Another Religious Affair
The mocking of men who wear long dresses is not confined to the Indonesian blogosphere. The tale of the current Bishop of Southwark, a diocese in south London
, is doing the rounds in the British media and, I feel, needs further circulation as, it seems, he is already celebrating a Merry Xmas. Besides, we all like to laugh at the downfalls of others or, as in this case, the fallings down.
(Before any of you ask what relevance this has to Jakartass, I would only comment that as a callow youth I was confirmed into the Church of England by the then Bishop of Southwark, Mervyn Stockwood
, who was popular in the media for his radicalism and because he was eminently quotable.
"A psychiatrist is a man who goes to the Folies-Bergère and looks at the audience.
"The strange case of the bishop and the black eyeWhat happened to the Bishop of Southwark last Tuesday night? Was he mugged on the way home to Tooting from a pre-Christmas party at the Irish embassy? Or was he found wandering in a confused state in Crucifix Lane, near his cathedral, having supped not wisely, but too well?
The Rt Rev Tom Butler, 66, one of the Church of England's most senior bishops says he has no idea. Others say he was seen sitting in the back of a Mercedes chucking children's toys out of the window and announcing: "I'm the Bishop of Southwark. It's what I do."
What he can remember is attending the pre-Christmas reception at the Irish embassy near Buckingham Palace. These are events not noted for their abstemiousness. MPs have been known to leave on their hands and knees.
"I can remember the reception. It was one of those pre-Christmas receptions with drinks and nibbles, with interesting conversations and interesting people. I had a drink," said the bishop, with what may or may not be a degree of understatement. "There lies the difficulty. I am not in a position to say dogmatically anything more about it. I have no memory of what happened. I came home certainly with an injury and with a loss of property."
The cathedral's dean, the Very Rev Colin Slee, said last night: "This would be utterly out of character. This is a serious guy. Lots of things in the story don't add up." One such thing may be how the bishop's briefcase appears to have turned up in the office of a tabloid newspaper before being handed to the police.
A fuller account can be found here