I am not sure of the process, but I want to propose a new law.
Honestly, I am not sure if it would be a Canon Law, State or Federal Law, or even some rule in some bloated bureaucracy somewhere, but I want this law. This law has been brewing in my head for sometime, every time in fact that some matron in a muʻumuʻu claim to the Catholic priesthood was reported as fact. Today I was set off by Maria Shriver’s claim to being a Catholic “in good standing” even though she doesn’t believe what the Church teaches. Enough I say. So I am going to do something about it.
The law would go something like this.
The following proposal was prepared pursuant to a resolution issued by the Creative Minority Report on 20 November 2008, adopted following the Declaration of Independence from Catholics in Name Only (DIC-NO), and in accordance with a requisition from the CMR executive (me).
The first draft was forwarded to the Executive Committee (Matt & Me) during its session of 20 November 2008. In this session, the CMR Executive Committee decided to submit the proposal for broad discussion within Catholic blogging circles. Accordingly, the Legal Committee of the Creative Minority Report held a meeting over tea and Entenmann’s cookies (the small chewy ones) in my kitchen to examine the proposal. The meeting was attended by the acting president of CMR (me), the Secretary of the Executive Committee (my daughters cabbage patch doll named Clarissa), and by a number of legal experts residing in my house, namely nobody. It was agreed to publish this proposal to the general interweb thingy for commentary and feedback before submitting it to the proper authorities for consideration.
Article 1.1 Be it resolved that any person, whether ordained, religious, or lay may not refer to themselves as Catholics in Good Standing if they do not actually go to church or believe what the Church teaches.
Be it also resolved, in addition to the above requirement, that in order to be recognized in public as a Catholic the individual making the claim of “Catholic” is obligated to sign, in the presence of a journalist and affirmed by a duly appointed notary public, a copy of the Catholic Catechism while positively affirming belief in all things contained therein. This obligation should be taken freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion.
If the party fails to comply with any of the above requirements, the party immediately forfeits the right to identify themselves in public as a Catholic. Failure to comply constitutes identity theft and is thereby punishable by all the applicable statutes and by a substantial sojourn in the deepest and darkest recesses of purgatory (whether you believe in purgatory or not.)
Article 1.2 Be it also resolved that no person, acting in the role of journalist, may refer to a person, whether by way of written word or by way of broadcast media, as a Catholic without proof of the proper steps outlined in in Article 1.1 under penalty of loss of journalistic integrity and being forced to work in a dying industry. [The authors of this proposal understand that this penalty is typically previously self imposed and therefore generally toothless. This penalty clause may need strengthening. Suggestions are welcome.]
Be it further resolved that no person, acting in the role of journalist, may refer to a person as a “Catholic” priest, unless that person has actually been properly ordained and is still recognized by THE Catholic Church.
No other ecclesiastical authority, whether real or fictional,, may be substituted for the ACTUAL Catholic Church. Send any and all inquiries as to the status of any claimant to the priesthood to the Congregation of Divine Clery at 00120 Via Del Pellegrino, Citta del Vaticano.
Maybe we can have George W. Bush issue this as an executive order in the waning days of his presidency. I fully realize that GWB has no authority to enforce the purgatory clause, but let’s face it. Many of these folks (if they are really lucky) may be headed there anyway.