If you have not already done so, you need to read Act Two
of this teleplay
before reading this act.
EXT. ST. PETER’S RESIDENCE HALL. EVENING.
The thing of it is, we’ve already made an effort.
We invited him to a small gathering. Hardly an effort.
But we seem to be rebuffed at every turn.
He’s right about the shock tactics, though. We do tend to be a bit sensational in our approach. Maybe we should re-marshal the troops, try to develop a new campaign.
FRANCIS stands up and starts to head off-camera.
Or maybe we need a general.
The others look off-camera to see whom FRANCIS is speaking of. After a brief pause:
Of course. Why didn’t we think of him?
FRANCIS returns, followed by Father GABRIEL, who has a small Bible open in his hands, which he has obviously been meditating over.
Francis tells me that you are in need of some advice.
It’s one of the newbies, Father. We’ve tried our usual style to get to know him and bring him into the community, but he’s not really into that groove. A bit stodgy, to tell the truth. We’re just trying to figure out how to go about letting him know we’re not here to threaten him or cast him into the fires of Gehenna
or anything, we just want to bring him into the fold, as it were.
You’ve not turned to Sacred Scripture
They are a bit awkwardly embarrassed – obviously, they have not, which GABRIEL picks up on.
Oh don’t worry, gentlemen, I’ll not be giving you a finger-wagging admonishment. I’ve been in the monastery
for forty-two years now, and it’s only been in the last … oh, ten or so that I finally got into the habit of cracking open the Word of God
in any situation, good or bad. The Lord knows I had enough trouble staying awake
the first decade in, let alone focused on what he had to say through Scripture.
Considering what you’ve told me about your desire to connect with the newcomer, good old St. Paul
would probably have the wisest words …
He starts to flip through the Bible.
Now let’s see … I know it’s in First Corinthians
… ah! here it is: “So though I am not a slave of any man I have made myself the slave of everyone so as to win as many as I could. I made myself a Jew
to the Jews, to win the Jews” and so on and so forth. I believe you all know the passage, and if not, it’s high time you familiarized yourself with it.
So what you’re saying is that we need to approach Marcus on his own terms.
Not I, Alex … the Holy Spirit
via St. Paul. But yes, I believe that’s what this passage is saying to you in this moment. That’s the beauty of Scripture: books were written for specific purposes, but they can speak down through the centuries and even millennia to a problem we are having right here, right now. Written in chronos
, transcended in kairos
JOEL, LOUIS, and ALEX all nod at this, but FRANCIS gives a blank look, which GABRIEL notices.
Not having taken Old Testament
Literature and Theology, I suspect you aren’t familiar with those Greek
terms, Francis. Chronos
is chronological, historical time, which has happened once, and is now in the past.Kairos
, on the other hand, is sacred, transcendent time, which is eternally occurring. In this case, the passage from Paul’s letter to the good old Corinthians was written at a chronological point in history, and directed at specific needs of the church at Corinth
; but, because of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the letter transcends it’s specificity and is applicable here and now. (beat) And that’s your lesson in theology for today, gentlemen. Think you all can do what needs to be done now?
Yeah, I think so, Father. Thanks for your help.
Not a problem, Alex. You all would do well to start getting into the habit of consulting the Word of God. I’m not saying that it has specific answers, but it can often set you on a course of action. (beat) I bid you all good day.
GABRIEL walks off, the Bible still open in his hand, slipping easily back into meditation on a passage. The four seminarians watch him go. After he is OUT-OF-SHOT, they are still watching him. During the following, none of them break their gaze from him.
Ya know, I’m just waiting for him to say, “Luke, use the Force
,” one of these days.
Yeah, he does
have the whole Obi-wan Kenobi
gig going for him, doesn’t he?
Yes he does … but our Father Gabriel has something ol’ Ben Kenobi never had.
The guidance of the Holy Spirit.
INT. MARCUS BELLOWS’ DORM ROOM. EVENING.
MARCUS is sitting at his desk, writing a letter. There is a knock at the door. He rises, crosses his dorm room, and opens the door to ALEX.
Just “Evening, Marcus”? You must be slipping, if you don’t have some flippant greeting for me.
ALEX (hands raised in ‘surrender’)
Hey hey hey, I come in peace. No wit, no flippancy, just myself.
Well that’s a switch.
There is a brief pause.
May I come in?
MARCUS gives a deep sigh, then steps aside.
Sure, come on in.
