Letter To A Proddie Friend
My dear Proddie friend,
You read now everywhere about the scandal caused by the disgraceful Pope Woodstock, and perhaps you think the man’s antics expose the intrinsic weakness of the Church. Perhaps you even think – in your lack of proper knowledge of Catholicism – that Francis may change the tenets of what you call the Roman (meaning by that the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic) Church.
Dear friend, you couldn’t be more wrong. Allow me to explain to you why.
The Pope doesn’t own the Church. He isn’t her CEO, either. He is merely the custodian and the caretaker of the enormous edifice entrusted to him; an edifice he has the duty to transmit, intact and properly maintained, to the next custodian.
The caretaker of a huge palace cannot decide that a wing should now be demolished, and a new one built in its place. He cannot add, or take away, anything from the real estate entrusted to him. His job is to care that everything looks good, everything works properly, the walls remain solid, the garden is properly maintained, and so on.
Granted, the caretaker could be a lazy man. Or he could be corrupted, and steal the money meant for the maintenance. The palace will, at some point, look shabby. The light bulbs will not work, the doors will start to squeak, mildew will appear in the basement, and the gardens will be a proper mess.
In extreme cases – like, well, now – the caretaker will be a kind of socialist hothead, a Che Guevara fan not only uncaring, but outright resentful of the splendour of the palace; a splendour that he considers offensive to the poor outside, living in their small cottages. Don’t ask me why he applied for the job of caretaker, or why no one tells him the poor living in the college love the palace and its splendour, and know that the Palace embraces and makes place for all the good villagers. This letter is not about these issues.
The socialist hothead caretaker will, then, do his work as… badly as he can. The palace will look miserable when seen from the road, and its state of disrepair will be evident to the blind. The caretaker will, in the meantime, go around in the village, boasting that he has brought the palace nearer to the people and clearly implying if he could he would knock down the whole thing and build a sanitised favela instead, where everyone can do pretty much whatever he pleases provided he loves.
But the palace is still there. Immense. Towering over the petty, vainglorious caretakers. Indestructible.
The smart villagers, too, look at the palace and can see beyond the broken window panes, the missing roof tiles, and the dirt everywhere. They even see beyond the perverts going in and out of the palace as if they owned the place, merely because they are friends with the caretaker. The villagers can still very well see how wonderful the palace is, magnificent even in its dirt! In fact, the shabby grandeur of the palace confirms them in their knowledge that the elder are right and no matter how bad the caretaker, the palace will stay forever. Without moving one inch, or losing one room, or having another added. They know – because they have been properly taught by their parents, and by the wiser villagers – that every effort of the subversive caretaker will not in the end make more damage to the immense Palace than a six-year old scratching with a fork against a huge block of granite. Many in the past – say the elder in the village – were the caretakers who did their job badly, or very badly. There were a couple who even let bombs explode inside. The Palace buried them all.
This, dear Proddie friend, is the deal we Catholics have. We have an assurance of immutable truth that is utterly immune from any attempt at devastation. A now 2000 years strong system of truth: beautiful, perfectly coherent, shaped by the Holy Ghost through many saintly thinkers, always transmitted and believed without substantial change – though expanding and growing like a majestic oak tree – has been sculpted in marble; utterly, utterly beyond the reach of the most stupid, the most drunken, the most evil, or the most deluded caretaker. Nor can this system be manipulated by taking a book and saying that black means white, and Jesus is what we wish he is. The system is not based on written words, that can be twisted and turned; but on the Truth behind the written words and that originated them in the first place. This Truth can be neither twisted nor turned without all those who know the Truth immediately noticing it. Many have tried to change the Palace. No one has succeeded.
Think about the last weeks. Even by the most outlandish statements of Pope Woodstock, in writing, black on white for the all world to see, there is no scarcity of twisters and turners. Try that with 2000 years of coherent faith, assisted by the Holy Ghost, and good luck to you. The written word will always be twisted, unless there is a Truth behind that itself cannot be twisted.
A Catholic is not, as many of you Proddies think, delivered to the caprice of one man, or of an oligarchy of few men. The very opposite is the case! A Catholic is protected against the abuses of his shepherds much better, in a much more unassailable way than any of you Proddies will ever be! There is no truth more unassailable than the one promoted from the start, and of which the first principle is that it can, and will, never change.
Caretakers wil come and go. Empires will appear and become dust. These United States of yours, of which you are so proud, are to the huge Palace but a recent, temporary appearance. Make no mistake, the latter will see the former become dust too, and pass away. The Palace will still be there, with its Truths intact – though still with caretakers of varying ability and integrity – when those United States of yours are but a footnote in History.
Are the (smart) villagers angry at the caretaker? Very. They love the Palace, and to see it ravaged, very poorly maintained, dirtied and inhabited by perverts and sycophants makes them suffer. Some of them can’t sleep at night, so much they suffer.
But their anger is never fear for the destiny of the Palace. They have the promise that the gates of Hell will never prevail, and they know that the Promise is made to this particular Palace, and to this one alone. They will have to live with the antics of the caretaker – and, very probably, of his foreseeable successors – for as long as it takes. They will, alas, very probably die without seeing the garden taken care of again, the window panes repaired, the entire place cleaned and dusted, the perverts chased away in shame. So be it, then. They will love the Palace so much more.
But in the end, they know the Palace will be there as magnificent as ever, with no room added and none taken away, when the angry caretaker is a small rectangle of ground in the village cemetery, and the passers by stop and look at the stone, and say to each other “this one, he was truly bad”.
Then, they will continue their walk. Under the shade, so to speak, of the great Palace.
Dear Proddie friend, now that the antics of the caretaker are known beyond the old village, take this as an invitation to visit it, and ask to know more about the big, great Palace. You will, if you approach it without prejudice, be very impressed with the beauty, the magnificence, the logic, the coherence of the entire huge construction. You will at this point understand you cannot avoid dealing seriously with what the Palace represents, and what it is asking of you. You will, if your work is assisted by grace, understand that you want to become one of the admirers of the palace. Even if the palace has a revolutionary hothead as a caretaker. The more so, perhaps, because of it.
The Palace has always attracted people from other villages, you see. Its magnificence is such that, even with missing roof tiles and broken window panes, it still exercises a huge attraction.
Get near to the Palace, my dear Proddie friend.
Believe me: it is waiting for you.