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!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Identity Theft Hits the Church

+At the request of reviled Flying Buttress Publisher Tomas de Torquemada, the Identity Theft Support Center, a national nonprofit that focuses on victim assistance and prevention education, has issued a nationwide RED ALERT. This alert specifically targets American Catholics in an attempt to warn them of a virulent new form of identity theft: subtle attempts by left-wing academics and other dissidents to replace orthodox Catholic identity with political peace-and-justice agendas and sociological behavior analysis.

+In order to increase Catholic awareness of this problem, Torquemada (whose own venerable identity was stolen in 2004 by a disgruntled Catholic in Cincinnati) recently consented to an interview with the Executive Director of the ITSC, to provide the laity with helpful information on how to protect themselves against this insidious crime. Here is the transcript of this interview:

ITSC: Tomas, tell us how you first learned of Catholic identity theft.

TdT: Last November, the (Occasionally) Catholic Telegraph, our Archdiocesan newspaper, trumpeted this headline on its front page: “Respondents: skipping weekly Mass doesn’t make a bad Catholic.” The article went on to report the following results of a study which had recently appeared in the National Catholic Reporter:

  • 76% of respondents (not identified) said they could be good Catholics without fulfilling the weekly Mass obligation;
  • A majority said a good Catholic didn’t have to obey Church teaching on birth control, abortion, divorce and remarriage;
  • A celibate male clergy was least important personally to the respondents;
  • Belief in Jesus’ resurrection and helping the poor were most important;
  • And the giveaway kicker: “Dissent is not so much the result of a lack of understanding as it is a disagreement with specific teachings that lay people do not believe are central to the faith.”

ITSC: What was it about this that made you suspicious?

TdT: Aside from the last bullet point above, which attempts to slip in the real agenda – that dissent is substantiated by research - there were three clues. First clue: there was no corrective response from the left-wing Archbishop, the left-wing (O)CT staff, or anyone else in this left-wing Archdiocese reminding us about our Sunday Mass obligation (failure to observe it being a “grave sin”) or responding to any of this “data.”

Second clue: the funders of this study, an ongoing project every six years since 1987, include the following: the National Catholic Reporter (a premier mouthpiece of the “Catholic left”), the Louisville Institute of the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary (home of the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance and of the typical fermented stew of leftist political agendas which may be classified as “ecufeminist”) (and whose associate director, the "Episcopal Bishop" of Kentucky, is a vociferous supporter of unrepentant sodomite "Bishop" Gene Robinson), and last but not least, Fr. Andrew Greeley (ubiquitous dissenter and third-rate mind of the first magnitude).

Third clue: interpretation of survey data is cleverly skewed so as to be susceptible to liberal bias. In addition to the last bullet point previously mentioned above, here are two of many more examples:

(1) the NCR report states, “…most American Catholics consider the teachings on a celibate priesthood, the death penalty, abortion and same-sex marriage as more optional than essential.” Yet the actual survey question was “How important are these to you?” - NOT - “Are they optional or essential?”

(2) the NCR report states, “From this overall series we conclude that Catholics distinguish basic creedal beliefs such as Jesus’ resurrection and the nature of the sacraments from specific moral teachings about sexuality or the death penalty -- they see the latter as less than central to their Catholicity.” Yet the actual survey questions did not ask which beliefs were central to one’s Catholicity. The conclusion is completely fraudulent.

ITSC: Tomas, I’m afraid you need to be more specific. How do these things involve Catholic identity theft?

TdT: That’s easy! The attempt to isolate aspects of Catholic identity and rank them completely distorts and misrepresents that identity. Moreover, the survey questions are only partially about the beliefs and practices which form our identity; cleverly mixed in with these are tangential questions about, for example, clergy requirements (which would not be a factor for the layman) and social behaviors which follow from a Catholic identity.

But what is a truly Catholic identity? It is the state of one’s soul, freed from original sin through the sacraments of the Church and the grace of God. It is those beliefs which are summarized in the Nicene Creed, as even Fr. Lawrence, Mick (or was that Mick, Lawrence?) acknowledges in his cutsie-pie liturgical catechesis bulletin inserts. It is the teachings of the Magisterium, which flesh out our beliefs to attain understanding, and holiness in daily life. It is the consecrated habit formed by the sacraments, Scriptures, sacred traditions and disciplines of the Church to ensure our salvation. It is an institutional identity composed of liturgy, music, art, architecture, vestments, language, hierarchy – all grounded in the sacred deposit of faith.

