Once more will he fill your mouth with laughter
and you lips with rejoicing.
A Devilish Conversation
Lucifer: As your first lieutenant, I’ll have to hand it to you, Mr. B. You’ve put the Catholic Church in crisis. I never thought it could be done.
Beelzebub: I’m not one to brag, but look at my figures: Today, one in ten Americans is a former Catholic. The number in the pipeline for future priests and nuns is now a trickle. Only 20% of Catholics go to Mass on Sunday. And look at the churches that are closing down —13 in Miami, 39 in Scranton, 33 in Albany, 52 in Cleveland — and that’s just the beginning. Already 170 parochial schools have shut their doors.
Lucifer: Wow! You’re a genius.
Beelzebub: For the past 2000 years, the three defenses the Church had that I couldn’t penetrate were first the Eucharist. That’s the anchor, the guts and the greatest spiritual value of all. When a believer appreciated and embraced the essence of God becoming Man and realized that in the Eucharist substance and spirit became one, I was shut out in the cold. Today, surveys show that only 30% of those attending Mass believe in Christ’s presence in Holy Communion.
Lucifer: What are the other defenses?
Beelzebub: A big one is Mary, the Mother of Jesus, therefore, the Mother of God. Since year one, she has been one of the most powerful combatants I’ve had to face. In every way, she embodies all that I detest. With her mystical and intimate spiritual power, she armored believers against everything I tried to do. Gad, how I hate that woman!
Lucifer: I imagine she feels the same way about you.
Beelzebub: But now, even though Pope Benedict entrusted the Church to the heavenly protection of Mary as the Mother of God and mother of all believers and of all humanity, most American Catholics are putting Mary on the shelf with the Rosary and all her trimmings. They agree with Protestants that Mary has too much prominence in the spiritual world. (Chuckling) So, they have put a straight-jacket on my one of my greatest opponents.
Lucifer: And what’s the third defense the Church used against you?
Beelzebub: Silence. The door is closed for me when Catholics shut out distractions and directly tune into any member of the Holy Trinity. Their meditation sickens me. It makes me feel so helpless I want to throw up.
Lucifer: But how did you get the Church to tear down these defenses?
Beelzebub: Well, regarding the Eucharist, the good Church fathers have minimized the importance of this key sacrament by developing what I call the busy Mass, which is more Protestant than many Protestant services. For example, they have made it a sing-along. Can you believe that in a busy Mass, the congregation is often encouraged to sing eight times during a one hour service? The music director is the majordomo of a Mass, and the priest is often a tag-along.
Beelzebub: Then I tricked the Church officials into adding a Communion Hymn. I convinced them it would be a means of singing praise, when it really is a device to keep the parishioners from concentrating on the spiritual depth of actually receiving the body and blood of God. And it works like a charm. The current church is more concerned about hymns than Him.
Lucifer: What’s the third defense you knocked out?
Beelzebub: You’re not listening. I told you, it’s quiet time and meditation. Now with the busy Mass, there is not eight seconds in the hour long service that is not filled with music, action and talk. They have eliminated silence for meditation — communication which binds man to God. So, now that silence and meditation are verboten, I have a picnic at every busy Mass, and I can romp wherever I want throughout defenseless Catholicism.
Lucifer: Fantastic! How did you do it?
Beelzebub: Remember that the most successful way to accomplish a bad thing it not through bad men. Instead, you misguide good people.
Lucifer: But I still don’t understand how you have achieved so much self-damage to the Church.
Beelzebub: Elementary, my dear Lucifer. Didn’t you ever hear of mind control?
(And what are your thoughts?)
When mailing an old family Bible to her brother, the mail clerk asked if there was anything breakable inside. She replied, “Only the Ten Commandments.”