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vineless branches

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jan 31, 2007

Uncle Di's indefatigable tourism among the NCR's classified ads brings him this week to visit the Reconciliation Church -- or, to give its self-designation, Reconciliation Catholic Church™. The trademark is a nice touch, as are the quotations from Dominus Iesus and Our Sunday Visitor offered in corroboration of the validity of their clerical orders. We are, moreover, blessed with several color photos of the Metropolitan Archbishop in his full kit, as well as a glimpse of the sacred mysteries in progress. The jpeg above shows the solemn prostration at the priesting of Fr. Stephen O'Meara, currently Director of Vocations for the Reconciliation Catholic Church™. It would appear that stress occasioned by an excessively high people-to-priest ratio is not among the burdens shouldered by the newly ordained.

This troop is more bashful about its doctrine than most autocephalous bodies, and we don't find a creed or mission statement on its website. Based on the unique regard the Reconciliation Catholic Church™ accords the late Mychal Judge, however, I think we're right in surmising that its quarrel with Rome has less to do with the doctrine of gratia vere sufficiens than, say, the teleology of the lower digestive tract. In fact the page devoted to the apotheosis of Judge is such a fine specimen of its type that it deserves to be cited in full:

On the fifth anniversary of Fr. Mychal's death on 9/11 Reconciliation Catholic Church™ has Beatified Fr. Mychal F. Judge O.F.M. The year long process to sainthood begins.
Ceremony for Beatification

P: Our Help is in the name of the Lord
C: Who made Heaven and Earth
P: The Lord be with you
C: And also with you
P: Let us pray:

Lord God, creator of all good things, we ask you to be with us today as we proclaim the beatification of your servant, Fr. Mychal Judge who is now with you in your heavenly kingdom. Be with us throughout this coming year, as we begin the tedious process of inquiry, documentation and prayful study to this man whom many already consider a saint. Send your Holy Spirit down upon us, that we may listen to your voice.We ask this through Christ our Lord, AMEN.

As we begin the tedious process of inquiry ... That's one of the touches that raises this particular outfit above the level of pedestrian goofiness to the threshold of inspired lunacy. It's pleasant to imagine the tribunal of robed scrutators assembled in a dark panelled chamber among the flickering candles, thick dossiers heaped about their elbows, grimly turning the pages as the Devil's Advocate clears his throat to begin his fourteenth interrogatory. At the same time it's somewhat cruel to leave us in suspense of the final outcome. So what d'you think? Will the Blessed Mychal make Cooperstown by next September -- or will he languish in purgatory waiting for canonical verification of that second miracle?

You also have to love the part in Archbishop Michael's oration in which he reminds God the Father of "this man whom many already consider a saint." A weighty consideration. One feels confident the Addressee will take the hint.

The similarity shared by outwardly diverse autocephalous churchlets can serve as a warning to disaffected Catholics of all stripes. There must be some deep spiritual law involved: whenever schismatics set out to reject the husk of Christianity and save the kernel, the kernel they display exactly mirrors the tastes and prejudices of their own age; it might be a self-parody of what is most superficial and transient in their own experience. Even when their initial complaints are just, in the act of separation some kind of blindness supervenes. A mystery, but an eerily consistent one. Come to think of it, the Gadarene demon pleaded to be cast into pigs -- and when the wish was granted? Self-destruction.

The ancient ceremony of the laying-on of hands (RCC™ photo).

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  • Posted by: unum - Feb. 01, 2007 10:37 AM ET USA

    I wonder if this is a press release from Saturday Night Live. I'd feel like such a fool if it was and I took it seriously.

  • Posted by: Apologia - Feb. 01, 2007 12:41 AM ET USA

    Now, I've Heard Everything: "Palmarian" Catholics, "True Catholic Church", "Pope Michael", "Pope Pius XIII"-and on their website these people have the nerve to write "My God, make us to be of one mind in truth and one heart in charity." Here's a good one: It's "Pope" Pius XIII, He reigns from Washington State) How about "Pope" Michael: (He reigns from Kansas)

  • Posted by: Italiana - Jan. 31, 2007 7:34 PM ET USA

    The pictures are too depressing to even look at.

  • Posted by: Catholic Home - Jan. 31, 2007 6:51 PM ET USA

    There's a lot of entertainment value in these ads. Under "Parish Missions" a quick look at provided new insights into the true nature of the Sacraments that I might otherwise have overlooked. So happy that those who attended the mission were able to "worship with gusto."

  • Posted by: Laity1 - Jan. 31, 2007 6:08 PM ET USA

    These guys are going to be wondering why their website hit counter suddenly quintupled.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 31, 2007 4:01 PM ET USA

    How can any of this stuff be valid? There are no womenpriests present. That also explains the wearing of white sox with shorts.

  • Posted by: Charles134 - Jan. 31, 2007 1:35 PM ET USA

    "The similarity shared by outwardly diverse autocephalous churchlets ... There must be some deep spiritual law involved: whenever schismatics set out to reject the husk of Christianity and save the kernel, the kernel they display exactly mirrors the tastes and prejudices of their own age; it might be a self-parody of what is most superficial and transient in their own experience." I'm not sure where you're going with this, Diogenes. I'd love to hear you elaborate, especially re: trads.

  • Posted by: major - Jan. 31, 2007 10:52 AM ET USA

    Why are these strange men pushing the man in the dress down? Who is the conehead?

  • Posted by: - Jan. 31, 2007 10:49 AM ET USA

    At least the celebrants got the memo about the regulation white tennis shoes. And thank goodness the sacramental tissue box got pride of place. They should have agreed, however, on shorts or long pants. Is there a schism in the works already over this crucial issue? Oh the tedious details of a new ecclesial community.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 31, 2007 10:23 AM ET USA

    Di, this one is cute, but why did you bother your readers with this when you could have used fewer electrons to tell them about: - the “Vatican II parish” in Fort Worth, Texas, that is seeking a “creative and energetic” youth minister; or, - (my favorite) the web site where one can obtain a “Professional Certificate in Spiritual Gerontology."

  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Jan. 31, 2007 8:57 AM ET USA

    How could they? The rug isn't even Shag!