Friday, March 31, 2006

Catholics Line Up at 12:01am for New Compendium of the Catechism, Barnes and Noble Puzzled

The release of the Compendium of the Catechism on March 31, 2006, found some Catholics literally in the dark. Members of St. Benedict's parish of Nashville, TN, camped out in front of the local Barnes and Noble bookstore to buy the book at the stroke of midnight.

Some local kids came dressed for the line as favorite Church theologians. Some dressed as St. Thomas Aquinas ("I really hope he's in there a lot," said Brendan O'Connor, age 10), others as St. Teresa of Avila ("That castle mysticism is so radically cool," said Angelica Suarez, age 12), and others as John Paul II ("I want to be a pope when I grow up," said Mark Pellowski, age 7).

All parents and children were disappointed that there was no party at the store to celebrate the new Compendium. One parent, John Thompson, fumed, "If they can milk Harry Potter for all it's worth, I really think they can bend their capitalism greed in our direction for once. All we're asking for is to be allowed to buy a book and celebrate a little."

Any disappointment the parents expressed was lost on the kids present. "It's OK. I mean, we'll get it eventually, and we've got the big one at home. Besides, we're all standing around in cool characters, way after bedtime, having theological arguments with each other. It doesn't get better than this," said Matthew Tripoli, dressed as St. John of the Cross. As he spoke, two kids dressed as St. Anselm and Peter Abelard were having a vigorous debate about atonement theory, punctuated by jousting light sabers they had brought along from the the Star Wars trilogies. ("Hey-yah! Moral influence rules!" shouted little Abelard.)

Ginger Backtram, the public resource associate for B&N, said the store was caught off guard. "We know that the Catechism of the Catholic Church is a bestseller, but we thought that since everyone seemed to own it, there wouldn't be much demand for this mini-version. In any case, we apologize, and we're happy to sell the book to everyone who wants it when we get it. Unfortunately, it seems to be on backorder. Wow, people must really read this stuff."

Not everyone was enthusiastic, however. One of the kids waiting in line mentioned "I'll be happy to get the book, but to be honest, I'm still waiting for the movie."


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Truth is Stranger Than Fiction #1

This one is real. Always refreshing to see a Christian church admonishing the sinner, especially one who tells the church to "shove it" afterward.

Dominatrix ousted from South African vicarage.

"Ellis, who said she was promised a long lease and option to buy the vicarage,
had earlier showed reporters her 'torture chamber' at the house but said she never had sex with her clients and was not running a brothel."

Thank goodness. I mean, we should be able to live with a mere torture chamber on church property.

Really, why do I do fiction?


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Reflective Triangle To Protect Priests From Exiting Hoards At Mass

Catholics are used to seeing their parish priests wear a variety of different colors on Sunday morning: green, white, purple, blue, red. Soon, they may be seeing another color, —blaze orange, —thanks to the efforts of a Beachside, Florida priest, who has developed a "slow-moving vehicle"” triangle for priests to wear during the recessional hymn at the end of Mass (see right).

"“It was a safety measure, really,"” says Fr. Riley Sloman. He brainstormed the vestment accessory during a brief hospital stay last year after being nearly trampled to death by parishioners eager to be first out of the parking lot.

"“People may think it'’s funny, but it'’s a real safety concern,"” Fr. Sloman said. While the Church keeps no statistics on injuries to priests as a result of stampedes out of Mass, Fr. Sloman says he heard from dozens of priests with similar experiences during his hospital stay.

While not a common occurrence, Fr. Sloman says the risk of injury is especially acute when major sporting events (—think the Super Bowl and the World Series) —are televised right after Mass. Fr. Sloman blames his own incident on overly zealous Florida Gators fans.

"“I did hear more jangling car keys than usual after communion,"” Fr. Sloman said. "That should have been my first warning."” He wasn'’t halfway down the aisle before "“they took me down pretty hard."”

Fr. Sloman's "slow-moving priest warning triangle"” is made of fabric; two clear plastic arm straps make it easy for priests to slip the warning triangle on their back right after the dismissal. Since the safety triangle is not worn during Mass, Fr. Sloman expects it should not violate any liturgical norms, although he is still waiting for approval from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

"I hope it gets the green light,"” Fr. Sloman said. "“No pun intended."”

