Saturday, 15 February 2014

Will the Papal flag fly over Westerham?

I mean, it's not as if we are an invading force. Sadly.

Father Ivan Aquilina, (good name) parish priest of St John the Baptist Church in Westerham, Kent, has applied for planning permission to erect a flagpole in the presbytery garden so that he may fly the Vatican flag in order that motorists passing by on the adjacent motorway, will know that there is a Catholic Church in the vicinity.

A sound idea. Well done Fr Aquilina, we need more priests who will undertake similar innovative steps to flag up (so sorry) the existence of the one true Church.

But the flag has hit a snag.....what has Mrs L put in my coffee?

Locals are up in arms, or, at least, in Westerham terms, a trifle agitated over the prospect of such an inflammatory act of flying the flag of another (enemy?) state.

Neighbours think that the flagpole will look out of place. Tsk! Tsk!

This all smacks of life in England pre the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829 when we were not allowed to build our churches near a main road and our horse (the equivalent of a Honda Accord) could be summarily pinched by our Protestant neighbour if he took a fancy to it.

And, our tax bills were much higher than anyone else's because, of course, we were not just Catholics but Roman Catholics.

Fr A's more than reasonable application has been opposed by those who fear that the flagpole will rattle at night and that it will look unsightly.

 Poor dears. Don't they realise that the good priest could park a 30 foot yacht complete with rigging in his drive without any planning permission?

And that the clatter from a yacht's rigging would turn a deaf saint Protestant after just two hours worth of aural assault?

Perhaps that's the answer.

If Fr A's parishioners could lay their hands on a J/32 yacht and park it in his drive, then they could fly the Papal flag without fear of interference from busybodies.

Stand by to repel all nimbys!


  1. Agree absolutely. If he'd been canny however he might have asked to be enabled to demonstrate the loyalty of the Catholic community on state occasions by flying the union flag( while flying the papal insignia at other times). The point is that once the church had a flagpole no one would take any notice of what was on it.
    Subtle as serpents- innocent as doves!

  2. Patricius, you should be in the diplomatic service.

  3. Flying the Papal Flag was quite common in my younger days. No one batted an eyelid. Maybe Fr A's mistake was to ask permission. In business life the trick is to do something and wait to see whether anyone objects.

  4. sentiments exactly. In fact, in business life the idea is to do something totally outrageous and then fall back in the face of opposition and agree a remedy that was your original aim. Works every time.