Back in the USA, in the basement of the cathedral's rectory, two figures were busy at work. The room they were in resembled a control suite at a nuclear power station. Both men were dressed in white laboratory suits, at identical operating terminals, and in the process of controlling the precise motions of mechanical hands that moved with scientific precision in an adjacent hermetically sealed chamber, separated from the men by two-inch glass. As one of the men motioned subtely with his hand, the corresponding mechanical arm raised a white shirt and hung it on a washing line.
Actually Fr. McNutty and his assistant, Algernon, were doing their washing; so engrained had become their scientific mentality, that they knew no other way of going about the task. Since his seminary days, Fr. McNutty had become a fanatical devotee of scientific methods and higher criticism. Pendantic to a fault, he felt that his modern ways should not only be in Biblical exegesis (not to mention eisegesis) but should apply to his entire life. Having completed their task, the two men retired to the rectory to wait for Archbishop Weakling's phone call from Italy.
Fr. McNutty flung himself down on a couch and began to mindlessly flick the TV stations as Algernon continued editing his column for the diocesan newspaper. The article was entitled:"Beyond The World Council of Churches".
"Going out tonight Aidan?", asked the deacon.
"Of course not, you idiot!" shrieked an outraged Aidan McNutty. "How can I? With those traditionalists around, I've got to be on my toes, alert and ready for action. These parasites are causing me no end to my troubles. Do you realize how much money they are going to steal from the diocese?" "Err, no", mumbled an embarrassed Algeron.
"Thousands, literally thousands! And they are encouraging others to stop putting money in the collection plate. Do you realize that Rupert will not be able to build his swimming pool if the donations drop off? Then the NCCB will decide not to hold its convention here and we will loose tons of money. In case you forgot, Rupert is planning a 'Party by the Pool'".
"What about souls, Aidan? Shouldn't we think about the souls to save- for love and peace"?
"Who cares about souls!, bellowed a now angry McNutty. "The only soles I care about are the rubber soles on my shoes. My poor aching feet! Do you realize how much more work I have to do because of all this? Just last week I had to make over 50 phone calls, visit 30 or so parishes to warn the pastor about St. John Chrysostoms".
"Well then you should do something about these people", replied the deacon. "Can't we call the cops or something like that?"
"Algernon, if you weren't a modernist, I'd say you were a fool. Of course I'd like to call the cops- but we can't. Well, not yet anyway. But we CAN get after them in the diocese, order priests to denounce them and Rupert will - so Teresa tells me - suspend the lot of them!"
McNutty opened the Archbishop's cigar box and took out one of his master's cigars, lit up, inhaled deeply and continued. "Do you know how bad it is? continued McNutty. "These priests actually wear cassocks"!
"That's disgusting," replied Algernon,"they must be sick".
"Worse, they're traditionalists", snarled McNutty as he puffed away, clouds of dark smoke swirling symbolically around his head. At that moment the phone rang. McNutty leapt to his feet: "Yes!?"
to be continued...