The Tenth New Sermon of the Neo-Catholic Church

Good evening.

Modern Christianity is a vibrant force, filled with edicts, papal bulls and the waffle that comes mostly from the Protestants. Despite claims to the contrary it is mostly a growing religion (but, like many middle-aged gents, is putting on weight in the wrong regions) and, like all things that push the envelope, has its ups and downs. Roman Catholicism, reeling from the discovery that the Pope’s renal system proved to be fallible (Congratulations, Bishop Jamie, on a sentence well parsed) has set out to show that the modern cleric can be cool and calm.

Not just that, but in any hat.

Hats are important; as Pope I have at least four good hats and a collection of sundry headpieces to fill out the rest of the week. Admittedly, most of my hats are of the ‘about town’ variety, with a few that fall into the ‘going out’ category (as well as one that probably fits into the type ‘oppressing the natives and stealing their booty’). Yet it is hard to compete with the Cardinals in the ‘other’ Church. They have hats of all shapes and sizes (and that’s ignoring those wacky Patriarchs with their super-cool Orthodoxy caps).

But, best of all, some of those Cardinals wear Aviators.

A Cardinal, resplendent in red, wearing Avaitors looks just like a crazed fantasy of the modern cleric ‘ready for action.’ You can imagine that, in a moment of crisis, he would almost lackadaisically pull out Glock from beneath his robes to administer Church Justice before pulling back the hem of his robes and revealing a scooter, on which he would chase evil through the streets of Rome. Possibly, nay, essentially, he would have theme music (preferably a classical composition rescored by Joby Talbot). Then, once sanctity was restored he would return back to the Holy See to party the night away…

The hat, you must understand, doth maketh the man.

Neo-Catholicism needs an analogue for such men of action. We have no uncommon hats, no motorscooters or Glocks, and only one of our number has a pair of Aviators. Currently Neo-Catholicism’s greatest attributes are lethargy and a fanatical attachment to the sofa (currently residing in London). I am intent on thinking of choosing someone to change this. Someone with hats.

Or a really good pair of shades.

Definitely someone.

You may now make you final approach. Over and out.

The Ninth New Sermon of the Neo-Catholic Church

Thank you for inviting me here today. I am going to speak to you about the books of the Bible.

Mostly about how we don’t have enough of them.

The Roman Catholics started it; they added in a load of special texts that some people call the ‘Apocrypha.’ Then the Eastern Orthodox Church added in a few more (probably to make the bumper book of Christian theology bigger and more thumpable). The Ethiopians, seemingly keen to not only expand Jewish Scripture added in not only more books of crazy religious fervour but obviously decided to start a whole new section which I will call the ‘Even Newer Testament.’

We, brothers and sisters, must do more. Not only more, but better.

Which is why Cardinal Darmeus (freshly returned from his adventures in the 23rd Parallel) and I have decided to petition anyone who will listen to add the following texts to the Bible.

One: King Lear – Poor Tom’s a-cold… in Hell!
Two: One Hundred Years of Punch – A pictorial history of Victoriana becoming Post-modernity
Three: Seven Things I know about my Mother… The Giant Robot (to be written) – bound to be a mantlepiece
Four: The Manifesto of Self-Revocation – Already a mantlepiece
Five: The Number 23 (which is to say that we want a page with 23 printed in bold, preferably in Garamond, standing somewhere between the Old and New Testament)

Modern people, especially modern theists, want, nay, need, a modern Bible filled with modern texts that mean as much to them as the current crop of dogma. It’s been near one thousand and nine hundred years since the last book was written and near one thousand and five hundred years since the canon was fixed. ‘Jeremiah’ was all fine and good for Hey-zeus (hmm… Maybe we should add the new, JMS overseen, ‘Jeremiah’ TV series as ‘Jeremiah II – DVD edition) but modern peoples want the wisdom of Paris and Britney, Hunter and Gore.

We need to rise up together as a literary group and reimage the most popular and best-selling book of all time. And find me not guilty of ‘Light Treason.’

The Defense rests.

PS. We could go the other way; get rid of any books with a numerical suffix and reduce the synoptic Gospels down to one (and write John into it). I’m thinking of a 300 page potboiler.

PPS. Not guilty.

The Eighth New Sermon of the Neo-Catholic Church

The Prologue.

