The Vicar on a Roman Holiday

So down you go into this cave sort of chamber and you see a first century cemetery. I must say it was most impressive. We’ve got nothing like it here, except I suppose Stonehenge is rather special. Anyway, you push on past these first century tombs and they show you what they say is the tomb of Peter. Quite something. Really rather amazing. You can see this ancient tomb, and do you know when they opened it up they found bones of a fellow in his sixties without feet. Guesswork is that he had been crucified upside down and they cut off his feet when they took the poor blighter down. Daff gave me an elbow in the ribs at that point and showed me that if you look up past the tomb there’s a place to look through and you can see right up to the dome that the Michelangelo fellow built and you can see the words written there, “You are Peter and on this rock I will build my church.” All in Latin of course, but I remembered enough of my Scripture lessons to make it out.

I must admit lads, I’m not one for kissing the bones of saints and all that Roman fol-di-rol, but that visit did rather put the wind up me. I mean, what if it is all true–you know? I had always been taught that Peter in Rome and him the first pope and all that was rather a load of tommyrot invented by the Romans to boost their claims to the English throne, but it seems like it really might have happened that way. Gave me food for thought I can tell you!

So we toodled on home and glad to be back! First week back and I was off to one of  our regular clergy meetings at Canon Huffington-Post’s vicarage and what do you know but Lavinia has taken it on herself to give a report on the goings on at something called the General Convention of the Episcopal Church of the USA. I must say, I’ve never had much truck with the Yanks. Their version of Anglicanism has always been rather too trendy for my tastes. So Rev Lav started to tell us all about how the Yanks had approved marriage for homosexual people and that they had given the nod to chaps who have had the chop and turned themselves into women to be made into priests as well. Fr Ronald leaned over and said he supposed such people might be called ‘chop chaps’. We laughed. I asked a question at that point and rather put my foot in it I must say.

I asked Lavinia if there were some of these folks who thought they should be the other gender who were women who wanted to be men. She said there were and was really rather po-faced about it all–saying we needed to respect their gender re-assignment and so forth. I kept mum, but over a cup of tea and a custard cream I asked Rev Lav what exactly they do for women like that, I mean to say, I can understand that the chaps who want to be women just have the whatchamacallit chopped off, but what do the women do, can they make one for them? I thought it was an honest sort of question, but Lav got rather stroppy and I told me it was an offensive question. I couldn’t see the logic of that lads, I mean, after all, they brought up the subject in the first place. Not to worry. Daff filled me in on the details later.

Seems the Yanks have also approved funerals for pets. Makes sense I suppose since most of them are homos of one sort or another and can’t have children, so maybe they focus on their puppies and kittens instead. Daff said they were all heretics and in the good old days Catholics would have known just what to do with them. Always one for the bon mot is our Daff!

Got to be going, but just to finish–seems Lavinia is really rather keen on all this sort of thing and saying the Americans are leading the way in peace and justice issues. Fr. Ronald pointed out that according to statistics they are also leading the way in losing members about as quickly as can be. At which point Lav got a bit sniffy and said that ‘broad is the way that leads to destruction, but narrow is the way that leads to peace and justice and few there be that find it.” At which point Marjorie Huffington-Post wheeled in the tea trolley and we all changed the subject.

Another half of lager shandy? I don’t mind if I do, and would you be so kind as to pinch one of those bags of peanuts for me? I’m feeling a bit peckish. Thanks very much!

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