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Pope Leo I Weighs in on the Papacy

With the assistance of Gabriel, Pope Leo I (440-461) recently popped up at the Holy See. There, the zealous paladin of ecumenical orthodoxy chatted with members of the college of cardinals on the eve of a conclave to choose a successor to Pope John Paul II. Afterwards, Leo indited an epistle to the Apostolic College of Primates Tertiary in Constantinople, with copies to the Metropolitans Regular of the Blessed Sacrament in Rome, the Canons Irregular of the Redemptive Blood, the Lay Daughters of the Franciscan Annunciades, and the Prioresses Minor of Our Lady of Infinite Epithets. Stamped “undeliverable,” a copy of the letter was inexplicably propped against my weathered St. Francis. By candlelight, I translated Leo’s clangorous Latin into English (below). May the labor shorten my tenure in purgatory.

To the keepers of the truth faith, greetings from Rome, circa 2000 A.D.: Grace from God the Father, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

Oh, what dismal tidings do I bear! Not the hubbub of the hour–that clerics practice pedophilia. Forget the pedophiles. Lechery–like sloth, gluttony, and the poor–will always be with us. My news is of a darker dye.

A spiritual malaise infects the Bride of Christ. The quest for ecumenical dominion languishes. Pagan religions flourish. Schisms proliferate unchecked. Faith is flaccid. Accommodation of infidels is rampant.

The one true faith is imperiled by a thousand noxious creeds: Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Baha’i, Jain, Shinto, Parsee, Mandean, Mormon, Anglican, Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Unitarian, Methodist, Baptist, Assembly of God, Church of God, Nazarene, Jehovah’s Witness–a vile menagerie of theological perversions.

Within the Church, the laity is abysmally unedified. The flock confounds not only ousia and hypostases, homoousion and homoiousion, the anthropic and anthropotheic, Real Presence and Surreal Presence, but confuses such simple distinctions as begotten and made, substance and person, transubstantiation and consubstantiation.

The flock misdirect inquiries because they muddle the purviews of secular tertiaries, regular tertiaries minor clerks regular, canonesses regular, prioresses, abbesses, friars minor, conventual friars minor, lay brothers, itinerant clergy, superiors-general, chaplains-general, chaplains-palatine, inquisitors-general, vicars-general, apostolic vicars, apostolic nuncios, ecclesiastical chamberlains, ecclesiastical judges, directors of pontifical taxes, penitentiaries of the diocese, prebendaries, legates, prelates, metropolitans, primates of the realm, novice masters, deacons, subdeacons, choir monks, lectors, secular priests, provincials, pastors, oblates, curates, procurators, almoners, sacristans, cantors, coadjutors, oratorians, refractories, suffragans, infirmarians, hospittalers, ostiaries, and other holy offices. Verily, the people are immersed in a slough of ignorance.

Even illustrious saints are forgotten: Poppo, Bodo, Odo, Bruno, Dodo, Little Anthony, Gomer, Lucifer, Pudentiana, Lucy, Linus. Why, some have never heard of me!

Without the infinite mercies of Our Lord, mediated by His earthly vicars, this flock will surely perish. No one trods the straight and narrow path to salvation.

The shepherds are scarcely better. Priests prefer comfort to the cross. No exemplars of austerity inspire the multitude. No Simeon Stylites sups on maggots while poised atop a sixty-foot pillar. No Amatus dwells in a deep crevice, his meager ration of barley and water lowered on a rope. No Adolph daily lashes himself until he bleeds. No Conrad rolls in thorns to rout the demons of carnal temptation. Where is the monk who hourly steeps himself in freezing water and bangs his head against a rock? Where, I say, are the true penitents?

The late heir to the apostolic succession, one Pope John Paul II, was a decrepit parlor soldier discomfited by the spurting blood that nourishes Truth, a pusillanimous diplomat who wooed secular heads of state, an insidious proponent of interfaith alliances. John Paul had no stomach for the sanguinary measures the Church perforce adopted to squelch Arianism, Pelagianism, Semipelagianism, Manichaeism, Donatism, Montanism, Albigensianism, Catharism, Waldensianism, Modalism, Rigourism, Monothelitism, Nestorianism, Eutychianism, and other egregious heresies that threatened the immortal souls of benighted proselytes and wrought cankerous corruption of the body politic.

Now, heresies flourish like weeds. The squeamish college of cardinals, charged with selecting a new pope, doubts the efficacy of rack and screw, boiling cauldron, and glowing tong. The bishops maunder on about peaceful coexistence with other faiths, yea even with the faithless.

Coexistence with infidels! Oh, ye stalwart defenders of the faith, lift up the electors with your steadfast prayers. Show them the light! Show them a true soldier of the Lord.