--I.C.'s Better Half, Jovial Catholic

Monday, March 27, 2006

Prayer connected to late night eating binges and "prayer-driving"

A mystery has been solved at Graced Space Retreat Center in Minnesota: the mystical life can result in late night binge eating.

"It was always the strangest thing," said long time cook MaryAnn Jones. "I would have the kitchen clean as a whistle each evening after dinner, things set up in the fridge and freezer for the breakfast rush, and half the time, it would be gone in the morning. I could understand people snitching a few sweets before bed, but scarfing half an industrial bag of Eggos? I mean, they don't taste that good toasted." (This reporter found warmed evidence said mysticism, above.)

When retreat directors heard of the study of Ambien (a sleep drug) induced "sleep eating," they did their own research into the eating habits of people doing centering prayer. Preliminary survey findings were "enlightening," according to Br. Michael Evanson, OSB, the center's director.

"We realized that the practice of contemplative, or centering prayer in the evening, which we teach extensively in our center, clearly opens one's consciousness to food. 98% of those surveyed who practice centering prayer report eating at some point afterward. Additionally, this explains why Weight Watchers hasn't done a dang thing for anyone on our staff," he asserted.

What was more disturbing, added Br. Evanson, was the connection between centering prayer and "prayer driving." "We may have to ask retreatants to hand over their keys for the time they stay with us. As it is, this explains why a police officer stopped one of our recent retreatants, driving slowly towards our center around 3 am. All she said was 'Abba, Abba, Abba,' and the cop took her in for a breathilizer test. She wasn't drunk, of course, but it was hard to explain to anyone what was going on. The local police station has been calling us 'Spaced space' ever since, unfortunately."

When asked if the center planned to do anything differently in the future, based on this survey, Br. Evanson said, "Not immediately. We may lock the fridge now, and take up keys. Someone suggested praying with icons instead, but that seemed a little new-fangled for us."


Saturday, March 25, 2006

Laetare Sunday condemned as "Lent on Prozac"

Fr. William Damman caused a liturgical temptest in a column written for a diocesan newspaper, "Laetare Sunday: Lent on Prozac." Comments poured into an online discussion board run by the newspaper, eventually crashing the server early Saturday.

Fr. Damman, who teaches Liturgy at the diocese's seminary, took issue with contemporary practice of the ancient liturgical observance of Laetare Sunday (or Rejoice Sunday, from the Mass' opening Latin introit "Rejoice, O Jerusalem." The celebration is meant to offer encouragement to those fasting and doing penance at the midpoint of Lent). "While the practice has roots in the ancient Church, that was a Church of people who knew how to repent and fast. They did sackcloth, ashes, and didn't create 'one full meal and two smaller meals not equaling one meal' loopholes. Nowadays, when people do not repent or fast much at all, we give them a 'break.' We need Lent as Christians, and Laetare Sunday is Lent on Prozac. It makes no sense to 'cure' what we need. I defy anyone to survey Catholics leaving Church on March 26 and ask them what Laetare Sunday is about."

Your reporter did just that. A number of Catholics leaving the 9am Mass at St. Rose of Lima parish in town mentioned they liked the pink vestments. "I was a bit uncomfortable when Father began Mass by singing 'I feel pretty,' but other than that, it was definitely a nice change," offered Joe Montello. His wife, Carol, mentioned that the more upbeat music was appreciated as well. "I thought if I heard 'Lord, Through These Forty Days' one more time, I'd lose it. The bongos and electric bass on 'Lift Up Your Hearts' were a great touch. I feel better already."

When asked why she was feeling bad in the first place, she said "I don't know--all those ashes and dark purple stuff and silence--it's like they're trying to get us to think. It's depressing. So I tend to avoid it. This really isn't my favorite part of the Church year; the other stuff is more comfortable. I could sit through a Mass on autopilot."

Joe added, "Yeah, like that Holy Water disappearing. For the first two weeks I thought it must be gone because the dry winter air really sucks up that moisture, you know? Then I thought that it may be gone on purpose, and there may be a reason for know, like, maybe God wants us to stay dirty. Or look at our dirt. Something like that. It's kinda deep."

