Sunday, March 2, 2014

Is Playing Footsie a Sin?

Hilda Walspurgis, self-appointed arbiter of the morals and general scold of St. Cletus's Parish in New Orleans, happened to observe what she considered a sordid scene:  There was Madeline, AKA The Prophetess, in the French Market Coffeehouse publicly playing footsie with Officer Pete of the N.O.P.D.  Unfortunately, the Louisiana Criminal Code did not specify playing footsie as sordid or wanton behavior or as a crime against nature.  She thought, "Our Legislature has not seen all possibilities for wickedness that can be afoot.  They should correct this."

But, in the meantime, something should be done on the Parish level.

So Hilda told individual members of the Altar Society that, perhaps, the youthful Prophetess might be backsliding on her moral high horse, having shown evidence of wantonly flirting in public with a policeman!  This, of course, caused a lot of talk even though it was perceived as a mild form of flirtation.  And some of it even filtered up to the good Padre Devereaux.

Father Devereaux thought "Shit," an expression that was heartfelt although not approved by the Vatican.  Here comes some incoming, as soldiers would say; but in what form he could not figure out.

Finally, in one of the ladies' study groups, matters came to a head.  Hilda Walspurgis asked, "Father, is playing footsie with a man a sin to be confessed?"  And she went into details.

Father thought, "Double shit!"  But then he resisted the temptation to tell Hilda to put a sock in it.  Instead, he told the entire group that he was planning to give a sermon next Sunday that would address issues like that. 

Hilda smiled in her simpering way.  She thought, "Gotcha!"
The next Sunday, Hilda anticipated a public shaming of the Prophetess, since she had already broadcast her alleged offense to all members of the Parish who were adults and still maintained patience or even curt civility with Mrs. Walpurgis.

Finally, the sermon.  Father Devereaux started with a warning against scrupulousity, the action of seeing sin in circumstances in which no sin is involved, like if in the spirit of things you flash your boobs on Mardi Gras Day.  [Scrupulousity can be best thought of as moral or religious obsessive-compulsive behavior.  At least two Saints were beset with this failing, St. Ignatius and St. Alphonse Ligouri, and counseled against seeing sin when no sin had taken place.]  And he concluded with the admonition, "Judge not, let you be judged."
And the Good Padre ended with an arch dig, "I guess I played footsie around a lot of topics today.  Anyway, don't be overconcerned about sin in yourself or others, remember that God loves you, and let's pray that the Saints win the Super Bowl next year!"

A lot of spontaneous "Amens!" just happened.


Grand Crapaud said...

I never heard of scrupulosity. It's something weird to trouble people who don't have enough to worry about.

TexWisGirl said...

ha ha. love it.

Meredith said...

No one likes a gossip.

Cloudia said...

Nice vignette! Do you know Shay's poetry? She's on my blog roll check her out. Aloha, Sis

Mike said...

Hilda Walspurgis sounds like the name of someone that would be into S&M on the downlow. But the Father probably already knew that.

Chuck Bear said...

Is playing footsie a sin? Only for someone with a foot fetish.

The subtleties of religious belief escape me.

Bilbo said...

A great story, well-told. And I'm adding "scrupulosity" to my vocabulary.

Brandi said...

A great vignette. I like reading about St. Cletus's Church.