Progressives and Conservatives Bring It On in St. Peters Square

By The The Pope’s Fool News Service
October 31, 2014

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)VATICAN CITY (TPF) — After dancing around each other in various columns and speeches since the close of the 2014 Synod of Bishops on the Family, representatives of the progressive and conservative cohorts of the Roman Catholic Church have finally decided to bring matters to a head with an arm-wrestling contest in St. Peter’s Square.

Representing the progressive side is Sr. Mary Immaculata O’Finian O’Toole, a bit long in the tooth but still full of vim and vigor. She is head of the local chapter of the LCWR, a volunteer for Nuns on the Bus, and a passionate defender of Vatican II and the social teachings of the Catholic Church. Representing the conservative side is Mr. Eberhardt Richtig, a Third Degree Knight of Columbus and Vice President of the Holy Name Society in his parish, Sts. Melodius and Catheter. Mr. Richtig also organizes the Natural Family Planning outreach for his parish.

Crowds in St. Peter's SquareThe contest started at noon today, Rome time, with ever-increasing crowds gathering around as word got out on social media. So far the crowd has been reasonably well-behaved, limiting themselves to shouting out encouragement to their champions and theologically heckling the other side.

“Hey! Who appointed you arbiter of all that is orthodox? Didn’t you read John O’Malley in America Magazine?” shouted one supporter of Sr. O’Finian O’Toole.

“Yeah! ‘A self-identification without credentials to validate the claim!’” roared another. “Booyah!!!”

“Afraid of a little Christianity?” heckled a third. “Read the New Testament, will ya??? And either learn a little something about natural law or stop quoting it, for Heaven’s sake!!!”

Supporters of Mr. Richtig responded in kind. “You always want everything to be so logical! Sometimes you just need to hang onto the faith and believe!” bawled one. “And go read Douthat’s response!”

“You’re always trying to reform authority when you should be reinforcing it!” bellowed another. “It’s how we know who we are and how we keep tradition alive!”

“You can’t cave in on doctrinal or moral issues or the Church will wither and die!” pleaded a third.

As of this writing, brows have been mopped and water and snacks provided to the wrestlers.

The contest goes on.

Cardinal Shocked that Birth Control Encyclical Lacks Natural Law Argument

By The The Pope’s Fool News Service
October 28, 2014

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)VATICAN CITY (TPF) — Overheard by our source on the street in a trattoria in the Trastevere district of Rome, just down the river from the Vatican.

“Holy crap, Andy! I haven’t read my Aquinas in a while, but looking through this thing,” he said, pointing to a printout of the birth control encyclical Humanae Vitae sitting on the table between them, “I’m hard-pressed to find an actual natural law argument in it.” The speaker was Cardinal Jann Lazzamotti, newly appointed member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican congregation responsible for promoting and safeguarding faith and morals throughout the Catholic world.

“When’s the last time you’ve read through it, Your Eminence?” asked his associate, auxiliary Bishop Andrew Blackwood.

“Probably when it came out, over 45 years ago,” replied the cardinal.

“Indeed,” said the bishop. “Be that as it may, you raise a good point, a point that was made more than once at the time of the encyclical’s release. You might recall the uproar it caused and the push-back against it, not only from theologians and the faithful, but even from the bishops. As I recall, fewer than half of the world’s bishop conferences received it without attempting to mitigate its message. The point you raise might also explain why 95% of the faithful have studiously ignored it.”

“It’s just a reiteration of previous papal teaching banning birth control, except for the Pope Pius XII carve-out for natural family planning,” he continued, picking up the encyclical and waving it in front of him. “There is no natural law argument in this, just declarations! And they don’t even make sense!”

“That is unfortunate for what is alleged to be a natural law argument,” replied the bishop, “which by its very nature is a creature of reason, and therefore must make sense. Your Eminence might reflect upon the possibility that the faithful intuitively figured this out a long time ago.”

The cardinal stared at the bishop for a few seconds, and then at the encyclical in his hand. After that, he flagged down the waiter and ordered another bottle of wine.

Papal Infallibility Switch Found in Vatican Library

By The The Pope’s Fool News Service
October 26, 2014

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)VATICAN CITY (TPF) — The Vatican Library reports that the Papal Infallibility Switch has been located after a long search in the Vatican Archives. A group of prelates from the Roman Curia has taken possession of it. “Who knew there was really a switch?” asked Cardinal Jann Lazzamotti, Prefect of the Pontifical Council for Tribunals. “But when we found it, we flipped that sucker right off,” he said. “It actually looked a little worse for the wear, which makes sense, considering all the mandatums and investigations and silencings of the past few decades, to say nothing of that whole ‘not infallible but irreformable’ thing, which also took a toll, if indirectly. And now that Francis is the Pope,” he continued, sighing, “It’s probably best to give it a rest.”

