The Flying Buttress: What Inquisitors' Minds Want to Know

An archive for issues of The Flying Buttress newswire, whose purpose is to comment satirically on dissent within and relating to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Disclaimer: These publications are works of satirical fiction. Any similarity to persons living or dead is purely coincidental, but it all depends on what you mean by the word "is." May the Lord bless you and keep you!

Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Flying Buttress, 1/1/06

+Dissecting dissent in the Cincinnati Archdiocese+
January 1, 2006 A.D. Vatican II Ecumania (book review concluded)

+This issue concludes our review of Dr. Alan Schreck’s book “Vatican II: The Crisis and the Promise." While the purpose of the book (interpreting the Conciliar documents in the light of Tradition) is highly commendable, we again point out that there are many flaws, caused both by Schreck’s non-critical approach and his tendency to make sweeping, naïve, or rhapsodic generalizations, which he then is forced to contradict.

+To touch on two of the worst of these flaws: first, Schreck claims that the many post-Conciliar liturgical excesses committed or allowed by the bishops did not violate the letter of Sacrosanctum Concilium. This despite the fact that SC clearly states, for example, that Latin should remain the language used for most of the sacred liturgy, and, with the approval of bishops, certain select prayers could be said and prayed in the vernacular. But no, claims Schreck, the bishops had a virtual carte blanche, better known as “discretion."

+On the other hand, we find on page 55: “…’the crisis of Vatican II’ is the harm that has been done through ignorance, misunderstanding and partial or false implementation of the teaching of the Second Vatican Council." Are not liturgical excesses a major feature of this crisis? The inference, never of course drawn explicitly by Schreck, is that the bishops are responsible for at least one chief aspect of the crisis! Having thus made a half-hearted effort to accuse, he also fails to defend the bishops by pointing out that it was they who voted down the Novus Ordo, only to have their will overruled by Paul VI.

+Second, Schreck states, incredibly, that the renewal of the liturgy has been successful (123). He repeats John Paul II’s definition of success, however, as “the vast majority of pastors and Christian people [accepting] the liturgical reform in a spirit of obedience and indeed joyful fervor." Nothing about the frivolities which have passed for “reform" and “renewal"? Nothing about the devastating effect of liturgical “renewal" on the health of the Church? Nothing about the liturgy having lost its sense of sacredness, which he acknowledges a few pages later, then claims we need not worry about it because it hasn’t really been lost? This is beyond optimism in Pollyannaish proportions: it is just downright foolhardy. Or is it just joyful fervor?

+But we digress. The topic at hand is ecumenism:


...Flying Buttress…Flying Buttress

Ecumenism is a “movement…for the restoration of unity among all Christians." (Decree on Ecumenism/Schreck, 248)

Christopher Ferrara claims that ecumenism has never been precisely defined, and that it is a virus within the Body of Christ.

The charismatic renewal is a new advance in Christian unity (243).

Pope Benedict has just severely disciplined the neo-Catechumenical Way and instructed them to return to standard Catholic practices.

Speaks positively about the World Council of Churches in the effort to restore Christian unity (244).

The WCC is a virtual front for the same left-wing ideologies which control the United Nations, and which seek the replacement of Judeo-Christian civilization by pagan phallus-worship, anarchy and despotism. One of its mottos is “Service unites, doctrine divides."

“To believe in Christ means to desire unity…" (246)

To believe in Christ means to desire union with Him.

“…whatever is wrought by the grace of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of our separated brethren can contribute to our own edification. Whatever is truly Christian never conflicts with the genuine interests of the faith…" (Unitatis Redintegratio/Schreck, 249-250)

Our protestant “separated brethren" have rejected the Catholic Church, not the other way around. They have therefore lost the edification of their own faith in order to cling to some skeletal, stripped-down, desacralized remainder of it. This rejection was wrought by Martin Luther, not by the Holy Spirit. Moreover, no definition is offered of either “truly Christian," or “genuine interests of the faith."

The points of difference between the Eastern Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Churches are complementary, not conflicting (250).

Complement: “Something that completes, makes up a whole, or brings to perfection; something added to complete or make perfect." Inference: the Roman Catholic Church by itself is incomplete and imperfect.

