It's All About the Checklist
First off was Diogenes' recent statement that, "If the real reasons for the staggering episcopal tolerance of crimes (sexual and other) were discovered and acknowledged, perhaps not one bishop in three would be left standing in the aftermath; perhaps four out of five "conservative" prelates would go up in sulphur-scented smoke. A high price to pay? Sure. But if it bought us a straight-talking hierarchy, I'd be delighted to have the chance to pay it."
Well, at least we see eye to eye on one thing, even though our definitions of "straight talk" may differ somewhat.
And the other is a story from a friend about two priests in a rectory. The pastor was recuperating from major surgery and the curate (parochial vicar, in the newfangled terminology) went to go buy a new shower curtain or toilet cover -- something for the bathroom, I forget exactly what.
So the younger priest installed his purchase and mentioned it in passing while checking in on the pastor. Despite his condition, the pastor immediately jumped up and trudged up the stairs to make sure it didn't clash with the decor of the WC.
All that said, enjoy this.
To: The Apostolic Investigators
From: The Association of Formerly Gay Seminarians
Re: Investigation of Homosexuals in the Seminaries
Date: Halloween, 2005
Thank you for undertaking this very worthwhile project to remove homosexuals from our seminaries. Since most of them will probably answer "no" when you ask them directly if they are gay, you will need to devise alternative methods to identify the deviants. We suggest the following.
1) Check his music collection. If he has more than 2 CDs by Streisand, Cher, or Madonna, boot him.
2) Check his vocabulary. If before entering they knew the meaning of "baldachino," "humeral veil" or "Spencer Abbey," boot him.
3) Ask him about cooking. If, from memory, he can concoct more than three recipes that require gureyere, arrugala, or caramelizing, toss him.
4) Find out what he wears at the beach. If he wears Speedos for purposes other than lap-swimming, throw him out.
5) Dig deeper into the cooking issue. If he knows the difference between parsley and cilantro, and REFUSES to cook with the former, get rid of him.
6) Ask him about his room in the seminary. If he refers to its curtains, drapes, blinds, or shades as "window treatments," dismiss him.
7) Learn about what keeps him awake at night. If has ever lost sleep because he thinks the altar flowers would really be prettier if they had just a little more baby's breath, throw him out.
9) Investigate the contents of his song memories. If he knows the lyrics to the entire score of any Broadway play that won the Tony award for the best musical during the years 1963-1987, throw him out.
10) Watch how he enters a room. If he immediately goes to the lamp in the corner and turns the shade so that the seam faces the wall, he is history.
11) Ask him about his decision-making ability. If he has ever spent an entire weekend painting a seminary prayer space honey dew melon only to decide on Monday that it isn't quite right and spends the entire NEXT weekend repainting the chapel mint #377, throw him out.
12) Find out what distracts him in prayer. If he has ever been bothered by recurrent concerns about cilantro and window treatments while in prayer, throw him out.
13) Research his sense of history. If he recalls exactly where he was when Lady Di crashed, but cannot recall how he learned of the Pope's death, show him the door.
14) Listen for hints of his understanding of New York. If the mention of "The Mets" gets him talking about the Opera and Museum rather than the baseball team, throw him out.
15) Learn about his ambitions. If he would ever want to investigate the presence of gays in the seminary, throw him as far away as you possibly can. That is the most flaming of all indicators.