The doorbell rang at around 11.00 last night- not a regular occurence. It was the police, investigating the incident on Friday night when a number of back gates were kicked. I hadn't reported it, but someone else had. The police seem to think there's a link with a spate of low-level burglaries that have been committed in the area. Really? Were the characters I glimpsed in the darkness of the back alley carrying a sheet of lead? I don't think so. And if they had been, would they have advertised it by making such a hell of a noise? Anyway I co-operated fully. I even took the very pleasant young man out into the alley, bare-legged in my dressing gown, to show him the scene of the crime. But here's the oddest thing: I wasn't frightened, but all the time he was here I was shaking uncontrollably. It got worse and worse- and then as soon as he left it stopped. I've never had any bad experiences with the police- except once in Switzerland which hardly counts- but I seem to be allergic to a blue uniform. I wonder why?
The Archbishop of Canterbury has apologised for upsetting the Irish Catholic bishops, protesting that he thought he was saying no more than other people have said when he suggested in a radio interview that they'd "lost all credibility". .
Two things here. One, the Irish bishops needed upsetting. Two, I thought it was the job of people like the Archbishop to lead public opinion not reflect it. So much for the prophetic role of the clergy!
I haven't read his Easter sermon, but if the BBC is reporting it properly, it dealt not with anything as troublesome as sexual abuse, but with the one or two recent cases in which evangelical Christians have been disciplined by their employers for wearing dangly crosses in defiance of professional dress codes. From this he developed a whiney case about Christians being victimised in today's society and their faith set at nought. This was feeble stuff- and in its watery, Anglican way comes from the same culture of self-pity as the sermon the Pope's chaplain delivered to him the other day, in which he likened the suffering of priests and bishops caught up in the child abuse scandal to those of Jews under Hitler
I thought for a while there that the Archbishop had understood the rage in the street. For a scant 24 hours I was proud of him. But the Bishop of Dublin pronounced himself "hurt" and the Archbishop rushed to apologise- the pain of a fellow hierarch weighing so much more in the scheme of things than that of hundreds of raped children.
I also thought that, finally, he'd found the balls to stand up to the Bishop of Rome- who persistently disrespects him and other faith leaders. Yes, I thought, he's realised that being an Anglican means he doesn't have to kiss that person's petticoats every time they're flounced. He can criticise, he can express a divergent opinion, he can be his own man. Sorry, your Grace, I misjudged you. I thought you were something other than the smooth- if not particularly competent- ecclesiastical diplomat your every action to date has proclaimed you to be. I was wrong.