Saturday, November 18, 2006
A History of the Church
Apologies to Sellar & Yeatman - 1066 & All That
A LITTLE WHILE after Our Lord’s Ascension, He sent the Holy Ghost in the form of an Advocate* to frighten the Apostles into Doing Something. They ran off to the Market Place where they were supposed to have drunk New Wine, thus starting the Church of England. After that they did the Acts, at Home and at various Mediterranean Resorts. They were all killed, mostly by the Wicked Romans, except John, who went to the Greek Islands instead.
The Christians had to hide in Catacombs so as not to be fed to Lions by the Wicked Romans who were not Church of England and persecuted them. In addition, the Church was troubled by hearsay, put about by Bad Bishops and Vicars who Made It Up as They Went Along. They were sorted out by the Fathers who were Good C of E and remembered chiefly for having had very silly names, like Basil, Pseudo Denis, Turtlelion, Chris Tomtom, Origen of the Species and Cardinal Newman.
Everything got better when Emperor Constantine whose Mother was C of E from Essex stopped the persecution and made the Bad Bishops stay behind and copy out the Anastasian Creed, which took a very long time
An Emperor called Julian the Apostolate tried to stop everybody being C of E by Restoring the Gods. He got them out of Attics all over the Empire and began Cleaning them Up, but everyone just laughed. Soon all the Known World was Christian, except for some who went on spreading hearsay, and the Turks. The Turks captured all of the Middle East and North Africa, Spain, Constantinople and most of Eastern Europe. The Christians they killed and subjugated there were Decadent, not C of E, so nobody minded. The Crusaders minded, but they were Wicked Romans and Worse than the Turks.
The Pope was Top Bishop, despite being a Wicked Roman and living Abroad. He was fond of his indulgences, of which he had a great many, and was sometimes saucy with the girls. Lex Luther was a German, and he disapproved: girls were not for Popes to get saucy with, they were for Cooking and Children and Church. He wrote a list of ninety-seven things he disliked about Popes and their various indulgences, and nailed them to a door, thus causing the Reformation, which was a Very Good Thing. Lex Luther was not alone in doing the Reformation, but his friends are remembered chiefly for having had even sillier names than the Fathers - Kelvin Klein, Crammer, Zwingly and Melonthong.
King Henry VIII was married to Queen Catherine who was very beautiful and devout but she wouldn't give him any Air, so he locked her in a tower, which caused the King's Business. Cardinal Wolsey who was very fat, tried to run the King's Business for a while, but the Effort killed him, which was a Good Thing. Henry had the Sin of Lust. He met Anne Boleyn who had six fingers on one hand, so he married her instead of Catherine, which made the Pope very angry. Anne Boleyn wouldn't give the King any Air either, and neither would Sir Thomas More or Bishop Fisher, so he cut their heads off. Altogether he had six wives, and only one would give him any Air.
Henry told the Pope he wasn't going to let him be Top Bishop any more (being a Wicked Roman and living Abroad). There would be no Top Bishops at all. Henry would Do the Job Himself, and if the Pope didn't like it, he'd bring in Lex Luther instead (who was friends with Archbishop Crammer On the Quiet).
King Henry VIII didn’t much care for Lex Luther, but the Reformation allowed him to get back his money from the Guilds (associations of working men who had no business having it), and to let the Monks out of their Cells, on condition that if they wanted to go on Indulging the Pope they would have to do it Elsewhere. He had the Monasteries done up as Stately Homes and sold them to the National Trust. His daughter was Bloody Mary, who married the King of Spain and died, which was also a Good Thing.
Archbishop Crammer was awakened one night by an Angel, who dictated the Prayer Book to him, but that was later when the Air appeared. The Air was Sickly and was called Edward. He was very young when Henry died and the Nobles stuffed him full of Lex Luther so that they too could grab Church Property, do it up and sell it to the National Trust.
Good Queen Bess was very good C of E. She sent thirty-nine articles including a big Bible on a Chain to every Vicar in the Land. She also realised that all the Pictures and Statues of Jesus, Mary and the Saints stopped people thinking about God, so she had them all chopped up and burned and replaced wherever possible with a picture of Herself. She invented Shakespeare, the Armada and America, which was not such a Good Thing as it turned out. She politely discouraged the Jesuits, who were the Wickedest Romans of All.
Scotland had Ronald Knox. He had a very big beard and despised everything Roman. He wanted Scotland to have a religion of her own, so he brought in a new one from Kelvin Klein in Switzerland. Everyone had to have big beards and wear Hats in Church. Adultery was severely punished on the grounds that it might lead to Dancing. This was a very Good Thing for Scotland. He kept a Monstrous Regiment of Women who blasted Trumpets, thus causing the Salvation Army.
King Charles the Martyr was exemplary C of E, thus causing the Civil War, which he lost, and had his head cut off by Oliver Cromwell, who was a Good Thing Nevertheless, because he killed lots of Wicked Romans in Ireland. He liked the Scottish religion and introduced it to England for a while, but the English preferred Dancing, and so brought back the King, which caused the Restoration.
God was now so pleased with the British that he gave them Half the World to rule, heathen savages who had never heard of the C of E, and others who had been corrupted by the Wicked Romans. England beat Napoleon and the Germans (twice) before God got bored with Mattins and Evensong and sent them all New Books and lady Vicars.
*Scholars are divided over the precise nature of the apparition. According to translation, The Holy Ghost appeared either as an “advocate” or lawyer, or a giant parrot. Either rendering is acceptable in the context since there can be little doubt that both would serve equally to frighten your average Galiliean half to death.