There are two very amusing April Fools’ Day jokes that I’ve run across that are particularly appropriate to this blog. First, is the story, via New Zealand, about Pope Francis’s decisions to develop the New Ecumenical English Missal Project.
Like other surprise announcements of Pope Francis, this one goes totally beyond expectations. In the document entitled (still surprisingly in Latin!) Aprilis Stulte Dies(translation of the Latin here), the pope reveals that a board will oversee a commission of English-language liturgical, linguistic, and musical experts.
Four people will form this board. The four are (left to right in the photo above) Bishop Susan Johnson (National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada), Pope Francis, the Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori (Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church), and the Most Reverend Justin Welby (Archbishop of Canterbury). The gender and church-background mix is seen to be no accident.
One of the strongest criticisms of the current English Language Missal Translation is its gender-exclusive language. Prior to this current translation many texts were shared ecumenically. This new work, however, will move beyond a few shared texts. The whole text will be usable by English-language liturgical churches. Insiders predict that the commission will start by trying to bring together the best of the rejected 1998 translation and The Episcopal Church’s Book of Common Prayer.
Only dioceses and churches that wish to take up the Ecumenical English Missal will do so. In the Roman Catholic Church it will be used as a third “form”. Alongside the Ordinary and Extraordinary Form will be an “Ecumenical Form”. Other denominations will be able to use it however their particular decision-making bodies allow. The work will be copyright-free.
Meanwhile, I saw some surprising notices in the Dominicana feed in my RSS reader. To wit:
Editor’s note: Following a lengthy and ancient tradition of taking Jesuits prisoner, the Friars Preachers from Dominicana Blog have seized The Jesuit Post until further notice. We’ve begun negotiations, but seriously, have you ever tried to argue with a Dominican? Point, sub-point, sub-sub-point. As the philosopher said, “This could take a long time!” We’re pretty sure we’ll eventually get TJP back (we think we finally have some serious pull in Rome). But until then, turnabout is fair play, so we hacked our way into Dominicana (hint: “angelicdoctor” is a really obvious password).
This obviously sent me over to The Jesuit Post site where I found, among several other “guest” posts, one that made good on that “point, sub-point, sub-sub-point” promise. You see, several of the friars have taken up the question “Whether the Society of Jesus is Greater than the Order of Preachers?”
Objection 2: The imperfect precedes the perfect in the order of generation, just as simple cat videos precede auto-tuned cat videos. But St. Dominic founded the Order of Preachers in the 13th century, whereas St. Ignatius founded the Society in the 16th century. Therefore, it seems that the Society of Jesus is more perfect, and hence greater, than the Order of Preachers.
Reply to objection 2: Although the imperfect precedes the perfect in the order of generation, the perfect necessarily precedes the imperfect in the order of exemplarity, as is exceedingly evident in comparing the original Judge Dredd to the 2012 remake. And since St. Ignatius was inspired to be like St. Dominic, who was himself inspired by the venerable John Cassian, who in turn learned at the feet of Abba Moses in the Egyptian desert, it is better to say that the life of cenobitic, Gospel-preaching, basket-weaving desert monks is the most perfect.
Please share any other fun religion, philosophy, etc April Fools’ jokes in the comments below.