Monday, 16 September 2013

The Little World of Bishop Corny

(With apologies to Giovanni Guareschi)

Number ten in the series - Mosques of the World

Bishop Corny was transfixed. His head slightly bent forward, his delicate, sensitive hands firmly clasped together.

He gazed intensely at the table surface, not moving a muscle.

The clock ticked on his study wall but, all else was silence until, with a yelp of delight he seized a piece of the jigsaw in front of him crying: "Oh joy, I have found the missing piece of the mosque's minaret!"

For, indeed, he had struggled valiantly over the past 18 weeks, desperate to complete the 1000 piece jigsaw, number 10 in the series of Mosques of the World.

He was not aware of the knock on the door or of the appearance of his Diocesan Choreographer Sr Miriam Tursiops who boldly proclaimed to His Lordship that he was wanted on the phone.

"Not now, not now" hissed the Bishop, "I think I may have got the link to finishing this jigsaw. Tell 'em to buzz off"

Sr Tursiops turned dramatically and sashayed out of the room, considerably put out at receiving such abrupt treatment at the hands of the man to whom she had dedicated her dancing career.

The Bishop feverishly returned to his task, violently hammering in pieces of the jigsaw in spaces that were, all too plainly, not meant to receive them.

He was so desperate to complete this project that he failed to hear the ecumenical call to prayer that the local Ayatollah was, even now, nasally chanting from the Cathedral's steeple.

"It's 12 O'Clock Bishop, time for the adhan" trilled Sr Tursiops and, by the way, I've another caller for you on line one"

"It'll have to wait" snarled the Bishop, "And tell whoever is on that phone to stop cold calling me"

The good sister flounced out once more only to return a few minutes later to tell the Bishop that the mystery caller had telephoned for the third time and that she had used some very unnecclesiatical language on him.

"Good" said Bishop Corny, "I hope now that I can be left in peace to finish my jigsaw"

"Trouble is" replied Sr Tursiops, "It was Pope Francis wanting a word with you".

All of a sudden, 1000 jigsaw pieces were swept off the table and on the floor.

"******** it all" said the Bishop, burying his head in his fine, sensitive hands.


  1. What good does it do to lampoon a Catholic bishop in this way, however much one may disagree with his policies and opinions?

    It may make you feel better, but it isn't even funny.

    Nor is it charitable.

  2. Michael, yes, it does make me feel better but you may be right regarding its humour content.
    In my book we only have two Catholic bishops in England and Wales at present and Bishop Corny is not one of them.

  3. "In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas."

    Misattributed to St Augustine of Hippo, but a wise saying, whoever spoke it first.

  4. I don’t want to comment on any particular bishop, but what I can say is that our hierarchy over the past forty years have been a failure and have produced a profound crisis in the Church unequalled since the Protestant Reformation. If anything, they seem to be, with the odd exception, getting worse.

    Putting it another way, as my background is in industry, they should all have long since, been sacked!

    1. What you say is incontrovertibly true. But many bishops and priests obstinately continue to deny it, and continue to still fool some of those left in the Church.

  5. Michael - I favour: "Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito"

  6. Kieran Conry sets himself up for ridicule, not least in a Catholic Herald feature a few years ago, where he was quite astutely drawn by the interviewer into making a fool of himself. Three years ago the Pope celebrated Mass in Westminster Cathedral which was widely regarded (not least by Benedict himself) as the most impressive of all the Masses he had celebrated on his foreign travels.

    Up popped Kieran to complain that there was too much Latin, and he accused Martin Baker, the Director of Music at the Cathedral, of deliberately flouting the wishes of the Holy Father and Archbishop Nichols, which was nonsense.

    As far as this particular bishop is concerned, and pace Mr Gormally, I am with Hilaire Belloc.


  7. That piece was very funny - some welcome relief from our trials and tribulations (many caused by the grave and ongoing sins on the part of many bishops, and priests, horribly). Thank you.

  8. Not your finest post Richard. Whilst I can understand your frustration public forums are really not an appropriate place to satirize a member of the hierarchy. Recent events have demonstrated only too well that blogs are trawled for contentious comments which are then frequently quoted and published out of context.You have written many fine posts over the years I am sorry to say that in my opinion this one is not worthy of you.

  9. Thank you John and Lynda.
    Introibo, just in case my reason for silence is misunderstood, I believe that satire is a relatively kind way of dealing with a hierarchy that is, by and large, a disgrace. Of course, it has to take place publicly to have any effect (not that I fool myself on that score). As Jacobi stated, if the bishops were in a commercial environment they would have been sacked long ago. And I do not believe that Our Lord is very pleased with their ineptitude. If He drove the money lenders out of the temple with whips just imagine what He might do to the Bishops of England and Wales. His Mystical Body has been reduced and cheapened to a terrible degree and the bishops, are those who must bear the brunt of responsibility for it. Thank you for your comment, it is valued and respected, but not agreed with. God bless.

    1. Thank you for your response Richard. You state that you feel that satire is a relatively kind way of dealing with the hierarchy I doubt that the recipients feel the same way. Whilst I agree that the Bishops of England and Wales have on the whole abandoned their flock in a way that parallels the Reformation and that this must be made public it is your methodology that I disagree with. I agree whole heartedly with the analogy with industry in fact I have used this same analogy many times when comparing the Novus Ordo and its disastrous results with what you and I know as the Tridentine Rite. I have personally done battle with their Lordships for well over forty years now and know the frustrations of being ignored and in some cases being treated as an idiot however I have always tried to respect the office if not always the man. I have a very distinct memory of being given a severe dressing down by my dear old mum when my wife and I were discussing our perceived failings of their lordships and I stated that "I wouldn't pay the b###ers with washers" at that time I was nobbut a lad of 50!! Mum was a great follower of St Paul and was probably the most charitable person I have ever known sadly I fall far short of her example. In conclusion Richard I share your dismay at the lack of clear leadership from the Bishops of England and Wales with as you say one or two notable exceptions but I must stand by my original comments.

  10. BTW John, I like your line so much I have added it to my blog title. Thank you.

  11. I also like the stanza which follows:

    But Catholic men who live upon wine
    Are deep in the water and frank and fine;
    Wherever I travel I find it so -
    Benedicamus Domino!

    I wonder what HB would have made of Vatican 2 and its poisonous fruits?