William Oddie has offered in the Catholic Herald some suggestions for a Second Syllabus of Errors, playing off the original issued by Pope Pius IX in 1864 to the consternation and outrage of various and sundry regarding its reactionary and anti-modernist bent (Pius’s, not Oddie’s). Whether another list is wise, foolish, or merely inopportune, I will leave to those in the Roman fold. As for Protestants, I don’t see why we should not enjoy a list of our own, what with Catholics working on their second.
And so, based on the authority vested in me by myself and “Dwayne,” with whom I struck up a conversation at the Macy’s Home Store, I do hereby submit for your approval a Protestant Syllabus of Errors:
1. That non-Roman communions, congregations, and denominations may not have as many popes as they please, assuming sufficient parking is made available.
2. That Protestant pontiffs do not speak infallibly on every conceivable subject morning, noon, and night, as befits autodidacts.
3. That sermons may not last longer than the director’s cut of Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1900.
4. That “children’s church,” in which the minister gathers every urchin under the age of 13 in a bunch to listen to a monosyllabic précis of the sermon, would be deemed cruel and unusual punishment under Article 3 of the Geneva Convention.
5. That the “passing of the peace” may not involve quick updates to one’s Facebook page.
6. That Red Bull may not be used in place of wine during the Lord’s Supper for the sake of conscience.
7. That church is not itself a parachurch activity, hence the light show.
8. That the invisible church cannot be revealed via a really big sign.
9. That the Creeds are not traditions of men and no more binding than @#$%^! My Dad Says.
10. That the Scofield Study Bible is not divinely inspired, being the version Jesus and the Apostles used.
11. That the Gloria, Kyrie, and Sanctus may not be sung to the tune of “Funky Cold Medina.”
12. That divisions within the church are not evidence of pride and hence cannot be remedied by dividing into new denominations.
Please feel free to add to this list as you see fit. I, for one, believe it is infallible as written. And Dwayne is with me on that.