Wednesday, June 24


Why, Exactly, are the Cistercians Keeping Silent?

I've always had a soft spot for tacky Church conspiracy novels, what I call "Cathsploitation." For once, the Church gets to be secretive, majestic, powerful, arcane, and something other than felt banners and Marty Haugen. This does not let Dan Brown off the hook, as his writing style still reads like a Mad Libs booklet filled out during the happy hour at a low-rent Theosophy convention.

Meanwhile, our friendly Wisconsin Cistercian, Brother Stephen feels left out of the Catholic conspiracy theory fun, and asks why the heck his fellow Cistercians have been spared the Dan Brown treatment. Templars? We founded the Templars! Opus Dei? We're hundreds of years older! Albino monks? We virtually are albino monks! Okay, white habits, close enough, we do get out in the sun a fair amount when working. (Leonard Nimoy voice on) Coincidence? I think not. (/Nimoy off) Not to mention all the subversive references to the sacred feminine you could slip into one of those famous Cistercian churches. Er...maybe not. Those things are pretty austere, and pink tank-tops with 'goddess' in rhinestones would kind of stand out.

But that still leaves us with the ultimate question: why, exactly, are they so darn quiet? Do they have something to hide? (DRAMATIC CHORD).

Well, probably not. But I'm sure they appreciate it if we pretend they do.

Of course, this also makes us wonder, what deep, dark plots would each of our great religious orders and societies be best suited to? (DIABOLICAL LAUGHTER). Some ideas. Feel free to chime in:

Dominicans: A massive world-wide conspiracy to calmly and rationally use careful debate to persuade the unbeliever to convert, possibly out of the hope these priests will stop talking so much. And if not, well, nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.

Under normal conditions, three Franciscans could not organize a mop closet without forming five separate orders with separate charisms for tending dustrags, soap buckets, squee gees, Pledge, and Fantastik, but I suspect their decentralized organization must be some sort of brilliantly-conceived system of compartmentalized cells. Clearly the concrete St. Francises you see in so many yards really hold spy cams linked to a giant subterranean crypt below the basilica in Assisi.

Jesuits: Obviously, the core of the true secret Jesuit conspiracy is, at its heart, a vast, concerted effort to spread rumors of a secret Jesuit conspiracy. Either that, or it has something to do with cornering the market on plaid shirts.

Opus Dei: This is really just a front organization, designed to look ominous and conspiratorial (Look! A giant headquarters building in downtown Manhattan! How secretive and mysterious!) while the real power in the secret one-world government run from a bunker in rural Iowa is exercised by those nuns who wear rose-colored habits. Just listen to some Pink Floyd albums in reverse, and you'll find all the proof you need.

The Sisters of Life: Obviously, the new ninjas of the Church. They're young, fit, can rollerblade silently and swiftly, and I bet you could fit a sawed-off shotgun under one of those habits. Death on wheels.

Poor Clares: They are secretly the majority shareholders for

Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei: Has anyone, for sure, really ever seen Bishop Rifan and Alan Greenspan in the same room? It is time to end the charade.

Carthusians: It's funny. Nobody ever comes out of there.

Anglican Use Parishes: Under the Church of Our Lady of the Atonement is a secret vault stuffed with documents proving Cranmer was really Shakespeare, Shakespeare was really Bacon, Bacon was really Queen Elizabeth I, and Miguel de Cervantes was two Iranian women and a midget under a large trenchcoat.

When cornered, they subdue their enemies using their rosaries as throwing bolas.

Carmelites: Something involving Elijah, fiery chariots, and UFOs. Fill in the blanks, it almost writes itself.

FSSP: They know where Elvis, Salman Rushdie and Andy Kauffman are currently living.

Anyone I missed?

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?