Today was Easter Sunday, the day when religious pontiffs and church leaders regularly venture out of their winter hibernation to harangue us all about the state of the world and what we are supposed to do about it. Mainly, it consists of attending church more regularly to pray for peace in the world, while generously donating as the silver platter is passed from hand to hand.
On this subject, two news items caught my eye, both from the BBC website.
The first details the Easter Day orations of Archbishop’s Rowan Williams of Canterbury, the head of the Church of England, and John Sentamu, of York Minster. Williams called for “reconciliation in the world”, while Sentamu stood in a pool of water and baptized newcomers to the church. He managed to find twenty new recruits, which isn’t bad out of a total York population of just under 175,000.
Rowan Williams explained how the resurrection of Jesus shows us how reconciliation can be achieved today. If only, he said, those of us engaged in conflict can admit our faults we can escape the deadlock of mutual hatred and suspicion. It’s not known if Tony Blair was in the congregation.
Of course, in keeping with the much sterner attitude of the Catholic church, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor of the Catholic Cathedral of Westminster, criticized the modern “now generation” culture in Britain. He almost certainly would have included America, but not being a member of the modern “now generation” was unaware his words would be carried across the Atlantic via that ‘new-fangled’ internet.
“Too often”, he said, “people expect everything almost instantaneously”, though church elders and members of the congregation are still attempting to work out in what context he meant those remarks. Unfortunately, the Bish was not available later for clarification, having retired to sleep off his Easter dinner of turkey and venison, followed by plum duff and six large chocolate Easter eggs, all washed down with a bottle or three of Chateauneuf du pape.
Across the Alps, his boss Popey Benedict, looking resplendent in his gold robes, was also having a strenuous day rattling away to thousands of pilgrims blocking the traffic in St Peter’s Square. Popey laboriously listed the problems of the world, and how we all needed to pray more to make things better. He lamented over Iraq, the suffering in Asia and Africa, but then perked up and announced he was pleased the Israelis and Palestinians were talking to each other. No-one liked to spoil his pleasure by pointing out that neither was saying anything of the slightest importance.
Finally, as his gold robes began to weigh heavy, the Papal belly felt ever emptier, and the bottle of Chateauneuf du pape waiting uncorked just beyond the balcony grew every second more desirable, he raised himself to his full height for the divine proclamation that would send a muted gasp of astonishment and admiration through the packed hordes beneath him in the great square. If ever there was a moment his divinity was obvious – leaving no doubt he would rapidly be following his predecessor down the road to sainthood – it was this moment. He turned to the hushed, eager crowds and spoke his final words of the day:
“Peace is sorely needed.”
Utterly exhausted, Popey lurched inside the Papal chamber, and was quickly whisked away to his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo for a few necessary months of rest and recuperation, and a bottle or three of Chateauneuf du pape.
It’s a quaint little place, his summer residence – new to this Pope of course – overlooking Lake Albano and set in the hills outside Rome. Coincidentally, the tiny village of Castel Gandolfo is twinned with the French Provence town of – Chateauneuf du pape.
But then, it roughly translates as the “New House of the Pope”.
Filed under: Pious babble