Many is the time I have spoken loudly and less fondly about the current fashion with placing diaries in the public view. Indeed, the first iteration of the modern ‘Manifesto…’ contains much to dissuade the faithful on this matter.

I understand the attraction, however; everyone would, at some time, like to express some of their views on matters private in a very public space, especially those thoughts that we really want to voice but can never can begin to form (due to the usual mores and restrictions of decent society).

You all know of what I speak, don’t you.

Brother Morthos, in a more lucid moment, once told me that my chief problem was that, as Pope, I speak my mind, and this has lead to a trail of discontinued friendships and the cessation of non-hostility on many fronts. Certainly, it has meant a wholesale reduction of those unsanitary business school-types that used to circulate the New Vatican of the Church and I have no issue at all in corrupting evangelists… Still, those are matters for another time. Still, even I must admit that there are moments where I bite my tongue, sometimes wisely and sometimes not so wisely.

Public diaries give you a second chance to ‘Sin(TM).’

And what a chance it is. A chance to tell a select audience that, had you had your wits about you, you would have said this, rather than that. That when someone thought you were thinking A you really thought B. That you wish something else had obtained when the crap hit the metaphorical fan.

Oh yes, important stuff.

I see the point of public bullentins when you go away. I see the (perverse) point of angsting to strangers because you have no friends. I even see the point of further supporting a burgeoning journalistic career. But when you use the public space to air your dirty laundry and to piss off people you either need to do it on a massive scale or not at all.

And now, children, without any further ado, I will read to you from ‘Run, Spot, Run.’

The Seventh New Sermon of the Neo-Catholic Church

‘Oops, sorry Vicar!’

Funniest three consecutive words in the English language, closely followed by the four-parter ‘Oh, that’s my wife.’

Humour, they say, is the spice of life… Or is that danger? Whatever the case, those people who we consider to without a sense of humour are often thought of as rum chaps (or dolls), fit only for placing in the corner of a room when the potplant Aunt Edith bought you died.

Which is why it amazes me just how many humourless people exist, or just how boring conversations can be. What happened to the comedy?

We at the Neo-Catholic Church, if we believe in anything, believe in the power of narrative, the force that creates stories. Now you can argue all day long, if you so desire, as to whether narrative is an objective force, one that forces us into roles and creates situatons for us to react to, or whether narrative is subjective and thus is the result of humans placing a pattern upon the world… You know, I believe I once wrote a treatise on that kind of material. Selectivity… I’m sure it was really good stuff, but bugger if I can remember what the point of it was.

Believing, as we do in a thing called ‘Narrative’ we also believe that it is our divine, sometimes devilish, always corrupting, place to make the narrative as funny as possible.

Funny narratives don’t make the world entirely supercilious; you can have humour in tragedy and the fun can be introduced into romance (and no, not just by the eight-and-an-half amusing positions of the human sexing).

It (this task of humourising narrative) does, however, mean that taking the events of the world seriously is a fairly unusual task.

Take, for example, the middle-class. No, please, take the middle-class and launch it into the sun or something. But if we must keep those creatures then let us realise that far too often they look upon the world with a narrative of absolute seriousness, which they think to be, weirdly enough, the objective standard of narrative.

Seriousness is a terrible disease and I hope to fund a cure, using some of the monies Brother Morthos ‘obtained’ from the Reserve Bank last Wednesday (for those asking awkward questions I was on the Nile, supping with a Queen called Harold, at the time). It is broadly rigid and has not the flexiblility even a good pun has. It requires you to think it fairly straight lines and never experience the excitement of a sudden twist or a non-sequiter.

It, above all things, requires you to adopt a fairly straight forward account of terms and frames of reference, and once you adopt these they tend to force you to keep with them ad nauseam, forcing you further and further down the hole that is the serious pit of despair, anger and, finally, the joining of a right-wing political party and the anger that the young are wasting your tax dollar on ‘their shallow entertainments.’ Yes, ‘Procul Harum’ were a great act, but that does not mean that the young shouldn’t enjoy their ‘Boomkat.’

Of course, the best recurrent line of use is the rejoinder ‘And don’t they have it in the Navy,’ freely modified to suit the conversation.

Oh well, that’s me done, officier. Anything else you want to ask?