BB NOTE: I know this is from the Guardian's Stephen Bates, erstwhile nemesis of the Anglican orthodox, but he just hits the humor button and blows up both sides of the Atlantic. This is hilarious - but if you, as we do here, find this over-the-top funny, our recommendation is that it's time for a few days off from Anglican explosions. Let's call a Cease Fire through New Years. Thanks, Stephen - we sure did need the laugh (even when it's at our own expense). Well done. The Ice Cream Cone - that's worth reading the entire essay alone.
View from Fleet Street
Thursday, 21st December 2006. 3:13pm
By: Stephen Bates.
'Tis the season to be jolly, and it is at about this time of year, as the long winter night draws in, that members of the League of Pear-Shaped Religious Affairs Correspondents -- Petre, Morgan, Doughty and myself -- draw our armchairs closer to the hearth at Blakely Towers to discuss the articles we hope to write in the coming year and make our prognostications for coming church events.
We toss a few faggots onto the blaze while young Carey distributes the nuts and Gledhill, our ancient retainer, hands out her own home-made mince pies, and then we settle down to suck our teeth and chew the fat. Some of these prophecies may not come true of course, but if they do, remember where you heard them first...
Benedict XVI declares there will be no change in the doctrine of Papal Infallibility, unless he's much mistaken. Bishop Bob Duncan of Pittsburgh tells conservative Americans that a Great Day of Realignment is coming, just let them wait and see.
Anglican primates meet in Dar es Salaam. US presiding bishop Jefferts-Schori arrives at the hotel pool to find her lounger has already been annexed by Bishop Martyn Minns who tells her that he has the support of 150 million loyal Anglican evangelicals for doing so. During a sermon, Archbishop Rowan Williams produces an instantly understandable sentence.
Father Geoffrey Kirk says that in future he wishes to be known as Sister Gladys as it is the only way he will ever become a bishop. "I've always known I was a priest trapped in a man's body," he tells reporters. Rabbi Lionel Blue falls asleep during Thought for the Day and delivers the punchline during the sports news.
Archbishop John Sentamu enters a Trappist Monastery. "I didn't think anyone would notice," he says. Evangelical Alliance calls for the date of Easter to be moved to autumn "to spread the joy into the darker parts of the year," it suggests. Bishop Duncan tells conservative Americans that he can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Archbishop Williams gives the Catholic Herald an interview during which he says: "I'd never dream of becoming a Catholic. It would never happen, though anything's theoretically possible." This produces headline: "Archbishop Says He Will Convert." US Episcopal Church announces a mission to convert England.
Evangelical Alliance calls for Christmas to be moved to Mid-Summer to make it more relevant to people who don't go to church. The Rev Giles Fraser takes a vow of silence ... for five minutes. US Episcopal Church observes midsummer solstice as a means of being inclusive of druids.
Church of England General Synod offers an apology for the Reformation and says the Catholics can have their crumbling churches back so long as they don't ask for reparations as well. The only month of the year in which the Bishop of Durham doesn't publish a new book. Small cheer is heard from the diocese.
On a visit to the Sistine Chapel in Rome, Archbishop Peter Jensen asks where the comfy chairs and overhead projector are and suggests a nice coat of magenta would cover all that old paintwork up nicely.
Dean Colin Slee announces plans for Southwark Cathedral to be turned into a lap-dancing club, but only during low weeks. Greg Venables, primate of South America, says he is prepared to absorb the diocese of Yukon into his province. In future it will be known as the Ice Cream Cone.
Archbishop Akinola has himself declared pope during a visit to the Vatican. "Well we haven't heard anything from the previous inhabitant recently," he says. "Anyway, who said the path to God led through Canterbury?"
Archbishop Williams retires to become bishop of Rockall. "It's so nice and quiet here," he says, "No blooming Anglicans." The Rt Rev Wallace Benn declares he'd like a move to Canterbury. "I'd be the first Wally to become an Archbishop," he declares, "But probably not the last." Reform instantly disowns him for apostacy. Bishop Bob Duncan calls on conservative American Anglicans to remain faithful because he just knows a New Day is dawning, any day now, well, any minute really.
Canon Jim Rosenthal admits he no longer believes in Father Christmas. Mass conversion of subscribers to The English Churchman Newspaper. "It's a miracle," says the paper's editor. "Suddenly everything seems warm and colourful. Being charitable is such jolly fun." Mel Gibson announces plans for a block-buster movie about Anglican Mainstream, to be filmed entirely in 17th Century English. It is to be called The Passion of the Chris and will be filled with violence, but no sex. Christmas Books for Anglican stockings: On Humility by Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali; God Knows I Was Right by George Carey; Bishops Say The Craziest Things by Graham Dow.
God bless us everyone! Happy Christmas.
Stephen Bates is religious affairs correspondent of the Guardian.