"Look, Fadda! I seen Laurie Goodstein from da Noo Yawk Times, and her head was spinnin' 'round like a top!"
"Aye, my son. That's because the devil has a hold on her filthy soul, the ink-stained wench! Now, you remember that if you tell your mother about our 'meetings,' you'll go straight to hell, right?"
That's a cheap shot, you say? Well . . . yes. I agree with you. It's a bigoted, stereotypical and nasty cheap shot.
On Good Friday, no less.
BUT WHEN IT COMES to cheap shots -- and playing fast and loose with the truth (not to mention wild speculation about the workings of angels and demons) -- is that really any worse than this, uncritically reported by the Catholic News Service?
Noted Italian exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth, commented this week that the recent defamatory reporting on Pope Benedict XVI, especially by the New York Times, was “prompted by the devil.”
Speaking to News Mediaset in Italy, the 85-year-old exorcist noted that the devil is behind “the recent attacks on Pope Benedict XVI regarding some pedophilia cases.”
“There is no doubt about it. Because he is a marvelous Pope and worthy successor to John Paul II, it is clear that the devil wants to ‘grab hold’ of him.”
Father Amorth added that in instances of sexual abuse committed by some members of the clergy, the devil “uses” priests in order to cast blame upon the entire Church: “The devil wants the death of the Church because she is the mother of all the saints.”
I KNOW a little bit about this mindset; I've seen it close up, and I know how alluring it can be.
It's alluring because it allows you to evade responsibility for your own sins. You're good, and any bad thing that happens to you -- any bad thing you do to yourself or others -- well, it's just not your fault. The devil made you do it.
It was a satanic attack. Yeah, that's the ticket. . . .
It's right out of an old Flip Wilson sketch featuring "Geraldine."
* I bought a hunk of junk car, then didn't have any maintenance done on it. And -- who'd a thunk it! -- it broke down when I was on my way to a job interview. I don't understand these constant attacks by Satan! He's trying to thwart me, and harm the Catholic Church!
* I love my wife, but these attacks by Satan are always forcing me to have sex with prostitutes! Now she's divorcing me, and my kids are going to grow up in a broken home!
Damn you, Satan! Oh, wait. . . .
* I'm a Catholic priest, and Satan forced me to enter the priesthood even though I've always been attracted to boys much younger than myself. And now, the demons have made me volunteer to be the head of my parish's youth programs!
Satan is making me molest 12-year-olds against my will! The devil is trying to destroy the church! It's not my fault!
What will the prince of darkness do next? Make my bishop move me to another parish when I get caught?
Not only that . . . the devil is going to dictate a story about child molestation in the church to Laurie Goodstein! The horror!
BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, none of us have free will. And none of us are capable of summoning the will -- none of us are capable of accessing the divine grace -- to look Lucifer in the eye and say "no."
Catholics have been saying the Prayer to St. Michael, begging protection against "the wickedness and snares of the devil," since 1886 out of sheer boredom, of course, being that resistance is futile when it comes to the Evil One. It -- obviously -- has been predestined that priests must submit to the devil's entreaties to screw little kids, and that their superiors must cover up that priests have screwed little kids.
This has been preordained so the devil can make priests screw more little kids, all so his malevolent majesty will have something juicy to make Laurie Goodstein of the New York (Satanic) Times write about.
In order to destroy the Catholic Church.
And perhaps a few immortal souls along the way . . . but that's not important now.
Because it's all about us.
And don't think the devil doesn't know it.