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, 5/9/05

The Flying Buttress

+Dissecting dissent in the Cincinnati Archdiocese+

A Doctor of the Church (apologies to Raymond Chandler)

+I turned off the ignition key - the purring motor of my ’58 Buick died without a whimper. 100 E. 8th St.: yeah, this was the place. (1) Not the best part of town, from the looks of it. Nagging doubts hung over me like a cumulonimbus cloud in late July: was I doing the right thing? Could this guy really cure my cirrhosis? Was he just another AMA pill-pusher? I decided to give it a shot.

+I walked into the musty lobby. Stale cabbage and beer hung in the air like an old apartment building in the South Bronx. There was the sign: “Dr. Tutu’s Holistic Health and Wellness Center." Underneath that, another one: “I’m OK, You’re OK." The door opened easily. Too easily.

+The male receptionist gave me the cold once-over and motioned me to a seat. A queer feeling came over me, as though I had unwittingly crossed a threshold into…..“Mr. Marlowe?" Old Doc Tutu himself stood before me. His horn-rimmed glasses only partially concealed a leering expression. “Hmmm," I thought, “that queer feeling again." He invited me into his examination room. A small closet, hardly bigger than a confessional.

+"What seems to be the problem, Mr. Marlowe?"

+"Well Doc, I need a second opinion. My regular doctor says I drink too much, I’m a borderline alcoholic. It’s got my liver in a tailspin. Cirrhosis. Can you do anything about it?"

+Doc Tutu looked puzzled, but not displeased. "Mr. Marlowe, you are apparently suffering from nothing more than a bad case of outmoded traditional thinking."

+"Whaddya mean, Doc?"

+"I mean, Mr. Marlowe, that there’s no longer any such thing as alcoholism, or any of the other so-called addictive/compulsive disorders that have oppressed so many for so long. You know: homosexuality, gambling, kleptomania, gluttony - such horrible labels!"

+"If they aren’t disorders, Doc, then what are they?"

+"My son, they are merely personal preferences and alternative lifestyles, each person expressing himself in his own unique way, as is his civil right! The most enlightened thinking of the modern age has dispensed with all those cruel, discriminatory, unfair labels. You are liberated from society’s old chains! Throw away your crutches and walk!!"

+"Jeez, Doc, if I’m so liberated, how come I can barely get out of bed in the morning?"

+"Come, come, Mr. Marlowe, that is just an illusion! Here I am offering you the most profound compassion, and all you can do is to complain about your aches and pains!"

+"Compassion! But Doc, I thought compassion required giving people what they needed to be healed!"

+"Nonsense, my boy! Thanks to academic freedom, we have redefined compassion!" Tutu pulled a small dictionary out of his back pocket and leafed hurriedly through the well-worn pages. I caught a glimpse of the title as it went by: The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Modernist Thought. “Let me see – ah, here it is right here! ‘Compassion: giving people what they want to deaden their conscience, such as cultural approval and high self-esteem, in order to maximize their self-realizing and liberating behaviors.’"

+He closed his book triumphantly, stuffed it back in his pocket, and continued: “You see, young man, it is one’s conscience which causes suffering, not one’s behavior. Now go – drink all you like, and enjoy life!"

+My head was reeling with confusion, like a kid whose baseball hero had just been caught using steroids. I stumbled out the door, my eyes squinting in the glaring sunlight. I couldn’t make heads or tails of it. But I knew one thing for certain:

I needed a stiff drink.

Notes: (1) For you out-of-towners, the address of the Cincinnati Archdiocese.

“Tutu”: An apocryphal reference to Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk, who permits ballerinas performing liturgical dance during Mass.


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