Sunday, October 12, 2008

You think it, he'll ink it.

THE MOST charismatic clergyman I’ve ever met was a Priest I sat next to at a wedding in Ireland. For the entirety of the meal we talked non-stop: about fox hunting, drinking, fishing, game shooting, dogs, drinking and women. He indulged in all but the latter. And we spoke about the state of the world and, of course, briefly about religion. If it wasn’t for all that Latin, I’d have converted to Catholicism on the spot.

Having said that, the rector of St Michael’s Cornhill and St Sepulchre without Newgate in the City of London, the Rev Dr Peter Mullen, seems like the kind of vicar you wouldn’t mind having a pint with – a God-botherer about as far away from the lank-haired, dungaree-wearing, whiny-voiced female clergy who now infest the Church as it’s possible to be.

We know this because he writes an internet blog, and on that blog this week he ventured that homosexuality was “clearly unnatural, a perversion and corruption of natural instincts and affections, and because it is a cause of fatal disease”.

Further to that, he also suggested that it should be “obligatory for homosexuals to have their backsides tattooed with the slogan SODOMY CAN SERIOUSLY DAMAGE YOUR HEALTH”. Well, they do something similar to cigarette smokers, so why not?

Predictably the Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, called the remarks “highly offensive” and threatened the Rev Mullen with disciplinary action. Other clergy have queued up to join in the condemnation. Peter Tatchell, of gay rights group OutRage! said he should resign.

Why so? Even if Rev Mullen meant the remarks as a joke, which he now claims, so what? Is no-one allowed a bit of fun any more? In fact, I’d be more impressed if he actually meant what he said and had at least had the courage to say it.

As I’ve said before, I have no problem with homosexuals as long as they don’t do it in the street and scare the horses. But I do have a problem with knee-jerk witch-hunts of honest, if misguided, men.

Perhaps it’s the fear of having to bare their backsides for the tattooist’s needle that has spooked so many of his clergy colleagues …

I DON’T think I’ve ever seen our pubs work so hard, particularly in rural areas. You can hardly walk past them for the blackboards blocking the pavements advertising quiz nights, football, live music, meat raffles, wine tasting, new menus and so on. The only investors smiling at the moment are those who bought shares in coloured chalk. Some landlords have even learned to smile at complete strangers, probably as a result of an intensive CAMRA training course.

I even saw one at lunchtime today with a sign outside saying: “Wanted – Football, Pool and Darts Teams. Food provided. Fees paid.” Astonishing stuff.

I do so desperately hope that they succeed, but I fear that for many this might be nothing more than re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. The smoking ban, the price of petrol, rising food and fuel prices and the decision of supermarkets to sell loss leading cans of lager at 23 pence each – less than half the cost of bottled water – has left many clinging on for dear life. And that’s before the banks start getting snotty about overdrafts.

A bad festive season and the 36 pubs already closing in this country every week will seem like small beer, and that will be very sad.

WHILE WE’RE on about pubs, I was delighted to see that a Japanese company has made an airbag designed to stop elderly people injuring themselves by falling over.
The device is strapped around the body and inflates in 0.1 seconds if it detects it is accelerating towards the ground, the manufacturers say.

Never mind old people – with the Christmas party season just around the corner, this is surely a boon for any binge drinker. The only small problem is that it provides no protection should you fall forwards. This need not be a fatal fault, as long as you don’t mind going out on the pull wearing a crash helmet and with a cushion stuffed up your jumper.

CONSIDERING THE £2million paid out to school pupils in compensation last year, perhaps we should consider fitting such devices to our children. Or maybe we should do something about the sickening, life-sapping compo culture we’ve created.

When I were a lad, playground accidents were part of the fabric of life. Broken noses, grazed knees, minor knife wounds and the occasional gunshot injury were all part of growing up. Now we’ve bred such a generation wusses – or, more to the point, a generation of greedy, needy parents – that these days getting pushed over in a Birmingham playground can bring in a cool £17,901.

Landing awkwardly while playing basketball is worth £9,750 in East London; slipping on tinsel in the dining room yields a cheque for £15,500 in Sheffield; falling out of bed on a field trip earns you £9,000 in Lewisham; while falling off a Space Hopper in Derby only brings in a derisory £500.