“By definition, ecumenism seeks to bring Christians and their churches toward closer unity." (251)

Ecumenism is a “movement…for the restoration of unity among all Christians." (Decree on Ecumenism/Schreck, 248) Which is it, Dr. Schreck – unity, or a movement towards unity? Can you define “unity"?

“Full communion would mean recognizing the same apostolic authority, professing the same essential Christian beliefs, and sharing fully in the same sacraments." (252)

A kinder, gentler, more self-doubting and indecisive (one might even say “devious") way of saying what the pre-Vatican II Popes said: “unity means returning to the Church."

“Every Catholic must therefore aim at Christian perfection." Decree on Ecumenism/Schreck, 253.

An unmistakable implication that continuing Christian divisions are exacerbated by the faithful who fail to live by the Church’s truths. How about when the faithful witness to the fullness of Catholic truth and pronounce the incompleteness of other truths? Will that fulfillment of their Catholic mission heal these divisions?

We’ll know we have aimed ourselves correctly by the response of others (253-254).

What about the response of God?

“Christian unity will not be accomplished primarily by individual decisions to join the Catholic Church." (255)

In other words, ecumenism is not primarily achieved on an individual scale, even though, as stated above, individual failures place additional obstacles in the path of unity!

“Truth must be the basis for unity." (257)

Only Catholics possess the fullness of truth.

The way out of the impasse is to remember that Catholic beliefs are a hierarchy of truths, some of which may not be “critical" to the “basic gospel message," like “purgatory, indulgences, and devotions to particular saints." (258)

The reality of our hierarchy of truths is that they all support and depend on and are all consistent with one another. None can be excluded. In fact, the “fullness of truth" of the Roman Catholic Church is this very hierarchy! Now we are told that perhaps parts of our fullness aren’t so important after all. This argument is called “having your cake and eating it too."

…"because of the division of Christianity, the Catholic Church does not possess in actuality all of the essential marks of the true Church of Christ in their perfect form." (259)

This is called manufacturing an undefined (and specious) condition to justify an illusory argument. The Catholic Church can never be defined by who rejected it and left it. Their departure is not our sin, but theirs.

“The conclusion to be drawn may sound contradictory" (that the Church possesses the fullness of faith, yet imperfectly expresses it because of Christian divisions) (259)

Duh. The fullness of our faith is not imperfectly expressed, but imperfectly understood – and that because we are mortal, not because of who has departed from our fold. In fact, non-Catholic Christians have a far less perfect understanding of the faith than do Catholics!

“Why shouldn’t all Christians simply return to the Catholic Church?" (258)

Why indeed: the missionary charge to the laity clearly says that they should!

+Why is all post-Conciliar ecumenical language so vague and contradictory? Because no one knows what unity means, what it will look like, or how it will come about. The most that can be said for it is that it is a yearning for all the prodigal non-Catholics to return home. Is there no one in the feckless post-Conciliar Church who has the guts to say it plainly?

+When the Body of Christ loses its identity in Christ, because it sought instead its identity in the world, then the result is the post-Conciliar Church: 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. Well-intentioned naïveté is no match for evil. May our Blessed Mother and Her Son open our eyes, steel our resolve, and return us to sanity…


Odds and Ends

+To protest NBC’s new series The Book of Daniel:

Read about this desecration of Christianity (American Family Association website).

Find your local NBC affiliate.

Send NBC an e-mail.

Print out an information sheet for distribution (requires Adobe Reader).

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

"The Catholic Answer" reviews Dr. Alan Schreck

"More than 40 years after the Second Vatican Council, its nature and consequences remain at the center of heated debates within the Church. Was its authority somehow less binding than that of earlier councils because it was 'pastoral?' Were its documents intentionally ambiguous? Has the Church backed away in recent years from the council's teachings? Did the council lead to the renewal of the liturgy, or to its corruption? Did it bring the Church into the world, or worldliness into the Church? Alan Schreck, [in "Vatican II: The Crisis and the Promise"] handles these and other thorny issues in this carefully measured evaluation. First, he allows the council's critics to speak, both those who believe its reforms went too far, and those who think they didn't go far enough. Next, he describes the crisis in the Church since the council, which he summarzies as a 'loss of true Catholic identity and a betrayal of authentic Catholic teaching.' Schreck then challenges the notion that the crisis was caused by the council. He offers instead the common observation that the trouble comes from 'distortions, partial presentations and misunderstandings of the council's teaching.' So the solution must be clear: We must 'educate Catholics in the authentic teaching of the Second Vatican Council.' The remainder of the book is the author's contribution to that desperately needed education. He introduces the major figures in the council; provides a time line of council events; briefly describes the conciliar documents; and examines their key teachings in a helpful question-and-answer format. The most severe critics of Vatican II will not likely be satisfied with Schreck's defense of the council. Nevertheless, his useful analysis should generate more light than heat."

