Then there’s Patrick Sky’s early-Seventies opus “Vatican Caskets,” which will offend just about anyone. There’s a beat-up copy circulating on YouTube, and I’m not even sure I should link to it. (Yes, I have my own copy of the recording: it’s on Sky’s Songs That Made America Famous LP.) I’ll give you the first verse, though, just so you’ll know to avoid it:
Vatican Caskets are just fine,
Made of sandalwood and pine.
When your loved ones have to go,
Best thing on the album, I think, is a version of Dave Van Ronk’s “Luang Prabang,” the lament of a soldier wounded (in perhaps the worst way) in Vietnam.