The Library also reports that the search continues for the Intrinsically Disordered Stamp, known as the Timbro Intrinsecamente Disordinati, which is rumored to exist yet has not been located, despite its constant use.

Papal Infallibility Switch   Intrinsically Disordered Stamp

Smelly Sheep Claims Preaching Better on TV than from Pulpit

By The The Pope’s Fool News Service
October 23, 2014

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)CHICAGO, IL (TPF) — This just in, from our correspondent on the ground amongst the cohort of the smelly sheep on the margins of the Roman Catholic faithful, speaking to Lily Lonigan, a sixty-something Catholic who works at the Polkadot Shamrock Bar, Internet Cafe and Daycare Center. “You know, I watched a rerun of the show Bones on TV last night, and I swear, it was the best sermon I’ve heard in years. Certainly better than anything I hear up there,” she said, pointing her thumb up the road to the local Catholic Church, Saints Melodius and Catheter. “So there was the usual grisly murder they had to forensically solve, but as that played out, Bones was oddly secretive about the whereabouts of her partner and mate Seeley Booth, saying only that he was at the hospital. Of course everyone was worried about the situation during the whole episode,” she continued, “but at the end Bones reveals to her friend that Booth was volunteering to help little kids with brain tumors, and had organized a carnival for them. When asked why Booth kept it a secret, Bones, who is an atheist, responded by quoting First Corinthians, 13:4. ‘Charity suffers long and is kind, charity envies not, charity brags not itself, it is not puffed up,’ she says, and explains that Booth takes that to mean that real charity is anonymous. She says Booth didn’t even want her to know. Not bad, huh?” Lily concluded. “A fine example of the natural law in action. Maybe the yokes up the road ought to take a lesson or two from the big bad secular world with its evil agendas and dictatorships of relativism. They might keep more people in the pews if they did.”

Synod 2015 Searching for Contracepting, Cohabiting, Divorced, and Gay Couples to Testify

By The The Pope’s Fool News Service
October 23, 2014

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)VATICAN CITY (TPF) — According to several people familiar with next year’s plans for the 2015 Synod of Bishops on the Family, organizers are looking for users of artificial contraception, cohabiting couples, gay Catholics, and the divorced and remarried to act as “auditors” to testify before the bishops. Our sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they are prohibited from publicly discussing the plans, but noted that they wanted to find Catholics who were wounded, damaged, and broken—in effect, the smelly sheep on the margins of the laity. “We want to get some actual sinners in there, you know, the intrinsically disordered,” said one source. “Many of these bishops don’t have much pastoral experience, so it would be good for them to meet these wounded and broken people close up. If they were wowed by the Australian couple testifying about their friends’ inviting their gay son and his partner to Christmas dinner, this group is sure to steal the show, to say nothing of spinning a few mitres.” Another source noted that such auditors shouldn’t be hard to find, as together they make up an overwhelming majority of the faithful, at least in the West.

Bishops Accuse God of Massive Screwup by Creating Gays

By The The Pope’s Fool News Service
October 22, 2014

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)VATICAN CITY (TPF) — A cardinal, who declined to be named as he is not authorized to comment, has reported on background of a growing discontent among a small group of bishops. They are disturbed not only with Pope Francis, but with the Almighty Himself. “You know, some of us are beginning to think that the deity has just royally screwed up by creating people who are gay,” he said. “You have to wonder if He even knew what He was doing. Applying the bell curve to the whole sexuality thing? Making some people straight, some people gay, and some people bisexual? What’s up with that? Same mistake in the animal world, too,” he continued. “It’s a mystery.”

The cardinal expressed concern that this particular aspect of God’s creation sows confusion among the faithful. “I mean really, how are we supposed to run a church based on the traditional family when there are all these gay people running around wanting their unions recognized? Many of us feel that love and mercy and hanging out with sinners is all well and good, but it’s a hell of a way to run a two-thousand-year-old institution. It just throws a wrench into the whole business. It perplexes the faithful; pretty soon they’ll be questioning what ‘intrinsically disordered’ even means. You have to draw the line somewhere. This business about hating the sin but loving the sinner is really just so much smoke and mirrors; nobody believes it anyway. If a person is intrinsically disordered, and God created that person, then God screwed up.”

Conservative Bishops Claim Faithful Easily Confused If Not Gobsmackingly Stupid

By The The Pope’s Fool News Service
October 22, 2014

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)

VATICAN CITY (TPF) — In the wake of the 2014 Synod of Bishops on the Family, conservative bishops are voicing serious concerns about the effect of Synod will have on the faithful.

