Friday, 28 March 2014
Only six courses?
I am very curious as to this annual dinner hosted by the RC bishops for clerical bloggers in Westminster, as mentioned by Fr Hunwicke. I'm sorry for being the unmitigated snob but most RC clergy of my acquaintance actually come across as very rustic and untutored. I've never met the Vicar Apostolick...sorry..."Archbishop of Westminster," Vincent Nichols, but it's enough that he speaks with a would-be-concealed Lancashire accent to perceive that he couldn't possibly appreciate the phantom wine cellars of Archbishop's house. The same could be said for Cormac whom I once passed in Westminster Underground station. Five years ago I telephoned a local priest about the baptism of the daughter of a friend of mine and I asked what rite he was using. He didn't understand this, so I asked what edition of the Ritual he intended to use, and, seemingly rather put out by this, he said "err, a normal one." As Basil Fawlty observed: "have you seen the people in room seven? They've never even sat on chairs!"
The seventh question in Fr Hunwicke's spring time examination asks us to construct a suitable menu for the occasion, inclusive of vintage wines. Given my experience of RC clergy, might I suggest a trough of baked beans and some rinse water for most of them; perhaps turnip soup and a rotten peach for the ones who can at least conjugate amo in the present tense? The bishops could have a glass of the Beaujolais and a few slices of Cathedral City rubber with some Abbe Guettee.
There are a number of sophisticated Romanist clergy in London. I know two Patristics scholars of note, although one of them told me he is actually a Monophysite...I guess when you reach a certain calibre of scholarship, apathy about official teachings sets in. On the other hand, recent converts to Rome can be forgiven for being in the honey moon stage. Do you remember the film adaptation of Nineteen Eighty-Four, with John Hurt (Mr Crisp's representative on earth)? If so, do you remember when Smith approached the prostitute in the proletarian areas? Can you remember why he found her attractive? It was because she'd applied her foundation with a shovel, much like the Roman Catholic church. When you get up close, you can see that the marvellous scarlet robes of the old hag are actually threadbare and that underneath is a withered, stinking corpse. All is not lost, though. I'll be waiting by the grey shores to welcome the converts back with open arms and not the faintest "I told 'ee so." Just waiting...
In case you're wondering, yes I am running out of ideas.