Thursday, 9 December 2010

Women Ministers, Bible Weeks and Church Politics

The latest document to be released here is not a document as such.  What you have below is a transcript of a secret recording.  The tape has only recently made its way back from the Vatican courtesy of a Baptist minister who “stumbled across it” while on a site-seeing trip organised by Dan Brown Tours Ltd. 

Unfortunately, the sound quality is not great (the problem is made worse by background traffic noise and the dodgy accents) and therefore we have to publish a disclaimer: we cannot guarantee the complete accuracy of the transcript; there are places where we have had to guess what was being said.  However, reports just in from our voice analysis lab have confirmed the identity of the two speakers:  The Bishop of Rome and the BUGB’s very own Paul Goodliff. 

His Holiness:  Great idea of yours to meet here.

Ratzinger: Yes, no one will ever know that this conversation even took place.

His Holiness: Who’d have thought there’d be so much room under the seat in the pope-mobile?

Ratzinger: Glad you find it spacious – of course if you do end up bumping your head when we go over the speed bumps you could always sit down.

His Holiness: Thank you, but I think I’ll be OK.  Good job though that J.E. couldn’t make it after all.

Ratzinger: Anyway, best get on with it, how’s the plan going?

His Holiness: Not well.  They just don’t seem to want to go for it.

Ratzinger: Why the hell not?  It worked with the Anglicans.  Sure, it took us some time to get there but once the precedent was set -  tickle me pink and pass the lipstick!  women priests everywhere; lots of disgruntled traditionalists; bish bash bosh, a nice little harvest of presbyters for us; problem with falling vocations eased; result.

His Holiness: Well yes, genius, of course, but we Baptists are not the same as the CofE.  It’s not that simple.  We take the Bible seriously you know.

Ratzinger:  Bible schmeible.  Your problems are nothing to do with scripture, you’ve always managed to get round it before when necessary.  Trouble with your lot is that they are just a bunch of reactionaries.

His Holiness : Well maybe, but even if we went the whole hog like your envoy Undercover Cardinal Colwell suggests and withdraw Home Mission funding from any church that disagrees with women in ministry, what makes you think those who don’t like it would go running to Rome?

Ratzinger:  Look, Goody-Two-Shoes where else would a Free-Churchman go?  It’ll only be a few years before the URC disappears completely and any sensible Baptist would much prefer Rome to the Methodists – we’re not nearly as centralised.

His Holiness: I don’t know, I just can’t see it coming off.  Can’t we find some other way of getting you to provide ongoing funding for Leading Edge?  How about we agree to fit out all the toilets with dispensing machines for your new range of condoms?  What is it you are calling them, "Pope-ylactics: papal letters you can put your faith in"? … Not that there’s that many HIV infected male prostitutes at Baptist House - it would be unbiblical.

[At this point excessive volume seems to have distorted the recording and it is impossible to decipher the German’s reply, then the entire recording comes to a sudden end.  Still an interesting insight into the inner workings of the upper echelons of church leadership.]

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