I just had a flash of an American bishop calling a simultaneous meeting of all the clergy of the diocese together with a press conference…
Thank you for coming. I’m Jude Noble, Bishop of the Diocese of Black Duck.
I’ve called you here today because we are going to stir a few things up. What we have been doing for the last few decades in our local Church isn’t working.
I cannot see how we fulfill our duty to God and His people, serve either of them well, by doing the same old things that haven’t worked year in and year out. It’s not only disservice to God and to you, it’s expensive and scandalous and crazy. It is my goal to keep as many people out of Hell as possible, including myself. That means that we have to make changes if we want there to be anything left of what our forebears built and which we have been diligently squandering for decades, including our moral capital.
In the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, prayerfully heeded in the light of all the other Councils, it’s time for something new. Here’s the new plan.
Since everything starts with and returns to our worship of Almighty God, liturgical worship is of critical importance for every other aspect of our new direction. At the Cathedral we will set the pace. We will have Solemn and Pontifical Masses and Vespers on Sunday. Vespers, just as the Council asked for. It’ll be rocky at first, but we will improve. We will be overhauling music and liturgy in parishes, too. Many will fight this and issue wild language and threaten to shut down parishes and stop contributing. Okay. We will keep going, poorer, but in the right direction and give them every incentive through prayer and works of mercy to return to the fold. I suspect there are church musicians and pipe organ specialists who will relocate here from all over the country just to be involved. Once we get going, if some people move away, others will relocate to be part of it. Watch.
Starting right now, every priest of this diocese has faculties to use the Traditional Roman liturgical books and I want them all to learn how to use them. I’m not suggesting this Fathers. I’m telling you. Do it, men. If you don’t, I can always bring in, vet, and incardinate some of the hundreds of cancelled priests out there. Watch me. [PAUSE. Finding with his eyes and staring for a moment, one by one, at a few priests.] Test me, if you dare, Fathers. Stir people up – like you always have in the past when you didn’t like something – and I will use interdict. But, we would rather have you with us. Who knows. I can probably trade you to the Archdiocese of Red Bird for future seminarians to be named later … if they aren’t already here.
The Novus Ordo will certainly continue to be in use, although I suspect that the numbers of Masses in each Rite may undergo a kind of exchange of priority once people start voting with their feet, as it were.
We need a new way of approaching things, including formation of priests. At noon, today, I’m sending messages out and I’m pulling all our men out of the seminaries where they have been and I’m bringing them home. We will train them here and train them properly. We will use a parish closed by my predecessor, with its church and school for a new seminary. [Holding up a piece of paper.] Here’s the list of the new faculty. I see Father is distributing it. We will do this one way or another, whatever it takes. I’ve started a special “kickstarter” campaign online for donations at IWantMyCatholicChurchBack.com, to build a good library and necessary buildings down the line. The address will be distributed. For now, we need profs and blackboards. But even if the donations don’t come, we are doing this. We – I will be closely involved – we will sleep on cots if we have to, but we will get this done. I’m confident that if we start this project, God will provide. Good men who want nothing more than to serve Christ and His people as Catholic priests and not facilitators of an NGO will come out of the woodwork begging to be part of it.
As for staff, I mentioned the faculty already, but also I’ve told a couple of older cardinals about this and they are eager to be spiritual directors and even instructors. Let’s just say our Canon Law courses will be exemplary. Seminary liturgies should be exceptional and the men will learn to carry out even the most involved rites. As they should. We are, after all, our rites. It’s time that priests actually know their Roman Rite for a change. The spiritual advisors at the seminary will include older ascetic monks from traditional monasteries with long years of experience. A traditional group of sisters has already volunteered to take care of everyone. They will be housed at yet another parish and convent that my predecessor also…
… shut… down.
No, I am not taking questions. There’s more.
With this decree [Holding up a piece of paper], I have suspended Communion in the hand in this diocese, but with a very short grace period. Catechesis about Communion will begin in parishes on Sunday.
[SHOUTS FROM OLDER PRIESTS IN LAY CLOTHES]
Before people run around with their hair on fire, just to be clear, Communion on the tongue is still the norm in the Catholic Church.
There was an Indult granted some years ago for Communion in the hand, at the discretion of the diocesan bishop in those areas where permission was granted. Ironically, that Indult was granted for the explicit purpose of eventually eliminating Communion in the hand. That didn’t work, so we are going to try something else: teach, persuade, phase it out. Studies show that many Catholics don’t believe what the Church teaches about the Eucharist. We are going to turn that around.
With this decree [Holding up a piece of paper], I have suspended the service of females at the altar. If Father has to get his own cruets for a couple of days, so be it. I am open to instituting male acolytes or ordaining to the old Minor Orders.
Or both! I’m nothing if not flexible.
With this decree [Holding up a piece of paper], I am establishing regular and generous times for availability of the Sacrament of Penance at specific parishes and there will be confessions available always at the Cathedral. Go to confession.
… Could someone get Fr. Hugalot a glass of water, or something? … He’s not looking very…. thanks… thanks for helping, Miss.
With this decree [Holding up a piece of paper], I am establishing that all altars in the diocese which cannot now be used for Masses ad orientem, be rearranged. If there is a main altar in the apse, it should be given priority and used. More on that later.
As the phrase goes, this diocese needs more processions and less chattering. So, we have a schedule. [Holding up a piece of paper.] For the praise and glory of Our Savior, His Blessed Mother and all the saints, to thank them and to ask their intercession, we must return to traditional devotions and novenas. Because Forty Hours Devotion, long fallen out of use, first developed in time of dire emergencies, threats of invasion or plague or famine and the like, we are going to have a diocese-wide return to Forty Hours Devotion and the schedule will be publ…. oh…
There’s more, but I see that a few of the reporters and older priests have started looking a little green and more than one has fainted. It’s a good thing we pre-positioned a few EMTs before we started.
To be continued.
For now, that is all.
[Drops the mic]
But, no. That was a momentary flash. Gosh that was vivid.
I’ve now returned through the wardrobe from the Diocese of Black Duck to my desk.