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Flying Buttress, 12/18/05

+Dissecting dissent in the Cincinnati Archdiocese+

Book Review (Part II): “Vatican II: The Crisis and the Promise”

+In response to our last issue, Part I of this book review, only one reader sent in a comment: "Sungenis and Lefebvre certainly are dissenters; one denies the authority of the pope while the other has been excommunicated." We again invite your comments on this and future issues.

+Schreck treats two underlying and related themes of the Council at length: salvation for non-Christians, and ecumenism. With this issue we will attempt to analyze the puzzle of salvation for non-Christians. Our presumption is that Schreck has been faithful to the letter and spirit of the Conciliar documents.

Q: Is possession of truth linked to salvation?

A: So eager were the Council Fathers to reach out and embrace the world that they established what appears to be a hierarchical world-inclusive scheme of truth: an inner court, consisting of the Church, which alone possesses the fullness of truth, and at least two outer courts for those who possess lesser or incomplete degrees of truth. These outer courts apparently were posited to acknowledge and respect the legitimacy of (a) non-Catholic Christians, who possess Christ in some incomplete way, and (b) non-Christians, who may still lead lives of peace and goodwill though not knowing or embracing Christ and His Gospel.

This threefold truth hierarchy is reflected in a threefold scheme for the People of God: at the top, the Catholic People of God. Under them, non-Catholic People of God. And at the bottom, non-Christian potential People of God.

In other words, non-Christians, though not the "People of God," are still related to them and form an outer court of the Church. They are therefore included, somehow, in God’s plan of salvation.

Presumably this generous gesture was created to convince the world that a kinder, gentler version of "the Church is the one true church of Jesus Christ" was now in effect. But here’s the rub: there is an implicit cause and effect link suggested between degrees of truth and degrees of salvation. This link, however, is neither made explicit nor defined – in fact, it is denied! Questions like these arise: Is non-Catholic salvation the same as Catholic salvation? If so, how can one possess incomplete truth yet still be saved? By the same token, is non-Christian salvation the same as salvation through Christ? If not, is it a lesser variety? If lesser, how? Are there different grades of salvation? Are there different stages of salvation? In short, what if any is the connection between truth and salvation? If our Church claims to be in sole possession of the fullness of truth, then surely there must be some connection – otherwise, why make this claim?

None of these questions are addressed by Schreck. In his defense, judging from certain statements in the Catechism, they are not addressed by God either, whose infinite mercy is apparently not bound by considerations of complete or incomplete possession of truth. We can possess truth ‘til the cows come home, but God, so we are to believe, sweeps away all distinctions among truths and simply reads the heart.

Q: Is this scheme of salvation something new?

A: We have to wonder: if the objective truth of the pre-Conciliar Church ("the Catholic Church is the one true Church") was too hard-edged for the world, how is this kinder, gentler, "inclusive" truth any less so? As noted above, Catholics still occupy the inner court, the apex of the pyramid, the top of the spiritual manna chain – and are still in privileged possession of the means to salvation through Christ.

Q: Are there any contradictions or problems inherent in this salvation scheme?

