Papal Shock Horror

With much of the world’s media having declared open season on the Catholic Church in general and Pope Benedict XVI in particular, it was of course only a matter of time before superannuated self-publicist Hans Kling stepped up to the mark to have his ten penn’orth. In an extraordinary two and a half thousand word diatribe addressed to the bishops of the Catholic Church and published in, of all places, The Irish Times, he sets forth all those areas in which the Holy Father is in error. And shocking stuff it is, too! For example, ‘He… occasionally celebrates the Eucharist in Latin with his back to the congregation’. Aaaarrrrghhhhhh! The Shock!! The Horror!!! Presumably even now The New York Times and The Times have teams of hard-bitten investigative reporters cruising the streets of Rome searching for more evidence of this foul and disgusting behaviour. Before long, the BBC will be reporting that the Vatican has yet again failed to apologise for this deviancy. And The Tablet will work itself up into yet another froth of self-righteous 1960s angst, whilst promising that everything will be all right again by the time of the next pope but one.

Could never happen here 1

After making it through the harsh winter, people in Western North Carolina are looking forward to the warm sun of spring, reports the Citizen-Times of Asheville, North Carolina. Some are preparing to celebrate the season’s change with an ecumenical ritual. Members of Mother Grove Goddess Temple will celebrate at 7pm Saturday with A Breath ofAppalachian Spring: A Ritual in Celebration of the Spring Equinox, in the parish hall of the Episcopal Cathedral of All Souls in Biltmore Village. Saturday’s event is open to all faith traditions, said Byron Ballard, wiccan priestess and a member of the temple. ‘Mother Grove isn’t a wiccan group, though some of us are wiccans’, she said, before adding, ‘Mother Grove is an outgrowth of the work of several people in the goddess/earth religions community. Its goal is to create a permanent sanctuary, where people of all faith traditions may openly and safely celebrate the divine feminine, the goddess.’ Crumbs! And we’d always supposed that the divine feminine in The Episcopal Church was the one in charge!

Could never happen here 2

Grateful thanks to the eagle-eyed 30DAys reader who spotted the great news from the other side of the pond: Barbie has been ordained in The Episcopal Church! Yes, every little girl’s favourite doll has at last found herself a real career, thanks in no small part to the Revd Julie Blake Fisher, a priest in Kent, Ohio, who accessorized the doll with a job lot of tat as a gift for her friend, the Revd Dena Cleaver-Bartholomew, Rector of Christ Episcopal Church, in Manlius, N.Y. Apparently, Barbie spends most of her time in CleaverBartholomew’s office, even though she is also the Rector at St Barbara’s-bythe-Sea in Malibu, California (wouldn’t you know it?). Meanwhile, over on Facebook, the Friends of Episcopal Priest Barbie (also created by the Revd Julie Blake Fisher, who clearly has too much time on her hands) now number 7,430 (and counting).

Colour Licence

A Forward in Faith member had occasion to attend the Chrism Eucharist in Liverpool Cathedral a few weeks ago, and was much struck by an unusual red and blue processional cross which was used. Wondering what might be the significance of such a singular colour scheme, he asked the Bishops of both Liverpool and Warrington, but neither of them could enlighten him. Still curious, he later wrote to the Cathedral to enquire and, in due course, received this answer: We’ve had it a long time but it used to be blue and cream but was in need of some attention so it was repainted red and blue so that it could be used during Lent and Advent. Which served only to confuse him more, until he remembered what we were all taught in Primary School: red + blue = purple! Too obvious, really!

In sickness and in health..

A clergy wife in Wales thought she would check out the Church in Wales’ arrangements for Paternity Leave recently, and was much diverted to find the outrageous, not to say unreasonable, condition laid down that, in cases other than adoption, her husband – in order to qualify for such leave – is required to be ‘the child’s biological father’! (How quaint!) Further, Paternity Leave is only granted for ‘the purpose of caring for the child’, so he had better watch out if he so much as makes the exhausted new mother a cup of tea! As our correspondent puts it: what a wonderful advert for Christian marriage!

Ecumenical News

Christmas is coming early to one Manchester church this year – because the minister says his congregation is too busy in December. Members of the Levenshulme Baptist Church (all 20 of them) sat down to a full Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, crackers, and party hats on the final Sunday of last month. The Revd Ian Spence came up with the idea as he believes getting his flock together to mark the occasion is more important than the date it is held on and in his experience, his congregation is usually too busy visiting relatives to get together on December 25. (No doubt he’s now planning an Easter Lunch for July, when everyone’s away on holiday…)

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