“They’re out there, all by themselves,” said one archbishop, speaking on background, “having to navigate around in the secular world, with all the sex and media and agendas of evil and dictatorships of relativism and whatnot. And then the Pope goes and opens up all these settled questions for discussion,” he said, throwing up his arms. “What are the people to think? It must be giving them enormous anxiety to see their structure of authority shaken. I mean if the Church can’t judge, who can? Love and mercy are all well and good, but they hardly suffice today. You need rules and regulations to maintain pristine doctrinal purity. What we have now is a big mess. I don’t know how the people will handle it,” he sighed. “This confusion is of the devil.”

Meanwhile, The Pope’s Fool News Service reports this from our person on the street, Lily Lonigan, a sixty-something Roman Catholic who works at the Polkadot Shamrock Bar, Internet Cafe and Daycare Center in Chicago. “You know, some part of me feels a little sorry for these guys. They’ve built their whole lives around a certain framework of doctrine, as well as obedience to the Pope, and now all of a sudden it’s all upside down. I get it. But hey, that’s life. You just have to do the best you can.”

Pope Francis Prays that Sheep (Smelly and Otherwise) Now Speak with Honesty and Courage

By The Pope’s Fool News Service
October 18, 2014

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)VATICAN CITY (TPF) — Our reporter on the ground at the Vatican reports that after delivering his speech at the close of the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, Pope Francis sat down, lowered his head, and offered the following prayer:

“Dear lord, please help my sheep, smelly and otherwise, speak with honesty and courage on how to best spread your good Word. I realize intellectual freedom hasn’t exactly been nurtured of late, what with the mandatums and the investigations and the firings. But the ball is plainly in their court. The bishops have spoken; now it’s their turn. I pray my sheep will pull their own weight, and give an old pope a break. I may exercise supreme legislative, executive, and judicial power in the Church, but these bishops and curial guys can be tough nuts. I need the help of my people. Lord, give them strength. Amen.”

Pope Francis

Synod Stuns Planet by Proposing Use of “Nice” Words re Gays (UPDATED)

By The Pope’s Fool News Service
Updated October 17, 2014

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)VATICAN CITY (TPF) — Roman Catholics around the world were gobsmacked when the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family issued its relatio post disceptationem, or interim report. Variously described as an earthquake, the big one, seismic, groundbreaking, and shocking, on the one hand, and shameful and completely wrong on the other, the relatio suggested that the bishops are considering the possibility of speaking in a more gentle way about cohabiting couples, divorced and remarried parishioners, and gay Catholics and their children. As explained by John Allen on PBS Newshour, it authorizes “people at the grass roots to feel good about the fact that you can be both a faithful Catholic, and you can be friends with gays and lesbians, you can be friends with people who are living together outside of marriage, you can be friends with people who are divorced and remarried,” without approving their lifestyles.

The consensus is that even though no doctrine is changing, the mere fact that the Church’s vocabulary might move from evil, gravely immoral, and intrinsically disordered, to woundeddamaged, and broken, is a stunner. As PBS Newshour’s Judy Woodruff said, “It’s certainly gotten our attention.” The shift is best summed up by Cardinal Dolan, who said, “The bishops are speaking with immense love and tenderness about their people, especially about their broken people.”

Later Cardinal Pizzicato, head of the Pontifical Council for Congregations, clarified that doctrine was indeed not changing, and that while the Church still considers the homosexual lifestyle intrinsically disordered, sex outside marriage gravely immoral, and Catholics who remarry without an annulment basically adulterers, the bishops are trying to figure out a nicer way to communicate those doctrines.

###

UPDATE: Some words in the English translation of the relatio post disceptationem or interim report of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family have been changed.

The AP reports that “A section initially titled ‘Welcoming homosexuals’ is now ‘Providing for homosexual persons,’ and the tone of the text is significantly colder and less welcoming. … The first version asked if the church was capable of ‘welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities.’ The new version asks if the church is capable of providing for these people, guaranteeing … them … a place of fellowship in our communities.'”

The the original Italian version of the relatio remains the official text, and still contains the original “welcoming” language, leading an Italian cardinal to wonder if Italy would see an influx of gay Catholics yearning to be welcomed into the Church, rather than just being provided for.

