9 April 2014

Faculties Exams

One of the jolliest parts of the 'Formation'* process for Ordinariate clergy was the Faculties Exam.. We had to assimilate what our Pagella said we could or couldn't lawfully do ... a very brief document  ... and then 'pass' a viva voce exam on it. Of course, everybody passed with flying colours, even though some of the Reverend Fathers had been as nervous as Third Formers beforehand, sitting under S Thomas More's mulberry tree in the garden of Allen Hall and 'revising' with each other in twittering pairs.

Moi, I was done by a charmingly dry woman canonist.

Q So you're about to say Mass and a nun turns up saying that she will be delivering the homily. What do you say to her?
A "Gosh, Sister, how absolutely splendid! I'm so glad. Tell you what. So as to make sure that the folks remember it, let's make it the very last thing they hear just before they go out. I think immediately after the Dismissal is the best time".
Q Hrrrmph. Very tactful, I'm sure. But of course, it would be quite different if she were a Reverend Mother.
A It certainly would. I would be even more cringingly and pathetically deferential ...

 ... and more of the same. It was so enjoyable that I felt a bit miffed when she cut it short just as I thought I was really getting into my stride.

I often seem to have this sort of effect on people. My wife has a completely absurd theory about why that is.
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*(Yes, Fr *******, I know, 'Formation' is a vile word. But, as you will discover, one soon gets into the habit of using all this RC terminology with an ironic twitch of the right eyebrow. You could practise it in front of your mirror, ready for when you yourself ........)

4 comments:

dontex said...

An audio recording of your exam would be, as the commercial says, "priceless".

Peregrinus Toronto said...

How charmingly English! We transatlantic colonials, on the other hand, were examined by three sharp theologians for the Chair of St. Peter.

Sweating it out we were, as each inquisitor, in turn, examined us on the Trinity, Matrimonial Law, and then Sacramental and Moral Theology.

I suppose this purgatorial experience was good for those of us unrefined by Oxbridge.

Onward to the mission fields . . . Tally-ho!

Doodler said...

I too was somewhat disappointed by the less-than-challenging Faculties Exam but we must not grumble.
In your place I would have answered that after the Post-Communion Prayer might have been a more suitable time than after the Dismissal - just in case the congregation took you at your word and fled before the hapless religious had chance to speak!

Patricius said...

It was once said of me: "you're completely tactless and insensitive." How would I fare during such a pass as this, I wonder? I think I would probably first ask the nun if she was a lesbian; I would then throw in a few apposite quotes from St Paul about the rightful place of women in the community of Christ's Church. If this availed not to quench her enthusiasm, I would resort to physically ejecting her from the church.