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, 7/21/05

The Flying Buttress +Dissecting dissent in the Cincinnati Archdiocese+

The Catechesis of the Lambs

+The Flying Buttress regretfully passes along a shocking and unfortunate incident, as reported from the Diocese of Steubenville, Ohio.

+It seems that a Dr. H. Lecter, recently converted to the Faith, was recently arrested and charged with attempted cannibalism and vandalizing Church property at a local parish. According to eyewitness accounts, Dr. Lecter jumped out of line during the distribution of the Eucharist, ran up to the ambo, and began munching on the Lectionary. Apparently not satisfied with this outrage, he then descended on the priest and several parishioners, tearing at their clothes as he attempted to gnaw on several of their body parts, apparently looking for blood vessels. He was immediately taken into custody by an off-duty policeman in the congregation.

+When asked by police to explain his appalling behavior, Lecter cited a passage from a book he had been asked to read for a liturgy workshop, “Forming the Assembly to Celebrate Mass," by Fr. Mick Lawrence of Cincinnati. According to Dr. Lecter, Fr. Lawrence states (p. 14) that there were four ways in which “Christ is present in the eucharist (sic): in the assembly gathered, in the priest presiding, in the word proclaimed and in the meal shared."

+Dr. Lecter, who is apparently an individual of limited patience and self-restraint, reasoned that he should not have to wait in line to receive the Eucharist in its standard form when, following Fr. Lawrence’s logic, he could obtain its approved equivalent much faster, and thus get out of Church with more time for a round of golf and an HBO movie on the couch.

+When Sr. J. Foster, the Diocesan staff psychologist, appeared in Lecter’s jail cell (clad in a suit of armor for protection) to obtain additional clues to his actions, the doctor demanded that she feed his layman’s curiosity with details of her knowledge of orthodox dogma, esp. in regards to how it had been presented by Fr. Lawrence. The following conversation was recorded by police:

LECTER: “So! Bishop Conlon has sent a mere nun to me?"

FOSTER: “Not quite, Doctor. I’m here at the behest of two bishops – Pilarczyk down in Cincinnati is apparently intrigued by your actions and wants more information. Bishop Conlon, on the other hand, is interested in your faith formation."

LECTER: “And sweet little Foster Sister can provide them with all this? Impressive!"

FOSTER: “That’s Sister Foster, Doctor, and I’m here to learn from you. If you’re willing to help me, I in turn might be able to help you."

LECTER: “Ah yes, the ingratiating humility of a nun. Tell me, Sister, what would you like to know?"

FOSTER: “I’m interested in this book which you say motivated your actions during Mass."

LECTER: “You mean “Forming the Assembly to Celebrate Mass"? Fr. Mick Lawrence is the author. The back cover says he’s from Cincinnati."

FOSTER: “Uh-oh! Red flag! Do you know anything about the Cincinnati Archdiocese?"

LECTER: “Nothing."

FOSTER: “Then let me give you a little background first. Cincinnati is a major center for dissent, secularization and liberalizing elements, and has been a dark stain on the Church for years, since Bernardin was there."

LECTER: “Bernardin! So we’re talking possible elements of Satanism and homosexuality as well?"

FOSTER: “Ah, I see you’ve read Fr. Malachi Martin’s Windswept House! The answer to your question is, I can’t confirm that."

LECTER: “Charmingly evasive! And is this Fr. Mick true to his home environment?"

FOSTER: “I don’t know anything about him, but perhaps we can glean something from this book of his."

LECTER: “Perhaps. I’ve memorized a long passage on p. 14 that is especially significant. I would like you to explain it to me, sentence by sentence, starting with this: ‘Many Catholics still link the presence of Christ primarily with the presence of the reserved sacrament in the tabernacle.’"

FOSTER: “Hmmm. Doctor, are you familiar with propaganda techniques called ‘social proof,’ ‘half truth,’ and ‘limiting the choices’?"

LECTER: “Half truth, yes. The others, no."

FOSTER: “’Social proof’ relies on the tendency to believe what most people believe. Here, Lawrence creates the impression that everyone knows that this belief is outmoded, when in fact it is the correct teaching of the Church! The half truth is Lawrence’s omission of the doctrine that Christ is present in the Eucharist both during Communion and in the tabernacle – not primarily in one or the other. His omission falsely limits the presence of Christ to one or the other."

LECTER: “How devilishly clever of him!"

FOSTER: “Indeed! What is the next sentence?"

LECTER: “This has led to terrible arguments and accusations when parishes build or renovate their worship spaces and create a separate chapel of reservation for the reserved sacrament, as many Vatican documents have urged."

