Guest blogger, The Rev’d Humphrey Blytherington is Vicar of St Hilda’s, Little Snoring with All Saints, Great Snoring. He is a graduate of Plymouth University. He completed his studies for the ministry at Latimer Hall, Durham. He is married to Daphne and enjoys home brewing, model railroading and is an avid member of the Great Snoring Morris Dancers.

Well you see, Daphne’s subscription to the Daily Telegraph ran out and I haven’t got around to renewing it yet. Things are a bit skew whiff at the vicarage while Mrs Vicar is up north helping her cousin. Things not as ship shape and Bristol fashion as they once were, so Lavinia and Georgie have taken to popping in of an evening–usually with some lentil soup, a loaf of whole wheat and wedge of cheese. Not really to my taste, but if you wash it down with a glass of something it’s not too bad. Anyway, they left their copy of the Guardian, and I couldn’t help seeing that the government is planning some new piece of legislation that will make it illegal for the Romans to exclude women from the priesthood.

I must say, I wasn’t quite sure what to think. Seems a bit of a sledgehammer to open a walnut. You see, my basic feeling is that people ought to be free do follow whatever religion they want. After all, they’re all pretty much the same. Different ways of climbing the same mountain, as I’ve always put it. I mean, there’s no harm in a fellow wanting to light a few extra candles, and if we wants to wear a lacy cotta I can’t see that it does any harm. I don’t myself think it’s very manly, but to each his own. However, Lavinia and Georgie set me straight. They helped me see that when a chap’s choice actually cuts across another person’s choice it’s all wrong.
It’s all well and good the Roman Catholics following their own religion, but when it actually discriminates and makes women out to be second class citizens, why then something has to be done. Why should they have the right to exclude women and chaps who like other chaps? I can see now that it’s not a bad idea to put a bit of pressure on the Roman Catholics. Lord knows we’ve tried long enough to talk some sense into them. Why only last November the Archbishop went to Rome himself to try to get the Pope to budge and he came away empty handed.
I expect when push comes to shove the Romans will submit. It’s not always been easy in the past. I remember my history lessons. At the Reformation the Roman Catholic Church was locked in the Dark Ages. Didn’t want to get with the times. Furthermore, everyone knows they were corrupt through and through. Nothing but fat, celibate monks. When they weren’t living high off the hog they’d be tootling along their underground passages to the convents where they’d have a jolly time with the nuns. Good old Henry VIII came along and tried to clean things up a bit, but the Romans were stubborn. They didn’t see sense and kept on plotting, and then when they got caught and had to pay the price for treason they started bleating and making martyrs of themselves.
I expect they’ll be just as stubborn this time around. Lavinia and Georgie were quite firm about it. Said the Roman Catholics had better get with it or go to jail. Georgie said she wouldn’t mind putting Father Corrigan on the rack and watch him squirm, and Lavinia said she already had manacles and a whip and wouldn’t mind using them. Georgie started giggling at this point and before long they were falling about laughing. I must admit, by this time we’d all had a few jars, so I’m sure they were only joshing.
What’s that Nigel? Your missus has had a letter from Daphne? How very nice. Yes, that’s right, Daphne’s cousin does happen to be a Roman Catholic, but I don’t see what that has to do with anything. Would I be willing to lock up Fr Corrigan and throw away the key? Well now, I don’t think it will come to that do you? It wouldn’t be my job to enforce the law. I don’t suppose I would stand in the way of the law though. If people aren’t doing anything wrong they won’t have anything to fear, and if this new law helps the Romans to see sense it won’t be too soon.
Another round? Why thank you Simon. Very kind. Make mine a whisky and soda. Double please.