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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A Modest Ecumenical Proposal


To: His Eminence, Paul Cardinal Poupard
Prefect, Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
From: Advocatus Militaris
Date: 28 November 2006
Subject: True Ecumenism in this Advent and Christmas Season

As a concerned layman, I am grieved that not much has been done recently in the manner of true ecumenism with our separated bretheren. The recent joint effort of the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, has demonstrated once again that--left to themselves--individual Ordinaries will act and do things that are more appropriate to Monty Python. Such actions demoralize the faithful, call into question the intellectual capabilities of the Church's pastors, and confirm the fact that ecumenism is nothing other than a bunch of aging '60's kids patting themselves on the back for their "compassion" towards the world.

Far be it from me, in my rustic backwardness, to suggest a course of action to restore both legitimacy to your dicastery's efforts or to the ecumenical movement at large as it was given new impetus by Blessed John XXIII, of happy memory. But allow me to suggest something that will go a long way to providing a fertile ground for interreligious dialogue and the promotion of goodwill during this holy time of year: Christmas Cookie Parties! Grace builds on nature, Your Eminence, thus, attending to basic human needs and wants will provide fertile ground for the harvest.

Imagine the ecumenical strides that could be made if, say, Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Church united with Grace Episcopal, First Baptist, and Good Shepherd Lutheran to sponsor a joint Christmas Cookie Party! This would primarily be an effort of the laity. Good fellowship and good cookies will be had by all! More importantly we will be better missionaries for the Church than the hierarchy. No offense, Your Eminence, but with the laity in charge, your good dicastery will not be scandalized or embarrassed by Bishop So-And-So or Father Whatshisname taking it upon himself to dress up as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or one of Santa's elves. (An all too common occurence.) Most importantly the ecumenical effort will proceed apace in a more normal and common sense fashion contra the current policy which basically reduces ecumenical dialogue to joint statements about the dangers of aerosol sprays and the inadvisability of beating one's wife.

I do hope that Your Eminence will ponder this modest propsal and consider it.