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, 8/17/05

The Flying Buttress +Dissecting dissent in the Cincinnati Archdiocese+

Another Wacko Conspiracy Theory?

+The scarcity of priests in the Cincinnati Archdiocese is well known to most of our readers. What is not so well known, however, is that this shortage is the result of the work of an enigmatic cabal within the local Church hierarchy.

+While this cabal has no official name (since it does not officially exist), whispered rumors have filtered down through the hierarchy, through the clerical rank and file, and finally down to The Buttress staff (which is about as low as you can get), that the members of this mysterious group are known to each other as “Planned Fatherhood."

+Planned Fatherhood reportedly began meeting back in the late 1950s, when seminaries all across the country, including Cincinnati’s, were overflowing with vocations. Members expressed concerns that overcrowding would soon reach crisis proportions, straining the limited spiritual formation resources of the Church to the breaking point.

+What could Cincinnati possibly do with all those priests? Where would they be placed? How could they be paid? Fed? Housed? And what about all those expensive vestments!?

+Rather than face such a devastating and embarrassing drain on Archdiocesan resources, Planned Fatherhood (PF), aligning itself with the New World Odor and its philosophy of universal scarcity, embarked upon a covert and subtle campaign of attrition. During this campaign, all appearances would remain quite normal throughout the recruitment and education process. However, it was PF’s hope that the quiet introduction of certain elements would dramatically impact the burgeoning priestly population.

+Although their strategy was never committed to paper – the absence of a paper trail befitting the nature of the group –The Buttress’ crack investigative journalist A. Priori, using his powers of deductive reasoning, has been able to arrive at certain campaign principles, working backward from effect to cause. While these principles are apparently drawn from such diverse sources as Margaret Sanger’s Birth Control Review, the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Genealogy, Hugh Hefner’s Playboy magazine, Carl Jung, and Alfred Kinsey, the cabal was careful to disguise the true nature of their working language by adapting it to seminary life.

+Herewith the salient points of PF’s campaign of attrition:

I. Underlying Principles

v Abstinence, or outright celibacy, is to be encouraged among families likely to produce priests. This program can be endowed with a progressive-sounding name, such as “Natural Priestly Postponement (NPP).” An NPP program can easily be developed by the Department of Priestly Formation in Personnel Services.

v Any likely priest-bearing mothers already with child should be encouraged by the Archdiocese to listen frequently to the atonal music of Arnold Schonberg and Anton von Webern, while the priest-to-be is in the womb and even during his infancy1. This will help to disorient the child, disrupt his natural grounding in Judeo-Christian civilization, and possibly even transform him into a serial dissident.

v During his formative years, the priest-to-be must never be exposed to Latin or Aramaic, or chosen to be an altar boy. Instead, he must be immersed in rebellious popular culture, esp. the beatnik movement, the poetry of Allen Ginsberg, the music of Elvis Presley and the Beatles, and the movies of James Dean. Popular culture can be effectively promoted by Catholic school curricula and during Mass. (Ed. note: while these popular phenomena may seem somewhat dated, it should be remembered that they would have been the cultural reference points of the late 1950s and early 1960s.)

v Since all priests are first and foremost sexual beings, the most flagrant sexual degeneracy (as it will be called by those who resist change) and experimentation must be cultivated among seminarians. There are a number of useful and prestigious labels for this behavior, such as “liberation," “enhanced learning about sexuality," “male reproductive freedom," “male bonding," or “male fertility management." Whatever label is chosen, it must be presented as a highly desirable and necessary step in the sexual and emotional development of the seminarian.

v Since the priestly function is merely a holdover from an outmoded patriarchal civilization, seminarians must be made to feel uncomfortable and uneasy for extending such an atrophied and useless tradition. For example, one effective method to initiate this anxiety is to hand out posters and literature of Betty Freidan, Gloria Steinem, and Sr. Joan Chittister during first-year orientation.

v Fidelity to the Holy Father and to the Magisterium, and devotion to Our Lord, is to be discouraged at all costs. This mindset must be portrayed as rigid, inflexible, neurotic, backward, and unhealthy. It must be replaced with fidelity to oneself, using such labels as “self-esteem," “self-fulfillment," “personal enrichment," or “self-determination." The seminarian must be convinced that he has the right to choose (that is, his own personal values), and that he and every other seminarian should feel wanted and loved.

v The seminary must be committed to providing education in realpolitik, which will enable seminarians to understand the troubling scope of priestly population growth and its impact on the economic, political, social, and physical environment we all must share.

2. Application

+Planned Fatherhood’s application of these principles resulted in what appears to be an Eight Point Program of Priestly Attrition:

  1. Discourage orthodoxy, tradition, and devotion. Recruit vocations through hip media blitzes which appeal to secular fads.
  1. Discourage personal prayer, holiness and sanctification through the sacraments.
  1. Cultivate preaching that undermines and distorts Faith and Doctrine, and which sows the seeds of doubt.
  1. Discourage devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
  1. Encourage liturgical experimentation, innovation, frivolity and abuse.
  1. Shun the pro-life movement.
  1. Characterize evangelization as triumphalism.
  1. Water down the priestly identity by transforming him into a mere presider or sacramental minister.

(Ed. note: For a more complete and detailed discussion of PF’s Eight Point Program, see Michael S. Rose, “Good Bye! Good Men")

Notes: 1. It is not known whether Planned Fatherhood took responsibility for infants who were unable to sleep through the night as a result of this conditioning…


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