For Immediate Release
Bishop Aaron Churchman
Diocese of Cityville
February 3, 2094
Dear people of the Diocese of Cityville,
I wish to express my concern and heartfelt regret for the evil thing that has happened. As you know, it has been on the news, and everyone can see how evil it is. Therefore, I too, as your Bishop, wish to announce that it is evil. I will pray for all those affected by the evil thing. I condemn the evil thing in the strongest terms. It has no place in our society. I will not speak to the possibility of the lack of religion as it bears on the roots of the evil thing having happened, or even the possibility of demonic possession on the part of the one who did the evil thing – that would be seen as too fanatical on my part.
There are other things which are not on the news which I do not wish to discuss but which affect your spiritual life much more than the evil thing and which belong to my office as bishop to be more concerned with. These things are subtler and more spiritual in nature, and subsequently they do not appear evil to most people, even perhaps to many of you who show up on most Sundays of the year. It would be considered impolite of me to mention them bluntly either in public or in private, let alone advise you that it might be best to avoid such evil things. Never would I threaten the existence of dialogue with those of you whose souls are in fact careening toward the flames of Hell where you will burn for all eternity unless you make a good confession, where perhaps I might join you for failing to warn you of your fate should you not repent. We can continue our dialogue then. I look forward to walking down that easy road to death with you as your shepherd.
If we can work together, maybe no more evil things that are clearly evil will ever happen again. I am already publicly calling for political reforms which are not really my competence, which will not succeed, and which will alienate half of you. But I want to know how the Church itself can improve.
To this end, I will be inaugurating in the Diocese of Cityville a special Year of Listening. You do not want a Church that teaches, after all, and who am I to judge you for that? You know better. As for your kids, I just assume that you are teaching your children the Faith, you assume that the Catholic schools I technically oversee are teaching them the Faith, and the schools assume that the Sunday homilies are enough, homilies that the kids are probably not hearing because you often don’t bring them to Mass. And those homilies, it is true, are often not that catechetical or personally challenging. Oh well, we will make sure that we get your kids confirmed, even though at least 1/3 don’t really believe in sacraments anyway, or openly disagree with moral and dogmatic teachings which they plainly lack even the most rudimentary understanding of. We will try to bandage that bullet wound with a few classes and a service project, but deep down we know that it is a graduation from Church for the kids. But I’ll get them their nice photo, I suppose. I wouldn’t want to disrupt the status quo. Anyway, I look forward to 30% of them showing up to get married in the Church in a few years, and then 20% of those men and women seeking annulments in the years after. Many others will just divorce and not bother with an annulment, and hey, that’s okay, they are still in the Church if they remarry outside the Church, and despite the open scandal given by administering Holy Communion to such people if they do show up to Mass again eventually, in this diocese, that is my policy.
Such things are not ideal, it is true. But we must be gradual about this. So, back to the Year of Listening. I want to hear from those of you who don’t tithe, don’t come to Sunday Mass, don’t believe in the Real Presence, don’t follow or believe in the 6th Commandment, and don’t see anything wrong with pro-choice legislation. What can we do better as a Church? I also want to hear from those of you who have little to no catechesis, let alone any sort of formal studies in theology or canon law – what sort of attitude should the Church have towards the major hot button issues of the day? Please, let me be clear – I have already got a draft done of what the outcome of this Year of Listening will produce, as my experts assure me that, regardless of what you the People actually say, this is what you will really mean. But your voice does matter.
I do not want a Church that is far from you, the People, a mysterious Church way up on a mountain. I know that you have grown impatient with such things. No, I want you to give me the resources to create the religious experience you want, one that is less mysterious, less demanding, something you can really get excited about and invite all the non-believers to without them wondering what is even going on. Let me be upfront, it will take some money. But know that whatever comes out of this process will be your responsibility as leaders of our local Church, something you can be proud of. If it goes wrong, don’t blame me. I just really want the numbers to stay high, as I know so many of you have been thinking of leaving the Church.
It is true that God and His Church never told me to worry about numbers per se, and maybe I will regret allowing myself to be thus deceived. But His Holiness Pope Moses III has been very quiet recently, so I need to step up, as it were. Surely, he will be angrier if I fail to get all of you to remain nominal Catholics than if I were to clarify the Church’s actual perennial teaching and enforce her laws as my mandate instructs me, as then perhaps many of you would outwardly reject the Church entirely. I would prefer you to stay lukewarm than to be cold.
Therefore, please speak with your local parish cluster and let us know what you want. I really am interested in your needs, both temporal and spiritual. You have so much to offer God and His Church, even if you are wallowing in sin and have no intention of changing your life. Please, tell me what you want. I am listening to you. The Church is listening to you.
Except trads, I don’t want to hear from you. I know you have the large, young families and vocations and actually believe and all that, but I would rather have a dead diocese than have you proliferate. Ewwwwww… Gross!
God bless you all,