Satan’s address to the graduates

You may remember this post, announcing that the Prince of Darkness would be speaking at a small Jesuit university.  The text of his remarks is below.   DGK

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Thank you. (loud applause) Thank you all very much. Thank you, Fr. Despereaux. Please, folks (continued applause), please be seated. A little restraint every now & then. . . (laughter).

Seriously, this is quite an honor for me. I can’t say an unexpected honor, as this invitation was in the cards for some time now. And this despite all the non-attention I’ve received from many of your Catholic intellectuals; wasn’t it your own Fr. Cheever in Ancient Near Eastern Studies who said in your student paper that I don’t exist? (laughter). He’s not alone in thinking that, though I take it that after we got to know each other a bit better last night he has a different take on things. Talk about an ashen countenance when I discussed my background! Suffice it to say that he knows a bit more about ancient mythology & sacrifice than he did before we spoke. It really is too bad he can’t be here today, as he’s much in my thoughts, as are all the fine academics at this institution. Much of the work you do is directly responsible for my being here today, & I am much pleased by it.

To honor the graduates of St. Sincerus, I will focus my remarks on the creative gifts God has so richly blessed you all with, as well as on your sacred responsibility to nurture those gifts, despite the heavy costs. As you know, you live in a world in which the majority of people seek to restrain, to control, & even to deny the creativity of the few. Isn’t it a sad irony that such a gift, which can help you to make & remake your world, & which is an expression of God’s image within you, so badly frightens the unimaginative?  I believe the patron of this school would be as pleased as I am with your attempts in recent years to use your creativity to produce such a life affirming environment here on campus, & would hope that you continue forward. “Fear not!” I can almost here him saying at this very moment, as he thinks about the work of your administration, faculty, & student organizations to make more people welcome here.

(loud applause from the members of the audience, who rise from their seats; shouts of “SSU! SSU!” break out)

Yes, by all means, celebrate yourselves. Always. . . At any rate, before we all get too carried away (there is a time & place for everything, remember), I wish to address the following in my remarks: the need for creativity & innovation in forming diverse communities, in thinking through your moral lives, & in applying the benefits of scientific discovery to the improvement of life. As you already excel in the first two of these, it’s likely you’ll have some things to tell me; so I’ll reserve my longer remarks for the third.

I think the most visible accomplishment of SSU is your creativity in opening the doors of your community to make a hospitable place for the least of your brothers & sisters. You have indeed taken to heart the words from the gospel, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” Remarkable words, these. . . In fact, to acknowledge your openness to the speaker of these words, I think you might consider renaming your fine institution. How does this sound: “St. Sincerus Multiversity”? (audience cheers) For you all know, as is evident in your student organizations, mission statements, diversity statements, statements of respect, & statements of inclusivity, not to mention your 10K Race for Acceptance & your world-class Center for the Understanding of Love & Tolerance, that there is a bewildering array of opinions, viewpoints, perspectives, doctrines, hopes & fears, & experiences out there. C’est la vie! as the French would say. But you have chosen the path of courage by celebrating the diversity that lesser individuals & communities would feel threatened by. This was apparent to me yesterday as I toured your campus, talked with members of the faculty, ate lunch with students in the student union, & listened with fascination as your very own Fr. Despereaux gave the key-note lecture at the conference that ended last night, “Diverse Worshippers, Diverse Ecclesiologies: An Eco-Vegan Critique of Traditional Eucharistic Theology.” Who knew just how scandalous a simple memorial meal could be? I’ll tell you who knew: you did, & you should take pride at standing up to your bishop’s objections to your hosting such a conference. You must be wary of those who sneer at the mere whiff of innovation, as a true multiversity will embrace innovation & be led by it. And the leaders of this multiversity will always ask, “Did God really say that we will perish if we take the high road of conscience & freedom?” Your bishop, & all those like him in seats of power, fear that by your inclusion of the marginalized you will become the true locus of ecclesial authority. For it is love that binds you together & bears the loudest witness to true gospel values. It is love that is the true measure of holiness & thus authority, & the clearest mark of love is the creative attempt to love those different from yourself. Here you must brook no opposition, for true tolerance will beat down those who stand up against it with the violence of love. The hatred of hate, as Fr. Despereaux suggested to your fine school paper, is essential to the Catholic ethos, & must grow ever-stronger & harsher if you are to prevail.

Read the rest here.

