On the 13th day of March, in the despised year of our Enemy 2013.
My Dear Grubmuck,
I trust that it was made clear to you when you were contacted by Lower Command about this new assignment that I accepted you for this task with the gravest of concerns for your ability to accomplish the planned objective for Our Father Below. My hated nephew Wormwood—who managed to pin on his uncle that unfortunate incident of losing a patient to the Enemy some time ago (by the reckoning of the hairless bipeds) and has since descended more deeply into the bowels of Lowerarchy than I—recommended you to Our Father Below. Thus I was given no choice but to accept you, and so I will train you. I will also document everything, and you will find it most difficult to follow Wormwood’s path should you fail.
Insofar as we can rejoice in anything, hell erupted with joy at the resignation of his predecessor. For one brief infernal moment, we saw huge possibilities once the Deputy Emeritus stepped down. He had long been a thorn in the side of Our Father Below, bringing painful light upon the person of Our Father’s ancient Enemy. We had been making slow but sure progress in crushing him beneath the weight of the world. The resignation seemed at first to demonstrate weakness, and thus we thought we had been victorious. But the Enemy’s promise that the truth shall set free a lover of truth prevailed yet again. Bygones, but rest assured that the Deputy Emeritus’s tempter is being appropriately punished as we speak.
Now we have turned our attention to the new Deputy. He has long been under our watchful gaze. Much to our dismay, and at the folly of his tempter, he knows that. A direct attack against him is not advisable at this time. You will have to attack him through those he loves. This route has served us well enough against the Enemy; it should continue to serve us in our war against his new Deputy.
Knowing this, Our Father Below has decided upon a two-pronged attack. We will set ourselves to fomenting confusion among the masses of the hairless bipeds in union with the Deputy. It is an enormous task, and you have been assigned to one prong of the attack. Another, more senior tempter will deal with those of the Enemy’s faithful who have found themselves to be at odds with previous Deputies, and who now see in the new one a hope for their reconciliation with their Church (HBUH!). It is a delicate task, as the Enemy is always despicably lavish with his welcome to those seeking a way home, and so it is not a task to be entrusted to so junior a tempter as you.
Your task will be much simpler. You will be set to tempting those who have loved the previous Deputies, who fancy themselves loyal minions of the Enemy, as demonstrated by their devotion to his Deputies. While their road has not been without its bumps during the reigns of the last two Deputies, they have had a relatively easy time for many of their years. If you play our cards right, Grubmuck, that complacency may be used to diabolical advantage. I offer you my battle plan. Should we succeed, the credit for the plan shall be mine. Should you fail, the failure to execute my plan shall be yours.
Right now, in the aftermath of his election, the faithful ones are rejoicing for their new Deputy. Some of them are charmed already by his gestures of humility, such as asking for their prayers and bowing to receive their blessing. As reports from their princes filter in of his manner of accepting election and of his choice to travel with them back to the Domus Sanctae Marthae, these fools will continue to be charmed. New Deputies have a honeymoon, of sorts, and this one will be no different. Bide your time awhile. While you are waiting, you may amuse yourself with a few of them, those who are more attached to what they imagine to be “tradition” than they are to the living, breathing Church—HBUH!—by tempting them to release dire warnings of the Deputy’s time in Buenos Aires and their speculation about what that may portend for his reign.
Soon enough, you may move forward by increments upon the rest of them.
Where the two previous Deputies were, respectively, a philosopher and a theologian, and therefore somewhat removed from the masses, this one is a pastor. He has decades of experience with boots on the ground among those That Blasted Woman called “the poorest of the poor.” By the very name he took upon election, this Deputy has pledged himself to be an advocate for those often forgotten by comfortable Western faithful whose most difficult stressor in the Enemy’s Camp, as yet, may have been along the lines of conflicts with their pastors. Capitalize upon this tendency to inflate small tribulations into massive “persecution.” Then amplify the conflict.
When the Deputy speaks of his deep concern for the poor, remind the comfortable conservatives of the unborn baby bipeds for whom they have long fought. You may ask if this is a risky strategy. It will only be risky if your patients remember why they fight for the unborn. They fight for the unborn because they see in the unborn the image of the Enemy. If they begin to see the Enemy in less comely faces, such as those of the slum dwellers the Deputy walked amidst and ministered to during his tenure in Buenos Aires, then they will begin to understand the Deputy’s fierce advocacy for the poor. But if they forget that and see the unborn as a helpful lever to advancing their cause of peace and prosperity for themselves, then all will be well. For us.
The Deputy may also urge the patients to remember why they are on the field of battle, and why they fight. He may seek to remind them that their goal is not surface conformity but inner transformation. If you guide them to believe that successful evangelization creates converts in their own image, rather than in the image of the Enemy, you will succeed in alienating from their efforts the very people who have been disaffected from the Enemy’s Camp for so long.
As time progresses, I will send you further instructions for the specifics of your task. For now I will close by sketching for you the end for which we aim.
You want your patients at odds with each other. Those who remain devoted to the new Deputy should be accusing those scandalized by him of rigorism. Those scandalized by the Deputy should be accusing the devoted of papalotry (a delightfully diabolical label of which our Research and Development team is especially proud). Both sides should direct more of their focus to causing hurt and anger for each other than they do to listening to the Deputy or attending to what he asks of them. While all of them are thus scattered and confused, we can pick them off from the Deputy’s flock in like manner to wolves selecting and devouring sheep separated from their shepherd.
Success is within our grasp, Grubmuck. I envision a day when the faithful fools who now cheer for this new Deputy, and proudly display their loyalty to him by fastening his prayer card to their refrigerator door, become so disillusioned by him that they toss him in their dustbin. They will vote him off their island, so to speak, because he did not keep them comfortable. He will make them uncomfortable, in much the same way his predecessors made uncomfortable those who distanced themselves from the Enemy’s Camp for other reasons.
At all costs, Grubmuck, we must not allow to take root any idea that the Deputies of our Enemy are icons of the Fisherman—weak, bumbling, sinful Peter, who nevertheless loved the Enemy and always returned to his side. One of the Enemy’s friends, and therefore our enemy, shared in a book we have worked hard to suppress his love for the Fisherman in all of the Fisherman’s icons. While visiting the Deputy who saw the Camp through the Second Vatican Council and began the work of its implementation, this hated enemy said to that Deputy:
“Your Holiness, I have just discovered how easy Judgment is going to be.”
“Oh,” [the Deputy] said, “tell me, I would like to know.”
“While I was waiting to come into your presence I had come to the conclusion that I had not loved the Church as much as I should. Now that I come before Your Holiness, I see the Church personalized. When I make my obedience to you, I make it to the Body and to the invisible Head, Christ. Now I see how much I love the Church in Your Holiness, its visible expression.”
He said: “Yes, Judgment is going to be that easy for those who try to serve the Lord.”
Our downfall, Grubmuck—yours, mine, that of Our Father Below, all hell’s—will be in sight if that sentiment ever gains ground.
Tremble while you await my next contact. I will remain in touch, and will keep my gaze fixed upon you.
Your affectionate trainer,
Nota bene: Angry demons will not extract from us how this letter dropped into our hands. We share this with you solely as a blog post for your personal illumination, while gratefully acknowledging our debt to C. S. Lewis for the letters from Screwtape he obtained and published as The Screwtape Letters. Without Lewis’s inspiration, this new infernal missive, not to be confused with his canon, would not have seen daylight.