… The parish has a building project, so the chance to build a new church is an exciting challenge.
I have already designed a very nice contemporary structure which is circular in form with the altar placed down among the people. The church is patterned after the native American teepee so that it reflects the ‘Circle of Life’. Around the altar will be plenty of space to allow for liturgical dance and behind the altar will be the sacred drum space. I believe in proper inculturation and we will be encouraging the young people to play bongo drums of different sizes during Mass to encourage participation by all the people of God.
Already some nuns from New Mexico have expressed interest in coming to take over the parish school in order to transform it into a place of genuine earth healing and reconciliation with the maternal powers which are being raped by the military industrial male chauvinist conspiracy. They are called Sisters of the St Hildegard of Bingen who was known to be a herbalist, healer, musician and mystic.
Episcopal Bishop Mary Cesspool has agreed to be our liturgical advisor and spiritual director.
Then he rather spoils the fun by adding a postscript to his new parishioners that the last few paragraphs are just satire. Well, you can hardly blame him — in many parishes in the American South (still officially “mission country” because of the paucity of Catholics), such things are not necessarily the stuff of Pythonesque fantasy. In fact, one commenter (“Catholic Tide”) notes:
Those last 3 paragraphs were brutal! With the exception of “Bishop Mary Cesspool” I think I have seen every single one of these atrocities at one parish or another over the years. Thank you for the satire… sometimes we need to laugh to keep from crying.
Not everyone appreciates satire, of course — especially those whom it ridicules, at least if they lack a sense of humor and the healthy habit of being self-critical. One such reader (apparently an Episcopalian who resented his oblique reference to the local Episcopal she-bishop) reprimanded him for his “insulting” and “non-sensical” references, and received this reply from another reader, who apparently has a greater appreciation of the purpose and uses of satire:
Bad Jesus, who makes nasty insults, such as,”Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” I guess those forty days in the desert didn’t do him any good.
Just for the record, Fr Longenecker is a Catholic priest of the Pastoral Provision (i.e., former Anglican/Episcopal priest) who started as an Evangelical Christian (Mennonite, I think). He’s a fairly prolific writer (not just a blogger), with a number of books in print, including a recent book that updates C. S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters, called The Gargoyle Code. I was surprised to learn that his writing career started with writing apologetics for This Rock magazine, a very fine magazine published by Catholic Answers and currently edited by a former classmate of mine from the University of Dallas, Cherie Peacock. This Rock is well worth subscribing to, as I have done when I had a job and an income (and will do again as soon as I am able); if you are cash-poor or just want to get a taste of the magazine, follow the link in the previous sentence and you can read online (or download) archived issues of This Rock (after following the link, click the This Rock pull-down menu and select the desired date of publication).