A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bishop stoops to conquer swine flu!

One wonders if this swine flu epidemic is not so much about the virus itself more about ourselves. Ever since the Mexicans decided that several of their badly kept pigs were somewhat off colour we have been given as many mixed messages about the wretched disease as there are germs making the stuff up.

It has been a godsend to the Murdoch press. They can conveniently forget "underlying health problems" and trumpet the ghastly deaths in as much gory detail as their fevered imaginations can allow. And if Sun readers do not know what swine are, emblazon the rag with "PIG FLU!" - that leaves no misunderstanding.

Of course, if it hadn't been pigs it could have been some other animal. "Cyril's got mouse flu!" doesn't quite hit the same panic buttons. We are told that this flu is marginally worse than so-called ordinary flu, which also kills people. We love a good panic it seems.

Weighing into this ten cents debate comes the Bishop of Chelmsford. He has suddenly developed an aversion to stoups in churches. He thinks the holy water may infect the faithful. The Daily Telegraph has some wonderful quotes from the bishop and his demuring chaplain. Now let's put it into context. Reading the report you would think that this is a grave problem for his diocese and those beyond. The truth is that few Anglican churches have stoups or use holy water in a sacramental way, apart from baptisms themselves.

The bishop opines, with some severity, "The water contained in stoups can easily become a source of infection and a means of rapidly spreading the virus. This practice should be suspended." I doubt that it will. Bishop Gladwin is what is called an open evangelical. Such Christians of this tradition rarely use stoups or believe in such things. No, he is suggesting that Catholic Anglicans should think again. I doubt if my priest will be running to church this morning, toolkit in hand, to remove our stoups. Perish the thought.

The bishop also discouraged pastoral visits and said if a visit was necessary priests should wear sterile gloves, an apron and a face mask. "Is that you, father? Or matron? Or doctor?" Can you imagine a priest on a pastoral visit looking like nuclear weapons inspector?

No, the bishop needs to get a grip of himself. He should be far more concerned by the introduction of bogus doctrines and secular fantasies into the church. Oh, and he needs to be on the look-out for presbyterian prime ministers bearing gifts. One of which may be a poisoned chalice as far as the consitution is concerned!


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