Friday, October 24, 2008

Rocky Horror: the Rite of Closure of a Perfectly Viable Parish (according to the Rituale Loidensis)

[In some parts of the country they close down perfectly viable churches for some reason. Weird]
Gathering song: Be Much Afraid [To the tune Be Not afraid]

You can say Mass without vestments
To impress the teenage kids
Just ignore the GIRM
We don’t give a fig
You can fill the nave with dancing girls
and we will understand
But say the Mass in Latin and you’re done.

Be much afraid.
We’re going to close your church down.
Say Latin Mass, and you’ll be on the dole.

Interfaith is all the rage
Meditation’s where it’s at
You can make a pagan incantation,
nothing wrong with that.
You can say your prayers with Rastas, Muslims
Jains, and Hindus too
But pray with other Catholics and you’re done

Doctrine is passe
You can make it up yourself
You can pick from Dawkins, Boff, de Mello
- anything off the shelf
You can quote Tissa Balasuriya,
Kung and Schillebeecx
But quote the Holy Father
and you’re stuffed

The Bishop: Welcome, welcome, dear people to this joyful celebration of the closure of this church, now in sad decline since being taken over by nutcases with an agenda.

I am so glad so many of you could come to this ticket-only event and so very sad that none of the soon-to-be-ex-parishioners could get hold of a ticket in the totally random and fair ballot. I’m sorry the previous parish priest couldn’t be here but he’s probably swanning about in a cassock and biretta somewhere, ha ha. I'm sorry we couldn't be joined by my factotum, 'Fr Martin' but he has sent an email I'd like to read to you:


Dear Bishop Arfur

I am reely sory I carnt be with you tonite for the long-overjew closhure of Saynt Jons. I am off on reely important diosessan bizness. I am interveywing all the seminarians to see if they have been doing any blogging about me. Then they’ll kno who is the boss.

Say one for me and tell that priest I’ll do him if I see him again.

Fr Martin

Episcopal enforcer and Trad-Finder General

Isn't that nice? I look around me and see so many friends from our different communities. There is the local team rector, Rev Valerie Butch-Vicar and her partner Sharon. Valerie, you are very welcome to any of the errant flock of this parish. And a welcome too to Sheikh Izzmybombbiginthis Bin Talibani, imam of our local Muslim brethren. Sheikh, I hope you’ve had a good look around, given that I know you are looking for an appropriate place of worship **winks** – why not talk to me about it later over the halal canipes we’ll have in a local hotel afterwards?

Imam: I sure will, kuffar dog.

Bishop: Hmm. Yes, well...
Let us begin with a prayer (or a hopeful thought for those of you who don’t ‘do’ prayer):
Spirit in the Sky
Bless our efforts to modernise and rationalise this community by bringing light where there is currently darkness, progress where there are petty-bourgeois reactionary attitudes that quite frankly help no-one and a more open-minded attitude to the modern world where there is currently a reliance on an antiquated notion of tradition.
The People: Tsk! Tsk!
Help us to be generous and truly diverse but not too diverse, if you know what I mean.
This we ask in the name of all that we ourselves decide is holy, in a very meaningful sense.
Congregation: Amen (or Yeah, dude! Or Whatever)

A Reading from the Letter of St Richard of Holloway to the Edinburgers

Hey cats! Yes, it’s me - your daddio! You want to put away all that Catholic stuff, man. It’s like, soooooo, old hat. Latin? Shmatin! You need big concrete churches – big round ones with lots of drafts to, like, let in the Spirit of the Council. Hey – why don’t we just get rid of all the churches, anyway by, like, stopping men becoming priests and having inclusive stuff, because we’re all, like, bishops and stuff in a very real sense. You know it’s what that hepcat Jesus dude would have wanted.

Stay cool, you crazy kids


Hymn: Close Arthur, close [To the tune Shine, Jesus, Shine]

Arthur comes and the parish shuts down
Parishoners protest but they are put down
Future-church means we don't need the building
Vestments, statues, altars and gilding
Close it down, close it down

Close, Arthur, close
Get your skates on and let’s get going
Close down the churches
and then sell off the land
Go Arthur go
Tell the traddies, we’ve got their number
Do as you’re told
Or there’s no Mass for you.

Bidding prayers

Bless this building and let it’s future use – as a handsome family conversion with en-suites and Bulthaup kitchen units, or as a wine bar called “Chapelz” or the like or perhaps as a place of worship and jihad for our Muslim brethren – whichever raises the most dosh – be a source of comfort and healing, for this sadly deluded parish.

Bless all our clergy, especially those who do the right thing (if you know what I mean). Not that we should single out the clergy in a modern, go-ahead Futurechurch ™) Oh no, we are all leaders now.

**Grits teeth** Give light and understanding to Ratz-, er, Pope Benedict, the non-trained liturgist. Let him understand that an elderly gent in Rome should be out in the pavement cafes, enjoying a cappuccino rather than writing troublesome letters which just give people the wrong idea about the liturgy and quite frankly ideas above their paygrade.

Bless this community as it grapples with man-made global warming, pollution, the oppression of women, differently-abled, gay-lesbian-transgendered people, people of colour, our Muslim brethren being brutally murdered in, er , somewhere or other [is this enough boxes ticked? Ed]. Why, oh, why is whitey so awful?

The stripping of the altars
The clergy and people present will take down anything vaguely Catholic-looking – vestments, altar frontals, stations of the cross, old ladies in mantillas, that sort of thing . They’ll form a large bonfire in the middle of the soon-to-be-former-church (with a suitably trained fireperson in attendance to comply with elf’n’safety regulations).

The congregation will form a circle by joining hands around the bonfire in a pagan-stylee. They may chant something like:

“Thomas Cromwell, Thomas Cromwell, we’ll support you ever more”
or something by David Haas or Marty Haugen.

Final Dismissal

Bishop: Let’s go out in the world, not to proclaim anything old fashioned like a gospel but to feel good about ourselves.
Congregation: Because we’re worth it!

Closing song [to the tune Colours of Day]

If you want a priest, you’re out of our minds
Catholicism’s dead here, I think you will find
Go into the city, into the street
Say “Salaam aleikum” to the people we meet

So call in the lawyers and close down the church
Leave the parishioners out in the lurch.
Take a out a court order, get in a huff,
Tell the people of Jesus, they can get stuffed.

Go through the park, on into the town;
The Catholics have gone, their church is closed down.
They can drive many miles if they have a car,
But the old and the housebound are stuck where they are.

Open your eyes, look into the sky,
The church bells are quiet, and you’ll soon see why.
A tall minaret now stands very near
And “Allahu Akbar!” is all you can hear

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Blogger dillydaydream said...

So absolutely brilliant ! Words fail me.

12:08 PM  
Blogger Agellius said...


12:30 AM  
Blogger JARay said...

I totally agree with the two posters above.

10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bravo, Bravo...exceptional!

Wandered in here from the States. This could be my home dioceses of Rochester! Different Bishop, Country, same script and Result.

Modernists seem to have a real touch of destroying, but not building the faith no matter where they are!

God Bless from the other side of the Pond.

12:51 PM  
Blogger Paulinus said...

Capt Tom sadly the only way to deal with these pompous demagogues is ridicule and prayer.

11:13 AM  

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