Still, there could be worse things happening to our kids at school than a few minor injuries. According to teachers’ union leader Chris Keates, her members shouldn’t face jail and a lifetime on the sex offenders’ register if they get caught having sex with pupils who are over the age of consent because it’s “an error of judgment” rather than a criminal offence.

Perhaps we should all have a warning message tattooed on our children’s backsides.


Anonymous arescee said...

Having withdrawn my savings from the bank as a result of recent developments in the financial sector, I was pondering on reinvesting in gold,but feel fraught that this too might not be as safe as it once was.
Having read this weeks post Baz,have you any idea how much it would reasonably cost me to buy the kit that is used in tattoo parlours?

6:44 AM  
Anonymous arescee said...

You also have my support on the "Compo Culture" existing in this country today, the sooner we kill off the parasites advertising this on t.v the better.
After all, the Gov't managed to stop advertising tobacco products easily enough, so a ban on these parasites should be childs play. (Or should that be childs claim!)

6:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Soon after the identification of HIV and AIDS, William F. Buckley suggested a different posterior tattoo:
"Abandon all hope ye who enter here".

11:55 PM  
Blogger Stew said...

I wanted to read the original Mullen blog to see if it was satirical or not. I had a hard time finding it, because it has been taken down.

I found it cached and, bazza if it is satire it is very poorly done. I don't think he was joking at all, I think he's a nasty little bigot, and has brought a pile of shite apon himself.

Your readers can see his blog comments because I've copied them on my blog to stop them disappearing into the ether. Loving christian words like that should always be on display.

4:11 AM  
Anonymous Benor Thway said...

So, teachers’ union leader Chris Keates considers any teacher who shags a pupil over the age of consent to be guilty of nothing more than "an error of judgment".
Might I suggest, Chrissie baby, that a more accurate appraisal would be to pronounce such an event as "an error of judgement followed swiftly by a sacking with loss of pension rights".

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have some issues with your friendly Priest, a confidential letter…which was sent to every Catholic bishop in May 2001…asserted the church’s right to hold its inquiries behind closed doors and keep the evidence confidential for up to 10 years after the victims reached adulthood. The letter was signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was elected as John Paul II’s successor last week.

Lawyers acting for abuse victims claim it was designed to prevent the allegations from becoming public knowledge or being investigated by the police. They accuse Ratzinger of committing a ‘clear obstruction of justice’. …

Ratzinger’s letter states that the church can claim jurisdiction in cases where abuse has been ‘perpetrated with a minor by a cleric’. … It orders that ‘preliminary investigations’ into any claims of abuse should be sent to Ratzinger’s office, which has the option of referring them back to private tribunals in which the ‘functions of judge, promoter of justice, notary and legal representative can validly be performed for these cases only by priests’.

‘Cases of this kind are subject to the pontifical secret,’ Ratzinger’s letter concludes. Breaching the pontifical secret at any time while the 10-year jurisdiction order is operating carries penalties, including the threat of excommunication.

Of course, keeping the evidence confidential for that long causes serious statute-of-limitations problems. As a lawyer for two of the victims points out. “If you can manage to keep it secret for 18 years plus 10, the priest will get away with it.”

This does not make me feel particularly friendly toward the new Holy Father.

1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought it was mandatory to read the health warning before smoking a fag!

1:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When some greedy bastard sues a school for their little darling falling over in the playground, why don't the rest of the parents beat them to within an inch of their very lives for taking money away from the lessons that their own little darlings need?

Oh, right, because they generally think "hmmmm...", and try to work out a way they can cash in too.

Truly, it's a sick society.

2:09 PM  
Blogger Roger said...

Teachers better watch it the little blighters will be suing them for loss of virginity.What price a virgin ? That`s if you can find one older than 12.What a world.

4:02 AM  
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7:08 PM  
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8:33 PM  
Anonymous printcountry coupon said...

Saving this to my reading list (you gotta love the new Safari feature on iOS 5!). Great post.... P.S. Happy Friday, everyone :)

9:15 AM  

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