Effulgently Reverend Tom Butler, Lord Bishop of Southwark 
Tuesday, 24 March, 2009, 08:36 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Jonafan Aitken wantsh to reform our prishons (hic!). He'sh been really inteshted in the welfare of prish'ners ever shince he became one. Ash a poly... (hic!) poly...tician, he used to lie lotsh. He jusht 'ad the mishfrot... mishfrunt... bad luck to get caught under oaf. While awaiting to (hic!) pleasure Her Majeshty he found Jesush, whom he had previoushly losht, while writing letters of recommenda...shun for hish fellow inmates. He now wants shupervised communishty hoshtels for low risk offenders - perjurersh for example (hic!). Thish won't happen (hic!) 'cos there'sh no votes in rehabitating offendersh. If only we could give'em a bit more Jeshus. Look at Jon'fan, he got lotsh Jeshus (hic!) and turned into a really nice bloke (hic!).

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Rev Dr Colin Morris, a Methodist Minister and (coincidentally) former head of religious broadcasting and BBC controller in Northern Ireland 
Monday, 23 March, 2009, 08:54 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Josef Fritzl may have been guilty of kidnap, imprisonment, enslavement and rape, but it was incest that made it such a juicy story. You see incest is "taboo". Taboos are the list of things, given to us by God, that we absolutely must never, ever do, or if we do do them, must never, ever talk about. It's very fashionable nowadays to go around talking about making taboos like incest not taboo any more. However, we should think twice about untabooing taboos, i.e. not do it. Certain disgusting bodily functions come to mind. These things are taboo for a very good reason, and the reason they are taboo is because they just are, so there. There are always stupid, vain exhibitionists that want to smash taboos and go around telling everyone about their disgusting bodily functions, but that's because they're stupid, vain exhibitionists, obsessed with the modern day cult of celebrity and media fame. We all share God's dignity, so every time you talk about your own poo-poos in the media, you are exposing God's poo-poos. To quote Falstaff in Henry IV, part II, Act III, scene ii, the bit just before the end, "I do see the bottom of Justice Shallow."

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Catherine Pepinster, editor of the Catholic newspaper, The Tablet 
Saturday, 21 March, 2009, 10:54 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Baby OT is to be murdered by the hospital, or as they call it, be allowed to die with "dignity". They all like to use that word "dignity": Dignity in Dying who specialise in murdering old people, "Dignitas" who'll dispose of anyone for a fee. As Saint Irritating once remarked, "I am rational, just like my Invisible Magic Friend." A sentiment as relevant to the subject today as it was then.

Some people want to live as long as possible. Rich people get especially irritated by dying. "You mean I've paid you all this money and you still can't make me live forever?" I spoke to a Catholic priest once who was incensed that hospital staff patronised his dying father, treating him like an infant. We Catholics don't do that. When we find a dying person, we rub some magic olive oil on them that's been blessed by a very holy person indeed. Then we mutter incantations over them, and cry and wail that they're going to eternal peace and happiness. That's what I call letting someone die with dignity!

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Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks 
Friday, 20 March, 2009, 08:21 AM
Rating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)

It's the nightmare that all we famous public speakers dread. The Irish Prime Minister accidentally gave President Obama's speech. While others might lose their temper and spray the room with automatic gunfire, spiritual people, like me, stop to reflect on what my Invisible Magic Friend is trying to tell me. You see, life doesn't always go to plan. Stuff happens. Whether it's an Asian tsunami that kills untold thousands, or a tribal genocide in Africa, there's always time to pause and reflect how I, personally, can grow as a human being in the face of everyone else's suffering. It helps that I have a sense of humour and can see the funny side of disasters. This great spiritual strength that I've developed, allows me to deal with tragedy. You see, I have Faith and because I have Faith, I don't fall over and roll around on the floor, dribbling like weaker minded lesser beings and muttering "Oh, why, why, why, why...?" This, then, is the explanation for why bad stuff happens. It's so that the Invisible Magic Friend can teach me something without being so crude and obvious as to just write it down. So now I look forward to catastrophes because it means I'll have a new message from my IMF to ponder upon. On that tragic day of autocue failure in the White House, Barack Obama and Brian Cowan, grew a little bit closer to becoming the kind of real human being that I am.

