The Rev Dr Aloysius Fairweather, vicar of St. Entwhistle’s, in the quaint village of Sewer-on-Thames, has apologised to parishioners for ‘inadvertently spoiling [their] enjoyment of the festive season.’ Controversy erupted after Dr Fairweather’s sermon at last weekend’s parish carol service. In his sermon, he appeared to cast doubt on the reliability of the gospel writers (‘after all, they were primitive folk, trying to make sense of their world with its bewildering mix of hopes and fears’). Rather than insist on seeing the birth of Jesus as a particularly supernatural event (‘conjuring tricks with a young mother and her baby’), the contemporary church ought to view the Christmas story as ‘a legend, designed to inspire every generation to rediscover its inner light in the midst of the straw and animal smells of modern life’. Angry church members, dismayed at this apparent attack on centuries of traditional Christian teaching, contacted the Bishop who it is believed asked Dr Fairweather to tone down his comments and apologise for any offence he may have caused.
You didn’t see that in the news?
Neither did I.
I made it up.
Mind you, you can find examples of those ‘horrid vicar tells children that Santa is not real‘ tales.
It’s not that vicars should make it their Christmas mission to debunk the legend of the jolly old red chap to classes of five year olds (they would do well just to talk about Jesus), so confusing the children and alienating their parents.
But you hope there would be at least as much of a stir if what I ‘reported’ actually happened.