Yes, I am proud! I must be proud to see/Men, not afraid of God, afraid of me. Pope
To the intelligent outsider looking in, Tradistan is the embodiment of the 2006 movie "Idiocracy," a dystopian comedy about a future America populated and governed by morons. The only difference is that the movie is fictional and comes to an end, whereas Tradistan is for real and keeps on adding more scenes, each dumber than the one preceding it.
The latest episode in American sede idiocy is King Don's official recruiting announcement for his canonically unapproved "Roman Catholic Institute," a new lost-boys' club for pseudo-Catholic "clerical" imbeciles playing Church. (BTW, why didn't he give it a Latin name? Even CMRI has that.*) Apart from a rambling, multi-page manifesto chasing after the ghost of Archbishop Lefebvre, he tells us little or nothing about the new organization's governance model or its funding sources. Notwithstanding the King's shyness about disclosing such details, we'll try to shine some light with what we can see in the text. (That's why, after all, we call ourselves the "Readers.")
In his cover letter, His Royal Donstrosity informs TradWorld almost immediately that his "Institute also provides for the support of the clergy." The affirmation makes it clear the laity are expected to foot the bill for this folly. Now whether the money will come from a tax on satellite/affiliated chapels or from a nationwide appeal to shallow-witted but deep-pocketed cultlings, we have no idea. (At least it won't come out of Our Lady of the Sun's healthy bank account, thank heaven.) For the record, we discount any suggestion the Big 3 will underwrite this sure-to-fail venture: our guess is that they're breathlessly awaiting His Highness's abdication in the swamp. In any event, they seem to prefer spoiling pampered priory princesses to supporting impecunious Peter Pans.
There is one hint, however, as to how he might channel new revenue streams. In his letter, the Tampa-St. Pete Potentate tells us his "Institute has a List of Approved Clergy...to ensure that the members do not entangle themselves with clergy who are in some way unworthy or unacceptable." PL suspects the list is really aimed at the laity, so they'll either leave their chapels for his or invite the "Institute" to take over. Then they would assume the burden for the "support of the clergy" (like Melbourne, Australia, or Modesto and Fresno, California). Whether or not we're right, only time will tell. We won't have to wait long, though. You can bet the farm on that. Money-grubbing is never far from the regal one-track mind.
As for the "Institute's" membership count, at the moment it stands at 10 losers — 7 "clergy" and 3 pesthouse "seminarians" in minor "orders" (we assume). Conspicuously absent from the roster of melancholy founders is the Skipper, the sorry completer who forgot the consecration at Mass. How hurt the whining Skipster must feel at not being invited to the founding! A few years ago, all he wanted to do was return to the humid B'ville Bog to become the "chancellor." (Fat chance! That's Scut's position.) Now he's out in the cold. Could Skippy be — oh, say it ain't so, King Don! —"unworthy or unacceptable"?
Notwithstanding the Skipmeister's cruel exclusion, the King obviously expects his new troop to grow, for he tells us the "Institute" is "open to bishops [and] priests." Therefore, unless he's referring to the down-in-the-mouth Bishop-Elect and future pesthouse completers, we presume he means "clergy" from outside the fetid swamp. If that's correct, we wondered why the Long-Island Jellyfish and "One-Hand Dan" weren't pictured in the class photo on the first page.
Dannie, for instance, loves to squeeze into group shots so people think he's given his blessing to an enterprise with which he had no involvement at all. (Think the Dávila "consecration": Deacon Dan worked hard to wrangle an invitation and even managed to photo-bomb the event.) But the longer we considered the missing-in-action prelatasters, the more we understood: Dannie's not going to play second fiddle** to his career-long arch-rival, especially since his little "Salesian Sacerdotal Society" was such a flop. And neither will the mercurial Jelly — unless, of course, the King commands, that is.
There's no doubt the two nervous wandering "bishops" read the royal proclamation and saw where there's an all-powerful, absolutist "Superior General," from whom members must beg approval for everything from "the subjects of their sermons" and "the decoration of churches" to "devotional practices" and "public or private exorcisms." (Can you imagine Decorator Dan, shabby biretta in hand, groveling for permission to go over-the-top with seasonal décor? Can you imagine "One Hand's" or Checkie's being obliged to recite the Leonine Prayers again after so many years of trashing them?) In addition, we think these twin "episcopal" crud balls suspect the "Roman Catholic Institute" will never have a general chapter or a general congregation to check the "Superior General's" arrogation of unlimited monarchical power. Deficit Dan for one doesn't want to spend the rest of his days dancing to whatever silly tune the autarch's whimsy decides to call.
Although no rule or constitution has been made public, Li'l Daniel and Its Gelatinacy can sniff the stinking presence somewhere of a clause demanding "holy obedience" to the big dog "Superior General." Ditto for other full-grown "clerical" curs in Tradistan: Cheeseball, My-Way Carlito, and the Zappmeister. Cringing pups like Uneven Steven McFaker, Lurch, and the Forlorn Finn may be sorely tempted to join, because they sense Dannie's on his way to the pound. Wannabe, however, will likely stick with his pack leader, the Zappster: There aren't enough tears in this world to be on King Donald's short leash again. (As to what the stray Dennis the Menace will do, that's anybody's guess.)
The Sad Sacks don't know it, but there's a downside to not enlisting: they won't be able to sign their names with the post nominal letters RCI. Far worse, they're going to miss out on the big rumble at the Sede Thunderdrome between the CMRI and the RCI:
Two cults enter! One cult folds! Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls: cryin' time's here. He's the Whip Cracker, Faith on sale. You know him, you hate him, he's the Swampland Cult Master....Better than World Championship Wrestling, although markedly less classy, wouldn't you agree?
But wait a doggone minute now!
Something just occurred to us. Why, it's a Eureka! moment, if we do say so ourselves.
Maybe His Majesty won't allow them to miss out on the benefits of recruitment. Another purpose of the List of Approved Clergy may be to scare the reluctant "clergy" into signing up. You know, come to think about it, it's odd that King Don mentioned the "List" at all. Like his school rules, he could have shared it with the laity on the Q.T. But instead he made a big deal of the "List" with this gloss:
Something plaguing the traditional movement today is the proliferation of poorly trained priests and of priests with liberal or bizarre ideas. The Institute wants to keep clear of all of these types.
We don't think sooooooooo.
While His High and Mightiness pretends he founded his "Institute" to "provide the much desired unity among priests," the ecclesiastical free lancers outside the Swampland read the word "unity" as code for servitude. Over the decades, these religious wildcatters have succeeded in avoiding all accountability, so why should they surrender their independence today? It's not as though His Royal Personage has any money to spread around. In fact, he may even expect some of the better-off recruits to supply needed treasure. That's enough to convince any religious entrepreneur to keep his distance.
All this, we're forced to admit, doesn't mean that each and every one of the Tradistani nomenklatura will refuse to join during the initial recruitment drive. A few will be so intimidated by His High Muckety-Muckness's overbearing personality that they'll cave at the first nasal yelp. In addition, there well may be a honeymoon period of a year or so as he struggles to grow membership or is weighed down with other worries. (N.B. PL still believes Tradosaurus Rex intends to establish a "seminary" in France where he can re-locate after the Kid gets his promised miter.) However, inevitably the day will come when the kingly "Superior General" will make demands, which the lukewarm draftees must resist. Then the "Roman Catholic Institute," like all His Majesty's past crackpot schemes of glory, will come crashing down.
Make that day come sooner rather than later. Tell your "priest" or "bishop" he cannot join. Tell every layman or laywoman you know in the Tradisphere to
** A wise correspondent shared another reason for Dannie's (and Bonehead Tone's) absence from the founders' portrait: Donors may have told Big Don that "One Hand" and Tony Baloney are fundraising poison since the 2009 $GG $chool $candal and Checkie's monstrous opinion on the Schiavo judicial murder. Putting those two on the cover of the announcement would have strangled the sickly infant "Institute" in its swampy crib before it could die of natural causes.