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, November 05, 2007

Where There's Smoke...

+ We’re all familiar with the near-apocryphal tales of the end of Paul VI’s reign. Wandering distractedly through the halls of the Vatican, he was given to chanting the Nicene Creed and wailing that the “smoke of Satan” had entered the Church. Whether he meant this figuratively, or he had belatedly learned of the enthronement ritual performed on 6/29/63, we cannot say.

+Ironically, it was the allegedly homosexual Montini himself who opened many of the Church’s doors and windows to said smoke, by allowing himself to be manipulated by Bugnini. Some have suggested that this manipulation was really sexual blackmail, though we can neither confirm or refute this theory. The tragic success of Bugnini’s Revolution hinged upon, and owed much to, this manipulation.

+More recently, Pope Benedict XVI has uncovered a new dimension to this problem, and has made its elimination a top priority of his Papacy. It seems the smoke of Satan not only struck at the very highest levels and at the heart of the Church, it eventually wafted down into the bureaucracy of middle management, where it hovers thick and unchecked. In order to better isolate and exorcise this toxic presence, the Holy Father has given it a distinctive label:

“The Second-Hand Smoke of Satan”

+Benedict’s corrective solution to this phenomenon, which distinctly resembles that of Ex corde ecclesiae’smandatum,” is in keeping with the more precise and orderly Teutonic mind of Ratzinger and is clearly more detailed, providing specific measures for enforcement. In fact, the Holy Father has outlined an eleven-step process for the identification and removal of the Second-Hand Smoke of Satan:


The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith investigates and verifies the complaint. For example, a Diocesan Director of Religious Education (DDRE) is accused of active membership in Call to Action, Voice of the Faithful, or, in worst case scenarios, consorting with brothers of the Society of Jesus or the theology faculty of Xavier University. CDF will document the charge via a thorough examination of books, articles and lectures by the deviant bureaucrat, any extant memoranda to parish DRE’s, or the presence of a rainbow sash in the bureaucrat’s closet.


Continuing with our example, CDF issues a formal admonition to the deviant DDRE (now referred to as the DDDRE), copying the bishop, warning him that his heterodox or heretical activities have been exposed and verified. The DDDRE is given the opportunity to respond to the charges in writing. (If the deviant happens to be a bishop, a not uncommon occurrence here in the United States, then the Papal Nuncio and the president of the national conference are also copied.)


The third step in the corrective process, issued even before a response to “Admonatum” is received, is a personal exhortation to the DDDRE urging and encouraging him to return to full communion with the Holy Father and the Magisterium, and to abandon his unsavory activities. Unfortunately, rather than explain himself to the proper authority, the defendant at this stage often chooses defiance, asserting himself in the pages of the National Catholic Reporter, America magazine, or, if here in Cincinnati, via ample column space provided by The (Occasionally) Catholic Telegraph.


The standard CDF response to a defendant who seeks to distract from the issue at hand with inflammatory, self-serving publicity is to issue yet another warning, this one ominous in character, warning of disastrous consequences to the soul of the DDDRE – not to mention to his career - for non-repentance.


In the event of the DDDRE’s failure to respond to the charges, CDF issues a proclamation, published in LOsservatore Romano and Zenit, notifying the Catholic world that one of its own has gone astray. Proclamatum” is frequently met with jeers and protests heavily laced with the phrase “academic freedom.”


CDF issues yet another formal document to the defendant, reminding him of his obligations to the Church. The “Obligatum” is also posted on every parish bulletin board of the diocese in question, as well as the door of the bishop’s office. The danger of posting “Obligatum” in this manner, however, is that it can be frequently obscured by parish festival flyers, job postings, or “Safe Environment” procedures.


“Obligatum” is accompanied by a supporting document which lists the specific teachings of the Catechism that have been violated. “Postulatum,” as you might guess, also postulates the existence of objective truth and infallibility, often described by the deviant as the “dictatorship of objectivism.”

Step 8. DICTUM

Step 8 dictates to the offending party the specific authoritative pronouncements to which the defendant must agree, pronouncements which must replace any questionable assertions in the defendant’s writings. Defendants have been known to evade “Dictum” by responding “It depends on what you mean by ‘agree.’”


Step 9 is the CDF’s official and curt notice that the offending party has reached the end of his rope. It outlines the remedies to be applied to his case under Canon Law, as specified under the Decretum Gratiani. The citation of an obscure canonical collection is quite deliberate, as it is intended to cause the same kind of confusion and uncertainty in the mind of the deviant as the deviant has sowed in the minds of the faithful.


Finally, CDF’s patience having been exhausted, the DDDRE is notified that he has been removed from his post, and is prohibited from the further dissemination of any writings purporting to represent the Church or its teachings. This prohibition does not extend to any of the publications listed under Step 3, however, since none of them is Catholic.


In a concluding act of Catholic charity, the exiled educator (following our example, now the DDDRE-E) is reminded that Holy Mother Church, ever solicitous of the state of his soul, will always accept him back into the fold were he to decide to comply with the corrective process outlined above. However, it is rare that the Second-Hand Smoke of Satan, once having been inhaled, can ever be released from body and mind, except through the offices of an exorcist…

Miscellanea CATHOLICA

+What’s wrong with the revised Rite of Exorcism? A better question would be: what's right with it?

+How are the bishops responding to Summorum Pontificum? Consult or

+Why is the post-Conciliar Church more protestant than Catholic? Well, let's start at Square One...

+The Angelus Press is reporting donations of over $100,000 to their appeal for extra funds in response to overwhelming demand for the 1962 Missal. You can now donate to them on-line:

+The 90th anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima would be a good time to start reading this book:


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