Finally

 

Wish you had bought a Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club T-Shirt? ‘Putting the smackdown on heresy since 1981!’ $14.99 from <www.ratzingerfanclub.com>.

All credit to Christopher Blosser who founded the website in 2000, ‘in response to the malicious caricature and public furore over Dominus Iesus – what’s more comical than a fan club for the Grand Inquisitor?’

 

In June 2004, you will remember, the Bishop of Worcester managed to defeat a Lords amendment that was to give legal protection to religious bodies in regard to the Gender Recognition Act.

In April, by means of a statutory instrument, the (secular) Government restored everything the good bishop had succeeded in throwing out.

 

Congratulations to AFC Wimbledon (representing the new province, see ND April) on becoming champions of Ryman Division One and gaining promotion to the Ryman Premier League. A well merited triumph for the true believers. Meanwhile, MK Dons (representing the liberal church) are just one above the drop-zone in League Division One.

 

It is said that a French convent had a copy of this picture (detail shown) above their altar, until they were told that it depicted the mistress of King Charles II of England and their bastard son: Barbara Villiers and her son Charles Fitzroy, painted by Sir Peter Lely c.1664 as Madonna and Child.

It is an outrageous piece of art that could only have come from that post-puritan age of permissiveness. As a compliment to contemporary anti-religious art, it is not without charm. On display in the reception area of the National Portrait Gallery, it needs to be bought for the nation. Another £20,000 must be found before the end of May to keep it in this country.

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