The Oops Factor
By R. D. Flavin


Captain Steven Hiller:
What do you say we try that again?

David Levinson:
Yes, yes, yes; ...without the oops.
From Independence Day (Devlin & Emmerich, 1996).

     A couple of weeks ago, the Vatican sent out questionnaires in advance of next year's Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization.”  Responses are expected back before December 31st, return-postage was likely not included because of recent financial issues between Vatican City and Italy, and replies were asked to be brief so editors can select the good parts to pass on to the secretaries by the end of January 2014.  A few days ago, the 2013 US Election Day asked voters for their choices on local and some state contests, referendums, and questions.  Oh well, my guy for mayor of Boston lost...  Terms and new laws begin in January.  Ballot dogma is a necessary process for progress though we must be mindful of the inherent oops factor when using “good intentions” during construction.  [See: Matthew 7:24-29, the twenty-seven amendments to the US Constitution, and the Star Trek movies by J. J. Abrams...]

     We endure flawed systems without choice and leave perfection to theologians, mathematicians, and the folks that put together the Victoria Secrets catalogs.  The grudgematch of freewill versus determinism will likely end in a draw and its value as entertainment will be delightfully entropic.  Yes, opinions are like assholes, everyone has one, needs one, and while it's possible to function without one the prospect is appropriately a crappy one.  Positive and productive growth is a good thing for both Catholicism and American-style democracy.  It's the bad growths and really bad opinions we occasionally have to contend with which makes reality more real than reality television.  Oops, that was awkwardly trans-sentient.

     American politicians and law-makers are, for the most part, still trying “to form a more perfect Union” and His Holiness Pope Francis and the Canon Law-making Hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church are still trying to ...keep the sheep safe until the End of Days or whatever their end-game is.  Humility (aka truth and “transparency”) requires we acknowledge mistakes and become adept and wicked better at promising such behaviors and actions will never, with a double-plus-extra promise, happen again.  Yeah, neither the Americans or Catholics have killed a witch in a long time, but that's more of a US hands-on approach to governing choice, while the Church is keeping it pastoral these days and hasn't maintained an army since 1870.  Laws often get struck down, amended, changed, or occasionally superseded by a New Deal or Covenant or Obamacare.  However, hands-down, the Church wins by priding itself in progressing slower than molasses going up Vatican Hill in January!

     The questions sent to the Bishops concern the future of Catholic evangelizing with consideration of the changing definitions and values of family and household.  The unmarried (“cohabitation ad experimentum”) and same-sex unions with kids need Happy Meal communion too and the Holy Father wishes advice before the scheduled 2015 Ordinary General Assembly of Bishops to work out new operating “guidelines” for the McChurch and its franchises.  Its good of the Catholics to serve sinners, now if they could just introduce a value penance menu available from a drive-through...

     That both the Vatican and the United States of America have recently decided it's okay to take money from gays and pot smokers seems encouraging.  The Holy Father has mentioned that American Catholics need to chill with the anti-abortion intimidation, but it was at a sound-byte and not an excommunication and slow-roast-in-Hell level.  Yeah, Texas and other states are going out of their way not to lighten up on abortion rights, contraception, and same-sex unions, with birth-control pills being scheduled to make an appearance at the US Supreme Court sometime soon.  Darn, even Ireland is changing the way it moves its bowels on women's rights.

     American Catholic apologists have to shoulder the explanations of slavery, the delay in women's suffrage and fair and equitable civil and human rights laws, as well as apologize for The Holy Inquisition and kick-starting the global child sex-abuse scandals.  As my kind Catholic mother was born on November fifth, I try and not remember or think about the Gunpowder Plot and Pope Day (i.e.., anti-Catholic) drunken revelries in colonial Boston.  Neither candidate for mayor of Boston seemed qualified (or old enough) and apparently voting for a Connolly on the basis of his Irish surname wasn't popular and widespread enough.  Sure, Walsh is Irish-American, but the taint of the Unions is strong with this one...

     The US Supreme Court recently enabled redneck states to change voting rights laws without prior federal approval and it's on a dysfunctional Congress to decide if further oversight is warranted.  While the Church seeks a continued enforcement of 1968's Humanae Vitae encyclical by Pope Paul VI about married love and birth control, there's already a change in approach to non-traditional marriages and maybe we might see some acceptance of rubbers to prevent the spread of AIDS and other diseases.  Married lesbian Catholic priests, despite what the Anglo-Catholics are doing, are probably gonna' have to wait awhile.  I'm not sure if gay and lesbian couples, especially with kids, are going to want to spend their Sunday mornings in church, but if they want to it's kinda' cool that the Rock is softening to tolerance.

     Apologists get better with the oops factor over time.  America has and must continue to apologize to the Native Americans for its past mistakes and should double-plus-extra promise to stop trying to exploit protected and sacred lands.  The Church won't consider apologizing for the Crusades as that would mean addressing the fuzzy math of the Knights Templar, though with Saudi Arabia purchasing nuclear weapons from Pakistan a few fruit baskets might be in order.  I mean, Vatican City can only count on France for so much...  However, one can say “I'm sorry” until one's face is the color of a Blue State, but actions and progressive change will win votes and souls alike.  I almost typed aggressive change...  Oops!

Forgive me, Mom, for not voting twice,

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