This months 30Days prize for understatement goes to Fr John Joyce, a spokesman for the Roman Catholic diocese of Shrewsbury, for this gem: Parish centres under our auspices let their premises on the understanding users and their organisations are compatible with the ethos and teachings of the Catholic Church. In this instance, we aren't satisfied such requirements are met. His comments followed complaints by Amethyst Selmeselene (or, as her eleven grandchildren know her, Mrs Sandra Davis), the high priestess of the Crystal Cauldron group in Stockport, Greater Manchester.
Mrs Selmeselene, 61, had booked Our Lady's Social Club in Shaw Heath for her covens annual Witches Ball due to be held in October and hoped to attract up to 150 people to a social evening offering a buffet dinner and music from an Abba tribute band. (Apparently, she had selected the hall because it had disabled access.)
When when she went to finalize the booking she was told by the manager that the Diocese of Shrewsbury, which owns the centre, had refused permission for her group to use it.
It makes you think that there is still a little bit of that attitude from the past of the Catholics wanting to burn witches, she whinged, before conjuring up an alternative venue for what must surely be the highlight of the Stockport social calendar.
Thanks are due to The Sunday Telegraph for news that concerns over the lack of men going to church on your average Sunday has led clergy to offer a range of incentives for Fathers Day - including 'free beer, bacon rolls (on arrival at church) and chocolate bars'. Step forward the Archdeacon of Worcester, the Venerable Roger Morris, who was due to preside over the distribution of a bottle of beer to every man who fetched up at St Stephen's, Barbourne, in Worcester, on Father's Day (or The Twelfth Ordinary Sunday of the Year, as it appears in the 30DAYS Ordo):
Posies of flowers are given to mums on Mothering Sunday and we wanted to give a laddish, blokeish gift to the men. A bottle of beer hits the mark. The whole of life is to be celebrated in church. The Bishop of Worcester - the Right Revd John Inge - added: We give wine away every Sunday, so giving away beer could be said to going downmarket a bit, but it's an attempt to speak of God's generosity. For once, 30Days is lost for words.
The stuff of which fairy tales are made
The story of Catholic priest Fr Alberto Cutie (pronounced koo-tee-ay, which is a shame) has been one of the most diverting to have come our way for years. A well-known, good-looking, 40-year-old priest with his own TV show goes to the beach with a lady-friend, and is photographed with his hand inside her bikini top.
Unsurprisingly, as soon as the photos appeared in newspapers and magazines all over the world, Fr Cutie asked the Archdiocese of Miami for some time 'to think and make a decision on where his life was heading' - which soon turned out to be The Episcopal Church (proprietor: Mrs KJS).
No sooner had he turned up preaching - as a lay Episcopalian - at a Miami church, than he had made an honest woman of the owner of the bikini and Miss Ruhama Buni Canellis became Mrs Alberto Cutie, no doubt looking forward to not having any further need for the bikini.
But, like all good soap operas, there was more: enter illegal Indonesian immigrant Maxi Paulus Ratunuman, currently languishing in a Miami jail, who claims to be Mrs Cutie's ex and says that the only reason he's banged up is because Mr & Mrs Cutie conspired with an off-duty police officer (who apparently moonlights as Mr Cutie's bodyguard), in order (are you following this?) to get him out of the picture because he was asking for money Mrs Cutie owed him. Naturally, Ratunuman is now suing the happy couple (as well as PC Plod), citing 'mental anguish, loss of income and earning capacity'.
Y'all read this!
Meanwhile, over at Catholic Online <www.catholic.org>, the headline which caught our eye was 'Big Mama' Homosexual 'Drag Queen' is NOT a Roman Catholic Priest (well, it would catch your eye, wouldn't it?). The story was run as a response to reports circulating in the States that a famous drag queen was, by day, a Catholic Priest in Ohio. Vincent Capretta, aka Father Anthony, who performs as Big Mama Capretta has, as we go to press, a hit single titled Big Mama's House that is ranked number 25 on the U.S. Billboard Club Play dance chart.
Recently interviewed, he apparently said that he came out of the closet in honour of Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender Pride Month recently proclaimed by President Obama. It's Big Mama y'all! he evidently stated, I am no longer afraid to come out of the closet as a gay Catholic Priest. I am enjoying my life being who I am and who God intended me to be! Now let's dance y'all! (No, 30Days doesn't know what it means either.) Anyway, it turns out that drag queen he may be, but catholic priest he ain't. What he is is the Rector of the Community of Charity <www.commu-nityofcharity.org>, an Independent Old Catholic Church. Established in 1999, it is of course (yawn) 'an All-inclusive & Welcoming Congregation!
Now that's what I call inclusive!
Talking of inclusion, y'all will be anxious to have updated figures from The Inclusive (sic) Church Directory of Inclusive Churches. And the news is simply mind-boggling! From last month's stupendous 39, it has shot up to a knee-trembling 63!
Mind you, ten of them are outside the Provinces of Canterbury and York -which of course demonstrates the worldwide appeal of IC - whilst many of the rest seem to be in the diocese of South-wark, demonstrating that, once again, South Bank religion is at the very cutting edge of contemporary English Christianity. Geoffrey Kirk and Donald Minchew will need to look to their laurels!
Copy for 30 Days should reach FiF office by the 10th day of the month:
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