A: We answer this question with the table below:


On the other hand...or maybe...n the other hand…or maybe…

"…only the Catholic Church possesses the fullness of the Church of Christ…" Schreck, p.89

"In the conflict between different religions, the most that Modernists can maintain is that the Catholic has more truth because it is more vivid, and that it deserves with more reason the name of Christian because it corresponds more fully with the origins of Christianity." Pope St. Pius X, Pascendi Dominici gregis (On the Doctrine of the Modernists), §14

"Non-Christians can be saved only if…1. through no fault of their own they do not know the Gospel of Christ. 2. they sincerely seek God. 3. they strive by God’s grace to live a good life and do God’s will as they know it through the dictates of conscience." Schreck, p. 227

"Faith is necessary for salvation. The Lord himself affirms: "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned" (Mk 16:16). CCC § 183

"Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation." CCC § 161

"The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day." CCC § 841

"This is the stone which was rejected by you the builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved." Acts 4: 11-12

"…for all people – Jews and Gentiles alike - salvation can only come from Jesus Christ." Pope John Paul II, "Redemptoris Missio,"5; quoted by Schreck, p. 229.

"The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are ``reborn of water and the Spirit.'' God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments." CCC § 1257

"Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity." CCC § 1260

Here is an attempted resolution to this mysteriously inexact scheme, from the Augustinian Club of Columbia University: "Salvation is a matter of how we respond to the truth we are given in life. Only for those who have encountered the fullness of truth in Christ is a formal proclamation of belief in Christ necessary."

But if the truth we encounter is incomplete? What are the ramifications for a response to incomplete truth? The post-Conciliar Church seems to say, "It doesn’t matter." That is, when it’s not saying, "It matters."

NEXT ISSUE: Vatican II and ecumenism.

Odds and Ends

The Problem With Safe Environment Programs (More Information and a Petition)

The USCCB's Apparently Gay Movie Reviewer (Their review of "Brokeback Mountain")

Worshipping the Lord in the Beauty of Holiness (Re-enchanting the sacred liturgy)

Visit the The Flying Buttress archive

Monday, December 12, 2005

An Open Poem to Episcopal Bishop V.Gene Robinson

An Episcopal Bishop, says I,
Can have sex, if I wish, with a guy.
An act damned in the Bible -
Yet he claims he's not liable,
Thereby living his life in a lie.
Even worse, he would preach this to others,
To children, their fathers, their mothers.
Though God destroyed Sodom
From the top to the bottom
This lesson the bishop just smothers.
In claiming he knows what God meant
By the biblical words Heaven sent,
He dismisses Saints Paul
Peter, Jude, et al
While preaching his words of dissent.
May The Lord help this bishop recover
From his ill-fated choice of a lover.
May he give up that life
Reserved for man and wife
And help others the same truth discover.
Written in charity by Robert Quinn Glendale, New York

Thursday, December 08, 2005

A Letter to the Louisville, KY Archdiocese (from a reader)

Dear Editor:

I am writing in response to a column by Father Knott entitled “Don’t cull the herd; build a bigger pasture.” . Father exhibits several serious flaws in his reasoning, the most serious of which is that none of his statements are based on fact or logic. First, as anyone who has actually studied the Conciliar documents would know, the “mandates of Vatican II” have yet to be carried out. In their place, a program of liberalization, secularization, and false ecumenism, under the spurious banner of “the Spirit of Vatican II,” has devastated the Church both quantitatively and qualitatively. Second, if this breakdown is to be followed by a “breakthrough,” then the breakdown must first be correctly described. Since it is orthodoxy which has broken down, then what would Father like to appear in its stead as his “breakthrough”? More of the Spirit of Vatican II? We have seen what that has done to the Church for the past 40 years. Is Father’s dream the complete destruction of the Church, in the name of a “bigger pasture”?

Third, the marginalized and alienated (which, I imagine, is Father’s oblique reference to homosexuals) have never been “driven out of the Church.” The Church welcomes all and always has, but expects us all to seek salvation according to its teachings - that is, to address our failings and correct them. One does this, Father, by recognizing one’s sins, seeking atonement, .and availing ourselves of the sacraments. That is why we are a Church, not an “I’m OK – You’re OK” secular club.

Fourth, if Father prefers Dear Abby’s model of the Church to that of Christ and His Apostles, that begs the question, why does Father consider himself a Catholic? Moreover, were Father’s “bigger pasture” guidelines to be followed, the Church as hospital would not actually treat any illnesses, as the Church/Communion of Saints does, but merely welcome everyone into their beds and celebrate their sicknesses in a wonderful orgy of diversity.