FOSTER: “I see our Fr. Lawrence is beyond doubt a skillful propagandist, and a true son of Cincinnati. Here he injects both anger (an emotional reaction to increase the impact of propaganda, usually regarding an act or idea of another person or organization) and guilt by association, ascribing volatility and meanness to those who resist separate chapels of reservation. I’ll give you a footnote regarding those 'many Vatican documents' later."1

LECTER: “Such wisdom from such an innocent! You are indeed exceeding my expectations! Here’s the next sentence: ‘The vehemence with which these arguments are conducted indicates how completely some people's awareness of Christ's presence is linked solely to the reserved sacrament.’"

FOSTER: “Perhaps you can discern that Fr. Lawrence builds on both his previous introduction of negative emotion (‘vehemence,’ as applied to the obviously unenlightened group known as ‘some people’), and his previous half truth (‘linked solely to the reserved sacrament’), using them to create the impression that linking Christ’s presence to the reserved sacrament is completely wrong?"

LECTER: “Yes, and I’m beginning to resent his insidious manipulation, Sister. Why would Fr. Lawrence try to divorce me from the facts of my faith? Why is Mick trying to slip me a Mickey?"

FOSTER: “Doctor, one must remember that the agenda of the Cincinnati Archdiocese (and those of their ilk) is to re-make our Faith, so that it conforms to the prevailing leftist political ideologies of modern times. To achieve this agenda, they first distort orthodoxy, then create the impression that people who disagree with their manufactured views are wrong, unenlightened, rigid and intolerant, and so must be marginalized. Orthodoxy is anathema to these secularists, and must be dispensed with."

LECTER: “Doesn’t the Catechism have anything to say about Christ’s presence in the reserved sacrament?"

FOSTER: “It certainly does, both indirectly and directly. Para. 1373 says ‘Christ Jesus…is present in many ways to his Church: in his word, in his Church's prayer, "where two or three are gathered in my name," in the poor, the sick, and the imprisoned, in the sacraments of which he is the author, in the sacrifice of the Mass, and in the person of the minister. But "he is present . . . most especially in the Eucharistic species.’ Para. 1374 elaborates: ‘The mode of Christ's presence under the Eucharistic species is unique…this presence is called 'real' - by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be 'real' too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense…’ Finally, Para. 1379 states ‘The tabernacle was first intended for the reservation of the Eucharist in a worthy place so that it could be brought to the sick and those absent outside of Mass. As faith in the real presence of Christ in his Eucharist deepened, the Church became conscious of the meaning of silent adoration of the Lord present under the Eucharistic species. It is for this reason that the tabernacle should be located in an especially worthy place in the church and should be constructed in such a way that it emphasizes and manifests the truth of the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.’"

LECTER: “In other words, wherever the Eucharist is, there also is the substance of Our Lord?"

FOSTER: “Correct."

LECTER: “And Christ’s presence in the Church, other than in the Eucharist, is not as substance, and does not allow us to receive Him as does the Eucharist?"

FOSTER: “Correct."

LECTER: “Then why does Fr. Lawrence make it appear as though the Eucharistic presence is equivalent to the other kinds?"

FOSTER: “Remember the agenda of Cincinnati, Doctor, and those dioceses like it: to weaken the power of the Eucharist is to secularize the Church, thus making it politically acceptable."

LECTER: “What despicable and dishonorable behavior! Now explain this, the part I cited to the police: ‘Our tradition teaches otherwise, however. That tradition speaks of at least four ways that Christ is present in the eucharist (sic): in the assembly gathered, in the priest presiding, in the word proclaimed and in the meal shared.’"

FOSTER: “Elementary, my dear Lecter! This quote, using the propaganda device of the false connection, combines naked deception with the Protestant degradation of the Eucharist. Tell me, Doctor: can the Eucharist possibly be ‘the assembly gathered,’ ‘the priest presiding,’ or ‘the word proclaimed’?"

LECTER: “No, any fool can see that. There is only one Eucharist! Oh, how I wish I had not taken this passage so literally, and caused such scandal! Why was I so naïve?"

FOSTER: “When I leave, Doctor, I will send a priest to hear your confession. Let me also point out that there is not now, nor has there ever been, any Catholic tradition which confuses the Eucharist with any other element of the Church. Nor is it merely the ‘meal shared,’ as the Protestants claim."

LECTER: “Splendid! Now this: ‘The presence of Christ in the tabernacle is derivative of and secondary to his living presence in the celebration of the eucharist (sic) itself.’"

