"A Short Guide to Catholic Church History For Catholic College Students Going Out Into the World to Defend Their Faith" is the fifth chapter of Saint Fidgeta and Other Parodies.
SynopsisThe layout of the fifth chapter of Saint Fidgeta is that of a textbook, something that becomes clear once the reader understands the Latin phrases (such as the mock nihil obstat and imprimatur) preceding the text. This "guide" is short because it says, "there are only a few things the well-informed Catholic absolutely must know about Church history" which Bellairs lays out as follows:
- Old Canards
- The Pope Joan Story: Many people believed a female Pope was once elected by mistake; this tale was really in regard to Pope Ganymede V, a "pope of doubtful masculinity."
- The Galileo Story: People believed Galileo was imprisoned by the Inquisition for claiming the earth moves around the sun. In reality "Galileo just didn't have much proof for what he was saying, and the Church from that day to this has been opposed to the spirit of irresponsible criticism.
- The Tunnel from the Vatican to the White House: this old tale got started when Alfred Smith ran for President in 1928. On a related topic, the text does speculate a tunnel exists from the Kremlin to the Washington, D. C. offices of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Alfred Myers says he and Bellairs were both attracted to the rogues, eccentrics, and general foul balls of the papacy than the much more numerous austere, competent, and virtuous examples.” "John did pick a period (the Dark Ages) when Rome and the Papacy were both in pretty wretched shape...pretty much a run-down backwater town at the time.”