+ As well-informed Catholics know, bishops are required to make pilgrimage to the Holy See every five years, in order to report on the State of their Diocese.
+Flying Buttress readers may not be as well-informed as they think, however, for this week we have an exclusive report on a new twist to these ad limina visits.
+It seems that Pope Benedict, faithful to his theme of firmly but gently rebuilding the Church, has come up with a method whereby disobedient American bishops will be challenged to come out from behind their thin smokescreen of orthodoxy, look directly into the mirror of their unsavory dissent, and lay their cards on the table. Since these visits will be of a slightly different character than for faithful bishops, the Holy See has decided to call them ad hominem visits.
+The Flying Buttress has learned which bishops will comprise the first group of ad hominem pilgrims. They are: Roger Mahony, Harry Flynn, Tod Brown, Robert Lynch, Thomas Kelly, and, of course, our very own Daniel Pilarczyk. The theme used to identify this first group will be “It takes a village to distribute Communion.”
+Before coming to Rome, however, the Holy Father is requiring a new kind of discipline for this group: a whirlwind global tour of sites and visits to personalities long revered by dissenters, thus generously providing a last hurrah of self-indulgent utopian foolishness before coming to grips with reality. Their itinerary will be as follows:
NEW YORK CITY: join an annual meeting of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU), to hear Sr. Elizabeth Johnson of Fordham University speak about: multi-culturalism and religious plurality, women's ordination and the call to women's holiness, the location of the image of Christ in the male body rather than in the whole person being made christomorphic by entering into the dying and rising of Christ, subversive feminine breakthroughs against clerical routine and apathy, the inclusive meaning of holy community, women who dare to exercise their wits in a patriarchal world, eco-feminism as the zeitgeist of Creator Spiritology, the many egalitarian meals of Jesus' radical social gospel, and other pressing theological issues of the day.
SOUTH BEND, INDIANA: attend a performance of the Vagina Monologues at Notre Dame University with Fr. Richard McBrien. At intermission, discuss:
· "Did Jesus intend to found a Church?" (McBrien answers: "It depends on what you mean by 'found.' Was the Church lost? Had it disappeared in the great cataclysm which sank the continent of Atlantis? What were the true origins of this church? Did Jesus model his teachings on the horizontal collectivism of the Mayan civilization?")
· "Did Jesus expect the end to come soon?" (McBrien answers: "It depends on what you mean by 'end.' If he is the Alpha and the Omega, then there is no such thing as end or beginning, and all the Universe is simply a Fourth Dimensional existential continuum.")
· "Should the Catholic Church adopt the motto 'E Pluribus Unum'?" (McBrien answers: "Although Latin is still, unfortunately, the official language of the Church, this does not mean that the Church can unilaterally decide on a new motto. After all, a consensus needs to be hammered out amongst Orthodox, Anglicans and Protestants, without offending Jews and Muslims.")
DALLAS, TEXAS: Speak to Charles Curran's seminar, "Healing the Out of Touch Church," at Southern Methodist University. Share your expertise on the latest techniques for the deconstruction, dismantling, and utter trashing of Magisterial teaching, especially those techniques based on the moral platforms of liberation, civil rights and social justice, egalitarianism, compassion, and the most profound genital self-interest. Discuss, with concrete examples, the arcane art of Marxist redefinition as applied to such concepts as morality (now "discrimination," "hate," or "homophobia"), traditional marriage (now "heterosexism"), hierarchy ("rigid clericalism"), Papal authority ("outmoded patriarchal oppression"), conscience ("the self-promulgated universe") and sin ("culture-specific purity taboos").
NICARAGUA: attend a "Peasant's Mass" celebrated by Fr. Fernando Cardenal, SJ, in a Nicaraguan village, and play the electric guitar as you scream "Won't Get Fooled Again" by the rock group The Who during the Offertory. Participate in a dialogue homily celebrating the radical social gospel of Jesus the Armed Revolutionary, Mary the Mother of all Revolutionaries and Social Workers (also armed), and Joseph the Patron Saint of the Oppressed Proletariat (armed only with a carpenter's plane, T-square and sandpaper). Spend the night in a grass hut in the jungle, at Father Cardenal's “Fé y Alegría” school, in order to be cognizant of the Bible's preferential option for poor lodgings.
DUBLIN, IRELAND: at this quiet stop on your pilgrimage, you will celebrate Mass at the birthplace of George Tyrell, SJ, as you reflect on the purely psychological effect of the sacrament of the Eucharist, the purely atmospheric effect of the liturgy, and the purely historico-literary effect of the Gospels. Inspired by the artifacts of so great a mystic, you will revel in the fervid religious sentiment that wells up within your heart, reject all external sources of revelation and dogma, but of course be open to the constant evolution of your unique perspective in response to God Immanent, whose existence can be proven only by your personal Sacred Deposit of Intuition.
INNSBRUCK, AUSTRIA: a visit to the tomb of Karl Rahner, SJ. In keeping with the nature of Rahner's theology, this visit is strictly optional. Should you choose to include this stop in your itinerary, you will be paying your respects, not in a materialistic or fiscal sense, but in a communal and ontological sense. You will be asked to write an essay reflecting upon and summarizing the economic immanence of the Trinity, the beatific profit margin inherent in the transcendental seeds of grace (preferably mustard seeds), the salvific human capital potential of the anonymous Christian, and the sublime mystagogical theology of kitchen utensils.
All things being equal, which of course they never are, though certainly they must be, this visit will open your eyes to the primacy of the Christian common era encounter with God, and how that encounter is reflected in the mediation of the saving grace of God as it applies to pre-Christian religions. These are not defensible teachings, however, but subtle hints to point you on your way toward the not necessarily true.
TUBINGEN, GERMANY: for your final appointment, you have been granted an audience with Hans Kung at his Foundation for a Global Ethic. However, this audience will not occur from a fixed, absolute standpoint, which is to say that both host and guests will be in constant circular motion during the session, in order to leave open the question as to who is the host and who are the guests. In fact, in a strictly objective sense, though such a sense is not possible, the audience may be said to be not taking place at all, since the perception of it will depend upon the nature of each individual guest/host, operating from within his own individual self-proclaimed and self-actualized universe, and employing multiple sources of valid knowledge, none of which can be used as a paradigm by anyone else (except as a scholarly footnote). Guests/hosts will be encouraged to supply their own sensory filters and reference points as tools to help verify their temporal orientation, for example, a box lunch.
+According to our Dayton, Ohio correspondent Geraldo de Torquemada, there’s a lot more to the story of Fr. Gaeke, the Cincinnati priest busted on cocaine charges, than meets the eye. It seems that Father is the heir to the Shook, Inc. family fortune, a Dayton construction firm, and is worth tens of millions of dollars. Rumor has it that he has bequeathed his entire fortune to the Cincinnati Archdiocese. Could this be why Archbishop Pilarczyk has looked the other way regarding Gaeke’s drug abuse and homosexual indiscretions, and granted him a “medical leave” for a less-than-critical case of diabetes? Anything is possible in the sordid Pilarczyk domicile.
+Archbishop Wuerl, who apparently cannot be nicknamed “Braveheart,” has once again sidestepped the issue of pro-abortion politicians receiving Holy Communion, this time with Nancy Pelosi.
+January 22 is a Day of Penance in every United States diocese, for the violence of abortion. The Priests for Life Prayer to End Abortion may be found here.
+The Flying Buttress would like to express our deepest gratitude to The Most Reverend Roger Foys, Bishop of Covington, for the profound, intricate beauty, the solemn sacrificial mystery, and the sublime formative grace of the 1962 Missal offered each week at St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption.