Saturday, 1 November 2008

The New RC Formation Test

The first sex test for intending Catholic priests has taken place. In Harley Street, London, not so far from Westminster Cathedral, there is a consulting room consisting of a desk with papers strewn, a cabinet, a long mirror, a screen, a treatment couch, a treatment table, seats, a disposal bin, certificates on the wall and a lit tall candle in one corner.

"Hello, I am a doctor approved by the Vatican; my name is Dr Bishop and you are, I take it, a candidate for the seminary - Mr Perfume. Is that right?"
"That's right. I am that, I am."
"Now, Mr Perfume, we need to run a number of tests to see that you can be a candidate for the priesthood. You understand that these tests are to decide if you are male or immature."
"I do doctor: in other words, 'Will I be a happy chappy?'"
"Yes. I'll just make a comment there on my paper. First, then, you go to an all male Catholic school, many of whom have been selected for priestly formation. How do you get on with women?"
"I have a number of women friends."
"Do you fancy any of them?"
"Oh yes."
"And when they leave your company: how do you think of them?"
"I say, give me a little kiss on the cheek, that's nice."
"No - in your dreams then."
"Trains. Trains I dream about, doctor."
"Do these trains go into tunnels? Are women some of your passengers?"
"Yes, and cuttings, and viaducts. Happy families and restaurant cars."
"Right. And do you have a number of male friends?"
"I do, yes."
"And how do you think of them when they leave."
"I say, give me a little kiss on the cheek, that's nice."
"Oh. And are men on your trains too? Going into tunnels: are workers on the line inside tunnels?"
"Signalmen. Workers in signal boxes, doctor. But train drivers and firemen are driving the trains. Big steam trains. A4s pumping hard, the fastest in the world. And men passengers, of course, with the women."
"Humm. Are children on your trains?"
"Oh yes. Excited by the journey, but do what daddy and mummy says."
"And mummy. Right. And what attracts you about clothes?"
"Well you have to protect against the smoke and the coal."
"Not on trains."
"I like how priests dress; learnt about all the layers of dress. I like a bit of colour."
"Oh. Well, em, difficult. Em, do you like your own company?"
"He's all right."
"Who is? Is he over there, at the candle?"
"I am he. He is me. He is all right. I am all right."
"Oh. So you sort of like your own company."
"He is all right. Two words."
"Right, well, there is some ambiguity in your words so we must come to the physical test. Drop your trousers and I'll put on some gloves. So the first test is I'll hold your urbi et orbi and you can cough. Here we go..."
"Yes. Interesting that you did not look down. Now let me just swing the same holy handbag. Humm."
"I'll, uh, look over there."
"Now the bellringing test, doing the Saint Percy. You can cough again if you want. Here we go..."
"Let me hold on to this a little longer... See if there is any formation... I let go... And now it is the time to enter the vestry. So you need to be..."
"Bending over?"
"Yes please. And in goes the priest, the deacon and the lay assistant. And out they come. Yes, you are still looking over there. So how do you react to me doing those tests? Could I do them again, Mr Perfume?"
"I've no objection, doctor, if it gets results. I was looking away."
"Well I won't. Pull up your pants and trousers and I'll dispose of these."
"Is that it Dr Bishop?"
"Yes, but I'm afraid you have failed my test. It is quite obvious from my test today that you were too attached to your mother in early infanthood and that your father had an insufficient impact on your life and this has led to your overall immaturity."
"Oh dear. Is that the trains doctor?"
"No, trains are quite normal for clergymen. It is that you have looked at the candle too often with its clear phallic overtones and this clearly is a distraction for you. I am sorry to report that 'the path of formation will have to be interrupted'."

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