Cardinal Walter Cleaver
It’s “just one more hopeful sign”, said Cardinal Walter Cleaver, head of the Vatican Congregation for Christian Eulogy. “If fewer Catholic churches mean more opportunities for dialogue—well I guess we’ve done our job. It’s what Jesus would do.”

The prominent churchman was responding to questions about an October 2009 report released by the Anti-Catholic Liberty Union (ACLU), which found that cities with a reduced number of Catholic churches within their precincts not only garnered more votes in a recent Pakistan Today poll of best U.S. cities in which to raise children, but also recorded dramatic spikes in quality of life indicators within the Muslim community. The study predicts that by 2012, Buffalo, New York, will be the most Muslim-friendly city in the world, including Mecca.

When asked for comment, a spokeswoman for the diocese of Buffalo pointed us to their website where Bishop Ian Sane has pledged to either sell or raze to the ground every Catholic church left in the city by April 1, 2012. “Purging towards unity. That’s our motto, and it’s what the ecumenical movement is really all about,” His Excellency noted.

“We’re very, very pleased, of course” said a spokesman for the Muslim American Center, who spoke to us on condition of anonymity. “I mean, let’s face it, we wouldn’t have given two hoots for interfaith dialogue were it not for just this sort of special consideration of the needs of our community. Besides, they lay out first rate luncheons for us when we’re in Rome. We feel this whole thing has been a win-win opportunity for us.”

When asked if the Catholic Church has considered a recent ACUL-sponsored petition in Rome to have Michelangelo’s Dome of St. Peter dismantled as a show of Christian sensitivity, Cardinal Cleaver replied: “Why not? As the Second Vatican Council clearly teaches somewhere or other, domes and steeples and all that medieval jazz are reminders of a Catholic triumphalism we don’t even like, much less the Muslims. And you know what? We no longer need big worship spaces. Those little flat jobs we were cranking out back in the ‘70s accommodate what’s left of the Catholic Christian community just fine.”

Cardinal Cleaver is scheduled to visit the Holy Land next month to kick off an exciting new ecumenical project that has as its aim to reduce the architectural prominence of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. “That’s a big church,” he told us, “which makes some of our Jewish dialogue partners uncomfortable. And, you know what? That makes me uncomfortable!”

Note: In today’s mail I received a photocopy of the above Remnant bit from October of 2009. My correspondent, utterly oblivious to the fact that it had originated in The Remnant and was in fact a parody, was actually taking me to task for not doing something to expose the apostate Catholic, “Cardinal Walter Cleaver”—whose name appeared in the original article, by the way, beneath a picture of actor Tony Dow.
Given this, as well as the news today that the Vatican is backing this, we thought we'd repost this bit as yet another proof that, to paraphrase Archbishop Leavitt Tobeavera, parody is impossible today because we live in an age whose absurdities are incapable of enlargement. MJM