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Call Me Catholic!

God washes on delicate cycle

by Michael McGirr

You can't call yourself a Catholic you've had at least one good idea in your life. I had mine yesterday. I hope it won't be the last.

I have decided to get the church to take over our laundry at home. On the total inventory of church assets, our laundry may rank as a modest facility. But so was Peter's boat. Once the church owns the laundry, I am going to organise a conference there. The laundry is small so the theme of the conference will have to be one of marginal interest in the contemporary church. That is why the conference will be called Common Sense and Catholicism, a union upon which the church seems to look less favourably even than gay marriages.

As the organiser of a conference on such an inflammatory theme, I can expect consequences. The most likely one of these is that I will be banned from my own laundry. Of course, I will huff and puff and carry on for a bit. But in reality, this is what I will have been planning all along. Once I am banned from the laundry, somebody else will have to do all the washing and ironing. This will suit me down to the ground. As we have a baby, I will have saved myself considerable labour. I will then start thinking of ways to get the church to take over the kitchen.

Our Laundry will be designated as The Cardinal Zucchini Institute. Cardinal Zucchini rose to great prominence in the days before Vatican 2.1 because of his preparedness to stand up against left wing pinko Maoist clergy and all their evil golf days. He taught that vegetarianism is a form of cannibalism, a dogma which was accepted at Vatican 2.2. He argued that modern western vegetarians are, in spiritual terms, the pagan savages of today. As once missionaries went out to the four corners of the world, so too must we, in our day, reach out to the four corners of the pizza. We must ensure there is meat there as well, of course, as gluten. Zucchini believed that any distinction between Vegetable and Man was based on a grossly disordered anthropology. Critics suggested that his view of humanity may have been prejudiced by the forty years he spent as secretary of the powerful Commission for Further Councils. He said that whilst only Man may say Mass and run the parish and so on, Vegetables have their rightful and proper place. They belong in salads where they may be eaten.

The cupboard in our laundry where we keep the nappy soaker will be known as the Cardinal Aubergine Research Centre. Cardinal Zucchini was close to the late Cardinal Aubergine. Whilst the two men stood at opposite ends of the alphabet, they forged a remarkable alliance which was shaped the neo-absurdism which, inspired by Catholicism of the early twentieth first century, dominated the opening session of Vatican 2.3, which lasted forty five minutes.

Vatican 2.3 was the first council in the history of the church to be held in conjunction with an Olympic games, a move designed to obviate the need to talk about or discuss anything. Cardinal Aubergine taught that all stains, from beetroot to ink, are a vestige of the stain of original sin. Aubergine was nearly elected to the papacy at one stage but missed the conclave because he couldn't find a clean shirt. He was awarded the coveted Star of Orthodoxy for his work against the neo-pagan idea of a food pyramid with good foods on the bottom and not-so-good foods on the top. The idea of a hierarchy of foods was clearly destroying the souls of children. There was only one hierarchy and that was the Catholic one and all substitutes were the work of Satan. It was better for children to be sick and fat for a few short years on earth than to burn for all eternity.

Cardinal Aubergine was a great favourite with the media. He attended the whole of Vatican 2.4 with his dog, Anathema. The council fathers loved seeing the way the dog responded every time the words 'let Anathema sit.' The dog was a model of obedience. The fathers enjoyed the situation so much that they pronounced a more than usual number of anathemas. This is how Catholics came to be forbidden to wash their cars, brush their hair or clean their teeth.

My only worry is that my wife, Jenny, will decide to organise her own conference in the laundry. If she chooses a topic such as Catholicism and the Spin Cycle she may well get herself banned as well. Then we'll be in real trouble. Perhaps the answer will be the Archbishop Shallots Fellowship which will entitle the beneficiary to come and do our washing for us. Archbishop Shallots (pronounced Shallows) developed the theology of the missing sock. This was how he explained the seeming absence of God from situations where even a brief appearance from the host might have helped the situation enormously. Shallots believed that, like the proverbial missing sock, God will turn up eventually. The secret is not to have thrown out the first sock in the meantime.

If nobody wins the Archbishop Shallots fellowship, and the ban from our laundry remains in place, then maybe we'll just have to get used to being up to our eyebrows in the grease and smells of life. This is, after all, is where all real faith starts for and grows. God forbid that anyone should find that out.



Previous Columns:

  • Issue 1: The Catholic Fold
  • Issue 3: The Fridge Door
  • Issue 5: A Call to the Faithful
  • Issue 7: Liturgy of the Story
  • Issue 9: God goes swimming in Winter
  • Issue 11: God drives slow
  • Issue 13: God runs in bare feet
  • Issue 15: God does not send spam
  • Issue 17: God has better things to do

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