The day before the English football team was ' lobbed' out of the World Cup, the newspapers were presented with one of those embarrassing own goals so beloved of the CofE. The Bishop of Southwell's chaplain, a member of the liturgical committee, produced a prayer for victory. A mixture of the 'Dear Lord we just really want to…' school of prayer and the Psalmist's desire to smite the foreign foe, it did not achieve the requested result. In the event it was Brazil 2 England 1.
Most commentators put this down to superior footballing skills rather than the inadequacy of Protestant prayer. However, the secret spiritual battle and its inevitable outcome was revealed, a couple of weeks later, by none other than the Catholic Herald. Under the headline 'Ronaldo thanks Our Lady for return to form', the Herald revealed that the man who undid England and whose goals defeated Germany in the final puts it all down to the prayers of the BVM.
Jesus may save, but Our Lady puts them in on the rebound!
The darling of liberal feminist jurisprudence, Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, chaired the Appointments Commission to select the new Archbishop of Canterbury. The great reformer enjoys worshipping at St Paul's Cathedral – proprietor Dean John Moses.
Like a growing band of Deans, John 'Pauls' III is a long-standing member of Affirming Catholicism. Indeed, he is a trustee.
By a happy coincidence a fellow trustee is one Rowan Williams now, apparently, Canterbury in waiting. Since Downing Street has effectively put an end to the secrecy surrounding the Welsh Wizard's nomination, John 'Pauls' III will be able to express his surprise and delight at the excellent choice of our Lizzie's committee.
THE REAL ABSENCE
Critics of the Winchester White Wedding Worksheet Mk II (Legal Aid applied for) should stop carping and be grateful. The new do it yourself marriage doctrine kit enables a diversity and flexibility in keeping with the needs of an inclusive and morally evolving society. However, we still have a long way to go according to one of our correspondents who recently attended a wedding north of the border.
The ' minister' informed the congregation that the lapsed Catholic bridegroom had only agreed to use his services and his 'plant' if there was no mention of God throughout the proceedings! The 'minister' had cheerfully agreed to exclude the host from the sacramental party because, as he so pastorally observed, 'the important thing is to get these young people wed'.
As the reader will appreciate, liturgy, oaths, blessings, hymns and prayers were terminally restricted. A legal registration in a consecrated building was the limit of the event. Surrounded by secular froth and uncompromised by religion, it may offer the ideal model for an inclusive (and commercial) revival of the CofE wedding market.
ALL WASHED UP
Tireless trusty Truro has been on his travels again. Pausing only to have a pacemaker fitted, Bishop Bill Ind, head of English ARC and ecumaniac extraordinaire has been over in Sweden cementing Porvoodoo relations with his twin diocese. On Belinda's return the Swedish Bishop came over to re-sign the agreed covenant at the Petertide ordinations. Our Nordic neighbour must have been mightily impressed when Bishop Bill, famous for his modesty, insisted on washing the new deacons' feet!
Will this become the new Porvoodoo ordination rite?
Will there be an outbreak of Holy Week humility across the episcopal bench? Liturgical innovators wait with bated breath.
PS Has anyone noticed how the less Catholic the CofE becomes the more Catholic signs it grasps to cover its nakedness?
GRANT YOU PARDON
The lovely Liz Hurley, famous for her make-up adverts and safety pin dress, has struck a great blow for ecumenism. Hurley, a Roman Catholic, took her baby son to the Jesuits at Farm Street for baptism. Perhaps the most high-profile single mother in England just now, her penitence was exemplary. Calling her son Damian (the most famous satanically possessed character in modern cinematic history) and having Elton John and his male lover as godparents, Liz simply confirmed that we are all Affirming Catholics now.
(David Beckham, another guest wearing pink nail varnish, was so impressed that he said he would like to get his son, Brooklyn, baptized. He and 'Posh' just can't decide which religion to get him baptized into apparently!)
WOMEN BISHOPS – A CORRECTION
When the Bishop of Rochester put in for a further delay on women bishops at Synod recently, he was reported as saying this was a 'painful Christian process'. Obviously this was a mistake as anything that seeks to confound the word of God is not Christian. The CofE is, in fact, looking for the most convenient time financially and constitutionally to compound its radical disobedience. The report should have read, ' it is a painful political process'. We apologize to anyone who has been misled by the CofE.
Overheard at a recent Forward in Faith gathering:
1st. Traditionalist: 'I can't understand why the Bishop of X is treating us so badly. He has gone on record consistently saying that we are to have a permanent, respected and honoured place in the Church.
2nd. Traditionalist: 'And he means every word of it. The permanent, respected and honoured place he has in mind is the cemetery!’
The Church of England Newspaper (CEN) reported that the Bishop of Winchester, who normally has his mind on higher things, was not keen to answer questions on drugs policy recently. ‘I’m not up to speed on the subject’, cracked Bishop Scott-Joynt. Everyone just rolled up at the mot juste of the Episcopal Joynt and wanted to share it with everyone, as you do.
Those who have worked with the Scottish Editor of the CEN know that, in true journalistic tradition, his drug of choice comes in a pint glass and like most Jocks probably thinks that ‘cannabis’ is a symptom of prostate trouble.
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