MARCUS closes the door behind ALEX, who crosses to the window and perches in the expansive sill. MARCUS goes and sits in his easy chair.
So what brings you by?
To offer an apology on behalf of “four blasphemous idiots.”
MARCUS appears a bit embarrassed at ALEX’s knowledge of his insult.
MARCUS (mumbling a bit)
Yes … well … sorry about that.
No need to apologize, my good man. The heat of the moment and all that whatnot. We are the ones who need to apologize. We were quite out of line in our flippancy towards you.
Well … thank you for your apology.
ALEX is looking at an ornately baroque crucifix hanging over the door.
That is a beautiful
MARCUS glances up at the one ALEX is looking at.
Really? You like it?
Oh very much so! May I take a closer look?
He gets it off the wall and hands it to ALEX, who examines it closely, lovingly.
They sure don’t make them like they used to. Seems like nowadays the crucifixes are plain affairs, with no artistic attention to detail at all. But this – this is transcendent art.
MARCUS appears incredulous at ALEX’s words, which ALEX notices.
ALEX (smiling gently)
Marcus, you should know that Joel, Louis, Francis, and I are not clones of one another, we are not a bunch of “liberal heathens.” Our ideologies, like our personalities and interests, span the spectrum. But we do share a few things in common, first and foremost our love of Holy Mother Church
and our desire to be in her service. (beat) Please, come join us for a little harmless social interaction tonight after Father Gabriel’s address to the student body.
Why choose me? I mean, out of all the new students here, and there’s … what? forty-three of us? Why did you four choose me to come party with you all tonight?
Oh … I’m not really sure there is an answer to that question, Marcus. Call it intuition. Call it the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Call it the refusal to give up once we’ve set our sites on someone. (beat) Is it really that important? Come have a drink – non-alcoholic in your case, of course – a few munchies, and get to know a few of your fellow seminarians. I promise that we don’t bite. (beat) And if we do, we’ve all had our shots.
MARCUS rolls his eyes at this.
Okay, okay, so it’s a well-worn joke. But nothing beats the oldies but goldies, eh? Kind of like some of the teachings of the Church. Take the Tridentine Rite
, for example.
Are you telling me that the new way of celebrating Mass is wrong?
Oh not at all – that would
be grounds for calling me a blasphemous heretic, after all; no, I think that the Novus Ordo
is a snazzy overhaul of the Liturgy. But I will say that, though a lot of the Tridentine Rite may have simply been ornamental trappings that were bogging down the celebration of the Eucharist
, they were some damn fine trappings – we made an art out of ritual. Though of course, if the Novus Ordo were properly celebrated, it could rise to the same level of artistic, and, more importantly, transcendent expression as the Tridentine Rite. But a debate on the aesthetics of the Tridentine Rite and the Novus Ordo are for another time – perhaps even tonight at our little soiree.
ALEX rises from the windowsill, returns the crucifix to its place over the door, which he opens. He turns around before leaving.
The chambers of Joel Finchworth, esquire, immediately following Father Gabriel’s address. I would say that it’ll be the hip place to be, but the word ‘hip’ always makes me shudder at the thought of the fringe being co-opted into the mainstream. (beat) Suffice to say it will be a most interesting place to be. I bid you a good evening, Mister Bellows.
ALEX departs the room.
INT. JOEL FINCHWORT’S DORM ROOM. EVENING.
JOEL is seated in the windowsill, ALEX on the floor leaning up against the wall, a pillow behind him.
So d’you think he’ll come?
Well, if I were a bookmaker
, I’d be giving much better odds to that happening. If nothing else, I don’t think he considers us the enemy any more.
There is a brief pause.
I wonder how our Mister Bellows would react if he knew that the seminarian rhapsodizing about the Tridentine Rite of the Roman Catholic Church
Most likely his brain would short-circuit from the attempt to process the paradoxical nature of the situation, followed shortly by a stopping of the heart in shock.
You are a morbid one, Mister Rhodes.
Well, you are the one who asked, Mister Finchworth.
Do you find it at all disturbing that our referring to each other by Mister so-and-so all the time was inspired by two characters in a novel who were paid assassins, Mister Rhodes?
disturbing, Mister Finchworth. Which is precisely why we do it, as I recall.
Indeed. I do so hope that Neil Gaiman
would be flattered.
They look at each other, then crack up laughing at this macabre humor and the baroque language they used.
END OF ACT THREE