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, 8/4/05

The Flying Buttress +Dissecting dissent in the Cincinnati Archdiocese+

The Rise of the House of Usher

+Cincinnati’s Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk1, always one to empower the oppressed, the disenfranchised, the marginalized, the narcissistic, the neurotic, and the downright miserable, has reportedly been meeting regularly with a new special interest group in an effort to accommodate their needs.

+The group, calling itself “Ushers Discover Dissent Elicits Recognition" (UDDER), allegedly consists of disgruntled ushers who have been given a new and urgent sense of identity by Fr. Lawrence, Mick (or was that Fr. Mick, Lawrence?) of Cincinnati. This heretofore inchoate group has been galvanized into collective action by a statement on the back cover of Mick’s Liturgy Training Publication, "Guide for Ushers and Greeters," a volume in his series “The Liturgy According to Mick":

"The ministry of the usher has been with us for as long as we can remember, since well before Vatican II. Perhaps this is why as other liturgical ministries received a great deal of attention after the Council, the ministry of the usher seemed to be taken for granted, even neglected."

+The neglected ushers of UDDER, whose days of toiling in the vineyards of unappreciated anonymity are apparently over, are negotiating their demands with His Excellency, whose only public comment thus far has been to reassure the faithful that “We certainly don’t want these folks going postal on us."

+UDDER’s demands reportedly include:


  • White suit (unisex) with red stripes;
  • White shirt;
  • Dark bow tie;
  • Carnations for all lapels, color-coded with the Liturgical Year;
  • White handbell gloves (to protect hands from fraying wicker basket handles);
  • White hat (worn at a rakish angle) and cane, appropriate for performing liturgical dance, in accordance with Fr. Mick’s guidelines (“Ushers with long-handled baskets are really performing a sort of liturgical dance! They are engaged in ritual movement within the liturgy, so this movement should be done with grace and style. The ushers' movements should be smooth and dignified, not rushed and careless”);
  • Tap shoes;
  • Optional flashlights (for those ushers who find it necessary to hold down a second job at the RKO Keith Albee);


  • A formal preparatory ritual at the back of the Church, including an Usher’s Hymn sung in barbershop harmony (e.g. Eddie Cantor’s theme song “Ida, Sweet as Apple Cider"), to call attention to the Gathering of the Ushers;
  • Each parishioner should bow reverently as he deposits his money in the usher’s basket, in humble acknowledgement of all the ways that Christ is present in the Offering and in those collecting it;
  • A formal Anointing of the Ushers with chrism, after the Offering is deposited before the Altar;
  • A recessional trumpet voluntary (e.g. Tom Lehrer’s “The Vatican Rag") as the ushers sashay down the center aisle to the back of the Church;


  • A monthly Fellowship Hour in the Undercroft after Mass, in honor of all ushers active, retired, and deceased.
  • Disinfectant spray, to be used on all paper money (laden with dangerous germs) deposited in baskets.
  • Paid training and certification at the nearest Arthur Murray Dance Studio, in the different and varied forms of liturgical dance (e.g. Ballet, Soft Shoe, Boogaloo, Buffalo Shuffle, Hucklebuck, Line Dance, and Clogging.)
  • Renaming the back of the Church the “ushristy.

NOTES: 1. Known in some nasty underground newswires as “Tutu," for his endorsement of liturgical dance during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.


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