I am the very model of a modern ultramontanist
I’ve been congratulated as an excellent dialogist
I have degrees from all the best colleges of theology
I do not know quite what it means but I reject ontology
I understand the finer points both nuanced and theoretical
and when I go on twitter Ross Douthat calls me heretical
I’ve many sage remarks to make on what I call the Christ event
and just how many tragic deaths forbidden condoms could prevent

I much prefer to shun the works of any scholar scholastic
I find the very concept of forgiveness rather elastic
in short, as such an erudite and excellent dialogist
I am the very model of a modern ultramontanist

I’ve listed all the ways the church might deepen its humility
I send my kids to Jesuit factories of gentility
I’ve quoted bits of Newman and I’ve memorized my Bernardin
and when it comes right down to it I couldn’t name a mortal sin
I keep my Rahner library in an embossed ciborium
I purchase all my pinafores at a fair trade emporium
I sing a new church into life with quite a catchy guitar hook
And whistle all the airs from that infernal Haugen hymnal book

Then I can write decrials of a medieval mentality
and open letters calling for civil collegiality
In short as such an erudite and excellent dialogist
I am the very model of a modern ultramontanist

In fact, when l learn what’s meant by “abbot” and “episcopal”
When I have clearly understood why Mass precludes a disco ball
When I distinguish easily dissent from sensus fidei
And when I know the diff’rence twixt a rose window and rosary
When I can sing the Salve like a dutiful Gregorian
When I know all my heresies, Arian and Nestorian
In short when I have exercised my understanding to the full
A better ultramontanist never bestrode a papal bull

For though my theologic bent is bounded by this century
I’m of a temperament so fearless, plucky and adventur-y
You must admit that as an erudite elite dialogist
I am the very model of a modern ultramontanist


Clare Coffey writes from Philadelphia.

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