The New Springtime

El Indigente was a simple diocese basking in the new springtime of the Church following the Second Vatican Council. The Vatican sent the diocese two liturgical experts to update the liturgy yet again for the 60th anniversary of the Novus Ordo Missae. The diocese would never be the same again.

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Location: Jacksonville, FL

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Chapter 5 - Filling Happy's Shoes

This Tuesday Diocesan Curial session was not going to be like the rest. How was the diocese going to go on without the only man this century has ever had for Rector of the Cathedral? Father Hap has been ministering the diocese of El Indigente since Bishop Wolfe was its bishop during the Second Vatican Council.

In mourning, the shepherds of the diocese left Hap’s chair beside Bishop Sugarloaf empty, and they ordered Ed’s Lite Beer and pizza with anchovies. And of course, memories of Hap dominated the conversation. Bishop Sugarloaf started the meeting, “It’s too bad what happened to Hap.”

To that, George Yessman replied, “It’s such a shame.”

Father Long chimed in, “I liked Horse Middle Thack.”

Calling their attention to the duties at hand, Bishop Sugarloaf said, “Well, let’s not dwell on the negative. Let’s just cross Hap off our Christmas card list and figure out what priest should go to St. Fran’s.”

Father Church, the diocesan theologian, said, “Why do we even need a priest there? Just give the parish to Luvmuffin. He’s such a hit there.”

Luvmuffin echoed his sentiments, “Word up, my brother.”

The bishop replied, “Nah, I’d just as soon find another priest.”

To which Luvmuffin threw up his hands in disgust. “Ah!”

Monsignor Church came to his defense, “But everyone’s a priest, Bish.”

Visibly trying to think of an answer to give the superior theologian, he replied, “Yeah, but… we don’t want to take people out of their comfort zone, do we? So who do you all suggest?”

After some time, Terry Long gave his input, speaking while thinking: “Let me get this straight. You want to replace Fr. Smiley.”

To which Bishop Sugarloaf replied, “Seeing as he’s dead, I thought that might be a good idea. Yes.”

The dialog continued: “And you don’t want Deacon Luvmuffin to do it.”

“Correct, Terry.”

“Because he’s not a priest.”

“That‘s right.”

“I take it from all that that you want the next pastor at Frannie’s to be a priest.”

“I can’t get anything by you, can I, Terry?”

“Might I make a suggestion then, Bish?”

“Shoot.”

“Might I suggest that you take another priest in the diocese and place him in Frannie’s in place of Hap?”

At that suggestion, the Curia applauded, albeit sarcastically. Terry, never the genius, was proud of himself for the moment.

Bishop Sugarloaf said, “Why I think that’s a brilliant suggestion, Terry.”

Father Cash chimed in, “You’re going places, Terry.”

Bishop Sugarloaf, looking to use Father Long’s lack of operational grey matter for the benefit of the meeting, said, “Now, Terry’s suggestion seems reasonable, doesn’t it?”

With consummate enthusiasm, George Yessman said, “Yes, sir. Glad that’s solved.”

Sugarloaf then said, “This leaves us one question: Who?”

Yessman said, “Oh, my. We are in a bind, sir.”

Fr. Manley asked, “How about Fr. O’Brien? He’th good with a crowd, and he’d look darling in Luvvy’s new vethtmentth… um… not that I’d know anything about that.”

Fr. Cash replied, “Yes, but he also has the richest parish in the diocese. It would be no good to egg the goose that killed the golden gander.”

Sugarloaf then asked a question meant for everyone: “Who else would you suggest?”

Terry replied, “How about a priest?”

With a look of disdain, the Bish wasn’t about to patronize his most intellectually challenged cleric right now: the moment was too important for idle chatter. “Oh, just shut up. If you have nothing constructive to say, just keep your trap shut, OK?”

Yessman seconded that motion: “Well said, sir.”

“Thank you, George. Good point. Anybody else?”

Nobody spoke for several moments. So Bishop Sugarloaf, at his wits’ end, made a decision. “OK, we’ll go around the room, starting to my left. Seymour?”

Father Cash replied, “Um… how about George? He doesn’t have a parish.”

At that, George turned beet red and started to hide under the table. It’s not that he’s not willing, but Bishop Surley early on recognized his talents, and he has ended up doing administrative work for the diocese since 1997. It has been that long since he has done parish work, and what memories he has of parish work are not very felicitous. Sugarloaf likewise was not keen on the idea of putting George back in the teeth of parish work.

