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!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Tapeworm Letters, #2

"My dear Hollywood, I am most displeased to learn that a "stable" group of your parishioners has requested a weekly Mass in the so-called Extraordinary Form. I will resist the temptation to chalk up this unfortunate development as your first failure, realizing that we can probably lay this scandal at the feet of your predecessor - who, as the result of his audacious disobedience, now toils among the decrepit in a malodorous nursing home. We shall of course focus on your response, which - if you are wise - will vary from individual to individual, yet which sounds pleasing to all, argumentum ad captandum. Two principles should guide your interaction with these loathsome nostalgics: one, you are all things to all people, and two, divide and conquer. What do I mean by this? I recommend an individual meeting with each member of this misguided group. Probe for their character flaws (which, I am sure, you have already catalogued from their confessions) and exploit them, all the while making them feel quite good about themselves. For example, is Person A an officious busybody? Then assign them an important-sounding task, such as investigating the relevant issues: adding another Mass to your already crowded schedule, finding a priest who knows Latin and the rubrics (knowledge of which, I trust, I have long since snuffed out of this diocese!), and calculating the cost of extra utilities for heat, light and air conditioning - not to mention the extra costs for your organist and cantor. Is Person B insufferably pious? Their task, then, could be to pray for divine guidance as to how to pull this thing off. Whatever you do, make sure you send each one off in an entirely different direction, feeling very good indeed about themselves (and you!) and delaying as long as possible any opportunity for them to make further connection with each other. In addition to this strategem, you ought to use your bully pulpit to subtle effect. Carefully - you do not want to offend the loathsome traditionalists (or have them vote with their checkbooks), you only seek to inject even the faintest doubt and nagging guilt among them - develop the concept of "nostalgia," comparing the desire for the old Mass to a wistful wish for days gone by, for old popular songs and old TV shows. If need be, throw in a few reliable chestnuts about Vatican II, with some vague warnings about violating its spirit - or even, for that matter, its letter (how many of these ignoramuses have actually read a Council document?). For my part, as you know, I have already formed a committe of retired priests to examine the credentials of any of you who may dare to request this Missal. I trust it is well understood that anyone who is foolish enough to make such an outrageous request will not only flunk that exam quite miserably, but will be sure to face a prolonged battery of psychological tests... Your affectionate Shepherd, TAPEWORM"


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