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 03, 2005

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."


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