He replied, “Interesting idea, Seymour. But you realize that George has a vitally important role as my aide. I just can’t spare him for parish work. What do you think, Godfrey?”

“You know what I think, Bish.”

“Good point, God. Noah?”

Father Vail replied, “What about Les? He only has three parishes. He might be able to…”

Father Manley spoke up, “Oh, no! If you give me another parish, I’ll just thrivel up and die! I’ve got no thocial life ath it ith.”

The discussion continued, “OK, Terry?”

“I think…”

“Thank you, Terry. Les?”

“What about that darling monathtery?”

Seymour replied, “The monastery?”

“Yeth. And what’th wrong with that?”

Msgr. Cash replied, “Didn’t Noah lose the monastery in a card game to CASE?”

Bishop Sugarloaf, whose interest was piqued by Seymour's revelation, said, “Case? What case?”

Noah replied, “Not A case, Bish, CASE. C.A.S.E. The Church of Advanced Self Esteem.”

Sugarloaf answered, “Ah, yes!”

Noah explained, “That’s right. I lost the Carthusian monastery in the diocese to CASE at the all night card game last August.”

Ah, yes, the Carthusian monastery! They took the news so hard that they have taken to daily self-flagellation, reciting “mea culpa” over and over again, much to the disappointment of their new superiors.

Les corrected them: “Not that one, you thilly gooth, the Benedictine monathtery.”

Noah replied, “True. We do still have that one.”

Sugarloaf, not too keen on the idea, said, “I’ll keep that in mind, Les. Luvvy?”

“I can handle them, chief.”

“True. But Rome would like us to have a priest. You know: rules, regulations - all for our benefit, you understand. Otherwise, I would. Red?”

Red is the very quiet one in the group. He very seldom speaks. It must be a very great burden on him to be up on all the local customs, as they had just found out he was an expert in local customs when he shook hands with Bishop Rondello.

Always hesitant to speak, he said quietly, “Well, Your Excellency, I do know this very good priest, but I defer to what all these better priests say. Their ideas are all much better than mine.”

Bishop Sugarloaf responded, “Speak, Red. For the love of Christ, speak.”

Red continued, “Well, if you insist, Bishop. I happen to know this guy. He is on the priestly reserve for the Jesuits.”

Facing his theologian, Bishop Sugarloaf asked, “What’s this priestly reserve thinger?”

Godfrey replied, “Beats me - probably some Jesuit distinction. Red is very trustworthy, though.”

After much thought, Bishop Sugarloaf asked, “What’s his name, Red?”

“Sonny Feeley.”

“Call him up. Ask him if he’d like to be the next Rector of St. Fran’s.”

“Are you sure, Bish?”

“How sure do you have to be?”

He would find out.

Liturgy on Friday, December 8 was a somber occasion at St. Frannie’s. In a way, Father Feeley was lucky to be starting today. Father Hap was being laid out today, in anticipation for tomorrow’s funeral. His faithful would certainly be at Ed’s Funeral Home saying goodbye to their longtime spiritual Father. Also, with December having five Sundays and two Optional Days of Obligation, surely the pressure would be off Fr. Feeley. But then again, it was a sad day. The last time the Eucharist was celebrated here, Hap died.

Well, the pressure was definitely off of Fr. Feeley. It was 7:00, and only four people were there. Mrs. McCracken always liked going on Holy Days because nobody else went, and she liked avoiding the crowds. And the Sofran family was there, as usual.

The ministers lined up for the procession. Deacon Luvmuffin called everybody’s attention in the sacristy. “Yo! There are only four people in the pews, and we have six Eucharistic ministers. I’m going to have to ask one of you to go back to the pew.” Sally Monaghan disrobed… TOOK OFF HER MINISTERIAL GARMENT and sat down in a pew. Five extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist, five parishioners. Perfect!

They decided to go with canned music, and Father Sonny got to pick out the music. The first thing the parishioners of St. Fran’s learned about Sonny was that his choice in music tended towards the oldies. As the procession began, the sound man started up Elton John’s song “It’s No Sacrifice”. One person of indeterminate domicile was stumbling through the sanctuary looking a seat up front as the procession reached the sanctuary.

After the extraordinary ministers went to their seats, it was the Luvvy and Sonny Show. Luvvy started off the proceedings. “Welcome y’all.”

