What to do if your parish priest is promoted...
With Fr Ray Blake in Rome along with Fr Sean Finnigan and Fr Tim Finegan, a trinity of priestly bloggers and enthusiasts of the TLM are being missed by their parishioners and blog hitters the World over. Rumours, of course, will abound that the efforts of these heroic men of Holy Mother Church to heed the Holy Father's call to liberate the Traditional Latin Mass, will one day be recognised and could potentially result in their promotion by Rome.
If you are a parishioner of one of these priests you will be wondering what to do in the event that the labourer in your vineyard attains higher office. So, here is the layman's guide to how to respond if your parish priest is offered the position of Bishop or Archbishop and worse, accepts. With thanks to Hollywood.
1. 'Basic Instinct', starring Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone
Hate mail, dead animals through the letterbox, derogatory graffiti on the Presbytery door and the organisation of a parish petition to Rome calling for his excommunication for some heinous clerical crime of which he is wholly innocent. If he has a rabbit, cook it. If by some Miracle in this ice age, you don't own an ice pick, then buy one.
2. 'Cape Fear', starring Robert De Niro
The Priest has escaped the parish's clutches and gone on to his new position in freedom and health in body, mind and soul. Or so he thinks! Whether he leaves by car, taxi, bus, boat or plane, you will be there for you will follow him, you will hunt him down and you will plead with him like a wronged lover until he tells you he has moved on to different things. Hit him where it hurts, kidnap his icons and hold them hostage until he changes his mind.
3. 'Ransom' starring Mel Gibson
He can't be allowed to get away with this and even if he does, Rome is going to compensate your parish to the tune of a quarter of a million pounds. Take him by force with other parishioners and lock him in the crypt. There he will stay, with only a simple prayer book, a Rosary and his Sacred Vestments to keep him warm, fed with bread and water from a bucket on a string. There he will be given time to "think about it" while you contact Rome and organise a helicopter for a drop of a quarter of a million pounds for the Building Restoration Fund and you and your small team of brothers escape back to your homes, having attained diplomatic immunity from prosecution via a special dispensation from the Supreme Pontiff. With this money you may have lost your beloved Priest, but you can get the marble Sanctuary you always wanted and purchase the most elaborate Church lighting system in human history.
4. 'Dangerous Liaisons' with Keanu Reeves and Glenn Close
Put make up on and dress up in the style of a member of the 18th century French aristocracy, with the white hair wig and everything. Fly to Rome and challenge whichever Cardinal from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith informed your Priest of his promotion to a dual...and lose avec espirit!
5. 'The Hunt for Red October' starring Sean Connery
Hijack a Russian nuclear sub and threaten to nuke Vatican City if they don't change their mind.
6. 'The Silence of the Lambs' starring Anthony Hopkins
Eat him with fava beans and a nice chianti. There will be no trace of him left and you've eaten the evidence. If you are feeling really ambitious, wear his face over your own and say Mass as if nothing had happened.
7. 'Becket' starring Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole
Get soldiers to murder him in his new Cathedral while he's saying Vespers and do public penance afterwards, having told the nation that Rome has just beatified him to loud applause and mirth.
8. 'Nightmare on Elm Street' starring Robert Englund
Torch yourself, wear a red and black t-shirt, a hat, put knives on your fingers and get him in his dreams.
9. 'The Exorcist' starring Max von Sydow
Tell him he can't leave because you've just become possessed, saying, "Look," while impressively making your head do a 360 degree turn and projectile vomiting for a full 30 yards. How can he leave while one of his parishioners has become hostage to the Devil?
10. 'Casablanca' starring Humphrey Bogart
You've accepted his decision and you've exhausted all other avenues of keeping him in your parish. By nothing short of a series of Miracles he has survived your onslaught and God has protected him through his torturous persecution. It's time to do the right thing and let the poor Priest go having made a soliloquy, '...Of all the parishes in all the World he had to walk into mine...' Having told him that he would regret not accepting Rome's invitation, 'Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but one day and for the rest of his life', go to a bar and ask Sam to play it again.