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.

Location: Jacksonville, FL

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Chapter 8 - The New Rector

It’s just before 8:00 on Sunday morning. Father Lodge and his Patsy were talking in the sacristy before Mass. Father Art told his protegé , “Look, I think the bishop likes you. I’ve managed to keep Benny out of our hair these past few days, so if you work your magic here in the liturgy, you’re a cinch to get the gig.”

“What should I be shooting for, Art?”

“You know, the Spirit of Vatican II. The liturgy before Vatican II was stuffy, boring, somber. So make the liturgy lively, enthusiastic, exciting, and everything should be all right.”

“Got it chief.”

With that, Father Art slipped out to the narthex of the church, where he knew Bishop Sugarloaf and George were observing.

Brother Lester was the only server for Father Sheppard’s Mass, as he is the only one that will get up for the 8:00am Mass. Brother Lester had an aversion to Father Patrick, especially as he has made a habit to demean his deaf brother, much like Father Art does. But Brother Lester led the procession, carrying the processional cross.

Father Patrick forgot to post a hymn, so the congregation started singing, “To Jesus Christ, Our Sovereign King” on their own. This was not much to Father Pat’s liking, so he sang “We, the People (of God)”.

The congregation fizzled out, and apparently did not know this one. Father Pat knew he had an opportunity to shine, as Father Art would explain that Benny’s flock was ignorant of the more “happening” Catholic music.

Brother Lester put the cross in place and went to his spot, as Father Pat went behind the altar to begin the liturgy. “Boy, what bad taste you have in music. Good thing I’m here to set you straight. Let us start the liturgy.” A few people made the Sign of the Cross at this point.

“What are you doing, you backward hicks? We don’t use that superstitious charm any more. That was from before Vatican II. We hold hands now. So let us hold hands and begin the…” No one held hands. “I said, ‘Let’s hold hands!’ This is supposed to be a joyful feast! So rejoice, you ignorant bastards!”

While a few people awkwardly held out their hands to each other, a few grumbled, one walked out, and two in the front knelt down and brought out their beads.

Pointing at them, Patsy said, “Now, isn’t that cute? Everybody look at these people. They brought their toys with them.” There was a great deal of grumbling at this point. Even Brother Lester was upset and made a sound.

One of the gentlemen toward the back said, “Are you calling the Holy Rosary a toy?”

Father Patsy said, “What Catholic in his right mind still prays the Rosary? It’s not as if we pray to the Virgin Mary.”

A near riot broke out with these words. To help calm matters, Father Pat said, “If you pre-Vatican II idiots don’t like it, you can get your sorry a***s out of here right now. If you can’t accept the Spirit of Vatican II and the terms and conditions of the New Springtime, go and find yourself another church.”

About two-thirds of the congregation left in anger, and most of them did not need Father Patsy’s invitation to leave. The rest, except for two or three, all knelt down and prayed the Rosary out loud. This not his kind of crowd.

Father Pat then got down from the altar and screamed at the remaining parishioners and said, “You ignoramuses, I said put your toys away! Now!”

He took the Rosary from one, threw it on the ground and stepped on it. At that point, Brother Lester went down and clocked Father Patsy, knocking him unconscious. Yes, this was clearly not Father Pat’s kind of crowd.

In the back of the church, Father Art couldn’t have been happier. His favorite has proven both what a zealous promoter of the New Springtime he was and what a backward bunch of yokels Father Benny has been harboring, including Brother Lester.

So when he got up from the floor, seeing as there was nobody left to participate in the celebration, Pats went back to the narthex of the church to talk to the bishop and his trustful assistant. Father Art walked up to his pride and joy, patted him in the back and said, “Good job. I think you showed the bishop your great zeal for the Second Vatican Council.”

Father Pats, still groggy from Brother Lester’s hook to the chin, said, “Really?”

Father Art turned to ask the bishop, but he and Father George were at the other end of the narthex conversing and consulting George’s notes. Art and Pats waited in excited anticipation for what they were sure was positive feedback.

After about three minutes, they returned to Art and Patsy and said, “George and I have made our decision about the next Cathedral Rector.”

Father Art, still buzzing from Patsy’s very pastoral Mass said, “Didn’t I tell you he was great all along, fellas?”

Sugarloaf looked at George and said, “Yes, Art. Pats is a fine priest.”

At that, Art patted his favorite in the back and said, “You’ve made a great decision, Your Excellency. Pats will surely do you as proud as he’s done me these twenty years.”

“But we’re going to go with the other guy.”

Father Art was frozen for several seconds in disbelief. “What?”

Sugarloaf continued, “Well, you see, Art, I don’t want to take your best priest from your side. We just need somebody who will say Mass for us, so I’m sure you need Patsy more than I do. Besides, I kind of like having a priest there who doesn’t get into fisticuffs during liturgy.”

Father Art, astounded, said, “But… but… what about the Second Vatican Council?”

Sugarloaf said, “Now, I’m not the scholar, Art, but I can’t remember where inciting a riot is considered good pastoral liturgy. If it is, call me a sentimentalist.” With that, Sugarloaf patted Art on the shoulder and left with George to find the Cathedral’s new Rector.

Father Pats, as stunned in disbelief as Art, said, “But Art? What do we do now?”

“Oh, shut up!”

Without stopping back to say goodbye to Art and Pats, Sugarloaf and George grabbed their things and their new Cathedral Rector and set out for El Indigente.


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