Dear Vatican: Please Censure My Book

on June 18, 2012 in Misc

To Cardinal William J. Levada:

I wish to submit my book for consideration of condemnation by Your Eminence’s Vatican office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith.

I was inspired to take this step upon learning that the office censured a book written by Sister Margaret A. Farley, R.S.M., Ph.D., “Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics.”  The office did so on the grounds that, among other crimes, Sister Farley writes that there are moral and theological justifications for masturbation and same-sex marriage.

As Your Eminence knows, this censure by the Congregation in Rome of a treatise written by an American nun has caused a stir here in the U.S.  Her book, which had been languishing for years in obscurity, has become an overnight best-seller.  Currently “Just Love” is not far behind “Shades of Grey” on despite the fact that it isn’t available in any e-book format and can be purchased only as an expensive paperback.  And that’s at the discount price.

In addition, my local bookstore is selling copies of “Just Love” so fast the clerks stopped stacking it beside “Weight Loss Boss” and “Game of Thrones” boxed sets and instead keep copies in plain brown wrappers near the cash register.

Clearly censure by the Congregation of this nun’s book has resulted in the kind of sales and red-hot publicity we writers can only dream of.

You see, most of us writers are having a tough time of it these days.  The book publishing business is changing so fast we’ve all but given up on it and are turning to self-publishing.  But because of on-demand digital printing and e-books, everyone and his brother and sister (clerical or lay) can now get their books published.  This is transforming an already crowded literary field into a mob scene.

We writers are also now expected, even by traditional publishers and agents, to advertise our books at our own expense, arrange for our own interviews, and provide local book clubs with free copies.  We are told to mine publicity via Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads, blogs, and so on.  For social media misfits such as myself (I have no Facebook or Twitter accounts and I’m still figuring out Tumblr), this can be especially frustrating.

Yet these efforts pale in comparison to the media reach possessed by Your Eminence’s office.  After all, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith has been in existence since the mid-sixteenth century, when it was more colloquially known as the Inquisition.

Therefore I am eager to submit my book, a fictional thriller with a religious motif (which alone can evoke literary objections) for consideration of the Congregation’s censure.

Although I am a lapsed Catholic, as an author I should qualify because I am the proud niece of a nun who does not lecture anyone about birth control, masturbation, and homosexuality.  Now retired and elderly, my aunt instead spent her last years of activity establishing two schools for the poor in Romania.

In addition, one character in my novel is a nun who battles archconservative archbishops.  Other characters explain how there were women bishops in the earliest years of the faith, and that during the Dark and Middle Ages abbesses of certain convents ruled over local priests and bishops, a situation so anathema to some male clerics that they fought successfully to suppress nuns’ rights and powers.  By writing about these historic facts I have, most likely, already aroused the Congregation’s suspicions.  Personally, I urge it to move into high Inquisitional gear.

Should Your Eminence decide that my book must indeed be censured, which will inevitably result in it becoming a bestseller, I will, in gratitude, start attending mass at the Catholic church nearest my home.  Perhaps I should point out that its parishioners include a few gay couples and that the priest and other parishioners don’t seem to have a problem with this.  If this situation moves Your Eminence to censure the lot of them too, they will probably join me in singing a hymn of thanks.


10 Responses to “Dear Vatican: Please Censure My Book”

  1. Hilarious! That really is what gets attention for a book, isn’t it?

  2. Helena says:

    Alex — Hey, the Inquisition can out-sell the best publicist any day.

  3. Oh I hope you get censored. Nothing quite like blasphemy and controversy to drive sales.

  4. Helena says:

    Michael — Thank you for your support.

  5. Ketutar says:

    LOL You are amazing :-)
    Sounds like a very good reason to ban your book. I’m glad you remind people of the power of nuns, abbesses and holy women during the medieval times. Hildegard von Bingen is one of my favorites, and the more I know of her the more amazed I get. Talk about girl power! :-D
    So, wishing you luck with getting your book banned, by Vatican and others :-)
    Now I’ll go to facebook and twitter and make some advertisement for you :-)

  6. Helena says:

    Ketutar – Thanks SO much for the twitter and other stuff I suck at. And yes, Hildegard was an incredible woman, and I had no idea until I started doing research how many accomplished and powerful abbesses there were. There’s also a book coming out this autumn on nuns in the American frontier (19th century), how tough they had it and their extraordinary achievements, including establishing hospitals, orphanages and schools, and they had to fight to get respect from the Vatican even then.

  7. Ketutar says:

    Huh… never thought about that (American nuns), but now that you say it, I’m sure… sadly I have no problems believing they didn’t get the respect from their “employer” they deserved… :-(
    So weird that gender matters so much.

  8. Helena says:

    Ketutar – Weird and unfortunate that it does.

  9. Old Kitty says:

    Your retired aunt sounds thoroughly amazing!! Yay for her!! She should be Pope! Take care

  10. Helena says:

    Old Kitty – She’d make a much better pope than the guy who’s in there now.