Father claims that “harsh condemnation” – another oblique reference, this time to the new document on homosexuals in the priesthood? – prevents change rather than motivates it. Obviously he has not read the new document. No one could possibly describe these new guidelines (which are not new at all) as “harsh condemnation,” except for those who refuse to look in the mirror. Does Father have a personal stake in refusing to look in the mirror?

The siren song of the “bigger pasture” has been with us for 40 years. It is self-deception and casuistry. Its real name is “making the Church acceptable to the world.” That is certainly not the Church founded by Our Lord – but it sure fits the description of the one sought by Lucifer.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The Flying Buttress, 12/4/05

+Dissecting dissent in the Cincinnati Archdiocese+

Book Review: Vatican II: The Crisis and the Promise” (Part I)

+With this and at least one more issue, The Flying Buttress offers our readers some expository relief for the Advent Season. That is, we will review and analyze without satire Dr. Alan Schreck’s new book, “Vatican II: The Crisis and the Promise." Schreck is Chair of the Theology Department at Franciscan University in Steubenville, OH. He is also a member of the charismatic “Community of God's Love."

+Since reviled Buttress publisher Tomas de Torquemada is a poorly formed, poorly acculturated Catholic (the result of a liberal Cincinnati RCIA whose instructor was more attentive to avoiding “triumphalism" than to teaching Catholic tradition and devotion), we do not pretend that our review is authoritative. Therefore, we invite our readers to respond, either via e-mail or at the new Flying Buttress archive, This symbol is inserted, [R.], where we would be especially interested in your comments.

+Our review is written in the same question-and-answer format employed by Schreck.

Q: Who is the target audience?

A: The layman appears to be the target audience, though this is not explicitly stated. However, in the unlikely event that there are priests or religious unfamiliar with the actual contents of the Vatican II documents, this book would be helpful to them, and perhaps to first-year seminarians as well. Overall, it is a useful corrective measure against the so-called “Spirit of Vatican II,” which has not only done such harm to the Church, but ultimately, to the souls of the laity. Unfortunately, since Schreck limits himself to explaining the Council documents rather than critiquing them, he handicaps himself with the same flaws, lack of consistency, and even theological absurdity exhibited by some of those documents. Thus, the layman who wishes to study the Council documents and their implications in depth will find this book to be no more than an introduction, the first step on a long staircase.

Q: What is Schreck’s attitude toward critics of the Council?

A: Schreck’s apparent determination to be positive about the Council documents, no matter what, results in an extremely negative overview of the Council’s critics, to whom he applies the unorthodox label of “dissenters." People such as Michael Davies, Archbishop Lefebvre, Robert Sungenis, Christopher Ferrara and Thomas Woods are held up to subtle ridicule for their thorough research, usually by the use of quotation marks (e.g. “villains," “modernists," “ambiguous."). Even James Hitchcock, at first labeled a “moderate critic of the Council," (thus implying that all the authors previously cited are extremists) eventually receives a whack across the hand via quotation marks. Oddly enough, Dietrich von Hildebrand, who knew full well what had happened at the Council and was so devastatingly critical of its mistakes and its cabals, is not mentioned at all.

(Ed. note: Ridicule alone, Dr. Schreck, is not refutation. In fact, it is a tacit admission that one cannot refute, and so must resort to ad hominem attacks, propaganda devices or histrionics.)

While trashing these critics of the Council as radicals, Schreck suddenly asks for consideration of movements like the Neo-Catechumenical Way and charismatic renewal with “justice and charity" – having just failed to exercise those virtues himself! One wonders whether the source of his disdain is these critics’ disapproval of the charismatic movement, in which Schreck himself participates. At any rate, the bias of the first chapter is so pervasive and so irrational that is tempting to just throw the book away. However, having bottomed out in Chapter One, Schreck begins the long climb uphill in Chapter Two.

Q: How does Schreck define the crisis in the Church?

A: Schreck uses the Ratzinger Report and the public statements of Paul VI about the “smoke of Satan" to establish this, thus contradicting himself: many of the extremist statements of the Council’s supposedly radical critics – ridiculed in Chapter One - are, in fact, accurate! He concedes that certain distortions may have been intentional, after all – though this possibility was previously scorned as mere conspiracy theory. Why is it acceptable for a Pope and a Cardinal to point out the causes of the Church’s disintegration, but not Davies et al?