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Reverend Dr Giles Fraser, Vicar of Putney 
Thursday, 19 March, 2009, 08:49 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

The conditions at Stafford Hospital have been described as "third world". This is a gross insult. No third world country would have a hospital like that. This is what comes of worshipping bureaucracy. These managers get up in the morning and the first thing they think about is a nice juicy 40 page form to fill in. They realised that surgeons wasted enormous amounts of time on critically ill patients, most of whom would soon die anyway and wouldn't appear in the waiting time statistics. For every major heart attack, they could deal with hundreds of grazed knees, thus meeting government targets and improving customer satisfaction.

This bowing down before targets is idolatry I tell you, idolatry! As a Reverend Doctor let me just assure you that there is only one real Invisible Magic Friend, who in his goodness never sends you forms to fill in. He's more a sort of "thou shalt get on thy knees and worship me lest ye be smitten" type of manager. He doesn't set targets, other than the less-cursing-and-plenty-of-worshipping target. He's immeasurable, and everyone knows that immeasurable things are much better than measurable ones. If Stafford Hospital hadn't wasted so much time filling in forms about all their dead patients, then we wouldn't have all this fuss about form filling. Which just proves my point about going around measuring things.

Won't somebody please, please think of the patients?

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Vishvapani (a much nicer name than Simon Blomfield)  
Wednesday, 18 March, 2009, 08:35 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Some of you are rich and some of you are poor. Those of you who are poor are probably feeling pretty miserable right now. Your self esteem is probably at an all time low. You're not valued or respected. You feel unequal to people with loads o' money. You feel alienated. You're a worthless, useless, good for nothing, nobody. Being unemployed, you've probably got lots of free time to mope around feeling bitter and resentful at people who've done something more useful and productive with their lives.

You may still harbour some vestigial ambition or thoughts of recovering your self respect. We're all ambitious, envious and jealous of others. Even Buddhist monks go around muttering about other Buddhist monks, "Just look at him, he thinks he's so great because he's so close to Nirvana, well just wait 'till that bucket sitting on top of his cell door hits him."

If you're one of the downtrodden, hopeless basket cases, then don't waste your time with ambition or revenge. You won't get anywhere. Just put on some soothing music and burn some incense, or go look at the birds and the trees and pretty blue sky. Seek some solitude, which, since you haven't got any friends, shouldn't be too difficult. Feel some compassion for yourself. Compassion is a big word for Radio 4 listeners, but I'm sure you can look it up in the dictionary. As the Buddha said, even inferior people can feel sorry for themselves.

I don't want to raise the old cliché of Buddhists recommending meditation as the solution to just about everything, but we Buddhists do like to meditate. It's what makes us so patient, generous and mature. If you became a Buddhist and meditated with all that free time you have, then you could become patient, generous and mature too. Who knows, you might even start feeling sorry for other people too.

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Inconceivably Reverend Tom Butler, Lord Bishop of Southwark 
Tuesday, 17 March, 2009, 09:03 AM
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Happy Shaint Patricksh day (hic!). Cheers! Sheeing ash itsh a shpecial ocassion, I don't mind having one shmall little (hic!) drinky firsht thing. You she Patrick brought Chrishtianity to Ireland, both bits of it. Before that, Ireland wash a wild, (hic!) unruly place, full of all shorts of bad people who followed the wrong religion. I think I can shay, without fear of (hic!) contraception, that Chrishtianity hash made Northern Ireland what it ish today.

But d'you know what? I'll tell you what. D'you know, he didn't really drive the shnakes out of (hic!) Ireland. No! Shnakes never revolved in Ireland, which wash under the shea (hic!) with ice in it. Ice? Yesh please, two lumpsh. Cheers! But there's shtill shum shnakes there (hic!), who're not proper Chrishtians at all and go around shooting shouldiers. Thank goodnesh there'sh people of faith around to shtand up to them! (hic!)

