|Pope Benedict XVI relishing the excommunication ceremony|
ROME, Italy - "It was a long time coming," one high ranking Vatican official that wished to remain anonymous said. "He's been wanting to do this for a while."
The Vatican announced Saturday that Pope Benedict XVI has formally excommunicated from the Catholic Church "all of Western Civilization - all of it!"
Among the reasons cited in the Vatican's official statement were "lack of will for their communities to survive as evidenced by a lack of child bearing, even among professed Catholics" and a question of whether those in the West "understood how a society continues on past the present generation"; "the phenomenon of Lady Gaga - which, when compared with the great medieval artistic masterpieces such as the Notre Dame Cathedral, makes obvious the steep decline of Western art"; as well as "the lack of any will by any of the last US presidents to carry out their duty as government officials, grounded in the natural law, to control the obviously unfair spending of the New York Yankees that completely ruins what is otherwise the last manly sport around."
The same day, Pope Benedict was reported as saying at a private audience: "We will have a smaller Church, but a stronger Church. The West obviously went apostate a long time ago. It is fitting for the Church to make canonical what in practice is already the case." When asked if the excommunication was meant to be understood as applied to all those living in "Western Civilization" regardless of their beliefs or practices, Benedict replied, "Yes, everyone. Absolutely everyone. You're all a part of it." A follow-up question asked if that included Benedict himself. Witnesses report that Benedict, visibly annoyed, muttered something under his breath, the only distinguishable phrases being "modernist logic", "smart-aleck", and "you know I meant", before declaring the question "absurd" and abruptly leaving the room. However, apparently flustered, Benedict left by the wrong door and quickly had to re-enter and cross the room to the correct door.
In a straw poll of Catholics leaving Mass in New York City last Sunday, most thought that the excommunication either "changes nothing" or welcomed it: "I for one am glad to get the Pope off our backs - good riddance," one worshiper said before excusing himself, saying that he was late for his liturgical dance practice.
One sociologist applauded "the Church's aggiornamento regarding finally viewing entire cultures as entities capable of receiving moral blame" and wondered if "this means the Church will be lifting its ban on contraception soon". However, Catholic theologians from multiple universities immediately condemned the decision. A letter being circulated for signatures among Catholic university professors and presidents says, "We write as loyal dissidents. Aside from the fact that its not clear exactly whom the intended recipients of this action are...[the] absurdity of excommunicating a broad cultural community has absolutely no precedence in the Tradition."
When asked about the letter, the Vatican's press spokesman was cut off by Pope Benedict XVI himself who grabbed the microphone and intoned with a low voice, "I am the Tradition." Benedict started laughing before being rushed out of the room by his secretary.
In an advance copy of a piece written by theologian Hans Kung soon to be published in the National Catholic Reporter, and obtained exclusively by Faux News: "Benedict is out of control," he wrote. "...[I]f this doesn't demonstrate the absolute bankruptcy of the modern papacy, nothing will."
Some welcomed the decision. "Finally! Yes! Touchdown!" Bill Donahue, president of the conservative Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, was heard yelling after hearing the news.
But many other conservative Catholics who have long called for a tougher response to dissent within the Church expressed concern. "I appreciate the intent to 'clean out the Church' so to speak, but this goes too far," George Weigel said in a phone interview. "After all, I live in Western Civilization, too. Does that mean that I'm excommunicated now? It must be narrowed, at least just to continental Europe."You can read the full story here.
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