Be that as it may, Chapter Two summarizes in nine bullet points the deterioration of the Faith since the Council closed. One of these points (plummeting Mass attendance) overlaps the indicators of Kenneth Jones’ “Index of Leading Catholic Indicators" which demonstrate the decline of the Church since Vatican II (the exodus from Confession, seminaries, religious orders, and Catholic schools; the decline in infant and adult baptisms). Both lists are necessary: Schreck describes a qualitative decline; Jones a quantitative. Once both these lists are digested, it is difficult to greet claims of “renewal" with a straight face - though Schreck would never permit himself to say that. Nor does he mention Jones.

Q: Does Schreck succeed in placing the Council documents in the context of tradition?

A: Yes, he does an admirable job of refuting those liberals who insist that, or act as though, Vatican II reinvented the Church. His derivation of the authority of the Council and its documents also refutes those who claim that neither is licit [R.]. He cites Cardinal Avery Dulles’ principles for interpreting the Council’s documents, and clears up the confusion over whether the Council was “pastoral" or “doctrinal" (while missing the opportunity to point out the obvious: if the Council was merely pastoral, why do two of its major documents begin with the word “Dogmatic"?). He quotes but fails to comment on this excerpt from Pope John XXIII’s speech which opened the Council:

“The greatest concern of the Ecumenical Council is this: that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine should be guarded and taught more efficaciously."

Again, Dr. Schreck would never allow himself to say this from his persistently positive pulpit, but, judging from the developments of the past 40 years, the Church has thus far failed miserably at the task which Pope John set before it. Nevertheless, we applaud Dr. Schreck for his efforts to reverse this.

Q: Closing thoughts for Part I?

A: We wondered, frankly, which Alan Schreck wrote this book: the liberal-sounding attack dog of Chapter One, or the reasonable exegete of the rest of the book. Chapter One is disgraceful and ought to be revised by Schreck the Reasonable, and the book reissued in a second edition. His appeal for the charismatics is both irrelevant and inappropriate and should be omitted, and the positions of the numerous critics of the Council should be reviewed respectfully.

Respect for said criticism might lead Schreck to a more balanced perspective on the crisis in the Church. For example, as if to prophecy the Church’s 40-year wandering in the wilderness, Pope Paul VI had this to say in 1965 about the early stages of Council implementation by the Consilium:

“Some have allowed themselves to fall into error over the new directives and have shown themselves more ready to destroy than to preserve and develop. But no: the Council is not to be considered as a kind of cyclone, a revolution upsetting ideas and traditions and permitting rash and unthinkable novelties. No, the Council is not a revolution: it is a renewal."

As Paul VI hints, the situation is far more serious than one would guess from reading Schreck. The reader will note that Dr. Schreck repeatedly lifts his hand as if to point a finger, but always fails to complete the gesture. Perhaps he defined his task by refusing to dwell on who caused what, but only on how to remedy the situation. All well and good, but this approach does not allow the student to pair the intended Conciliar teaching with the distortions of it which have since been institutionalized (the prime example, the Novus Ordo Mass)1. It also tends to parrot the Pollyannaish outlook which repeatedly issues from Rome in the face of disaster.

We close with a far more realistic (i.e. considerably less rosy) assessment of Vatican II and its atmosphere, that of Msgr. Camille Perl:

“Perl traced the source of this tragic situation [division and decline in the Church] to tensions at the Second Vatican Council, where two interest groups confronted one another: progressives, in favour of radical “reforms," and conservatives, not against true reforms but against radical, untraditional reforms. In between was the larger middle group of undecided Bishops. The archbishop noted that the end of the Council, especially its immediate aftermath, marked the victory of the progressives, and confirmed the fears of conservatives. The Council’s intention of “opening the Church to the world," especially to “separated Christians," according to Perl, “was good in itself and a sign of the will to restore the lost unity. But this caused also a new breakaway, which can only be described as a tragedy." (Inside the Vatican, May 2000, ed. by Alberto Carosa)

NEXT ISSUE: The Vatican II/Schreck scheme of salvation.

