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!

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Flying Buttress, 5/2/05

The Flying Buttress

+Dissecting dissent in the Cincinnati Archdiocese+

On the Road in Cincinnati

+Hello, and welcome to a special viewing of the Antiques Road Show. I’m Tricia Hempel, well known to our Archdiocese as the Editor of the (Occasionally) Catholic Telegraph. We are especially proud of our inclusive editorial policy, which pays bland lip service to orthodoxy while reserving the bulk of our editorial space for those who, thanks to their sincere, faithful and committed same-theologian relationships, attempt to nuance Church teaching into extinction.

+This evening, though, I’m wearing a different hat: I’ve been asked to host a special “religious artifacts” episode for ARS. Tonight, followers of all faiths are bringing their religious relics to be appraised: Christians are bringing their Bibles and Rosaries, Jews their menorahs and phylacteries, Muslims their Korans, Hindus their Baghavad Gitas, Buddhists their statues of Buddha, and UN delegates their pagan phalluses and pamphlets promoting the reproductive rights of women. What a celebration of diversity!

+Our special guest appraiser this evening is none other than Father Charles Curran of Schillebeeckx (rhymes with Wheetabix) Galleries in Antwerp, Belgium. Fr. Curran – who, along with Hillary Clinton, has been mentioned as a possible Commencement Speaker at Xavier University this year - is already hard at work examining a Bible brought in by a Father Dowling of Chicago. Let’s listen in…

CURRAN: So, Father, suppose you tell us how you came into the possession of this rare Bible.

DOWLING: Well Father, it’s quite a mystery! Years ago, I received a phone call late one night from the surviving brother of Bishop Brute of Vincennes, IN, my old seminary roommate whom I hadn’t talked to in years. The Bishop had just gone to his eternal reward, but specified to his brother that I should say his Funeral Mass, which I did. After the Mass, I found this Bible in a pew, but I was unable to find its owner.

CURRAN: Do you know anything about this Bible?

DOWLING: No, I can’t say that I do.

CURRAN: Well, did you notice the initials “MEAS” here on the flyleaf?

DOWLING: Of course, but their significance escapes me.

CURRAN: Father, those are the initials of Mother Elizabeth Ann Seton, the Foundress, as you know, of the Sisters of Charity!

DOWLING: Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

CURRAN: This is one of Mother Seton’s two Douai Bibles, from 1805-1821, containing her notes and markings. Bishop Brute had the only surviving copy – the other is lost!

DOWLING: My word! So this Bible is quite priceless, then?

CURRAN: Now, let’s not jump to conclusions, Father! I’d have to say there are some serious problems with it, despite its excellent physical condition. Before I go into those problems, however, let me point out its positive aspects. We have the well-preserved 100% rag cotton linen pages, standard Quarto size; the supple brown leather binding; the gold-stamped lines along the raised bands on the spine, with the fleur-de-lis. There is no moisture damage, and all of Mother Seton’s notations are clear and legible.

DOWLING: So far so good, eh? So what’s the bad news then?

CURRAN: The bad news, as you so quaintly put it, Father, is the contents of this Bible!

DOWLING: I’m afraid I don’t follow you.

CURRAN: Did you know that this Bible contains 102 degrading and malevolent references to the Jews? We have John 8, Matthew 21, 23 and 24, Mark 11, Luke 20…just to name a few. All that theological anti-Semitism has now been re-written to avoid offense!

DOWLING: Re-written? Someone re-wrote the Bible??

CURRAN: Surely you’ve heard of the Inclusive New Testament?

DOWLING: No, I’ve never heard of it, and stop calling me Shirley!

CURRAN: Forgive me. Now, to make matters even worse, this Bible does not contain any gender-neutral language!

DOWLING: Gender what??

CURRAN: You see, Father, we enlightened moderns must take great care to obscure the patriarchalism of ancient Middle Eastern cultures, which these outdated Bibles display, in order not to give offense to women. After all, we want women to be as masculine as men! Therefore, we have not only re-written the Bible toward that end, we have removed from the lectionary all passages which teach the subordination of women! That is the least we could do to accommodate the demands of the feminist movement, to show them how compassionate we are.

DOWLING: OK, let me get this straight: you want our sacred Scriptures to affirm a political agenda that includes abortion on demand, unbridled sexual and homosexual license, complete sexual egalitarianism and gender confusion, the denigration of the family, easy divorce, the ordination of women, and the rejection of distinctive roles for the sexes?

CURRAN: I couldn’t have said it better myself.

DOWLING: I’ll tell you what, Father – just spare me all this politically correct psychobabble and give me the bottom line! What’s this Bible worth?

CURRAN: I’ll take it off your hands for 20 bucks!

(At this point a fistfight broke out between Frs. Dowling and Curran, followed by a general melee, whereupon the camera quickly panned back to Tricia Hempel):

HEMPEL (nervously): That’s all the time we have for tonight, folks – see you next week on the Antiques Road Show! Have an inoffensive day!


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