Successful Satire Always Bites a Little

Today Father James Martin and our own Max Lindenman have created some biting satire (I might call Fr. Martin’s piece more of a parody) and I think both of them will tickle your funnybone while also biting the ankle — all with the result of getting you thinking, as they certainly did me.

First up, Fr. Martin does a brilliant (and brilliantly balanced) job of recreating the sort of exchanges all-too common to the combox, the FB page, the Direct Messages and so forth — we Catholics are a fearsome, fractious bunch, and the scoldings — from right to left and left to right and all places in between — seem to never end:

Me: You’re misunderstanding me. Of course I believe in the divinity of Christ. And the Resurrection.

Father, forgive me for pointing this out, but I couldn’t help noticing in your last comment that you said you believed in the divinity of Christ. What about his humanity? As you surely know (or at least I hope Jesuits are still taught this, as I was in Catholic school) that several ecumenical councils spoke definitively about his humanity (Ephesus, in 431 A.D. for example). I trust that you understand what that means, Father. This means that Jesus was a flesh-and-blood human being (Catechism of the Catholic Church No. 464). I feel obliged to ask: Do you believe him to be divine but not human? That is a heresy, as you know, Father, and I greatly fear for the church if priests are permitted spread such serious theological errors. It is, I would like to humbly remind you, the heresy of Docetism, (Nicea, 325 A.D., Catechism No. 465) where Jesus was not seen as a human being, but God simply “playacting” (as my dear theology professor used to tell our class) at being human. Surely you’re not suggesting that, are you, Father? Are you a Docetist? (Or, worse, a Monophysite?) Please send me your email address and I will forward you all the references to the councils so that you may read them, study them, and pray over them. I will do you the favor of awaiting an answer before I begin any formal canonical action against you.

Me: Look, I believe in both the divinity and humanity of Christ. I was only saying that I love Jesus. Can we perhaps move on?

I haven’t followed this thread and I don’t know what you posted about, but did you REALLY say that in your last comment? Move on??? Do you realize what it MEANS for a priest to tell a layperson like me to “move on”? Do you know how sick and TIRED we are of priests like you telling me what to do? I’ll move on when I want to move on!!! It’s this kind of clerical ARROGANCE that gave rise to the sexual abuse scandal. Is that what you want, Martin, a return to sexual abuse?!! And what’s with the “Look,” at the beginning of your snotty comeback? What’s THAT supposed to mean? Frankly I find that incredibly insulting. Who do you think you are? I don’t think you can ever fathom the anger that people like me have for priests like you. I used to like the Jesuits once, back when they cared about the poor. Now all you do is cater to the WEALTHY in your schools!! LOOK—as you might say to me–I studied theology too, am a lifelong Catholic (no matter WHAT any priest or bishop tells me), and don’t need to be told to “look” at anything. By ANY priest!!! I see very clearly, thank you. I see what the church is up to. Read the papers!!! It’s all about squashing the laity. Have you ever even HEARD of Vatican II???? For those of you as angry as I am, and SICK of being treated like dirt by the clergy, write to Martin’s superiors. Friend me on Facebook and I’ll give you all the addresses, which I got online at Better yet, stop buying his books.

Yes, read it all, it’s very funny, and — as my Auntie Lillie used to say, “it’s funny because it’s true!” To our collective shame.

Then go check out Max, who having noticed the depth of interest and astonishing furor arisen over the what I’ve taken to calling Battle of the Blessings and decided to go extreme commando on the issue via an “anonymous priest” of his own devising. It’s a bit of a mirror for anyone who has ever woken up in the mood to just kick a puppy:

Kids. Can’t stand ‘em. Monsters of ego, every one. You know how you can tell a kid from a leech? That’s a trick question: you can’t. Well, actually, you can. If a leech gets hold of you, you can burn it off with a Bic lighter. Try that with a kid, and sure as you’re born, the little bastard will scream and cry like a Templar at the stake. Then he’ll tell his parents and you’ll get a nasty letter from your vicar general.

Small wonder nobody wants to have ‘em anymore. They’re plumb useless. In the old days, you could put ‘em to work — small hands were made for cleaning out machinery. You could send one off to the army, to be a drummer, or to the navy, to be a powder monkey. If the kid was a girl, you could marry it off, although I’m sure those dowries tended to eat into the old retirement fund. I’m not sure I completely hold with that dothead practice of eighty-sixing girl children, but then, every man of affairs has to cut down on his overhead somehow. It’s a dog-eat-dog world, and there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

So, I take it upon myself, as a pastor and catechist, to strip these little maggots of any illusions about the world, specifically, about their own significance in it. Whenever one tells me, “Good morning, Father,” I’ll ask, “What have you done for me lately?” Or I’ll say, “You want it to be a good morning? Wash my car. That’d be good.” And then, to drive home the point — because, God knows, this is an ignorant generation — I’ll flip the bird.

The wrist rocket is pretty focused, but there is some collateral damage. check it out.

Photo courtesy of

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • kevin

    Father Martin seems to love mocking the plebes in the “comboxes.”

    Max’s piece, yes funny.

  • Matthew Warner

    Good stuff! Reminds me of the bit of satire I wrote at the Register not too long ago. The comments were even better than the post.

    6 Ways to Know Your Dealing with a Catholic Heretic:

    [Pretty funny stuff, Matthew, and yes, totally spot-on. I actually had someone give me a hard time for referring to the Holy Father as Benedict, instead of "at the very least, POPE Benedict!" All I could do was say, "I lurves Papa and he knows it." Which of course, I have no idea whether he does or not! :-) Glad you stopped by and shared! _admin]

  • dry valleys

    Of course you don’t have to be a Catholic to get embroiled in this sort of thing!

  • kevin

    Someone should do this kind of thing about America Magazine and the blogtariat at some point. It would probably be funnier because it would be even more true. I can see it coming together now, “Let’s go behind the scenes at America Magazine, where intrepid Jesuits spend their time hunting heretic hunters and, not being able to find any, invent their own in their own mind, kind of like a virtual Hunger Games. And when they’re not busy doing that, they never rest in their quest to undermine the hierarchy on any issue dear to the heart of the democratic party. It’s not exactly Matteo Ricci in China, but hunting heretic hunters is not exactly easy work either.”

  • doc

    That snippet of Fr. Martin’s post was pretty funny. I know a few people who are “more Catholic than the pope”.

  • RMW

    Both pieces were very funny! Great satire.
    Although, I do have to admit that while I understand the Fr. Sticha’s point, I don’t feel sorry for him, as my opinion is that he brought this on himself. His original post was also deliberately inflammatory (“I despise blessing children” and assuming that the issue behind the blessing problem is that everyone is so entitled), so how did he expect people would react?

  • Victor

    Dear Anchoress,
    I guess Jesus knew what He was talking about when He said in so many words that we should Love our enemies and pray for those who persecute U>S (usual sinners)! Right? :)

    I hear ya folks! We’ll be praying for ya sinner vic.

    Thanks! I think? :(


  • Jan

    Father’s piece was very funny and rings true.
    Max’s piece…not so much.

  • jmm

    How did you get in touch with my liberal freinds on FB? It sounds exactly like her, oops I mean them, I mean…..forget it. How did you do that?

    Seriously, I have seen many comments like that when I put something on FB or reply to one of their posts. There is no arguing with them. All you get is “you hate woman!” “Don’t tell me what the Catholic Church believes, I have been going to church all my life!” etc. Very tiresome.