Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Catholic Church Makes Amends

Father Paul Minnihan stands at a podium before a crowd of people outside of his cathedral.

Father Paul: Today, the people of the world face an uncertain future. The global economy is in recession, our political leaders are divisive, and the moral decay of our families and neighborhoods seems rampant. Now, more than ever, people need The Church to help guide them through these tumultuous times.

But people are not always ready to accept The Church in their lives. They aren't always open to the idea. They aren't always willing.

I understand that We haven't always been perfect in The Church. We have given plenty of people plenty of reasons not to place their trust in Us. And I understand that it may be difficult for those people to embrace The Church back into their lives. But We believe in saving every soul. We believe that you are all Our children.

So, today, it is The Church that asks for forgiveness for Our past transgressions. We are here to present a gift to the victims of those unspeakable acts that took place on the grounds of Our churches. We hope it eases the pain and suffering of all of you, and welcomes you back into the arms of The Church.

A curtain drops to unveil The Church's gift.

The crowd applauds mildly.

There we are. I hope we can all move beyond all the sordid allegations of the past, those both true and fabricated, and walk together, hand in hand, into The Church. Thank you.

Father Paul attempts to step out from behind the podium. A man raises his hand and stands up in the crowd.

Man in the crowd: Uh, I'm sorry. What is that?

Father Paul: Hmm? Oh yes, my child. Did you have a question?

Man: Yeah. Umm. What is that?

Father Paul: Well, you see it's a rock. And it's our gift to you.

Man: Your gift. Is a rock.

Father Paul: Yes.

Father Paul gathers the papers at the podium.

Man: Yeah, sorry, hold on there. Still not quite getting it. Your myself and all your other victims here and across the a fucking rock?

Father Paul squints disapprovingly.

Father Paul: What is your name, my child?

Man: Okay. Not your child. But my name is Tim Boyd.

Father Paul: Well you did not let me continue, my sweet Timmy Boy. We got something else for you all. Take a look behind the rock in the garden. We got you something extra special.

Tim Boyd: Uh-huh. Right. Sooo...this and the rock?

Father Paul: Yes. Happy now? I mean, that should give you some peace, my son.

Tim Boyd: This says, "Planned by survivors." I don't remember planning any of this. Did any victims really plan this?

Father Paul: Well maybe not technically, but We had your thoughts and feelings in mind, when We planned it.

Another man stands up.

Victim #2: Does that actually say "we remember?" Isn't that kind of weird?

Father Paul: The Church wanted to-

Tim Boyd: Holy shit it does. I didn't even read it at first because I figured, ya know, what the hell are a few sentences going to say to wash away a lifetime of sexual abuse, but my god. They actually admit they remember.

Father Paul: Well yes We remember, of course. We like to think of those times order to dissuade Ourselves from ever doing that again.

Victim #2: I dunno. Still kinda seems like the type of thing you should be forgetting. I mean we remember, ya know? My god, we remember. Hard to forget all those late nights...cold...and alone...ohh god. But, uh, I think it's not really something you guys should be reminiscing about.

Father Paul: Look, We're saying We remember it so that you know that We sympathize with you and We know what you're going through.

Victim #3: Oh DO YOU?

Father Paul: Cheese and crackers! We're trying to extend an olive branch here. I think if you'll give it a chance you may really like it. It's not just the rock and the plaque; it's an entire garden. We even have two benches: one facing The Church and one facing away from The Church if you feel like you still can't just let it go.

Tim Boyd: Wow. There's more. So let me get this straight. Your plan in all this is to get us to come back to The Church where we were sexually molested?

Father Paul: No. Well, there was never a plan, as such, it's just-

Tim Boyd: And presumably bring our families with us?

Father Paul: No, no. Well, yes! I mean, if you have children of course We'd always love to extend-

Tim turns to the crowd.

Tim Boyd: Hey, guys. Anyone here ever go to church again after they were sexually abused? I mean willingly go to church, not like when you were forced to go because you couldn't share the horrible secret that you were molested by your priest.

Victim #2: Nooo.

Victim #3: No way!

Victim #4: Are you serious?

Victim #5: Douche chills!

Victim #6: YES.

Tim Boyd: What? You do?

Victim #6: Well, yes. But I'm a pedophile now, sooo. It's just business.

Tim Boyd: Fair enough.

Father Paul: Guys, guys. You don't have to come back to The Church, okay? I don't know what I was saying with that. I think I overshot it a bit. But, look, We gave you the rock, the plaque, the garden. That's gotta be worth something, right? So whattaya say. Can we call it even?

Tim Boyd: Oh yeah. Of course. Even Steven.

Father Paul: Thank the Lord.

Tim Boyd: Sure, sure. So long as that rock can unrape me.

Father Paul: What?

Tim Boyd: Well that rock- that rock you gave us. That can unrape me, right? That can undo the years of sexual abuse I endured, no? I just figure that's what you gave it to us, right? To erase all the physical and mental torture? The rock that has the power to right the wrongs of a thousand priests molesting a thousand children? Even Steven?

Father Paul: Son, I know you're hurting but-

Victim #7: I was raped with a broom. Can it undo that too?

Victim #8: I'm looking for full coverage over here. Kinda don't wanna get into all of the details but...

Father Paul: I really don't think this is the time for a discussion like that. Perhaps tonight we can meet in my rectory and have a more private-

Tim Boyd: Oh my god, are you still angling for that? You guys never learn. I'm like 40 now, pal. Consider me off the market.

Victim #9: I'm sorry I'm still a bit unclear on what that turd is doing in the middle of the garden.

Tim Boyd: What turd?

Father Paul: That's not a turd! Ahem. That's a rock.

Tim Boyd: Big upgrade.

Victim #9: Well, if you were going to give us a rock, then why is it all cracked.

Father Paul shuffles papers on the podium and then peers down through his reading glasses.

Father Paul: The shattered stone represents the shattered lives of the victims.

Victim #9: Seriously?

Father Paul: What. I thought it was nice!

Victim #9: I would have rather had the turd.

Father Paul: How is a turd better than a rock?!

Victim #9: At least a turd takes effort.

Victim #10: Excuse me, I haven't made an observation yet.

Father Paul: Jesus fucking Christ, I've had enough of you people! We try to do something nice and all you do is bitch, bitch, bitch! Goddamnit what do We have to do to get you to stop crying?! We're sorry, okay?!? SORRYYYY!! NOW GO SIT ON YOUR GODDAMN TURD ROCK AND FUCKING FORGIVE US!!!

The crowd sits back in stunned silence. Father Paul clears his throat, adjusts his collar, and walks off stage toward Father O'Hagan.

Father Paul: Ohhh this is bad.

Father O'Hagan: You're goddamn right it is.

Father Paul: Thisisbad. Thisisbad.

Father O'Hagan: We have to go into damage control. The rock didn't work. How else can we buy back their love? What does everyone love?

Father Paul: Ipods? Beer? Cash?

Father O'Hagan: I've got it!

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