I know April Fool's Day is not until tomorrow, but I thought I'd start livening things up a bit early...
A Modern Seminarian’s Dictionary
Published in "Fidelity", September 1987, pp. 23-25.
Brother seminarians! Are you troubled by the nonjudgmental expectations of the seminary? Are you confused by their concerns? Fear not. Before your eyes you have the key to ordination in this person’s seminary. Add these terms to your theological lexicon and believe me, you could well be ordained one or two years early!
AUTHORITY: Cannot exist or be invoked unless vested in a sensitive, flexible, nonjudgmental and compassionate person.
CATHOLIC FUNDAMENTALIST: A simplistic person who tries to live the Faith in a docile and pious way; also a Catholic who frequently prays the Rosary.
CELIBACY: Refraining from heterosexual genital activity.
CHALLENGE: To recognize that my views are better than your views.
CLOWN MASS: Liturgical innovation comparable to the innovation of Gregorian chant.
COLLEGIALITY: The doctrine defined by the Spirit of Vatican II stating that bishops have exactly the same authority as the Bishop of Rome.
COMPLEX TECHNOLOGICAL WORLD: The reason for resisting one’s conscience when opposing the teaching of the Catholic Church; also, the standard response a flexible person uses when a rigid person seems to be winning an argument.
CONCERN: The response that sensitive, flexible, non-judgmental and compassionate people in authority have when someone doesn't agree with them.
CONSCIENCE: The final arbiter of the correctness of one’s action always tobe guided by the latest in Church dissent.
CONSCIOUSNESS RAISING: The method of argumentation used by radical feminists moving adult males to action: "Better to live in a corner of the housetop than have a nagging wife and a brawling household" (Prov.21:9).
ECUMENISM: The process of transforming the liturgical rites of the mainline Christian denominations into a single rite of coffee, donuts and dialogue.
EXPECTATIONS: Flexible guidelines which change as frequently as the feelings of the Rector; not to be confused with RULES or LEGALISM.
FEELING: The highest faculty of the human person left fully untouched by original sin.
FEMININITY: A word created by a sexist, maledominated society to subjugate women in the maternal role; the presence of femininity in women religious is a cause to recommend psychological counseling.
FLEXIBLE: You agree with me; a flexible person is open and dialogues on any issue, smiles knowingly and does precisely what he started out to do.
GETTING IN TOUCH WITH ONE’S FEMININE SIDE: An essential requirement for ordination to the priesthood.
GROWTH: For you to assimilate my way of thinking into your life.
HOMOPHOBIC: The psychological condition of those who witness and report acts of homosexuality to seminary authorities.
HUMANAE VITAE: The biggest mistake the Church has made since the Council of Trent.
IN TOUCH WITH FEELINGS: Using the intellect to explicitly identify what one is feeling so that speech patterns can be altered to communicate one’s sensitivity and compassion; not to be confused with "intellectualizing your feelings".
LAITY: The future of the Church; cannot be ignored unless associated with ultra-conservative groups.
LEGALISM: Accepting at face value and obediently implementing what a document, law, or guideline mandates.
LIBERATION: The replacement of existing structures of constraint with new and improved structures of constraint.
LITURGICAL DANCE: Liturgical innovation comparable to the innovation of Gregorian
LITURGISTS: “A society of men among us, bred from their youth in the art of proving by words multiplied for the purpose, that white is black, and black is white, according as they are paid” (Swift, Gulliver's Travels).
MACROCHURCH: The male-dominated, sexist, oppressive, authoritarian hierarchical Church.
MALE DOMINATION: The irritating interest men have in sports, cigars, and male- bonding, especially in the hierarchy of the Church; the only mortal personal sin.
MICROCHURCH: The pastoral, flexible, open and honest, compassionate, open-to-change, local Christian community (Columbian Father Camilo Torres Restrepo was a member of the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla group and a fine example of the microchurch).
MISSION STATEMENT: A written objective or goal of a pastoral program upon which the success of the Gospel of Jesus Christ depends.
OBEDIENCE: No longer in usage. Obsolete.
OFFICIAL CHURCH TEACHING: “I don't expect it to change anybody's mind one way or another. Catholics today have learned what it means to be selectively obedient to the Church’s teaching” (Father Richard McBrien, Washington Post, December16,1981).
OPEN AND HONEST: Telling religious superiors what they want to hear.
ORIGINAL SIN: See SEXISM.
PASTORAL: Effeminate; an attribute lacking in a man who demonstrates overt masculine
attributes of clarity, decisiveness, and orthodoxy: G.K. Chesterton was not pastoral.
PLURALISM: The acceptance of all points of view except those with a point of view which doesn't accept all points of view.
PREFERENTIAL OPTION FOR THE POOR: Socialism.
PRE-VATICAN II: A person who accepts at face value the teaching of the Church and who reads the documents of the Second Vatican Council without reference to a commentary.
PROCESS: The spontaneous movement in the dialogue of group therapy sessions never to be disrupted by thinking.
PROGRESSIVE: Pouring the wine of old heresies into new wineskins.
PSYCHOLOGIST: Infallible teaching authority in the Church.
RELEVANT: Anything to do with dissent from Church teaching.
RIGID: a simplistic view of Catholic doctrine
SAFE SEX: Taking appropriate precautions during high risk sexual activity
SENSITIVITY: The ability to identify and agree with the conventional wisdom of left-wing political issues such as feminism, gay rights, dissent, etc.
SEXISM: The sin associated with being male.
SEXUAL PREFERENCE: Feeling good about some or all objects of desire whether animal, vegetable or mineral.
SHARE: The practice of discussing the deepest intimacies of one’s life in front of complete strangers.
SPEAK OUT: The activity springing from the virtue of Social Justice whereby sensitive and compassionate persons, with great emotion, promote the platform of the Democratic
SPIRIT OF VATICAN II: Church activities and programs which have absolutely no relationship to the letter of the documents of Vatican II.
THINKING: The most dangerous activity in a seminary; cause for psychological counseling; those who think “disrupt the process”; see PROCESS.
TOTAL COMMITMENT: The intensity of involvement in charitable works until one finds that one “doesn’t feel good” about oneself; total commitments usually last six months to a year.
VALUING YOUR SEXUALITY: Obsession with the usual adolescent preoccupations.
VOCATIONS CRISIS: Refers to the Church’s failure to relax the rules on celibacy and failure to ordain women.
WORKSHOP: A church-sponsored meeting to ensure that the issues of optional celibacy, women's ordination, the Sandinistas and leisure suits are still being addressed.
YOU’RE NOT LISTENING: The way a flexible, non-judgmental person expresses disappointment that a rigid, dogmatic person doesn’t agree with him; example: the Pope is “not listening” to the American Church.