Our guest columnist, The Rev’d Humphrey Blytherington, Vicar of St Hilda’s, Little Snoring and All Souls, Great Snoring, comments on all things Anglican and English.

I say chaps, I saw in The Times last week about this Roman Catholic priest who’s been caught having a bit of a slap and tickle with a lady friend at the beach. Goes by the name of Cutie. Cutie by name, Cutie by nature I say! Harr. Harrh.
It came as a bit of a surprise to Mrs. Vicar I can tell you. But I said to Daphne over our morning papers, that it’s only what we’ve come to expect from those Roman chappies. It’s a sad thing to admit, but I haven’t known one of them who hasn’t had either an elbow problem or some difficulties in the trouser department. I expect it’s all down to their being hot blooded Italians or Spanish. The Irish are much the same really–no sense of self control.
Not long ago a good number of them Stateside were having problems interfering with altar boys and lads in the choir. Far be it from me to cast stones on that one! Goodness knows that sort of thing was all part of the rough and tumble of school life for us English lads. But we understood that it was just a part of being a schoolboy, and if one of the masters at school was a bit heavy with the cane or a bit sweet on one of the lads we let it slide. No sense making a mountain out of a molehill. We got over it.
Now the newspaper chappies are having a hey day with this handsome Roman chappie Cutie. But how can you blame a fellow for having a bit of a squeeze on the beach? Nothing wrong with that in my book! He’s just a red blooded male, and nowadays who minds what a fellow does with his gal as long as no one gets hurt in the process?
I reckon the problem is with the Roman Church. They will insist on this medieval superstition of celibacy for their clerics. It’s just not healthy lads, now is it? Which one of you would want to sit on the sidelines your whole life? Not me I can tell you! If they’d just admit they are wrong on this one all their problems would be solved. If their priests were allowed to marry they’d stay at home with the missus and not be seen cavorting on the beach with a lovely in a swimsuit.
Yes, I know the Vicar of Dead Boring tootled off with the organist’s wife, and the Archdeacon of Bitonside was caught with a member of the youth group, but that’s beside the point. The real problem is this rather daft Roman celibacy rule, and behind that is the fact that the Romans are just plain stubborn. They can’t admit they’ve got it wrong.
You see my dear fellows, it all goes back to the papal infallibility thingie. I mean, have you ever heard of anything quite so preposterous? How can an ordinary human be infallible? It’s a bit of a stretch isn’t it? I mean to say, the Pope in Rome is an ordinary bloke like you or me. He steps into his trousers one foot at a time. You see, the Romans can’t admit they’ve got it wrong over celibacy or they’d have to admit that their Pope in Rome is not infallible. Well, they’re not about to do that are they now?
Far be it from me to be negative about the Roman Church. In many ways they have a lot to offer. They’ve done a wonderful work down the years being the mission to the Irish naavies and Italian waiters, but when it comes right down to it, it’s a good thing they haven’t been able to take over our country like they want to.
No, we need good old English common sense, and the ability to compromise where we need to. I read yesterday that this Cutie fellow has decided to join our church, and I’m on his side. Just because a fellow has broken a vow is no reason why he shouldn’t be welcome as a clergyman in the Anglican Church. What I say, is not, “Has he broken a vow?” but “Was that vow sensible in the first place?”
Anyway, enough from me lads, anyone for another half pint of lager shandy?