A Parlour Game


February 7, 2013 by lucieromarin

Some years ago, a bishop told me that, in seminary, the men were asked, “If a man is in a sinking boat with his mother and his wife, and he can only rescue one of them, which should he choose?”

“His wife!” I exclaimed.

“Nope,” said the bishop. “He has to save his mother’s life, because she gave him life.”

“Well,” said I, “if anyone ever proposes to me, I’ll ask him the same question. If he answers correctly, I’ll tell him to become a priest. If he answers incorrectly I’ll tell him he must never teach theology, but he can be my husband.”

“Hmmmph,” the bishop said.

Remembering this put me in mind of the sort of book you can get these days which is filled with tricky questions designed to stimulate discussion or entertainment, or both. As I have absolutely no profound thoughts at all to offer today, I thought I’d make some up Catholic-themed questions, and here they are:

1. Would you rather be stuck for ten years in a parish with the world’s worst preacher or the world’s worst choir?

2. Would you rather be a St Monica, and convert only one person, but that person be as great as Saint Augustine, or be like St Francis de Sales, and convert about 72,000 people, of whom none become as great as St Augustine?

3. You are in a liturgical choir with a super-strict choirmaster and a picky congregation. You make a horrible mistake in the Gradual verse. Would you rather that the congregation hears it, but your choirmaster misses it, or that the choirmaster hears it, but the congregation misses it?

4. Alas! A friend has gone horribly astray. Would you rather discover that she’s involved with a false apparition, or a conspiracy theory?

5. Would you rather hear bad advice from someone you’ve always trusted, or good advice from someone you’ve never trusted?

6. You arrive just in time for the Pontifical High Mass. There are only two seats left in the entire chapel. One is next to a weird and malodorous guy. The other is next to the world’s brattiest and ill-disciplined children. Where do you sit?

7. Would you rather that your secret thurifer crush finally notice you on the day when you have on a flattering dress, but an unflattering haircut, or a flattering haircut and unflattering dress?

3 thoughts on “A Parlour Game

  1. Mixolydian says:

    Just for fun:
    1) Worst choir – I just wouldn’t be joining it!
    2) That is a really hard choice. Maybe St Monica because it’s a nice story, but who knows…
    3) Hmm… probably the choirmaster as he would understand and be conversant with how easy it is to make mistakes.
    4) Gah! Actually, what’s the difference? They seem to go hand in hand. Both are difficult to reason with. I guess conspiracy theory, not sure why.
    5) The latter. Bad advice from people you’ve always trusted could raise so many other questions about previous pieces of advice.
    6) I stand 🙂
    7) Haha to that question! Flattering haircut, I think. Guys so rarely notice fashion and hair is so face-framing. My instinct said dress, because I notice dresses more than hair and faces, but I’m not your secret thurifer crush…

  2. Charlie's sister says:

    You should be writing for that Hypothetical show. I could not decide for most of these, except for 6 – the malodorous guy (I could feel accepting and saintly, whereas ill-disciplined children just make me feel murderous :/ ) and 7 – definitely the haircut. You can change the dress when he asks you out, but not the haircut.

  3. Sydney Coeur de Lyon says:

    1) Hard choice: I have recently been to a few with bad preachers, but still think I would fare worse in a church with a bad choir.
    2) Since it can be argued that St. Augustine probably converted thousands by his preaching, writings, and example, I’ll go with St. Monica.
    3) There was a time when I would have been a nervous wreck no matter who heard the mistake; now I could care less.
    4) Whichever stands the better chance of recovering from the delusion; alas, I know of no one who has recovered from either one.
    5) Easiest to answer: good advice from someone I never trusted.
    6) Being uncle to 30 nieces & nephews, I am a bit more used to ignoring misbehaved children; a malodorous man would bother me to no end!
    7) N/A

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