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, November 11, 2008

The Tapeworm Letters, #5

"My dear Hollywood, I see that I cannot escape the tedious charade of the presidential election that is upon us once again. No doubt many of your parishioners - the more dutiful among the sheeple - have inquired about voting with "an informed conscience." You may recall, from your seminary days, my private assessment of this political theater-cum-popularity contest: Americans do not really choose their president. Why? Because the candidates of both major parties only appear to be opponents. That is, the choice is not really between opposing platforms, but merely between two facets of the same platform. The Democrats, you see, are responsible for the cultural revolution, while the Republicans oversee the economic revolution. This little pre-arranged show has been drawn up by our powerful behind-the-scenes benefactors - and who are we to object when it is our brethren who will benefit? We are not fools! Now of course the ignorant will whoop like cranes about this candidate's position on abortion (which we so recently discussed), that candidate's position on illegal immigration, the war on terrorism, social and environmental justice, the death penalty, drilling for "American" oil, stem cell research, the marriage amendment...let me see...have I overlooked anything? In point of fact, they are examining the icing while ignoring the cake, the substance of which is that our Brave New World will continue to take shape no matter which puppet sits in the Oval Office. Such are the birds and the bees of politics, which you must never divulge to the uninitiated. Instead, you will emulate the press by sending your charges off on one superficial wild goose chase after another, such as the one which our little network has produced through the USCCB. Toward that end, I heartily recommend your perusal of their most recent document on "Faithful Citizenship." You will find it strongly reminiscent of Donnie Wuerl's masterpiece on denying Communion, though it achieves equivocation by contradiction rather than by the illusion of noble collegiality. For example: A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who takes a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, such as abortion or racism, if the voter's intent is to support that position. In such cases a Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil (#34). Sounds like it might pass muster, no? But wait: as if by magic, a loophole appears! There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate's unacceptable position may decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons. Voting in this way would be permissible only for truly grave moral reasons, not to advance narrow interests or partisan preferences or to ignore a fundamental moral evil (#35). And just in case the would-be voter is not yet tied in knots, we come back with this: In making these decisions, it is essential for Catholics to be guided by a well-formed conscience that recognizes that all issues do not carry the same moral weight and that the moral obligation to oppose intrinsically evil acts has a special claim on our consciences and our actions (#37). You see, my boy, in order to serve our cause we must become the masters of the blind alley, the dead end, the enigma, the sleight of hand, the Gordian Knot. Our palette never consists of blacks and whites, but of endless shades of gray.
Your affectionate Shepherd, TAPEWORM"


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