Mr Under-Secretary Screwtape felt confused. He savoured the liqueur in his glass ... was it Annibale Bugnini blended with Jimmy Saville? Or Augustin Bea with fine aftertastes of Freddy Ayer? The concoction was, in either case, superb; but he had an uneasy feeling that the failure of his palate to make those really precise distinctions ... a malady he felt all too often nowadays ... might be the first sign of that disintegration, that dissolution, which he had always known he would ultimately experience. But so soon? After so few millennia? When he felt still at the height of his powers?
He was woken from his reveries by the grating voice of his most detested nephew, Wormwood. "Uncle! Wake up! Uncle! Isn't it marvellous news? Uncle!! Wake up!".
It had been a great mistake to allow this callow junior tempter to be elected to Club membership; he should have been whiteballed. Too late, however to complain about that now. Screwtape opened one eye. "And what, precisely, is this news?"
"Germany!! yelped the whippersnapper. "It looks as though the German Church is going to split from the other churches so as to advocate Adultery, more Sodomy, more and better dodgy financial dealings! It's all actually happening!"
Again, the old gentledevil winced. Such obvious, such adolescent light-headedness. No style. No finesse. A put-down had become necessary. "If you stop shouting silly jargon and jolting my arm and spilling my drink and demonstrating your total incapacity for strategic forward thinking, I will tell you precisely how the trick was worked. And I strongly advise you to avoid a tendency to anthropomorphic analyses ... you have been in trouble about that before ... Our Father Below regards the adoption of human pseudo-rationalism as a sign that a Tempter is going native ... we must always remember to put and to maintain a proper distance between ourselves and our patients."