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Rev Dr Colin Morris, a Methodist Minister and (coincidentally) former head of religious broadcasting and BBC controller in Northern Ireland 
Monday, 16 March, 2009, 08:29 AM
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

Some things are right and other things are wrong. We know this because religion tells us so. The great Christian (and therefore correct) author C.S. Lewis once compared all the great religions. Remarkably, they all said that some things were right and other things were wrong. Not only that, but they mostly said that the same things were right and the same other things were wrong. Thank goodness for all those holy books telling us which things are right and which things are wrong. As a Reverend Doctor, let me just assure you that otherwise we'd all be selfish and self-centred, thinking about no one but ourselves all the time. An example of a wrong thing would include murdering people in cold blood in Northern Ireland because of sectarian hatred. When I look up a holy book to find out if this is a right thing or a wrong thing I can easily find that it's a wrong thing, as long as you ignore all the bits where it tells you to kill other religions.

In-between things, that are neither always right nor always wrong, are called "unacceptable". These are things that change with the mood of the times. For example, it used to be acceptable to reward bankers with large bonuses for gambling, risk free, with other people's money, or for sacking thousands of people and so making loads more money. We know this is neither right nor wrong because none of the major religions have ever decried obscuring financial risk on complex derivatives valued against a rising asset bubble. No one ever thought that this was wrong. It's only since people realised what was going on that it's become "unacceptable". Cruelty to children is another thing that's merely "unacceptable". Being kind to children is just one of those modern fads that will pass in time. And for some strange reason, local authorities seem to think that beating up parking attendants is "unacceptable". They wish.

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Canon David Winter 
Saturday, 14 March, 2009, 11:00 AM
Rating 2 out of 5 (A little platitudinous)

Jade Goody is dying. Fortunately she just got baptised, so at least her life has been transformed and her soul has been redeemed. Not everyone approves of her rise from B-list celebrity status, but if Jade wants her last few moments of life to be seen in full public glare then what right do you have to try and stop her? I think all you people who have been trying to stop her should stop trying to stop her at once. Many of you may have been thinking that she's trying to emulate Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. I'm sure that's what most Sun readers are thinking. "She's just trying to emulate Saint Thérèse of Lisieux," they'll be saying down the pub. But Jade is just an ordinary person like you. She's no Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. She's just trying to make sure that her life has a proper ending.

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Breathtakingly Reverend Lord Professor Bishop Baron Reverend Lord Richard Harries 
Friday, 13 March, 2009, 08:28 AM
Rating 2 out of 5 (A little platitudinous)

Happy comic relief day everyone! Yes, it's that joyous evening of television entertainment that we all look forward to so much all year. All our favourite TV personalities, like Jonathan Ross and Graham Norton, will be getting involved in all sorts of zany stunts and unlikely situations. I myself will be appearing in the House of Lords wearing a red plastic nose. I'll be wearing full episcopal vestments and handing out boxes of tomatoes to audiences for my Gresham Professor of Divinity lectures, and I'll be doing the evening service dressed as Frank N. Furter from The Rocky Horror Show. But it's not all tasteful laughs and ingenious good humour. There's a serious side to all of this. In these dark days, when they tell me people who aren't Lord Professor Reverend Barons may be losing their jobs or having their houses repossessed, it's tempting to not think about really, really, really poor foreign people, and babies. Stimulating poorer economies is in our own interest and we could also do so out of common humanity. But never mind all of that, Jesus was a really, really, really poor foreign person, and a baby once, so if you don't help them you'll be spitting in the face of baby Jesus. Then there's the example of the hilarious St. Paul. with his laugh a minute letters to the Romans, Corinthians and Ephesians, all part of the rollicking good fun of the bible. So why not let your hair down, do some good and have a laugh, just like the church likes to do.

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