So I listened to the "Sunday" programme at 7.10 a.m. on the Home Service to hear what it had to say about 'Ordinariate' news. It was presented by one Ed Stourton, who, I gather, is descended from an old recusant family but at some point decided that his own sexual mores needed to be more "nuanced" than those of Christ (he followed his nuances by abandoning his wedding vows and shacking up with a BBC cutie). He should have been caned more often at Ampleforth: this morning he used a word "cacaphony", which I can only imagine is a combination of the Latin cacare and the Greek phone and presumably means "the sound one makes while defecating". His programme exemplified his own neologism to perfection.
Among the gurus on his programme, he had one Paul Vallely, who 'advises' the RC bishops of England and Wales and, a few years ago, wrote some 'Report' or other for them. This Vallely writes also for the Indescribably Boring and for Jezebel's Trumpet. You see the sort of individual he is. Needless to say, he calls himself a "cradle Catholic". He began with some remarks about the English translation of the Mass which seemed to me quite extraordinary: he said it had been changed by Rome against the inclination of the Anglophone bishops. Asked about the Ordinariate, he referred to the three men and five women who were received into full communion last Saturday as "rather dodgy characters" and said he would "rather they stayed where they were".
This clear message was hammered home by a limerick composed, we were told, by an official, card-carrying, member of the Great and the Good: Terry Waite - a bloke who caused a lot of hassle decades ago by getting himself kidnapped by 'Islamic extremists'. Here is his deathless verse, read out to the sound of approving murmurs from Stourton:
A cleric whose fondness for Rome
Made him leave both his Church and his home.
As he said his farewells
His church rang the bells
But the Romans let out a loud groan.
Somebody should explain to this opinionated bore that 'groan' rhymes neither with 'Rome' nor with 'home'. And someone should point out to this tedious semiliterate that the sentence which begins "A cleric" and then launches into a relative clause ("whose ... home") is never completed but is replaced by a new sentence beginning "As he ...". The exquisite simplicity and stylishness of the limerick form is sabotaged if both rhyme and syntax are treated with such contemptuous disrespect. Waite, like a lot of silly people, seems to think that the limerick is just an adolescent opportunity for being offensive or obscene. It isn't.
Personally, I am all for diversity. Show me an "Islamic Extremist" and I will willingly buy him a friendly G and T. But what is the use of having mullahs and ayatollahs and Al Qaeda and all that, if they cravenly chicken out of simple philanthropic duties such as that of keeping the Waites of this world carefully immured in sound-proof cellars for rather longer than the merely four years they did manage on the last occasion they got hold of him? They should try harder next time.
Stourton's programme was full of the usual guff about Tolerance. Apparently, we are not allowed to kick anybody nowadays. Except ... of course ... Anglicans who want to accept Pope Benedict's invitation. It's always Open Season for the sniggering classes to heap cheap and malevolent abuse upon them.
Please don't write in to tell me that Waite is really a Saint. If he is, run along and pray to him yourself and kindly leave me out of it.