Topsy and Tuptim Discuss Stuff Off the Cuff (Chapter 7 of Amoris Laetitia)

Posted: 23 Apr 2016 03:23 PM PDT

The pope, thinking Topsy and Tuptim are eco-fascists
Topsy and Tuptim meet at the playground with their grandchildren for a play date. They sit on a bench drinking coffee and watching the youngsters climb the ladders of the “castle” and slide down the chutes while they discuss the study session on Chapter Seven. 

Topsy: Aren’t the children sweet. We’re so blessed in our grandchildren. (Calling to a child at the top of the slide)…Be careful, Max! Wait for Bianca to get off.
Tuptim: We sure are. When I’m tempted to give up on the world I make a play date with the kids. (Laughing)…There’s nothing like getting down and dirty with a three-year-old to give you a fresh perspective.
Topsy: What did you think of Chapter Seven?
Tuptim: Honestly? I found it confusing, contradictory, and insipid, sort of like Parenthood for Dummies. What bothered me the most was that it’s riddled with moral relativism.
Topsy: (Nodding) I kept wanting to ask for a glossary of terms. He used ethics and morality and values as synonyms, but they aren’t the same thing. Values are the personal beliefs that motivate our actions. Ethics are a system of behavior based on the natural law. They’re instilled in us by God. Morality has to do with man’s final end. So a virtuous, ethical Roman pagan who honored the household gods probably had a better moral system than a Catholic dissenter who belongs to Call to Action. Look at Hippocrates vs. the butchers at Planned Parenthood.
Who will teach the children? Parents or social workers?

Tuptim: It’s troublesome that he seems to blame parents.  Do you remember that paragraph…I think it was 272…that says there are only a few exemplary persons who embody values – not the parents, of course since anything wrong with children is their fault. Children also are to “realize that ethical values are embodied imperfectly and to different degrees in others”? Is he talking about morals and if so, why doesn’t he say that? Supposedly children are to look to people other than their parents – ministers, social workers, teachers – for their ethical values? What are ethical values?  I googled “ethical values” and found that they are Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship.

Topsy: I find it odd that in the paragraphs on moral education, ethical formation, and proposing values (271-273) the pope doesn’t mention teaching catechism to children, almost as if children learn these things by osmosis. To learn what’s morally right or wrong, children need the Ten Commandments and Church teaching on the subject of morality.
Tuptim: I suppose that’s where those “few exemplary” ministers and social workers enter the picture.
Topsy: Well, he does mention catechesis in paragraph 287, but it’s catechesis for couples and parents, that is, family catechesis.
Tuptim: (Sighing)…He said that “Christian communities are called to offer support to the educational mission of families” mentioning “the importance of Catholic schools which play a vital role in assisting parents in their duty to raise their children”.
Topsy: Hmm… Catholic schools are only helpful if your Catholic diocese is orthodox and the parish Catholic school teaches Truth.
Did these women priests
go to Catholic school?
(Holy Thursday Hair Washing Ritual)
Tuptim: Don’t I know it! I had to take my daughter out of Catholic School. The 4th grade teacher asked her if she wanted to be an altar girl, then added, “This will be good practice since one day there will be women priests.” Then the principal said that Vatican II had changed the teaching on homosexuality. Every day I had to undo the damage that school did, so starting in 5th grade we homeschooled and continued through 12th grade. The pope speaks about teachers being conscientious objectors, however, it’s parents who should be described as conscientious objectors from the countless times they’ve had to go into their child’s “Catholic” school and object that the school isn’t teaching what the Church teaches…(Sighing)…Then after years of homeschooling, the “Catholic” universities she went to turned my daughter into a liberal.
Topsy: Good grief! How terrible. Can’t you sue for fraud?
Tuptim: It gets worse. Thanks to Catholic school, in fourth grade, my daughter could identify illegal drugs. She came home one day and asked, “Mommy, what’s a rock of cocaine?” Next day I went into school and asked to see the “health” book which was suspiciously never allowed home for parents to inspect. The teacher didn’t want me to have it, but I glared her down and she sullenly gave in. There was indeed a picture of a rock of cocaine. I suggested to the teacher that possibly she could take the children for a field trip to the local crack house to inspect the effects of drugs on bodies, or maybe they could practice selling drugs to the crack addicts there…you know, since, thanks to Catholic school, they knew about such things.
Topsy: (Looking at the children playing) Look at them. They’re so beautiful in their innocence and purity…then they go to Catholic school.
Tuptim: Well, at least there aresome good Catholic schools here and there, and they are helpful to parents. (Continuing on)…Did you notice paragraph 277 where the Pope talks about the family’s consumption.
Topsy: (Wide eyed) What?! Tuberculosis?! The whole family?
Tuptim: (Laughing)…No, it’s the amount of consumption a family – especially a large one – must limit because caring for the environment is a new commandment.
Topsy: I remember that now…. “[T]he family is the principal agent of an integral ecology”. Thankfully the Huffington Post explains this to us. Read here
Tuptim: Yes, integral ecology is the call to all peoples to be protectors of the environment…
Topsy: (Interrupting)…Even ISIS? They’re over there destroying everything including people.
Get off those swings now and plant a tree!

Tuptim: …ALL people, Topsy. Protecting the environment, so says the Huffington Post, is integral and all embracing, because caring for creation is a virtue in its own right. It’s necessary to care for what we cherish and revere…

Topsy: Trees? You know that some people revere and worship trees.
Tuptim: Topsy! Pay attention! …and that a new global solidarity is a key value – there’s that word again – to direct our search for the common good. The article also mentions Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955), a Jesuit paleontologist-priest “whose influence on Christian thought, some believe, is second only to that of St. Paul”.
Topsy: So says the HuffPo.
Tuptim: Right. So theysay.
Topsy: So then…? The pope talks about the environment then segues into caring for the sick, which subliminally means that the environment is sick. Then he adds that by caring for sick people children can learn the experience of limitation, which means that we must limit our consumption to save the environment because climate change is happening and we’re all going to be punished by not caring for trees!
Tuptim: I know. Drives me crazy. He has driven me over the brink of confusion and into non-linear thought.
Topsy: But, Tuptim, non-linear thought is described as creative thought. That’s what Francis wants, remember? He wants us to be creative and for priests to enter into creative pastoral practice. So it’s good that you are confused.
Tuptim: Great. Because I am.
Topsy: (Looking at her watch)…Oh, it’s time to gather the children and leave, and  we haven’t even discussed the pope’s paragraphs on sex education. The pope addresses sex ed without ever saying that it is the role of the parents!
Tuptim: Naturally. Because the parents don’t know how to properly educate a child, they just know how to create them.
…to be continued.

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. jobrower says:

    Wow! Are you the author of this piece? You are brilliant, your Excellency! I follow Charlie Johnson because of your reference to his site a couple of years ago. My prayer is that our Pope, who seems to love our Lady Very much, will “undo” the confusion he has caused when we see ourselves as God sees us. Am I off base, and, if so, will you please tell me how to pray? My will is to be united in the Divine Will and I don’t often pray for specifics since I am consecrated to Jesus though Mary and turn everything over to her. Than you dear Bishop. In Jesus through Mary,Jo BrowerSent from Outlook

Comments are closed.