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!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Long Arm of Charles Darwin (Part II)

+When last we appeared in your Inbox, Cardinals McCarrick and Mahony, and Archbishop Pilarczyk, had concluded their secret discussion about the Seven Principles of Intelligent Dissent, the first part of their novel approach to gain the decisive upper hand in the battle to reform the Church.

+We now continue our transcript of their covert meeting, in which McCarrick presents the other seven principles of his proposal:

“TM: Well, gentlemen, is there no further reflection on our Theory of Intelligent Dissent?

DP: Your Grace, we would never question you on a matter of such profound importance!"

RM: Well said, Daniel. Unquestioning obedience to our cause is essential!

TM: Then here they are, gentlemen: the Seven Principles of our Theory of Revelation:

TR, PRINCIPLE I: Divine Revelation, so-called, is merely the result of random poetic mutations, subjective interior philosophical investigations, and visionary denunciations on the part of certain marginalized figures in history.

TR, PRINCIPLE II: These random mutations, investigations and denunciations originated in the archetypal miasma which characterized the dawn of the immanent development of peoples.

TR, PRINCIPLE III: The immanent development of the Jewish people, among whom were Jesus’ disciples, created a certain psychic and cultural environment, evolved over millennia, which caused them to respond to Jesus’ teachings in a preconditioned manner.

TR, PRINCIPLE IV: After Jesus’ death, the disciples’ cultural conditioning, combined with their intense grief over the loss of their friend and teacher, resulted in the proliferation of tales which acquired mythic proportions.

TR, PRINCIPLE V: These mythic tales became subject to natural selection through the oral tradition, a process which, as a result of constant random oral mutation, resulted in the spontaneous generation of new and complex species of legends.

TR, PRINCIPLE VI: These new legend species were eventually codified into the Canon of the New Testament.

TR, PRINCIPLE VII: This evolutionary, transformative process of earthly events become sacred is repeated throughout human history, resulting in the creation of many religions, each with their own scriptural “evidence” for primacy and infallibility.

TM: There you have it, chaps! Now what say we take a little break for refreshment and recreation? (there follows a mysterious 18.5 minute gap in the tape…) OK guys – back to work! Now where were we? Oh yes – your comments?

RM: Gee, I don’t know, Teddy – it sounds a little dry, vague and obtuse!

DP: Ah, but that’s the beauty of it, Rog! Remember what we accomplished at Vatican II with such language?

TM: A point well-taken, Danny!

RM: You know, stylistic drawbacks notwithstanding, I think I could design an entire Religious Education Conference around these principles! From there, we could announce the formation of “The Revelation Seminar,” and appoint Distinguished Fellows to contribute….the possibilities just boggle the mind!

DP: What I like most about this approach, gentlemen, is that it puts us in an enviable position in this struggle. I think we’ve finally found the surest path to a sin-sin wituation! (This was the final recorded comment on the tape.)

Miscellanea CATHOLICA

+ The Flying Buttress has learned that opera buffs around the globe have formed a new society to preserve and promote the traditional Mass. This society, headquartered in Seville, Spain, has taken the name “Una voce poco fa.”

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Long Arm of Charles Darwin (Part I)

+Just recently, a clandestine meeting took place, at an undisclosed location, involving three American hierarchs: Roger Mahony, Theodore McCarrick (retired), and Daniel Pilarczyk.

+What drove these three prelates to their furtive rendezvous? A subject quite unusual and rather esoteric: lessons learned from the Evolution/Intelligent Design debate. It seems our secretive clerics were keenly interested in applying certain aspects of this debate to the American Church, in order to promote their progressive cause.

+Unbeknownst to the participants, however, their attempts at secrecy were largely foiled, for the ubiquitous Flying Buttress was able to obtain a tape recording of this meeting by nefarious means (we say “largely” foiled because of the existence of a mysterious 18.5 minute gap near the end of the tape). The following transcript will, we hope, prove to be quite illuminating:

“TM (who apparently convened and facilitated): You know, gentlemen, I’ve been thinking about how to implement certain action items from our Common Ground 10th Anniversary meeting back in August. It is vital that we recover the momentum once possessed by our dear friend Joe Bernardin (may the Supreme Architect rest his noble soul). Our efforts to bring the Church in line with the modern age have stalled for far too long – and Rome is certainly not helping our cause lately! However, I believe I now have the answer!

RM: What did you have in mind, Your Eminence?

TM: I am most intrigued by certain aspects of this Evolution/Intelligent Design debate, particularly the implications of its labels. I think we can adapt those labels to our advantage in the struggle between reactionary orthodox forces and our enlightened liberal group.

DP: How so?

TM: Simply by turning the basic presumptions on their heads, and placing the burden of proof on the reactionaries!

DP: Ah, I would love to put those nattering nabobs of nostalgia on the defensive! Do go on!

TM: What if, gentlemen, we referred to our position as “Intelligent Dissent,” and the position of our adversaries as “The Theory of Revelation”?

RM: A stroke of genius, Your Eminence! I propose we get down to some working definitions immediately!

TM: I’m way ahead of you, Roger. I’ve prepared a draft press release which contains some basic principles, which I want to read to you and get your feedback.

DP: Fire away, fearless leader!

TM: You’re far too kind, Daniel! Here we go: first, the seven principles of Intelligent Dissent.

ID, PRINCIPLE I: The spark of dissent was lighted in our modern Church Fathers and theologians by the will and design of God.

ID, PRINCIPLE II: These sincere, faithful and committed leaders, gradually becoming aware of this divine light of dissent within them, felt the call of conscience which it engendered.

ID, PRINCIPLE III: This call of conscience, divinely inspired and ordered, gives birth to NewChurch. IV. PRINCIPLE IV: The call of conscience is constantly renewed, as is its source, resulting in a continual and indefinite progress and adaptation to the advancement of human history. ID, PRINCIPLE V: The complex fluidity of NewChurch theology and dogma could not have appeared as a result of random events. This complexity required God’s special and sustained intervention.

ID, PRINCIPLE VI: The divinely-inspired complexity of Intelligent Dissent is embodied in three theo-archeological archetypes, upon whom a special degree of divine intervention and enlightenment is bestowed: Washington DC Man (that’s me, of course), Los Angeles Man (that’s you, Roger), and Cincinnati Man (Daniel).

ID, PRINCIPLE VII: The three archetypes, and all NewChurch leaders, receive the light of Intelligent Dissent according to the will of God the Creator; we cannot produce such light ourselves,

TM: So - there’s the first part, gentlemen. Comments?

DP: A trinity of archetypes! Talk about Divine inspiration! I especially relish the devilishly clever humility with which the Seventh Principle sums up this approach!

RM: Yes, and it manages to distract from the seemingly incongruous reference to archeological finds, and deflects any claim that we are putting ourselves on a pedestal!

TM: You understand, of course, that the three archetypes can never be specifically defined, except amongst ourselves? (silence on the tape, by which we inferred assent) Good! May I proceed to Part Two? (more silence) Splendid!

To Be Continued…

Miscellanea CATHOLICA

+In the New World Odor, anything goes, except Christianity.

+Dearest Holy Father, if you want to create an instant list of all the unfaithful Catholic parishes (and, by implication, their unfaithful bishops) in America, this would be a good place to start.