I see that my cousin Charon QC has been busy having a go at His Holiness (infra). While I would not wish to provoke yet another schism in the church, especially after that rather embarrassing business over the British holocaust denying bishop, it is not particularly helpful to the wider interests of those of us on…shall we say… the financial wing of the church… to have His Holiness calling on our wonderful friends who lead countries in Africa to stop engaging in well established principles of administration and ‘best practice’ by asking them to stamp out corruption. Selling relics is so 15th century… now we offer a range of services, including Premier Platimum Absolution which covers pretty well every sin from corruption to mass genocide… for a fee, of course.
For many years the Church enjoyed power, prestige, influence, great wealth and the private pleasures of the flesh by preying on the superstition and lack of education of the people it sought to have power over. King Henry VIII started the rot by getting rid of the Pope and grabbing the land and wealth owned by the Church under the wonderful euphemism of ‘Reformation’ and set up a model more convenient to his politico-legal needs to establish a dynasty. Now we share with our brethren in other faiths a world of converts much diminished by education and seek to convert the remaining ill educated peoples of the world to our ways.
We have had some success but the internet, the spread of television and people like Hitchens and Dawkins flogging their God Delusion books through Amazon and all good bookshops has made it much more difficult to pass the collection plate around on Sundays – although we are doing good trade in ‘Weddings in Church for the modern godless couple’, particularly in our more ‘historic’ churches and…. we have upped the stakes by doing wine tastings on Sunday mornings and slipping in a bit of absolution and a complimentary wafer as our congregation sips the wine.
I am often asked if I believe in God. I smile beningnly, raise my arms to the heavens and say ‘God is within us all’… which usually does the business. Now, if you forgive me, I have matters to attend to… we are developing a package for governments that are running out of money to pay their police and armed forces. We have a working title for it… ‘Operation Put the Fear of God back into your people’.
In the name of the Father… the son….
Cardinal Charoni di Tempranillo