Notes: 1. The Novus Ordo Mass, the creation of Annibale Bugnini – the man dismissed by two Popes under suspicion of being a Freemason – was soundly rejected by vote of the Bishops. However, it was promulgated anyway by the Hamlet-like Paul VI, who apparently thought it more important to avoid embarrassment than to preserve Tradition.

Instruction from the Congregation for Catholic Education (Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations With Regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies…)

The Flying Buttress, 11/20/05

+Dissecting dissent in the Cincinnati Archdiocese+

The Post-Conciliar Book of Virtues, Chapter II

The Three Little TheologianS

Once upon a time there were three Xavier theologians, Sincere, Faithful, and Committed – brothers in the Society of Jesus. One day, The Chair of their Department called them into the office. “The time has come for you to leave the ivory tower," pronounced The Chair. “In order to increase your full, conscious and active participation in the adaptation of the Church to the Spirit of the Age, I charge each of you to go forth into the world and build a new parish dedicated to reform. Social and environmental justice demands nothing less! And whatever you do, be sure to ascribe your reforms to the work of the Holy Spirit, because that’s the best way to silence the resistance of rigid orthodoxy."

So the three little theologians went forth to seek their progressive fortunes. The first little theologian, Sincere, decided to build his parish of straw, and asked Fr. Daniel Maguire to be the parish priest. It was a grand yet welcoming structure, with a Planned Parenthood logo over the front door. Following The Chair’s instructions, Sincere proclaimed in a press release that the completion of his parish was the glorious work of the Holy Spirit. Yet, on the night before the first grape juice was to be shared, a towering tongue of fire approached the parish, and a voice came from the fire, saying “Little theologian, won’t you let me come in?" “Not for a mandatum will I ever give in!" cried Sincere defiantly, and so his parish was devoured by flames. Sincere fled to his brother’s parish, and Fr. Maguire went back to performing same-sex marriages.

The second little theologian, Faithful, decided to build his parish of sticks, and asked Fr. Richard McBrien to be his parish priest. Faithful’s parish featured a broad window in front, with a tableau of the avatars of all the world’s great religions embedded therein (including the Ascended Master Jesus). True to The Chair’s ex cathedra teaching, Faithful held a press conference and rejoiced that the Holy Spirit was responsible for the completion of his new parish. Yet, on the night before the Corporeal Conception was to be proclaimed, a great cloud overshadowed the parish, and a voice came out of the cloud, saying “Little theologian, won’t you let me come in?" “Not by the Curia’s triumphalist din!" cried Faithful stoutly, and so the parish vanished forthwith. Faithful (and his brother Sincere) escaped to Committed’s parish, and Fr. McBrien was last seen attending a performance of “The Vagina Monologues" at Notre Dame.

Now Committed, the third little theologian, was much cleverer than his two brothers. He decided to build his parish out of sturdy adobe bricks, to honor the oppressed and marginalized Native Americans of the American Southwest. Then he asked Sr. Elizabeth Johnson, C.S.J., to be his parish priestess. Carefully obeying The Chair’s infallible guidelines, Committed appeared on Al Franken’s radio talk show to promote his parish as the work of the Holy Spirit. Yet, on the night before the Inclusive New Testament was to be read, a colossal dove appeared, hovering above the parish, and a voice came from the dove, saying “Little theologian, won’t you let me come in?" “Not ‘til patriarchy takes it on the chin!" cried Committed boldly, and so the dove descended upon the roof and crushed the parish to pieces. Committed and his two brothers fled, while Sr. Johnson went on to deliver the keynote address at a women’s ordination conference.

The next day, the three little theologians returned to the office of The Chair, to report on their progress and to recount their misfortunes. “Let not your hearts be troubled," The Chair assured them. “You have obviously been victimized by a vast right-wing conspiracy! You must redouble your efforts and never sleep until our reform is accomplished, until the Church Universal, Ecumenical and Inoffensive is complete! Don’t quench the Spirit!"

And so, duly inspired, the three little theologians went forth again, to conquer in the name of the Holy Spirit.

The Moral of the Story: The night before a parish opens is different from all other nights.1

Notes: 1. The moral, on the other hand, in the Light of Tradition: “He who co-opts the Holy Spirit shall surely parish."