Fearing Conservative Backlash, Synod Bishops Suggest Scripture Change

By The Pope’s Fool News Service
October 16, 2014

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)VATICAN CITY (TPF) — An updated English translation for the New Testament has been suggested today by a group of bishops attending the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in the Vatican. The change would remove the word “welcome” and replace it with “make provision for,” especially in those verses relating to people considered to be the “smelly sheep on the margins.” Cardinal Pizzicato, head of the Pontifical Council for Congregations, explained the impetus behind the change. “For example, in Matthew 25, it would reduce confusion among the faithful if it read, ‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you made provision for me.’ And this one,” he continued, “from Luke, describing the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttering about Jesus. ‘This man makes provision for sinners, and eats with them.’ We don’t want to give the wrong impression. The current wording is too vague and liberal sounding. And well have to see about that whole ‘eating with them’ thing,” he said. “We don’t want the faithful to misinterpret the Gospels and think that it’s okay to sin. Going forward, we also think it’s more comfortable to ‘make provision’ for one another as Christ ‘made provision’ for us.”

When asked why only the English translation of the New Testament is being considered for such changes, Cardinal Pizzicato replied, “I don’t make the rules, I just follow them.”

Bishops Debate Access to Sacraments for Domestic Abusers

By The Pope’s Fool News Service
October 15, 2014

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)VATICAN CITY (TPF) — The Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, called by Pope Francis to discuss topics related to the family and evangelization, has articulated the case both in favor of, and opposed to, lifting the prohibition against taking Communion for people who have been divorced and remarried without first obtaining an annulment. Moving on, the bishops then took up the question of access to the sacraments for those who perpetrate domestic abuse. Some bishops were in favor of extending the ban on access to the sacraments for those who abuse, while others were opposed.

Cardinal Pizzicato, head of the Pontifical Council for Congregations, articulated the position of those advocating for the status quo, where domestic abusers are allowed full access to the sacraments. “I mean it’s pretty easy to pick out the divorced who have remarried without an annulment. But how the heck do you know the abusers? Oh, I expect some of them talk to their parish priests about it,” he continued. “But if they stay married, and if they are open to life and actively involved in the parish, I don’t see how it would work.”

Those hoping to extend the ban to domestic abusers point to the Church’s historic, solemn, and settled teaching on the holiness of the powerless, especially children, the gravely immoral sin of harming the little ones, and the need to be in a state of grace to receive Holy Communion.

“You can’t get any more more clear than Matthew,” said Cardinal Corke, head of the Congregation for Pontifical Councils. “We’re talking millstones. Here’s what the Gospel says,” he continued, quoting Matthew 18. “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

“That’s pretty unequivocal,” said the Cardinal. “Jesus chased away the scribes and Pharisees who wanted to stone the woman taken in adultery. But for those who abuse children, it’s the millstone to the bottom of the sea. Doing anything but extending the ban to domestic abusers, especially when children are present in the family, would be shameful and completely wrong.”

Synod Stuns Planet by Proposing Use of “Nice” Words re Gays

By The Pope’s Fool News Service
October 14, 2014

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)VATICAN CITY (TPF) — Roman Catholics around the world were gobsmacked when the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family issued its relatio post disceptationem, or interim report. Variously described as an earthquake, the big one, seismic, groundbreaking, and shocking, on the one hand, and shameful and completely wrong on the other, the relatio suggested that the bishops are considering the possibility of speaking in a more gentle way about cohabiting couples, divorced and remarried parishioners, and gay Catholics and their children. As explained by John Allen on PBS Newshour, it authorizes “people at the grass roots to feel good about the fact that you can be both a faithful Catholic, and you can be friends with gays and lesbians, you can be friends with people who are living together outside of marriage, you can be friends with people who are divorced and remarried,” without approving their lifestyles.

The consensus is that even though no doctrine is changing, the mere fact that the Church’s vocabulary might move from evil, gravely immoral, and intrinsically disordered, to wounded, damaged, and broken, is a stunner. As PBS Newshour’s Judy Woodruff said, “It’s certainly gotten our attention.” The shift is best summed up by Cardinal Dolan, who said, “The bishops are speaking with immense love and tenderness about their people, especially about their broken people.”

Later Cardinal Pizzicato, head of the Pontifical Council for Congregations, clarified that doctrine was indeed not changing, and that while the Church still considers the homosexual lifestyle intrinsically disordered, sex outside marriage gravely immoral, and Catholics who remarry without an annulment basically adulterers, the bishops are trying to figure out a nicer way to communicate those doctrines.

The Pope’s Fool News Service asked our person on the street, Lily Lonigan, a sixty-something Roman Catholic who works at the Polkadot Shamrock Bar, Internet Cafe and Daycare Center, for a reaction. Rolling her eyes, she said, “The pathetic thing is that changing vocabulary from evil, gravely immoral, and intrinsically disordered, to woundeddamaged, and broken, is considered earth-shaking progress. When they start ordaining women, gay or otherwise, I’ll start paying attention.”