30 DAYS

BOTTOMS UP

Traditionalist believers throughout the Anglican Communion can breathe a sigh of relief. God is in his heaven and all's well. The gathering of nigh on a thousand clerical and lay delegates to the Forward in Faith National Assembly did their duty and provided an enviable example of spiritual fortitude. The public house directly opposite the Camden Conference Centre, the Dolphin, was drunk dry of gin within hours of the Holy Fathers' arrival.

The landlord thought it was an optical illusion when all these men in black rushed in but agreed it was a wonderful tonic for his profits. Apparently they'd just come straight from worship in Gordon's Squarel.

LUCKY DIP

The papers report that police in Norfolk recently recovered a statue of the Hindu goddess of good fortune, Shakti, from a boating lake at Great Yarmouth. To their astonishment, no sooner had civilian worker, Alan Smith, shaken one of the ten hands of the five headed goddess than he won 150 on the canteen slot machine. Our Hindu correspondent reports that, in fact, Lakshmi is the goddess of good fortune (wealth, beauty, etc). Shakti is the 'one for power! It's surprising Mr. Smith didn't rip the one armed bandit off the wall. Devout catholic parishes hoping to install statues of "Our Lady of the Rollover" and "St. Luc(k)y" scratch and confess cards should put their plans on hold.

POPEARAZZI

Catholic belief in the real presence took on a new fundamentalist depth in Paris recently. As more than a million worshippers packed Longchamps Racecourse for the Papal Mass, one of the concelebrating bishops was spotted whipping out a disposable camera from under his rainbow chasuble to catch a quick snap of the ineffable. Should this shot be successfully developed, presumably by "Triple Print", not only will it give tabloid photographers a new and hitherto unsuspected market in "Royal" pictures but will, presumably, be able to tell us which "Masses" are valid - albeit ex post facto unless it's a Polaroid.

THE FAITHFUL FIVE

A 19 year old knife wielding heroin addict burglar got 5 years on Her Majesty after a serious misjudgement. Normally Robert Todd fed his habit by armed robberies on Take Aways. However, his attempt to turn over the Convent of Mary, in Newcastle, went seriously adrift. Three of the five resident pensioner nuns confronted him, disarmed him and chased him out through the window. He left clutching a pension book which would later convict him.

A shocked Todd has written an apology, from his cell, to the battling bead rattlers. Obviously he did not have a catholic upbringing. Anyone who had or who has had a nun for a Spiritual Director would have warned him - "You never mess with Mother"!

CROSS? YOU BET YOUR LIFE

A row is brewing at the H.Q. of one of the great international humanitarian organisations, The Red Cross. Claim, counter claim, denial and rumour have swept the press about the fate of the cross itself. Apparently in "this pluralistic age" we need a "culturally neutral" emblem.

Of course, as the organisation is quick to explain, the cross is not a symbol of the Christian faith but rather a sign of neutrality drawn from the flag of the world's most professional neutrals, the Swiss.

Dr. Sommaruga, a spokesman from Genevan H.Q. produced some new ideas to a Jewish gathering in London who refuse to recognise the Red Cross or Crescent.

Imaginative suggestions include a red diamond, presumably for rich or South African casualties, and a red hexagon, for injured geometricans?

30 Days makes the following religious and culturally neutral suggestions:

A red question mark for agnostic casualties; a red pentagram for wounded wiccans; and a red star for those who just want the quickest service.

HE IS NOT HERE HE'S IN CLECKHEATON

Members of the Staincliffe Bowling Club, Dewsbury, stood slack-jawed as former captain, Bill Adsett, 77 of Cleckheaton, walked on to the green last month.

Many had sent condolence cards to his "widow" Lillie after is "demise" following an operation. Now here he was, a local Lazarus, and the only "end" he had plans for was drawing his woods to the jack from a well-laid "prayer" mat.

Mr. Adsett was less distressed about being "dead" apparently, than finding that someone else had taken his place in the team. Typical Yorkie.

VERY LATE CONVERSION

When Fr. Boyle got the wrong date in his diary for John Flynn's funeral at Portchester Crematorium, the Anglican Chaplain stood in for the obsequies. While Fr. Boyle apologised, the R.C. Bishop cemented ecumenical relations by saying that the conducting of the cremation by an Anglican didn't matter.

It did to the Flynns! "My catholic father was cremated by a protestant" complained one daughter. Whether or not such a late transfer would obviate the need for purgatory, it is all the fault of the liberal R.C. hierarchy. In the good old days a requiem mass followed by burial was a corporal act of mercy and the expectation of all catholics. No self respecting left footer would be seer/ dead in a crem. Such pagan rites w ~1e left to well Anglicans.

A DANGEROUS PRECEDENT

An 8,000 chalice, donated to York Minster in 1985, is on its way home - to the R.C. Church in Navan Co. Meath. Stolen some 25 years ago and traded from a market stall, its provenance was investigated by the inventory officer at York, Charles McCarter. The Dean has taken it back to Navan. While we commend the honesty of all concerned at the Minster we sincerely hope this does not set a trend of returning all former Roman Catholic property to its rightful owners. Otherwise the Dean, and a vast number of Anglican clergy, won't have a porch to pray in.