There has been much furor over the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) recent requirements for even more stringent security measures.  Full body imaging makes some people uncomfortable, if not for themselves, then certainly for their small children.  A more invasive ‘pat down’ procedure has civil rights activists up in arms.  Some people are outraged.  Others are resigned to it.  The goal is to keep everyone safe when flying.  The question is how much security is enough, and how much is too much?

For once, the church is actually a bit a head of the curve.  The Vatican version of the TSA, the CSA (Catholic Salvation Authority) has just announced its own set of screening measures, going into effect this coming week.  Every believer, when walking through the doors of church, will have to pass through, not a full body imaging scanner, but a full ‘soul image’ screening device.  Its intent, according to the press release, is to screen out any dangerous attitudes that would get in the way of people entering fully into the Mass and this season of Advent.

Fortunately for us, Wiki-leaks just posted a bootleg copy of the items the CSA considers dangerous and instructs us to make sure people leave at the door.  We’ll have bins in the vestibule for you to leave those items behind.  And like the airport, once you have left them there, you can’t retrieve them again.

(Unroll scroll…)

The CSA forbids the carrying on of:

  1. Any and all works of darkness.  These include but are not limited to: 
    1. Laziness and presumption:  There may not be tomorrow to get it right.  Because the day will come suddenly, right in the midst of ordinary behaviors.  Therefore, waiting till some vague ‘future’ to get your act together will no longer be allowed.  “Stay Awake, for you know not the day nor the hour…”
    2. Any excesses and indulgences that make the heart sated and sluggish.  Binge drinking, viewing pornography, treating people as objects for our own pleasure, using people for what they can give to you are no longer acceptable items to carry into church.  In fact, they never have been.
    3. Bellicose and warlike attitudes absolutely much be checked at the door.  Only pruning hooks and plowshares welcomed here.  And this is not limited to the personal sphere either.  We’re screening for more than just the ability to get along with crazy Aunt Matilda during the holidays.  Tacit complicity with unjust wars, support of the selling of arms and munitions such as cluster armaments that remain a risk decades after a conflict is over is not permitted in the church.  Letters, writing congress to ratify the treaty banning such munitions, that three fourths of the nations of the world signed, is strongly encouraged.
  2. Secondly, the Catholic Salvation Authority will be watching for less easily detected attitudes that cripple the soul.  Most often discovered in the type of humor and jokes that are passed on, any forms or racism, sexism, ageism or any other ‘ism’ will be confiscated and thrown into the trash where they belong.
  3. Furthermore, in an attempt to strengthen all travelers on their journeys to the kingdom, the CSA is inviting people to “put on the armor of light.”  To travel safely, please spend a few extra moments in prayer these weeks, opening a space for the Christ to be born in you once more.**  (for the Newman Center see …… below)

Oh, there’s an asterisk.  **In Normandy, Missouri, people must give up the practice sometimes known as “St. Ann’s time.”  (Hey, I don’t make this stuff up…(point to scroll) – there it is in the fine print…)  By drifting in to mass week after week, the ability to form a united and prayerful community is damaged; people’s concentration and ability to focus on the Word as it is proclaimed is stolen, and God is not praised as he could and should be by the worshipping community.

As the CSA becomes aware of further threats to the unity of the church and its preparation for the second coming of our Lord, we will make these known and initiate further security measures.  In the mean time, we appreciate your cooperation as we make this journey of Advent.  May you arrive at your destination safely with all your fellow passengers by leading lives of joyful expectation…

    In Normandy, Missouri, find something better to do at 3:30 p.m. than watch Jeopardy.”  (Hey, I don’t make this stuff up… [point to scroll] – there it is in the fine print…)  You don’t learn anything that matters; you sacrifice prime study time, and the world would be a much safer place if you spent that time having real conversations with the diverse group of people in that room than watching Alex Trebek.  😉