Citing classic "bait and switch" tactics, Episcopalian defectors the world over have returned to their original churches, leading Catholics to dub them "Boomeranglicans" or boomerang Anglicans.
Father Phillip G. Christopher, pastor of the Church of St. Francis Bryan, Preserver of the Anglican Communion, urged the renegade Anglicans to adopt the Boomeranglican moniker in order to disarm it. "If we use it in a positive, affirmative way, like gays do with the word 'queer,' we will claim its power," he explained in a telephone interview from Cheddington, Buckinghamshire, England.
"Homos? They're the reason we wanted to leave the Episcopal Church in the first place, that and women being priests," said Harry Tutor, leader of AAWHP, Anglicans Against Women and Homosexual Priests. "No way, Father Phil, it ain't happening."
Tutor spoke from AAWHP headquarters in Tarrytown, New York, flanked by dozens of angry Anglicans.
"And the other reason we crossed over? 'Cause those lying Catholic bums lured us in with a lot of special offers and sign-on bonuses. It didn't take long for us to see that they were nothing but empty promises. That's why we came back," he added, as the room erupted with shouts of "Yeah!" and "You tell 'em, Harry!"
"For instance, they told us that the host would now be available in several flavors," he said, referring to the unidentifiable pressed food substance Catholics receive in lieu of bread during Communion. "We were supposed to have a choice of bubblegum, grape and fish and chips. It still only comes in one flavor - cardboard." At this, all the Episcopalians in the crowded headquarters stuck out their tongues and grimaced.
The fish and chips flavor was purportedly a nod to the Anglican Church's British roots.
"We were supposed to get free popcorn at Mass," Tutor added. "Plus...about Mass? It was supposed to be rewritten so there was less of the sit down, kneel, stand, kneel again stuff going on. And if you went 6 months without once skipping Mass, you'd get a reprieve for the next Sunday. None of that happened!"
He went on, spurred by a chorus of angry assents from the crowd. "They told us that Penance was supposed to be shorter. Like, instead of saying three Our Fathers, you only had to say two. That didn't happen either," he shook his head in disgust.
"They promised us that incense was going to be less stinky. Yeah, that's right! It was supposed to come in different scents, like they have at the car wash - you know, spearmint, cinnamon and tutti-frutti. Did that happen? NO!" By this time, his voice had gotten shrill, and a few of his fellow Boomeranglicans patted his shoulders to calm him down.
Tutor took a deep breath, as the others nodded for him to go on. "The first week, indulgences were supposed to be 'buy one, get one free'. Sure enough, it was a no-go on that, too." [Note: the speaker is referring to the purchase of the Lord's forgiveness for sin, a common practice in the Church.]
"They were going to make Holy Cards more flattering, kind of like what they did with Jefferson on the twenty-dollar bill. Mary Magdalene was supposed to look like Angelina Jolie, and if you didn't like Jesus in a beard, they told us they had an option with him clean-shaven. They even had him with just the tiniest mustache, like John Waters," he gestured, tracing the edge of his upper lip with his finger. "I tried to get some of the little mustache ones online through "Holy Cards R Us," but they told me they were backordered until Ash Wednesday, 2011!" he said, red with frustration.
"Here's a good one." He continued. "Check this one out -- they told us that anyone who died the first week they signed on, if they got to Purgatory, they would get a coupon good for 15% off the time they spent there."
When asked what Purgatory was, Tutor answered, "It's kinda like hell, only less hot. You don't burn -- you only get somewhat singed. Plus, you eventually make it to heaven once you've been sufficiently singed. It's not like hell, where you can't ever get out," he added.
"'Course, in all fairness, we'll never really find out if anybody was actually able to take advantage of the 15% discount, being that they can't use it 'til they're dead and all," Tutor shrugged.
"Rosaries were supposed to be at least 20% shorter, too. You'd only need to say eight Hail Mary's instead of 10. They told us that they had even redesigned the beads so they'd slip through your fingers faster."
Another Boomeranglican piped up, "The baptismal water, it was supposed to be a warm 86º, so the babies wouldn't cry as much when it got poured over their little heads. Did they deliver on that one? Nope!"
Tutor nodded, "The Holy Water, too. Like what you dip your hands in before you bless yourself? You know, when you come up to the vestibule? It was supposed to be room temperature all the time. No more cold fingers when you cross yourself.
Forget it. They didn't do any of it." Tutor said dejectedly. "So, we all bailed, and here we are back again." He looked around at the Boomeranglicans surrounding him as they made a collective sigh of resignation.
Bishop Marion Lamborghini, Director of Marketing for the Holy See, responded to the charges of bait and switch by admitting that his department had jumped the gun, making offers that weren't sufficiently backed-up. "We just weren't prepared for the response," he confessed.
"We're asking for a little more time, like until the Sunday after All Soul's Day." In addition to reinstating the other sign-on bonuses and special offers, the Bishop guaranteed a "get out of Hell free card" to the first 100 "Boomeranglicans" who return.