By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Screwtape's 5 Ways to Get People to Give Up on the Church

The following was obtained from Screwtape's work files. The file was labelled "5 Ways to Get People to Give Up on the Church."

1. First of all, get bishops and their assistants to delay taking action when someone gets enough courage to report sexual abuse by clergy and, even better, have the bishop move the abuser around to as many parishes as possible for maximum exposure. If you can string this process out, you will reap a great harvest of lapsed Catholics.

2. Second, get practicing Catholics and especially clergy to disdain any form of the Mass that does not match their particular taste in language, vestments, and ritual detail--the pickier the better. The best gem I have seen lately is one by a wonderful fellow-traveler who wrote that the Vatican II Mass--even when celebrated completely in Latin!--was the fake alternative to the one true particular form of the Mass that he favored. Divide and conquer, fueled by inane outbursts, always pays off in our line of work.

3. Third, try to get as many applicants with dysfunctional personalities to apply to the seminary and coach them on how to act appropriately around the faculty (at least most of them) until the time comes that they are actually ordained. After that point, let all hell break loose.

4. Fourth, encourage as many megalomaniacs to volunteer to lead high-profile parish groups and ministries. They can always be relied upon to put their egos before the ministry and drive away any rational participants.

5. Fifth, encourage the false belief that smiling at Mass and greeting newcomers at Mass are somehow irreverent. This false belief will go a long way toward maintaining the very useful impression--we have almost succeeded in making it intrinsic to the Catholic brand--that everybody is joyless and that newcomers are not welcome.

There are more, but these are my top 5 as of now.  The tactics are constantly evolving as the stupidity of our targets surprises even me with new, creative possibilities. Stay tuned for updates.

Update: This website on The Screwtape Letters seems very interesting.