Popeless endeavour

I was working on Radio Cambridgeshire’s Sunday Breakfast show this morning, and naturally the place was bristling with Pope-mania. We had special programmes on the Pope, local people talking about the Pope and occasional phone calls from listeners who wanted to add some balance to the programme by alluding to the Pope’s culpability for the spread of HIV in developing countries due to his attitude towards contraception (unfortunately I was not allowed to put any of these views on the air).

At one point we decided it would be exciting to do a live report from the Catholic church down the road, so I was given a huge metal-framed OB radio backpack which was probably donated to Radio Cambs in the 1970s. Thus laden, I set out along the road, to the visible amusement of anybody who happened to be passing. Catching my reflection in a shop window, I could see exactly why – put succinctly, I look like a Ghostbuster.

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The photograph scarcely does justice to quite how foolish I looked. But I bravely carried on with my best Egon Spengler serious expression, and arrived at the Catholic church to deliver the following piece of stunning journalism:

Presenter: We’re going to go live to James now, who is at the Catholic church on Hill’s Road…are you there, James? Ah, I’ve lost him…

James: …hiss…crackle…Hello?

Presenter: Ah, there you are.

James: Yes, I’m just outside the …hiss…crackle…hiss… on Hill’s…

Presenter: What’s the situation there at the moment?

James: …hiss hiss hiss …just coming out of mass and…

Presenter: You’re breaking up, James.

James: …hiss… people…hiss crackle crackle…

Presenter: I think we’re going to have to leave you there, let’s move on and look at our website of the week.

For a glorious minute or so it was just like being on BBC News 24.

Also in the crazy world of religion, the Telegraph reports that famously gay consecrated Bishop Gene Robinson has declared that Jesus might also have been gay – his reasoning is that Jesus “spent much of his time with men”. By the same logic we could deduce that George Best, Captain Robert Scott, Robin Hood and indeed Pope John Paul II were also gay.

As if to prove that they can more than equal the liberals in their share of mentally deranged clergy, the conservative Anglicans have responded by saying that Gene Robinson should be “struck down by a bolt of lightning”.

It’s enough to turn a man Catholic…

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