The U.S. bishops announced on Friday that the sign of the cross would no longer be permitted. The precaution was instituted to protect Catholics who might accidentally stick their fingers in their eyes and blind themselves.
The latest announcement was the most recent of a series of changes—beginning with the indefinite suspension of all public Masses and the abolition of meatless Fridays in Lent—designed to bring the Barque of Peter in line with the latest developments in Catholic theology. As Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Washington, D.C., explained in a pastoral letter, “The first priority of the Church is the physical safety of her flock. It is better for you to be thrown into fiery Gehenna than to enter into life with one eye.”
Government authorities enthusiastically welcomed the new change. California Gov. Gavin Newsom said, “We had to sue the Little Sisters of the Poor and get a court order to force them to violate their consciences and buy contraceptives. The bishops are much easier to work with. They’re really greasing the skids on the slippery slope to a religion-free America.”
At press time the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) was voting on a document discouraging almsgiving. Bishop Anthony Taylor of Little Rock, Arkansas, pointed out, “You can’t be too careful. It’s only a matter of time before someone dies in a car accident on the way to a food bank.”
The change will go into effect on Sunday, April 12, which is still celebrated as “Easter” in a handful of American dioceses.