In this biweekly feature, we seek to encourage the local church by remembering the times when things were much, much worse.

Like it or not, we have the traditional Lenten fast to thank for many of the things we take for granted. If it weren’t for Lent, for instance, we probably never would have learned how delicious square fish patties were, since McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish sandwiches were invented specifically because Catholic customers would stop buying burgers during Lent. (The other, less-successful attempt to bring those customers back had been the “Hula Burger,” which was a slice of grilled pineapple on a bun with some of that plasticky fake cheese. You just can’t make this stuff up.)

But if the delicate bouquet of flavors known as the Hula Burger is the second-greatest thing to happen as a result of the Lenten fast, surely the greatest is the Swiss Reformation. And just like Swiss cheese and Swiss Miss Cocoa, the Swiss Reformation was every bit as delicious as it sounds, mainly thanks to the involvement of massive amounts of processed meat. (In that sense, it was no different, and no less world-changing, than Lunchables—except it probably didn’t contribute to an entire generation of kids getting diabetes.)

The Swiss Reformation kicked off in 1522 with a scandal referred to as “The Affair of the Sausages” (which, in all likelihood, is also the name of Adam Sandler’s next screenplay). Here’s what happened: Ulrich Zwingli—who was the forerunner of John Calvin, but isn’t anywhere near as well-remembered because no one knows how to pronounce “Ulrich Zwingli”—was publishing a collection of his sermons on the epistles of St. Paul, and ...

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