Enthusiasts for instant liturgy will have been greatly inspired by recent offerings on the Australian Council of Churches website.

In the wake of the tidal wave a form of service was posted which included some immediately relevant words to favourite traditional tunes. ‘O sacred head sore wounded’, courtesy of one P. Holden, turns up as, ‘O God, that great tsunami has stunned us one and all’ and contains the memorable lines,

‘Economies are ruined and lives in tatters lie

Sewage is washed down river while lonely orphans cry.’

We are offered two further belters by the Revd. A. Pratt of the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. ‘O God our help in ages past’ is revived as ‘The undercurrent breaks our grip’ which concludes with the moving verse,

‘We haven’t found the answer yet to cosmic suffering,

We cry to God, our faith remains although we cannot sing’

And there must be very few who can sing Pastor Pratt’s other offering with any conviction, ‘We understand tectonic plates’.

Not a lot of congregations could put their hands up to that one.


Some naieve traditionalists have been talking up the chances of an orthodox appointment to York as a replacement for the retiring Hope and a counterbalance to the Chief Druid. This charming fantasy comes adrift the moment anyone tries to think of an eligible diocesan from the tiny orthodox episcopal remnant. Those who would include Richard Chartres in this group might like to explain the advantages of such a move. Why would he want York – a task that involves endless hours on trains to London anyway – when London is where all the significant political and ecclesiastical movers and shakers operate and close personal friendships with the future Supreme Governor can be nurtured.

One other factor is that the bishops have their own man on the small secretive and arcane selection panel. They have chosen none other than cutting edge liberal Martin Wharton, Bishop of Newcastle!

News from York itself is that there is a growing campaign, across the spectrum and emanating from the House of Bishops, calling itself ABBJ. This stands, apparently, for ‘Any Bishop But Jones’ though the second letter of the acronym may not have been correctly translated.


While the professional agnostics of the media tortured a seemingly endless series of inadequate Christian spokespersons in the wake of the tidal wave (How can you believe in God after this etc. etc.) one group of popular pseudo religious entertainers seemed to get off scot-free – the astrologers. With daily pages of drivel in the newspapers and vast fortunes from suckers who ‘phone their premium rate lines, not one of these celestial hucksters had an inkling of the great event in advance. It was the usual obsessions with love, luck and lucre that dominated the prognostications for the day of doom.

But….just supposing one of them had, for instance, foreseen fourteen tidal moons rising in Aquarius? Presumably the victims would have been pretty exclusively from those born between January 21st and February 19th ? As St. Augustine pointed out a long time ago, it’s all hokum and these characters are just taking the Pisces.


While Bishop Bill Ind of Truro has been shuttling up to London to support the Government (and his fellow liberal bishops in the House of Lords) on matters like the Civil Partnerships Bill, events have taken a bizarre turn on home territory.

The Dean of Truro retired overnight due to stress. This may be related to an outing on a North Cornwall beach where, ironically, he had gone to relieve the tension. His replacement as Acting Dean is Gay! No, not one of the Prime Minister’s usual cathedral types but Canon Perran Gay, Cornwall’s most upwardly mobile clergyman.

Shortly thereafter the good burghers of Truro were surprised to read in ‘The Coracle’ (the diocesan newspaper) of a curious event planned for the mother church. One of the diocese’s most faithful servants, Canon Michael Geach, would celebrate his Golden Jubilee by preaching at Evensong on the fourth Sunday in Advent. This, ‘The Coracle’ informed us, would be followed by ‘wine and orifice’. No doubt the loyal Canon Geach was as baffled as the rest of us by this Affirming Catholic addition to the liturgy.


For weeks the review pages have been full of Mike Leigh’s new film, ‘Vera Drake’ – a highly romanticised vision of the pre 1967 backstreet abortion industry. ‘Vera’, a lovely, compassionate, mumsy soul, whose caring ministry is to wash out occupied wombs with a pint of soapy water, is already being hotly tipped for film industry awards.

Leigh, whose doctor father was reported to be a cheerful euthanasiast, is just the latest propagandist in the abortion industry’s attempts to sanitise its murderous purpose. Unfortunately for Leigh, St. Vera bears little relation to the cruel twilight world of money grubbing child killers and his medical advisers appear to know little of what really happened. ‘Vera’s’ soapy solution is, according to Jennifer Worth, Guardian correspondent and midwife, invariably fatal. One has to assume that Leigh, like most of the apologists, couldn’t quite bring himself to show the brutal realities. But that’s showbusiness.


Imagine thirty years of careful painstaking research. Imagine that you think you have found evidence of links between the Crusades, the Priory of Sion, the Merovingian kings, the Knights templar, Mary Magdalene and the very secret of the Holy Grail. Imagine then that some Yankee smartarse rewrites all your research in a bowdlerised form as a novel and hymn to the divine feminine and it becomes the best selling book of the year, massive film rights etc.

This was the fate of Henry Lincoln and his colleagues Baigent and Leigh at the hands of Dan Brown and his mammoth anti-Catholic hit, ‘The Da Vinci Code’. To add insult to injury Brown has included one of the stitched up authors as a character in his books, using an anagram of his name, casting him as a religious researcher and, grateful touch, revealing him to be a power mad homicidal maniac! The traduced trio are hoping to see Brown in court.

Meanwhile the ‘Da Vinci effect’ continues to ring the cash registers with endless spin-offs. Even Eurostar put their 15 % rise in revenue down to ‘Brownies’ rushing to Paris to follow the novel’s clues. Why modern folk need the stimulus of Mr. Brown’s borrowed scribblings to seek an opportunity to worship the divine feminine in Paris is surely the greater mystery.