Comments

  1. Better Satan than Sebelius. ;)

  2. I can’t help but notice how the satirical remarks of the Prince of Darkness are simply a deliberate and over-the-top misreading of Fr. James Martin’s (SJ, of course!) comments in your previous post…

  3. It’s clever. But its real cleverness, perhaps unintentional, is in serving as a cautionary note not to abandon our ability to discern truth in whatever form it arrives, instead of judging faith by its cover. The real Satan is a liar who twists truth to serve what we need to hear, and cheers when we stop thinking and simply embrace ideologies wholesale. The truth is that the diversity of our world and our Church IS a blessing, as are human curiosity and creativity, and advancements in science and medicine. That evil motives will misuse these blessings or foolish people idolize them does not mean they should be dismissed as demonic. Discernment is as much needed a skill and a grace as ever.

    God gave us brains; it’s Satan who wants us to stop using them. As Robert Bolt had Thomas More say to his daughter Meg in A Man for All Seasons, “God made the angels to show Him splendor, as He made animals for innocence and plants for their simplicity. But Man He made to serve Him wittily, in the tangle of his mind.”

  4. Bill McGeveran says:

    I was surprised, but relieved, to discover that the devil doesn’t turn out to be much worse than a warmed over (no pun intended) version of Ralph Waldo Emerson. He even makes some good points. If it isn’t too late I would advise the local bishop not to bother about getting him disinvited.

  5. Peregrinus says:

    “The possibility of abuse does not prevent the use” as they say.

  6. pagansister says:

    Manny, he is cuter than Sebelius is. :o)

  7. Why is it considered acceptable, and always “open season” to slam the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) on this blog, be it on the posts or the comments? The Society of Jesus has an incredible history of service to the Church world-wide, and in particular to the Church in the USA. The Jesuits comprise the largest religious order in the USA. A great many of the universities and colleges established by the Jesuits are ranked among the best in American higher education. The Society of Jesus has produced a great many saints through the ages, and I dare say I have personally known some who are not canonized at this time. The Jesuit reputation for scholarship and intellectual pursuit in its colleges and universities is of the highest caliber. Many of the great universities of Europe were originally established by the Jesuits, continuing as such until politics intervened at different times over the years. The Jesuit commitment to Social Justice has been exemplary to society at large. I know that there is no harm in an occasional sense of humor on our normally dour Catholic Church, but the way the Catholic fundamentalists make sport of trashing the Jesuits is starting to take on a life of its own and and starting to get a traction and credibility among the unknowing that is totally undeserved and wrong.

  8. Anthony DiStefano says:

    As author of the post, which was not written for this site, I take strong exception to your characterization of both myself & the post. The satire is not directed at the Jesuits. In fact, I identify the university only as a Catholic institution. Moreover, to throw the term “Catholic fundamentalists” around so casually seems to mimic the very problem you are addressing. And simply trotting out the contributions of the Jesuits as a whole since their inception is hardly a sufficient defense of much of the silliness that so many Jesuit institutions, like Georgetown, have fallen prey to. Unless, of course, you think the invitation to the HHS secretary a judicious one. I suppose from one point of view what she is trying to mandate qualifies as “Social Justice”? If this is what the Jesuits mean by that term, let’s just stop using the term altogether & avoid embarrassment.

    The size of a religious order is irrelevant to whether or not it is obedient to the Church, which it is called to serve, not subvert, as is how many high caliber academics belong to it. Many religious orders older than the Jesuits have a long & distinguished history, & we should of course should of course celebrate that history, regardless of whose it is. But Jesuit history & accomplishments are no substitute for living faithfully here & now, & I for one—who did my doctoral work in theology at a Jesuit university—grow weary of the tolerance among the Jesuits for ideas that run contrary to the most basic Church teachings, doctrinal & moral. There are heterodox members of any number of orders & universities, to be sure, but it does seem that the letters S.J. are too often found in stories reporting dissent from Church teaching. This is not to condemn the Jesuit order as a whole, only to draw attention to something that should concern all Catholics, especially those in the Jesuit order.

    I don’t read this blog, so I don’t know if your complaint of frequent slamming of the Jesuits is accurate or not. But I do suspect that the slamming, here or elsewhere, would lessen considerably if Jesuit institutions would invite as commencement speakers people who do not actively & with seeming relish distort the Church’s teaching. “Men & Women for Others” includes all others, does it not? Perhaps speaker Sebelius might surprise us & give a speech defending the weakest & most vulnerable members of society, something the Jesuits used to do with regularity. I fear, however, that the likes of St. Peter Clever, S.J., are not too welcome among the Jesuits today. I would love to be proved wrong.

  9. I thank you for acknowledging the chip on your shoulder about the Jesuits.

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