Other liturgists, whose opinions contributed to the server crash mentioned above, have been critical of Fr. Damman's hard line, arguing that a Lenten journey faithfully made is served well by a "foretaste" of resurrection. Despite the heated debate online regarding whether to celebrate Laetare Sunday, or the Scrutinies, or both, a glimmer of light did appear. Spontaneous consensus was best expressed by a man with the username "Liturgomaniac":

"Where are Trinny and Susannah, STAT? I mean, pink, rose, whatever: that's just whacked."


Thursday, March 23, 2006

St. Augustine gains upper hand on the Oprah Show (Part III)

In an interview televised yesterday, St. Augustine gained the upper hand on Oprah Winfrey. Oprah has been accusing St. Augustine of illogical and inflated representation of the events of his own life in the classic Confessions (see previous articles, part one and part two).

Oprah: And we're back. St. Augustine, the pear tree in book two. Am I to understand you stole the pears, didn't eat them, and then threw them at pigs for sport?

Augustine: Yes, that's right. It was the most base point of my life.

Oprah: Stealing pears was your most base moment? How can you possibly argue that? For cripes sake, you're sleeping with every other woman in the book in your teenage years. And they were just...pears.

Augustine: It was about motive. I had no need for the pears and no appreciation for the pears. I could have seen them as beautiful objects of God's creation, but I didn't.

Oprah: So pineapples wouldn't have cut it? I always thought they looked strange, like diving into a mutant pine cone.

Augustine: Sure, or a coconut. Brown, ugly, hairy things. I'm a saint and I still don't understand God's intention on that one.

Oprah: So if it had been a more attractive fruit...

Augustine: No, no, we're getting off track here. The thing is, I stole the pears only because I got a thrill out of doing something that was wrong.

Oprah: (intake of breath) Like James Frey....

Augustine: Excuse me?

Oprah: Sir, what do you think of Frey's A Million Little Pieces Memoir? It's clear that he overstated incidents of his life to the point of lying. Do you think he is getting a thrill out of doing something that is wrong? Maybe demonstrating a kind of addiction still, but to risky behavior? I mean, let's be honest, if Confessions is on the up and up, you seem to have been addicted to some risky behavior yourself.

Augustine: Well, I think you can say I was "addicted" to sin, especially lust...personally, I'd call it habit. That's why the grace of God was both unearned and absolutely necessary. Look, God knows James' motives, not me. Of course it's objectively wrong for Frey to misrepresent what happened and then call it his life. However, I can't imagine this public flogging was the most pastoral way to persuade him to tell the truth. (clapping)

Oprah: But the people have a right to know!

Augustine: The people have a right to be treated with human dignity, as God would wish for any of his children. (Audience gives a standing ovation.)

Oprah ceded the rest of the show as St. Augustine riveted the audience with a lengthy explication on the relevance of The City of God, On Free Will, and On the Holy Trinity in the present day. At the end of the show, ecstatic audience participants found copies of Confessions under their seats, and rushed the stage for autographs.

"That was fantastic," gushed a audience member afterward. "I never knew a Christian could be so smart, and I watch TV all the time."


Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Oprah challenges St. Augustine on Confessions:"illogical and overstated" (Part II)

In a live special aired Wednesday, Oprah Winfrey challenged St. Augustine of Hippo on whether the events recorded in his Christian classic, Confessions, occurred exactly as recorded.

The exchange was marked by swings between confusion and serenity, a marked change from the caustic James Frey (A Million Little Pieces) interview of three weeks ago. St. Augustine appeared courtesy of the Communion of Saints. Excerpts of the conversation are found below.

Oprah: St. Augustine, the first thing I have to say is, for a man of the 4th century, you sure knew how to have a good time.

Augustine: Well, yes, the conversion was a powerful experience.

Oprah: No, sir, I mean a "good" know, sleeping around with women, this thing with the concubine, an illegitimate son, throwing stolen pears at pigs, generally flirting with excess and pleasure....

Augustine: Ah. A problematic use of "mutable good." Well, I had been a notorious public sinner before my conversion, and some of the people in my diocese called the Donatists were disturbed that I could have been graced by God to become a bishop of the Church. So I decided I should be as candid about my history as possible, in order to more greatly glorify God's work in me. But my youth was my undoing with the Donatists.

