A new donor has pledged $1,500 to Catholic Charities to replace a similar sum rejected from Kuma's Corner, the heavy metal bar/burger joint that outraged Christians by serving a burger topped with a Communion wafer.
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago refunded the burger joint's $1,500 check earlier Monday, and a few hours later, a spokeswoman told me that another donor stepped up to make good the amount.
"I just wanted you to know that a man just called, an older man, who said he'd donate the amount that we had rejected," Kristine Kappel, director of communications for the charity, told me over the phone. "He was very sweet. He said that since we'd turned the other money back, he would make it up."
Kuma's Corner began selling the burger, the Ghost, in recognition of the Swedish band Ghost B.C. But the menu item at the heavy-metal-themed restaurant in the Avondale neighborhood has offended many Christians, including those at Catholic Charities.
On its Facebook page, Kuma's said it was offering the burger "in the spirit of our undying reverence for the lord and all things holy." It also listed the ingredients, including braised goat shoulder, a 10-ounce patty, cheese and two other ingredients:
"Red Wine Reduction (the blood of Christ) with Communion Wafer garnish (the body of Christ.)"
Chicago is still largely a Roman Catholic town where the sacrament of Holy Communion is taken seriously. For many, it is not mere symbolism. For many, it is not just a story.
I just don't know how you can chomp down on a burger like that and then say you're satisfied.
Late last week, Kuma's said it would continue selling its Ghost burger throughout October, but that the restaurant was offering Catholic Charities a check for $1,500 to help make amends. Naturally, Catholic Charities rejected the offer.
"We have not received nor will we accept a donation from Kuma's Corner," Kappel said in a statement Monday. "Communion is a central part of the Catholic faith. We strongly urge Kuma's to discontinue selling a burger that disrespects that faith and the faith of all Christians."
A few hours later, it turned out an owner of Kuma's had sent a $1,500 personal check to Catholic Charities that was cashed.
"Once we found out it was related to the restaurant, we refunded the money immediately," Kappel told me. "And then the older gentleman heard about it, either on the Tribune's website or your (WLS-AM) radio program, and contacted us."
So where does that leave us?
Kuma's got what it wanted: publicity. And Christianity, once again, is mocked, just as a humble carpenter predicted would happen some 2,000 years ago.
The subject came up at lunch Monday with Sister Rosemary Connelly, who for decades has been running Misericordia, the famed home for the developmentally disabled.
We were — where else? — at Gene & Georgetti with two of her friends, Bob and Mary Pasquesi. They'd bid on a lunch with me at a Misericordia fundraiser and Gene's picked up the check.
Gene's offers an outstanding burger. There's nothing like a burger from a great steakhouse. But instead I ordered the superb liver and onions with the thick bacon. And Sister Rosemary had shrimp.
"That burger thing made me angry, so angry I couldn't stand it," said Sister Rosemary. "We serve burgers too at our place. You should stop by and have one."
Would you ever stop at Kuma's?
"Oh Lord, no," she said. "We Catholics are sometimes too passive. And I'm one of them."