It was a cold, wet afternoon when I saw Ordinariate member Hubert selling the Big Issue on the High Street.
As he said, learning Romanian no problem now that you didn’t have to brush up your O-level Latin to join Rome. Credit to him, a self-help Ordinariate fund-raising initiative, and not depending on the CBS ‘bung’ coming in, or hoping that his bet on the people’s polymath, Stephen Fry, becoming the new Archbishop of Canterbury, would pay out. However, he looked so chilled that I invited him to join me for a pint in Wetherspoons. A good example of Anglican via media. On the one hand it was practical charity commanded in I Cor. 13. On the other, I’ve got shares in ‘Spoons’.
Once Hubert had thawed out, and we’d exchanged the usual Ordinariate v FiF banter (‘Going Over’ versus ‘Going Under’), we reached total agreement in settling for another pint. We also agreed in bewailing the fact that whether across the Tiber, or beside the Thames, there’s little humour in the modern church, despite the follies common to both communions.
‘However, Hubert,’ I ventured, ‘the Ordinariate’s got one laugh over us, because Julian Fellowes has come to one of your events. Most folk reckon that Downton Abbey’s the funniest sitcom since Steptoe.’ ‘Yes’, he admitted, ‘but one Fellowes doesn’t make…’ ‘Lord Fellowes,’ I interrupted. ‘Don’t forget Julian’s got a peerage, though perhaps that’s a bigger joke than Downton.’
We then wondered where are the Chestertons, Frs Forrests and Mascalls today? Is it impossible to parody the parody that the modern church has become? When, we mused, did a broadside from Watch ever contain a joke? Prove us wrong ladies. Pepper your next polemic with ‘funnies.’ We’ll check the laughter-rate on our MaxMiller-meter.
Fair play, the FiF National Assembly is hardly Palace of Varieties.
MaxMiller-meter needed here as well?