Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Extraordinary ministrations

Like many people, I am sure, I read accounts of a letter in the "Tablet" alleging pseudo-eucharistic shenanigans in "Lower Grasmere" with an appropriate sense of indignancy- until it began to dawn on me that it was most likely to be a hoax. Leaving aside the lack of corroboration, the psychology doesn't ring true. We are asked to believe that the priest has communicated his inability to get to the church without giving any instruction about what is to be done in his absence and then that what "actually" occurs is arrived at by a consideration of some (relatively plausible) options which are jettisoned in favour of a completely wacky idea backed up by direct scriptural quotation. Even lapsed Catholics don't think that way. In emergencies people generally "revert to type", falling back upon what is familiar or habitual. Are we to believe that no one present questioned or dissented from this proposal? Are we to believe that no one subsequently raised the subject with the priest but, instead, straight off fired off a letter to "The Tablet"? (Not "The Universe","Catholic Herald", or "Catholic Times" I note!) I could be wrong but I am inclined to suspect someone "flying a kite".
That there is mischief here I have no doubt but I have no idea as to its origin. The creative possibilities, however, are enormous! Writers could compete to get a letter detailing some improbable event published in "The Tablet". The kind of subject I have in mind might be "The Black mass I attended in Westminster Cathedral" or "How I had tea with the Pope's grandson, or "How Ian Paisley was delighted at the gift of a rosary blessed by Pope John Paul II". It could be such fun!

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