Oprah: And you give them lots of ammunition, given that you start with your failings as a baby. Like that piece about being jealous of another baby nursing before you....

Augustine: Not quite. I obviously can't remember what I was like as a baby, but I have seen babies get quite jealous when they want something. I argued that was evidence of original sin, this inherited break from God, and that I surely sinned in the same manner at the same age.

Oprah: Still, I respectfully think you need to get a grip, Augustine. I mean, you're talking about six month old babies. They're too cute to do wrong. And everyone knows you can't do wrong until you learn how to do wrong.

Augustine: Really? I beg to differ. The sinful will is what twists our hearts. That is what my life is meant to teach others, at sad cost to me and others who suffered for my sin.

Oprah: Yes, well, before we indulge in theology, I have an audience to appease, so let's jump right to the sex. There's a lot of it in this book.

Augustine: Um, yes.

Oprah: From Book II: "Clouds of muddy carnal concupiscence filled the air. The bubbling impulese of puberty befogged and obscured my heart so it could not see the difference between love's serenity and lust's darkness." I must admit, that's a line!

Augustine: Thanks.

Oprah: But you were clearly young at this point of the book--perhaps twelve years old at the time--so how could your guilt around sexual impulses to "lust," as you say, be anything but a guilt imposed by society's expectations? Clearly you couldn't be responsible for your actions at that age. Once again, this is clearly over-the-top to the point of being illogical, and a clear example of overstatement.

Augustine: But there you go with that "socialization to wrong-doing" again. If your culture cannot see that we are born with this tendency to do wrong and an attraction to evil, you cannot understand the work of grace in the world--the whole point of the book. Instead, every urge to sin becomes a self-help project that you can manage on your own. I couldn't change my life on my own; I needed to depend entirely on God. I don't see many people acknowledging that on your show, frankly.

Oprah: (surprised) You watch the show up there?

Augustine: I did some research, sure.

Oprah: there anything you do like about it?

Augustine: (Pause) The emphasis on daily gratitude is good. I just wonder who you are thanking.

Oprah: Well...(silence, looking at cameramen)...our sponsors, for one. Time for a commercial break; back in a minute with "All those Pears: Is this for real?"

--I.C. (to be continued Friday)

(Augustine and Oprah Part I, Part III)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Oprah to question St. Augustine about memoir authenticity (Part I)

In another expected casualty of the expanding James Frey A Million Little Pieces scandal, St. Augustine is scheduled to be interviewed by Oprah Winfrey on the authenticity of his classic theological autobiography, Confessions.

Ms. Winfrey announced the special live show, to be filmed this afternoon, as "a judgment long in coming. This man used his position of authority and trustworthiness to spin a tale so outlandish, so despicable, that a reasoned examination yields it cannot be true."

Confessions, written in the late 4th century AD, is recognized as one of the great books of Western literature, and recounts Augustine's detailed examination of his life as a sinner until his conversion to Christianity in mid-life. He is honored as a Doctor of the Catholic Church and one of her most eminent theologians and personae.

When asked if she had any concerns about taking on such an revered teacher of truth, she replied, "No, I can't say I do. I know I am skilled as an interviewer, and his bishop's robes will not cloak his deception. I intend to discover the truth behind this matter and all matters in American publishing."

An aide of Ms. Winfrey noted that her boss had not been so "loaded for bear" in years. "It's like we've found a calling here on The Oprah Winfrey Show. This message is, for all practical purposes, the new gospel according to Oprah."

A review of the expected showdown will be provided here, post-broadcast.


(Augustine and Oprah Part II, Part III)

Lenten Purple "Blatant Attempt" to Appeal to Swing Voters

As midterm congressional elections begin to heat up, a midwestern Catholic diocese was accused of wielding undue political influence on its parishioners though decking the Church in purple, the traditional color of repentance during Lent.

Proving that the practice of naming certain states red (Republican) and blue (Democratic) has hit the mainstream, political strategists from both sides of the aisle decried the use of moderate "purple" (see map and vestments, above) during the Lenten season.

