Every year, among hundreds of other greetings, the esteemed Secretary of Forward in Faith, Fr Geoffrey Kirk, regularly receives several offensive cards. This year’s piece de resistance enshrined a fat naked bald black lady giving birth above the legend, ‘God creates the world’. Inside is the simple assignation, ‘Happy Christmas from Mary Magdalene’.
Readers of anti-catholic book of the year, The Da Vinci Code, will realise at once that, as Mary Magdalene is the key figure in the Gnostic movement’s rebirth in the guise of feminist sexuality, Fr. Kirk has at last been contacted by the mythical guardians of this secret, The Priory of Sion, with a view to enlisting him in their latest plot to overthrow the Papacy.
Of course it could simply be the work of a cowardly nutter or pervert who likes to cause blasphemous offence.
Unexpected births are not confined to one member of the Editorial Board. Fr Low was surprised to receive a letter from the Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro recently inviting him for an ultrasound scan. For the appointment, at the Princess Alexandra Maternity Wing, Fr Low was invited to bring a full bladder and his current partner to see how his baby (or twins) was progressing.
Enormously excited by this miraculous event, Fr Low telephoned the hospital to explain that, although his three previous children had been borne by his longsuffering wife, he was always open to new possibilities. Would the hospital, he enquired, like to be part of the deal he was negotiating with Max Clifford to sell his unique story for a fortune?
A severely embarrassed member of the department had to explain to an inconsolable Low that they had typed in the wrong computer number and it was a phantom pregnancy. Staff at his local surgery have suggested, between hysterical laughter, that he should sue for trauma and disappointment.
TOAD BLAMES RATTY
Ask any observer of the Anglican scene over the last twenty years to name the person most responsible for bestowing priestesses on the Church of England and you are likely to come up with the name ‘Carey’. But wait! It is not so. Who says so? None other than the blessed George himself.
The real culprit was, wait for it, none other than Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the only man more Catholic than the Pope. The response of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith to ARCIC I report was, says the learned doctor, ‘a severe blow to hopes that we might see unity with Rome in our lifetime (leading) many, including myself, to look at womens’ ordination in a new light’.It was, George concludes, in his self-penned hagiography Know the Truth, ‘pointless to wait any longer’.
So bitter was the disappointment experienced by this tireless apostle of reunion with Rome that he was, shortly thereafter, to be found advising traditionalist clergy in Bath and Wells to get out, branding anyone who agreed with the longstanding teaching of Christendom as ‘heretics’ and ensuring serious ecumenism was dead for the foreseeable future.
Still the prospect of Uncle Joe Ratzinger as patron saint of WATCH makes it all worthwhile.
The BBC duly went into bat for a beleaguered Prime Minister by dedicating 20 minutes primetime news to supporters of his troubled pal, Bonkety Blunk. The truly marvellous human being that is the Home Secretary must have been rejoicing in his bed, or someone else’s, at the seemingly endless procession of hagiographers.
Last but not least we got a comment from a religious person, one Dr. Alan Billings, formerly Vice Principal of Cuddesdon and before that a pal of Comrade Blunk’s Soviet Republic of Sheffield days. By the time our Alan had finished listeners would be forgiven for assuming that papers for Blind Dave’s beatification papers were on their way to the Vatican. Well done everybody.
ONE FLEW OVER
The Sunday Times recently revealed that ‘atheist in chief’ Prof. Antony Flew had discovered God ! Not, Flew hastened to add, in any Christian sort of way and even less Muslim. There is only so much humiliation a proud man can take. More a prime mover or original cause, you understand. Flew’s latest conclusion from his lifelong pursuit of factual evidence and philosophical deduction immediately brought rebuke from fellow atheists and the gloom sodden nihilists at the National Secular Society.
But is Flew really responsible for this latest turn in his thinking or is he, as current research implies, a belated victim of the ‘religious gene’.
Older readers will recall the famous Methodist minister, Dr. Newton Flew who was prominent at the British Council of Churches in its glory days. Legend has it that the Council received a note from Flew excusing his absence on the grounds of an unspecified illness. The very next apology to be read out was from a redoubtable lady member who opined that she was ‘in bed with flu’.
Ecumenical relations were not advanced by the unseemly hilarity of the Anglican delegates.
Keen students of the latest Robin Eames Novelty Catalogue, the Windsor Report, have discovered another intriguing sleight of hand. In the guise of strengthening Dr. Williams’ authority, the report suggests surrounding him with a council of advisers to help share the burden of these all too tricky decisions about whom, for example, to invite to the next Lambeth Conference and whether to exclude any rogue arch/bishops who keep taking hurtful unilateral action.
As the Archbishop of Canterbury currently has absolute say in these matters, this is a considerable weakening of his hand. But there is more. Who should make up this cosy crew of advisers? Eames suggests, among others, the Joint Standing Committees of the Anglican Consultative Council and the Primates’ Meeting. Who is Chairperson of this? Step forward Frank Tracy Griswold, the well known ecclesiastical privateer and the most obvious person to disinvite.
Jesus saves ! Well he’s saved the T-Towel industry at any rate. The ubiquity of automatic dishwashers has provoked a major recession in the drying up cloth world.
But lo ! there came a star in the East and millions of children needed to look like shepherds for the school Nativity Plays. Straightway sales of the well known all-purpose Arab headgear multiplied as mothers battled in the aisles to ensure their little darlings were the best dressed wildlife attendants at the manger.
This year’s most popular style was, apparently, brown herringbone ! More traditional parents could show their political sympathies by opting for green gingham (Palestine) or blue and white (Israel).