FOSTER: “This is especially devious, Doctor. What Fr. Lawrence appears to be claiming is that the Eucharist reserved in the tabernacle is secondary, or less substantially Christ, to the Eucharist distributed during Communion. I believe the liberals call it a 'static' presence, as opposed to its 'active' presence in the Mass. Once again, utterly preposterous nonsense: a naked attempt to diminish the significance of the tabernacle and Eucharistic adoration, and perfectly congruent with the secularist agenda, which despises devotion. This would be analogous to claiming that the milk stored in your refrigerator is less nutritious than the milk poured onto your cereal!"

LECTER: “The height of absurdity indeed! One last passage, Sister: “’Much more preaching and catechetical effort must be devoted to helping people recognize Christ in all the ways that he is present in the eucharist (sic). And the mode of his presence that needs the most attention is his presence in the assembly itself.’"

FOSTER: “As I’ve already pointed out, there is only one Eucharist, and Christ is present in that Eucharist in only one unique way. When Lawrence attempts the bait and switch from the Eucharist to the ‘assembly,’ (another secularist ploy), he betrays his roots in the raw Marxism which underlies most of these left-wing ‘reforms.’ If you substitute ‘proletariat’ for ‘assembly,’ you’ll understand the hidden thrust of Lawrence’s distortions as well as Cincinnati’s agenda. In the eyes of a Marxist the so-called ‘People of God’ must displace Christ as the focal point of worship."

LECTER: “Let me ask you this, Sister: if Lawrence is so misleading, why is his book used, and why is he invited to conduct liturgical workshops here in Steubenville?"

FOSTER: “Now there is a question you should put to our Bishop!"

LECTER: “Perhaps I should call him instead of my lawyer! One final question: where can I find clear, accurate and trustworthy information on my new faith?"

FOSTER: “I recommend you start with the Catechism of the Catholic Church…."


1. The Vatican documents on the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament are called "Instruction on the Worship of the Eucharistic Mystery," from May 25, 1967. They are typical of post-Conciliar directives in that they are vague, contradictory, and confusing – thus creating plenty of wiggle room for interpretations which are, shall we say, less than orthodox. In Part II, “Where the Blessed Sacrament is to be Reserved,” we find the following:

§ 52. The Tabernacle. “Where reservation of the Blessed Sacrament is permitted according to the provisions of the law, it may be reserved permanently or regularly only on one altar or in one place in the church. Therefore, as a rule, each church should have only one tabernacle, and this tabernacle must be safe and inviolable.”

§ 53. The Blessed Sacrament Chapel. “The place in a church or oratory where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in the tabernacle should be truly prominent. It ought to be suitable for private prayer so that the faithful may easily and fruitfully, by private devotion also, continue to honor our Lord in this sacrament. It is therefore recommended that, as far as possible, the tabernacle be placed in a chapel distinct from the middle or central part of the church, above all in those churches where marriages and funerals take place frequently, and in places which are much visited for their artistic or historical treasures.”

§ 54. The Tabernacle in the Middle of the Altar or in Some Other Part of the Church. “The Blessed Sacrament should be reserved in a solid, inviolable tabernacle in the middle of the main altar or on a side altar, but in a truly prominent place. Alternatively, according to legitimate customs and in individual cases to be decided by the local ordinary, it may be placed in some other part of the church which is really worthy and properly equipped.”

§ 55. A Tabernacle on an Altar Where Mass is Celebrated with a Congregation. “In the celebration of Mass the principal modes of worship by which Christ is present to his Church are gradually revealed. First of all, Christ is seen to be present among the faithful gathered in his name; then in his Word, as the Scriptures are read and explained; in the person of the minister; finally and in a unique way (modo singulari) under the species of the Eucharist. Consequently, by reason of the symbolism, it is more in keeping with the nature of the celebration that the Eucharistic presence of Christ, which is the fruit of the consecration and should be seen as such, should not be on the altar from the very beginning of Mass through the reservation of the sacred species in the tabernacle.”

§ 56. The Tabernacle in the Construction of New Churches and the Adaptation of Existing Churches and Altars. “The principles stated in nn. 53 and 55 ought to be kept in mind in the building of new churches. The adaptation of existing churches and altars may only take place according to the principles laid down in n. 24 of this Instruction.”

§ 24. The Importance of the Arrangement of Churches for Well-Ordered Celebrations: “…Above all, the main altar should be so placed and constructed that it is always seen to be the sign of Christ himself, the place at which the saving mysteries are carried out, and the center of the assembly, to which the greatest reverence is due.”

And finally, see above, Para. 1379 of the Catechism.


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