"This is outrageous," argued Sam McKinnon, a political strategist affiliated with the Democratic party at a news conference. "This subtle attempt of the Church to position its members to think purple, rather than blue, must be seen as a blatant attempt to overcome the separation of Church and State. I strongly encourage the local Church to undress its churches immediately, for the sake of American democracy."

A Republican strategist, Susan Connell, stated at the same conference, "For once, I am in agreement with my Democratic colleague. The Church must stop trying to advise people how to think. We want Americans to 'think red' when they vote in November, and this purple influence muddies the political waters. Freedom of religious expression is protected by the constitution, but media-driven colors are another matter altogether."

When asked whether they were aware of the Catholic teaching on liturgical theology, McKinnon responded he had a friend who was a recovering Catholic, and Connell said she had researched the matter extensively on the web. When pressed with information about Lent being observed through purple vestments and draperies to call to mind a spirit of repentance before the crucifixion of Christ, they both shook their heads.

"This can't be spiritually based--we know there is a political edge to this," Connell said. "We've found that this isn't the first time the Catholic church has used colors to form its congregants. I believe there is one day that red is actually used..." Pentecost, the reporter interjected. "Yes, whatever. But then depending on the parish, some use blue for an entire month in the winter..." Advent? asked the reporter. "Right, while others resort to that purple again. Frankly, this will not stand. We believe the diocese should be color-free in its worship space. It's really the least they can do."

And what of the political slant of the color that is used most of liturgical year? asked another reporter.

"Which is?" asked McKinnon warily.

"Well, green."

The color drained from their faces. "We'll see the diocese in court," they announced.


Monday, March 20, 2006

SAT scoring snafu calls eternal salvation into question for students

A small panel of students from St. Polycarp High School of St. Louis debated whether the current crisis over miscalculated SAT scores has caused people to question the Catholic Church's understanding of eternal salvation.

After the College Board admitted mis-scoring thousands of SATs, the most common test used to judge student achievement and aptitude for college work, this panel suggested that many students have moved from anger to reflection on the deeper meaning of achievement and salvation. See corresponding story here.

One student, Bridget Smith, opened the panel with a chart, making correlations between the SATs and the Christian life. "It's pretty amazing when you think about it," she said. "The SATs are like the virtuous life of the Christian. You only get one chance, you do await final judgment, and it does have a bearing on the rest of your existence."

"That's why this scoring situation is so disturbing," chimed in another student, Steven Ford. "I mean, I study like there's no tomorrow, take an SAT course and everything, and I find out that my colleges were sent the wrong score. How do we know that the same thing can't happen with God? Maybe I'm spending all this time avoiding the cool wicked stuff, and it can all be a wash because it happened to rain one day. It's very unsettling, to say the least."

The panel, attended by 50 students and faculty members, evoked atrong reactions. A theology teacher challenged the panel that their understanding of God and salvation was misguided, stating God does not make mistakes, and that God is omniscient. Ms. Smith responded, "I know we've been told that, but when it comes right down to it, how do you know? We invested our whole high school careers on the SAT College Board; we thought they couldn't make mistakes. But they did, and now everything is up for grabs."

Another theology teacher also pushed them, commenting that they had no room for grace in their chart. One panelist, Brian Seaton, cut off that possibility quickly. "Look, you know there is no room for grace in the SAT. You show up, and you're throwing up with a migraine or the flu, and its just too bad for you. You just muddle through in your vomit. That is the reality I know. The SAT is like the world, and there is no forgiveness in this world. I just can't see how any God would want to be different than the American way."

The theology faculty mentioned that they would address this pastoral situation in classes right away, but it may be too late for one student.

"That does it," he muttered leaving the panel. "I'm taking the ACT. Then I'm becoming Buddhist."

Friday, March 17, 2006

Italian Catholics picket parade, jealous of Irish history of oppression

In a potentially ugly scene, a handful of Italian Catholics picketed the New York City St. Patrick's Day parade earlier today.

Those picketing numbered around 30, bearing various placards and signs stating "The Irish get all the good parades," "Viva Italia," "St. Maria Goretti can beat up St. Paddy anyday," and "The end is near" (although the person holding the last sign apparently joined the picketers for good company).