The homeless person responded, “Can't a man find a place to lay down anymore?”

The deacon continued, “This is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass brought to you by Ed’s Construction. If you need it built fast and built real cheap, Ed's will get it done, and our price ain’t steep. You know, the changes made here in the Cathedral were done by Ed’s Construction. Where else could we get such quality work done in less than six weeks? Just look around you: St. Fran’s Cathedral is Ed’s best advertisement.”

Immediately after saying these words, there came a sound not unlike the sound made when breaking a branch off a tree, and a light fixture came down and crushed the person of adaptable abode.

Without missing a beat, or even turning around to check what happened, Luvvy continued, “I think y’all remember me. I’m Deacon Luvmuffin, and this is the new Rector of the Cathedral, Father Sonny Feeley. Great to have you here, Son.”

“It’s great to be here, especially after all the traffic. Ugh! C’mon, people. Just because it’s quitting time doesn’t give you a license to drive like it’s the stinking Apocalypse. And I hate it when people don't use the turn signal. Some people are so inconsiderate. Like it’s none of our business to know where you’re going. Idiots! Not like I’m nosy or anything, although SOME people might tell you that they think I am. For example, I was asking my neighbor across the street when her pig… oh, excuse me, her filthy boyfriend was going to move out. I’m telling you, he is such a dirtball…”

Trying to get a word in edgewise, Luvvy said, “OK, Son…”

“He says he has a job, but I SWEAR I never see his pile of rust - oh, sorry - his car… Why would he drive an Edward anyways? No wonder he doesn’t work. Anything is better than driving that car! Being overrun by a stream of molten lava is better than that. I’m telling you, if I need to be baptized, and the only water on the face of the earth is in an Edward, especially those lime green ones - Yecch! - then just let me die in my sins.”

“Maybe we should…”

“Speaking of sins, have you heard about the local provincial of the Jesuits?"

“I…”

“Mmm-hmm. With his secretary. And he had the GALL to discipline me. Such a hypocrite. Do I have bags under my eyes?”

“Well, I…”

“I haven’t slept a wink in months. That’s because I have a next door neighbor who snores so loudly, I could SWEAR his family is getting mauled by bears.”

“Do you have an off button?”

“And he’s NEVER home. His poor wife is stuck there looking after their three DARLING little cuties for hours and hours and hours and hours, and I swear he never lifts a hind to help her out. I’d help out, too, except for my ankle bray…”

An awkward silence interrupted the Introductory Rite briefly. “My ankle gives me such a problem, especially in the cold weather.”

“Are you finished?”

“Have I told you about my other next door neighbor?"

"I had to ask!"

"Well, his dog is always getting in my yard and pooping all over the place. I didn’t know an animal could poop so much. I promise you my front yard will be just one big pile of poop by the time I get back home. If it’s true that poopie is good for the soil, I’m going to have a rain forest in my front yard next spring. I try to tell this to my landlord, but he’s too busy with his businness in…”

Father Feeley’s sermon was interrupted by two police officers with their guns drawn. “Freeze, Feeley. You‘re under arrest!”

For once, Sonny got right to the point. “Oopsy! Gotta go.”

He took off through the sacristy and slipped out a window. He got away, but the police ended up catching him that night as he stopped by an acquaintance’s house to criticize his wallpaper. It turned out he was a convicted sexual predator, suspended from the Jesuits in 2025 for getting caught.

2 Comments:

Blogger Ben said...

The state of the Church following the 1960s is indeed sad, but she needs prayer and positive action, NOT attacks. There is indeed a new springtime coming, thanks to Pope Benedict XVI, but we will do nothing to aid it by perpetrating vicious attacks against our priests, much as they do fall short of the ideal. Christ will not let the gates of Hell prevail against his Church, so let's get real and employ some prayer and fast, not tear and blast.
Sincerely
Ben O'Brien

11:43 AM  
Blogger justdobbs said...

Ben, there is truth in what you say. The mass apostasy in the Church is very sad, and calls for weeping and penance. True. And Our Blessed Mother told us in Fatima that Her Immaculate Heart would triumph. Concedo.

But we are human. There is also a great deal of fodder for real satire, as ridiculous as many things that are being said and done are. Many of the things you read in these pages are NOT fabrications. I am merely using satire to point out the egrgegious and embarassing extents that some priests and bishops have gone to to "update" the Church.

6:33 PM  

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