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, June 26, 2007

At fine booksellers everywhere...

+Reviled Flying Buttress Publisher Tomas de Torquemada (not pictured at left) has made a daring new foray into the world of fiction! His novel, first feverishly sketched on several napkins at The Olive Garden, explores the ethical boundaries of science and theology applied to the sacred teachings of the Church, as seen through the eyes of a Xavier theologian.

+We now offer our readers an exclusive preview of our Publisher’s work, with this first installment from the Preface:

Frankincense, or The Modern Antidote to Prometheus Preface

“Long, long ago, when I was but a sophomoric lad on this very Xavier campus, during the Neanderthal years before Vatican II, an old theology professor took me aside after class. Perhaps sensing in me some roiling and troublesome urge, he confided in me forthwith a saying, which he evidently prized as his deepest and most hard-earned insight:

‘Victor, you seek for knowledge and wisdom, as I once did; and I ardently hope that the gratification of your wishes may not be a serpent to sting you, as mine has been.’

Young, foolish, and prideful as I was - I, Dr. Victor Frankincense, SJ, Professor Emeritus of Theology - paid little heed to his words. Even then, you see, I was determined to revolutionize the Church, having conceived of the grandest of all schemes against her. Though it was only recently that my plan came to fruition, yet I confess this to you: I have come to curse that day!

Has it been, truly, only three years since I completed my dream? O, it seems now like an eternity! How easily I bent my secret knowledge of biology, chemistry and metallurgy to the task! How effortless was my acquisition of internal organs from Planned Parenthood and Stem Cell Inc., and body parts of statues from closed Cincinnati parishes! How perfectly did I recreate the potions of Wicca, re-enact the rituals of Freemasonry! With what marvelous speed did I construct my creature!

Dear reader, I had set out to create a mighty theologian, whose intelligence and reasoning capacity would far surpass that of ordinary men. A being who, by the sheer force of his invincible logic and will, could single-handedly destroy the outmoded myths of Divine Revelation, and all the dogma and liturgy which rested upon them. A veritable Master of Dissent, standing astride the ruins of tradition! A Colossus of Social Justice and Liberation, cloaked in the banner of Ignatius!

But that is not what I awoke in my laboratory. Perhaps you, so wise in the ways of the world, can tell me what went so horribly wrong. My computers all running at optimal performance, the latest Windows XP Updates installed, virus protection, surge protection, spyware protection, spam firewall – not a stone left unturned! And yet…

The toggle switches were all flipped on; electricity coursed through the electrodes to the perfected fiber optic nerves of my magnificent new theologian. His giant body twitched again and again, ‘til at last he drew breath! And then, after what seemed an eternity, his eyelids flew open, his steel gray eyes focused, he sat slowly upright. He was conscious!

Trembling with excitement, I drew close and spoke to him. “Can you hear me?” I whispered. But I shall never forget the first words he uttered – nay, chanted! - for it was with these very words that he utterly crushed my spirit, and from whence my nightmare ensued:

Asperges me, Domine, hyssopo et mundabor: lavabis me, Et super nivem dealbabor. Miserere mei, Deus, Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam. Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto: Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen. Asperges me, Domine, hyssopo et mundabor: lavabis me, Et super nivem dealbabor. Miserere mei, Deus, Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.

+To be continued…

Miscellanea CATHOLICA

+Speaking of Planned Parenthood, Jesuit tradition at the University of Detroit Mercy includes endorsing the culture of death and consorting with their representatives.

+The KGB and the attack on Pope Pius XII.

+A note to the Holy Father and the American Papal Nuncio: Your Holiness and Your Excellency, we humbly offer a suggestion regarding the approaching universal indult for the Missal of 1962. There are many priests for whom career advancement outweighs spiritual advancement. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as they remain faithful to the Church and to their vows. However, for these priests, the celebration of the Missal of 1962 is probably not seen as a wise career move, but as a backward one into an ecclesiastical Never-Land. Therefore, may we urgently suggest that some career incentive be offered – for both bishops and priests - in order to make this indult more attractive?

A kinder, gentler Flying Buttress (II)

+ We hope our readers haven't been too distracted by the ongoing disintegration of Western Civilization to recall our April 29 issue, in which we published Archbishop Pilarczyk's responses to an Enneagram questionnaire.

+This week, holding fast to our new, more understanding, and more compassionate posture, we offer an entirely free, no-obligation analysis of His Excellency's personality based on his questionnaire responses, concluding with some suggestions as to how he might use his personality traits to enhance both his job performance and his personal well-being.

+Analysis. Daniel Pilarczyk, you are a Type Four personality, an "Innovator." You seek the new and different, the thrill, the highly charged sensory experience, the emotional rush. Small wonder, then, that you refer to the restoration of tradition as a "liturgical winter," for the old ways simply bore you. "Why should people keep on doing the same thing in the same old way for centuries?" you ask. You need variety, a constant change of pace and scenery to satiate your inner restlessness.

+Though you can be the life of the party (a role not unsuitable for a Leo) this constant search for thrill and titillation has its down side, for should you descend from your impetuous peak, your life becomes a vale of tears characterized by depression, moodiness, and instability. Your compensatory reaction against this downswing frequently leads you to plunge recklessly into numerous shallow and fleeting relationships which have no meaning, and which only postpone the inevitable day of reckoning.

+Ironically, your propensity for doing, thinking, and feeling "outside the tabernacle" creates in you a wistful nostalgia for the very patterns and comforts you spurn. In your innermost, secret self, you long for stability, tradition, monogamy, and most of all, the security of being like everyone else. You are envious of those who have secured these comforts in their lives, and that creates in you a perpetual dissatisfaction with the status quo and with yourself, a constant self-critical search for "greener pastures." Yours is the tragic view of life, though you deny it vehemently. You mischaracterize and then dismiss the "nostalgia" of traditionalists, yet it is a longing for the norms of civilized life which chronically plague you.

+Recommendation. There are ways, however, to overcome these weaknesses. You must focus on your strengths, and the resourcefulness you bring to the table. Learn to explore and develop the possibilities of every task without becoming impatient. Think about the advantages of habit and ritual. Overcome your moodiness through physical exercise, such as liturgical dance. Channel your self-criticism into championing a cause or program you believe in, like CRYSM, or the many other forms of sexual, environmental, immigrant, racial and animal justice which you hold so dear and which make you feel accepted.

+Above all, Daniel, you must find equanimity. Learn to move beyond labels such as "good" or "evil," and live in a neutral present without pain or anguish, reward or punishment. Understand that everything in the world is relative and impermanent.

+In order to facilitate the achievement of equanimity, we find that the painstaking construction of sand mandalas, that assiduous pursuit of Tibetan Buddhist monks you so recently featured in the Telegraph, would bring you a salutary change in perspective and open up entirely new vistas of enlightenment. This newly achieved equanimity would not only serve you well in your roles as administrator and shepherd, but also serve to remind you, in a supremely tangible way, of the ephemeral nature of life, and above all, of the fragility of your position as Ordinary.

Miscellanea CATHOLICA

+Your Excellency, if you found this thumbnail Enneagram sketch helpful, you might also enjoy this.

+ The true origin of the Lavender Mafia.