"I know the Irish were oppressed for centuries by the British, and the potato famine was forced starvation and all that. Hell, I even read most of Angela's Ashes. But my heritage doesn't get a holiday to get blasted every year. How's that for injustice?" argued Salvatore Blanco, who identified himself as "head protester and proud Italian Catholic."

A few of the picketers engaged in some trash talk, shouting at passersby, "We got better food and wine! We got ART, baby! We got opera! What do you people have--corned beef? "Thistle and Shamrock"?"

Most parade watchers avoided the protest, but an unidentified observer shook his head in disgust. "It's their right to protest, but for the love of all that is good, St. Patrick? I mean, it isn't like the Italians didn't wrap up the Papacy for a few hundred years. I call this holiday getting even," he mused. "It's kind of the American way."

At one point, the picketers attempted a counter-march, but were blocked by two million revelers in Irish green. They settled for huddling in a tight circle, singing from The Barber of Seville and sharing Chianti.

In related news, St. Patrick's legendary tombstone in Ireland was found half-toppled. Suspicion rests on the theory that the saint was rolling over in his grave.

--submitted by I.C. (Italian and Irish Catholic)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Blogging "the new relativism," finds Catholic League

A representative of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights (sometimes known as the Catholic Defense League) has zeroed in on blogging as "the new relativism," I.C. has discovered.

The representative, speaking on terms of anonymity, told I.C. that its analysis of contemporary forms of communcation has revealed a shocking number of Catholics speaking for themselves. "While the blogosphere may not be illicit in and of itself, we hold that it encourages people to seek websites other than and our own," he said.

With the pontificate of Benedict XVI, there has been an increasing focus in Catholic intellectual circles on the wrongs of relativism, defined as a refusal to acknowledge that there is an objective truth. Relativism argues that truth is determined and named by each social group. The most extreme form of relativism is called solipsism, which argues that each individual defines truth for him or herself.

"'Bloggers,' as they call themselves, threaten to undermine the truth of the Christian faith as handed down from the apostles. They make all kinds of commentary, which is not in the least bit magisterial. In fact, we have discovered that blogging is a seething hotbed of opinion," he opined.

When asked whether the Catholic in the pew could be trusted to recognize the difference between the magisterial authority on doctrine from Rome and the pastoral reflections of the vox populi, our source said, "That has never been our position, and we'd rather not chance it. To that end, we're considering asking all Catholics to boycott blogs, especially during this penitential season."

The source was then asked whether this approach could backfire, given that many bloggers are faithful Catholics attempting to promote the Christian faith to a largely unchurched population. "No, of course not," responded the CL representative with some exasperation. "We've always held that there is only one way to present the Catholic faith, and that the 'pastoral presentation' of the faith is another one of those fizzy Vatican II ideas. Why would we trust the faithful to evangelize? No, it's just too dangerous."

In an informal survey of bloggers asked to respond to these statements, 65% expressed disinterest, and 30% ennui. One blogger, however, became quite angry. "How dare he," he said. "I'm a solipsist, and I think it's great. Everyone should be a solipsist."

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I.C. hit by a garbage truck, ponders symbolism

I.C., soon after launching this site, was hit by a garbage truck (think the one at left, but bigger) while crossing the street. Also banged up and bruised; there appear to be no lasting injuries. And no, it was not I.C.'s fault; the driver of said truck got a ticket and I.C. got a visit to the local ER.

Also, while 99% of the information on this satire news blog is not true, this particular item is. One can only surmise that there must be a link between the accident, Lent, and this site. Running theories:

  1. As a Lenten penance, I.C. decided to embrace personal injury rather than backwhips and other ascetic practices.
  2. Being hit by a truck is a precipatory act of solidarity with the pain this website will cause readers.
  3. Once you begin to laugh at Catholic culture, all kinds of garbage runs you down.
  4. Crossing the street is analogous to blogging as building a bridge is to drowning. (Yeah, I wasn't an old SAT whiz either.)
  5. Life is like crossing a never knew when a mack truck will bang you in the side.
  6. You know that phrase "I feel like I've been hit by a mack truck?" Well, you don't. I do. It hurts. Offering up the pain for Lent. Nuff said.
  7. Trucks are evil. Not a sophisticated insight but rather appealing at the moment.
  8. God doesn't want me to do this blog. Sent a truck to "nudge" me in that direction.
  9. Satan doesn't want me to do this blog. Sent a truck to "nudge" me in that direction.
  10. The Garbage company doesn't want me to do this blog. Nah, now we're getting farfetched.

