“Sacred Monkeys in the Vatican”
“Sacred Monkeys in the Vatican”
By John Vennari
“What a chump! What a glorious chump! Oh, Mummy, who could have dreamed he’d swallow it. I told him such a lot besides. About sacred monkeys in the Vatican — all kinds of things.” - Cordelia Flyte
Those familiar with Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited will recall this classic scene.
Julia Flyte, the lovely daughter of the aristocrat Lady Marchmain of Britain, plans to marry the worldly Rex Mottram. Rex lives in the realm of politics and high finance, is ignorant of religion, and is receiving instruction to become Catholic. Indifferent to Catholicism, he is converting so the couple can have a grand cathedral wedding – which is forbidden to mixed marriages.
Rex knows only his little world and is ignorant of most else. Years later, a sadder but wiser Julia describes him as “a small part of a man pretending to be whole.”
Father Mowbray, the priest saddled with instructing the convert, is constantly astonished at Rex’s vapidity. “He doesn’t seem to have the least intellectual curiosity or natural piety,” says the priest.
At one point, Father Mowbray asks him whether Our Lord had more than one nature. Rex responds: “Just as many as you say, Father.” Rex’s exchanges with Father Mowbray provide some of the book’s funniest moments.
During the course of instruction, as Father Mowbray tells Lady Marchmain, Rex challenges the priest, saying that he’s talked to a pious, well-educated Catholic and he’s learned a few things that Father Mowbray left out.
“For instance,” says Rex, “that you have to sleep with your feet pointing East, because that’s the direction of Heaven, and if you die at night you can walk there…. And what about the Pope who made one of his horses a cardinal? And what about the box you keep in the church porch, and if you put in a pound note with someone’s name on it, they go to Hell. I’m not saying that there mayn’t be a good reason for all this, but you ought to tell me about it and not let me find out for myself.”
When Father Mowbray and Lady Marchmain puzzle “who could Rex have been talking to?” the mischievous young Cordelia laughingly bursts, “What a chump! ... who would have dreamed he’d swallow it all. I told him such a lot besides ... About sacred monkeys in the Vatican…”
What appeared as ludicrous under the satiric pen of Evelyn Waugh is now the reality of the post-Conciliar Church.
On December 8, at the opening of Francis’ “Year of Mercy,” an ecological light show projected animals and endangered species onto the façade of St. Peter’s at the Vatican. Its goal was to display Francis’ Laudato Si in vivid imagery. Environmentalism effectively raises animals and all of nature to the realm of the ‘sacred,’ claiming that “everything is interconnected,” trees, mushrooms, worms, fish, apes, man, the divine. Once again, Evelyn Waugh is prophetic — sacred monkeys at the Vatican.
We now have generations of Catholics, many of which are ‘a small part of a man pretending to be whole,’ who are almost as ignorant of the true Faith as is our pathetic Rex.
This ignorance is not necessarily their fault. It is due primarily to the new conciliar orientation wherein genuine Catholic doctrine is no longer taught, and eclipsed by counterfeit systems of ecumenism, continuous aggiornamento, social justice slogans and ecology.
Rex Mottram is clueless and gullible, and thus believes Cordelia’s preposterous joke.
Our present generation of Rex Mottram Catholics, rendered clueless and gullible by post-Conciliar leadership, thrill at Francis’ ecological lightshow — one of the most preposterous and blasphemous jokes of all.
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