The true Catholic identity is a complex whole, an entirely complete culture centered in Christ and salvation, Divine Revelation and Apostolic Succession, majestic ritual and mystery. Though it has suffered greatly at the filthy hands of Bugnini and the liberal European Alliance which dominated Vatican II, even now it cannot be picked apart by agenda-driven bean-counters or sorted into cafeteria-style menus by the heterodox.

ITSC: How would you compare the practices of secular identity thieves with those of Catholic identity thieves?

TdT: Well, the secular world has “dumpster-divers,” those who rummage through your trash to retrieve information about you. The Church’s dumpster-divers are those who rummage through your mind, looking for an opening in which to insert doubt, disagreement and false belief. One might call them “dissent-divers.”

The secular thief also “phishes” and “pretexts,” or obtains information via spoof e-mails or phone calls while pretending to represent a legitimate company. Their Church counterparts would be theologians (moral or otherwise), mid-level diocesan bureaucrats, and the many priests and religious who are nothing more than loose cannons. It is they who abuse their sacred trust and their holy offices by dispensing fraudulent and misleading information about our faith, cleverly substituting “sincerity,” “compassion,” or “justice” for fidelity as they invite you to participate in their prestigious fraud. They are truly “phishers of men” pretending to represent the legitimate Church.

ITSC: Should the Catholic layman be aware of any other group engaged in Catholic identity theft?

TdT: First, let’s ask this: why is CARA (the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate) participating in this sleazy NCR project? Now, to answer your question, yes – locally, their activities were reported in the March 24 issue of the (Occasionally) Catholic Telegraph. The “Brueggeman Center for Dialogue” at Xavier University (known in orthodox circles as “Apostate U.”) is sponsoring a three-part series on Catholic identity. This series, according to the Telegraph, will focus on “Concerns and Hopes,” “Collaboration and Decision Making,” and “Accountability in the Church” (observe the immediate departure from “identity”).

Let’s pin the tail on this donkey immediately by noting that the Brueggeman Center appointed Sr. Joan Chittister to its Brueggeman Chair in Theology in 2001. Joan Chittister, theologian? (Bill Clinton, family man?) Let me also point out that any time you hear the word “dialogue” among the “Catholic left,” it means that a platform has been offered to those who make a career out of trashing the Church. It also means that no platform will be offered to those who wish to defend the Church. There is no “dialogue” as we would correctly define it.

True to form, “Concerns and Hopes” featured “pastoral counselor” Marie Hill, who predictably (a) reduced Catholic identity, as a faithful disciple of James Carroll, to “Jesus own catholic (sic) identity of love of God and neighbor,” and (b) portrayed fidelity to the Church as “a regression to the pre-Vatican II mentality of legalism and authoritarianism in the church (sic).”

ITSC: It doesn’t sound as though Xavier’s attempts at Catholic identity theft are as subtle as the NCR study.

TdT: No, but equally as pernicious, and a classic case of loose cannons steering the foundering ship. The Brueggeman Center is quite impressed with itself and its lofty mission, but it is merely a watering hole for an effete Dissenter’s Club, whose regularly orchestrated wailing, breast-beating and gnashing of tenured teeth marks the progressive deconstruction of our faith. And this stagnant, fetid pond is the reservoir from which the Cincinnati Archdiocese draws its ersatz Catholic sustenance, again and again.

By the way, don’t be surprised if Voice of the Faithful occupies a prominent place in the last event of this Brueggeman series.

ITSC: Finally, Tomas, what in your opinion are the consequences of successful Catholic identity theft?

TdT: The consequences of secular identity theft are well known: serious financial difficulties, or even financial ruin. However, Catholic identity theft results in something far worse: eternal ruin.

Odds and Ends

+Can you identify the author of these words, addressed to some theologians of his day? “Some among you, puffed up like bladders with the spirit of vanity strive by profane novelties to cross the boundaries fixed by the Fathers, twisting the meaning of the sacred the philosophical teaching of the rationalists, not for the profit of their hearer but to make a show of science...these men, led away by various and strange doctrines, turn the head into the tail and force the queen to serve the handmaid."


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12:04 PM  

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