In all seriousness, I am very grateful to God that I am not badly hurt. The laughter a few minutes!


Saturday, March 11, 2006

New Bratz First Communion Doll

In an effort to combat increasing criticism of the jaded worldliness of the Bratz doll line (see Time Magazine, 2-20-06) , Mattel Inc. has agreed to create a "very special" Bratz first communion doll. In a press release, spokesperson Jillian Johnson said, "This doll will be a wonderful gift to girls celebrating their first communion. It will be dressed in an off white First Communion-inspired mini-gown, which can be repurposed as a hankerchief. We hope this doll, named Chazz, will inspire a new market in the Bratz collection."

Our intrepid reporter (yours truly, I.C.) snagged an exclusive interview with Ms. Johnson.

IC: So why do you want to appeal to religious Catholics, after all your success

JJ: First and foremost, those communion dresses. You know,
our motto is "We've got a passion for fashion," and let's be honest, those
dresses with the long sleeves and veils, for the love of Pete. We thought they
could use the updating we specialize in, as well as appeal to the Catholic girl

IC: How do you plan to update the traditional communion dress?

JJ: We'll follow our brand's lead: sleeveless dresses, skirt slits on
the side, navel peek a boo options, etc. And sparkly white wedge heels.

IC: Have you heard what the Catechism of the Catholic
says on modesty? I'm quoting here: "Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means
refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose
sensitivity it bears witness. "

JJ: It's an issue, a consumer sent a letter about that. That's why we're naming her Chazz.

IC: After...

JJ: Chastity, right. I think that will appease the potential boycotters, I mean,

IC: Time Magazine recently published an opinion piece on the bad influence of Bratz
dolls, and focused less on their dress, or lack thereof, and more on their
attitude. To quote the article, your dolls faced appear to be painted within an
inch of their life, and full of attitude. Nancy Gibbs' word for their expression
was "stoned." Do you think that expression is an appropriate match with the First Communion outfit?

JJ: (silence) "Stoned" is so...pejorative...I think the market will understand that Chazz is high on Jesus.

Marketing will begin in select department stores in early April.


The Ironic Catholic is born, watchdogs concerned

In the home of an underpaid friend of Holy Mother Church, a blog was born. Being the granola loving Catholic-Worker pacifist type, the blog was born peacefully in a large water tub without drugs. Those attendants stood around saying novenas to St. Jude and sharing about repurposed organic tomato soup from the co-op dumpster. The mother took a big swig of wine and pushed the little one out. The baby's name is I.C.

The Catholic Defense League reacted strongly to the birth announcement of I.C., stating that although the culture of life should be the first value of society, this blog is further evidence of the relativism. "Objective truth is not served by this 'I'm a blogger, you're a blogger' plethora of perspectives," they argued. "These are indeed Christ's 'signs of the times,' and we're reading them, folks. We plan a boycott. Stay tuned."

Catholics for a Free Choice sputtered and said that "...while it is Ironic Catholic's choice to blog humorous and obviously fake stories, clearly humor is the last thing we need when the first issue is to engage in illogical theological arguments that irritate the Bishops and abandon the Church's call to help the vulnerable." They then went off to ponder if creating a new name for themselves would help. The front runner was "Catholics for Living Contradictions."

The National Catholic Reporter ran a short birth announcement of I.C., noting that Rome was not pleased, a majority of American Catholics supported I.C., and ended the piece on a note of despair. Oh wait, that was the formula of every other article in the issue. I.C.'s mom just gave birth and is confused with the sleep deprivation of it all.

I.C., although young, responded to the comments with characteristic graciousness. "Thank you for the attention, but I come to bring humor, not a sword," she said. "Peace with be you. Mom, who said that again?"

I.C. is very young but growing every day. She asks for your patience and prayers.

--I.C.'s mom