It's been a busy few weeks for Muslim-Christian relations.
The Pope was enjoying a very civil meeting with the Iranian Head of State and the great Christian nations of the West have mobilised NATO to defend the Albanian Muslims of Kosovo.
The boys of Sherborne school have done their bit too. According to their recently published School Review, they have recently completed a cricket tour of Pakistan. After a list of statistics and achievements from the six matches played, the following fundamentalist footnote indicates the real state of play.
"Patrick Gidney, fielding on the boundary was joined by a young Pakistani boy who
engaged him in conversation.
"Are you a Muslim" he asked Patrick.
"No actually I'm a Christian" replied Patrick.
"Oh!" said the youngster.
A short while later the boy returned with some friends and started stoning Patrick!"
A Degree of Exaggeration
Graduates of Cambridge University regularly receive a glossy mag. "CAM", along with appeals for the "CANTAB" fund. The publications give a view of life at FEN POLY today along with updates of careers of successful grads in diverse fields. Imagine the surprise of many readers recently when, in addition to receiving a huge list of recent benefactors they were able to read this following puff in the highlighted preface.
"Undoubtedly any list of Cambridge Alumni would include some of the finest and most creative minds in the world! ISAAC NEWTON, JOHN MILTON, CHARLES DARWIN, STEPHEN HAWKING ... MICHAEL WINNER".
Can this be the remarkable gastronome and man of letters whose extravagant and sage opinions, weekly grace the columns of the News of the Screws and whose epic contribution to World cinema include "Won Ton Ton", "Dirty Weekend" and "You Must Be Joking?" Indeed it can and those who were undergrads 30 years ago will recognise the remarkable Winner as a prophet. Even then he was giving talks on one the career on one of the film industries most sensational talents himself.
Halliwell's filmgoers companion describes him, unkindly, as "his own best publicist". It has taken alma mater to recognise him as alongside Newton and Milton.
Credit where Credits due
Congratulations to Bishop Michael Marshall for his recent outspoken attack on consumerism. Specifically targeting the new 320 shop Bluewater "Cathedral to Mammon" and Church leaders failure to take a stand against this credit culture, England's most elegant Bishop, and priest in charge of Upper Chelsea, can only have enhanced his lifelong reputation as a remarkable ascetic.
The Bells, the Bells
Plucky priest and parishioners of a Brum Church rang their tower ragged in protest at Aston Villa putting on their Premier league match on a Sunday morning and lodged a formal complaint about their next match - Good Friday. The bells obviously did the trick as Villa got a drubbing by Chelsea on the first occasion and those blasphemous bullring bumpkins who preferred Villa Park to the Victory of the Cross, were treated to the worst match of the day - a nil-nil mega-yawn against West Ham.
Brechin Wind XI
The agony at Dundee's ailing Cathedral goes on. When all but one of the Vestry called for the resignation of twice married former nun, Miriam Byrne, from the Provostship, the Bishop of Brechin, "Nev the Rev" Chamberlain, called in a brother Bishop to arbitrate and save his controversial appointment.
Ms. Byrne, known as "Attila the Nun", was accused of dictatorial behaviour, wrecking liturgy and spending money the Cathedral hadn't approved on her dwelling. The arbitrator, Bruce Cameron (Bishop of Aberdeen and Orkney), has reported. The report is a secret! Even his fellow bishops have not seen it!
But it is believed to involve a cooling off period under the pastoral care of ........Neville Chamberlain. Now that Bishop Chamberlain has in his hand this vital piece of paper he will, no doubt, be able to declare "peace in our time."
Oban Bishop banned
Unsuspecting sassenachs straying north of the border beware! Scottish alcohol packs a powerful punch as the unfortunate Bishop of Argyll and the Isles, Douglas Cameron, discovered on his way hone to Oban one evening.
A statement from the Scottish Episcopal Church (prop. Dick Holloway) tells us:
"After a long day's work the Bishop of Argyll unwisely stopped for a drink on an empty stomach."
This drink caused his car to behave erratically and be detained by a concerned member of the local constabulary. Further investigation led to the discovery that this drink had registered the understandably tired and emotional holy father as almost double the legal limit. A years ban and £500 fine followed.
Still all is not gloom. Dick has expressed his "utmost confidence" in Doug and there must be many hardened malt fanciers who would put a fiver towards Doug's fine if he would just tell them which one of his diocese's many excellent products had this effect with only one shot.
Mass Membership for Comm Union
A July conference in Liverpool will be used by Cardinal Basil Hume and the R.C. hierarchy to tell left footers to join a trade union and campaign for workers rights.
Such exhortations from Bazza and Co will be music to the ears of the very anglican Fr. Stephen Trott, clerical convenor of the MSF union, who will, no doubt, be preparing for a stampede for membership from poorly paid, underrepresented and downtrodden ....... catholic priests.
Major Tragedy averted
The Bishop of Gloucester, David Bentley, proclaimed the Risen Lord in his Easter message. Referring to the Good Friday execution of Jesus he remarked, "If that had been the end of the story, no one today would have heard of Jesus. There would be no church and I would not be a bishop!" Phew! Thank you Jesus.
While the grubby whingers of the quality broadsheets carp and moan about Bishops' spiralling expenses, thank goodness for a prelate with sparkling confidence in the resurrection and the revival of church collections and commissioners investments.
Step forward Affirming Catholicism's candidate for Canterbury. David "Bubbles" Stancliffe, Bishop of Salisbury. Invitations to the Easter mysteries were accompanied by the irresistible temptation of a subsequent champagne breakfast. Keep the quotas coming in!
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