His Holiness, Reichsführer Benedict the Umpteenth, Vicar of Christ, Bishop of Rome, Successor of St. Peter, Patriarch of the West etc. etc. etc. 
Saturday, 20 March, 2010, 12:40 PM
Rating Millions out of 5 (Unbelievably platitudinous)

It is with great concern that I write to to you as God's only true representative on Earth. It seems that some of your Irish bishops have been very naughty - very naughty indeed.

Some bishops in your country of Ireland have shown an inadequate response to the problem of a tiny proportion of priests (no more than 5% - tops) having sex with your children. Before you get all too concerned, let's not forget that other people abuse children too. Indeed there are more abusers outside the church than inside, so let's keep things in proportion, OK?

Coincidentally, a few bishops in other far flung places in the globe have behaved exactly the same - I can't think why. Thank God I handled things so much better when I was an archbishop. But don't dwell on this, just remember how brilliant the Irish church is. I'll pray for you to get over the mess you've made of everything. Remember too how your forefathers stood up to protestants and remained stubbornly loyal to the Holy See. What a bunch of selfish traitors you'd be to give up on that loyalty to me now. You've all been getting a bit too secular nowadays and haven't been paying enough attention to what I tell you to do. Now look where it's got you.

None of this would've happened if people followed orders. Unfortunately, a few rogue Irish bishops, doubtless through a misplaced loyalty to the reputation of the Church, haven't notified the proper ecclesiastical authorities and so haven't done the cover up properly. I've done everything I could to clean up after the Irish bishops' total bumbling incompetence on this, stonewalling every request for cooperation from the police. I told the Irish bishops to find out the truth, then bury it as quickly as possible but they even messed that up.

I really am most terribly sorry that some of you were raped by Irish homosexual priests. For some reason, in a society where being gay was an imprisonable offence, we seemed to attract a lot of them. I've known about the whole thing for decades, but now that everyone else knows about it, I really am very sorry. It must be awful for you, especially when you spoke out and were threatened and leaned on to shutup just like in every other diocese in the world. (Anyone would think someone had sent secret instructions to all the bishops telling them to hush the whole thing up.) But please don't worry, we've started an even more intense persecution of homosexuals. Yeah! And if you come back to us in a spirit of penitence and humility, we'll welcome you back to the Church and will happily hear your confessions and forgive all your sins again.

To the priests who caused all this trouble for me, you've been very, very, very bad indeed. Very bad. Don't do it again or you'll have to be moved to yet another parish.

To parents, I can only say that it is every child's right to be brought up a Catholic. It's a great shame that in so doing some of them have been scarred for life, some have even killed themselves (which I need to remind you is a mortal sin and so they won't go to Heaven), but on the plus side they still got to hear about how great we are.

To children - stay Catholic. It's really important that you keep contributing funds, kneeling in front of us and kissing our rings. It makes us feel really important you know.

To Irish bishops - for god's sake get your act together. This is a PR disaster.

To all the faithful of Ireland, I hope these words of encouragement and support make you feel much better. You face a difficult task after the mess that you and secularists have made of things. But don't worry, the priests of Ireland are right behind you and they're willing to go all the way with you.

And now to specific steps that I'm going to take to address all of this. First I think you should pray a lot. Pray really, really hard. Next, come to Confession more, and come back to the Adoration of the Eucharist a bit more too - congregations are getting a bit too patchy and takings are down. I'd also like the Bishops to go on retreat, do a bit more praying, a bit more apologising and figure out how you're going to handle this a bit better next time round.

And now, a prayer for Ireland. Dear Jesus - keep everybody Catholic. Amen.

There - now that everything's fixed, I've said I'm sorry, can we please move on.

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Vishvapani (a much nicer name than Simon Blomfield)  
Saturday, 20 March, 2010, 08:17 AM - Vishvapani
Rating 1 out of 5 (Hardly platitudinous at all)

There was some good news yesterday. Little Sahil Saeed was reunited with his smiling mother while seven kidnappers were arrested. Meanwhile, doubts remain over whether a ransom will be paid for hostages kidnapped in Somalia. This gives us a moral dilemma. Our heart says to pay the ransom and guarantee the hostages' lives, while our head says this will only encourage further kidnaps.

I could turn to one of my many excellent books of ancient scripture at this point, which would undoubtedly be full of excellent advice and numerous wise and thoughtful suggestions, but I won't. Or we could turn to law enforcement officers and politicians who would advise not to pay the ransom. Alternatively, we could turn to moral philosophers, who would deliver an extensive 1,000 page treatise covering views from Plato and Aristotle through to Hume, Kant and beyond, exploring the various ethical dimensions of the problem in scholarly detail, balancing the various arguments, exploring the pros and the cons from different perspectives and providing extensive references where you will be able to explore in more depth than is possible in such a cursory and necessarily superficial overview, the full implications of the fascinating predicament that you face.

Instead, I will turn to another Buddhist who said, "Now just hold on a minute. Let's not be rash. Don't be too hasty. Just think about it for a while. Make sure you've thought through the consequences. Perhaps meditate on it a bit. You're anxiety is being caused by wanting to know the right thing to do. Just lay back and enjoy not knowing for a little while."

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Rev Dr. (hon. Kingston) Dr. (hon. St. Andrews) Joel Edwards, International Director of Micah Challenge, Human Rights Commissioner, Council Member of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation 
Friday, 19 March, 2010, 08:05 AM - Edwards
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

It all looks very bad for Christianity. "Pray for me," says the cardinal who made two young boys sign vows of silence over church sex abuse. As sex abuse cases surface in America, Ireland, the UK, Germany, Australia, Mexico, Italy and just about everywhere else, some are beginning to doubt the veracity of our claims to moral leadership. As a Rev Dr Dr, let me just assure you that none of that stuff matters. We're still right. A Christian bishop agrees with me, so it must be true.

As always, it is we poor Christians who are the true victims here. Alas it was always so, a Church persecuted and besieged by the heathen hordes who do not want to hear our message of love, compassion and toleration (except for you-know-who of course). As I, and other Christian leaders were shown around the Houses of Parliament, I explained to parliamentarians just how marginalised and neglected we are. Oh, how we have to suffer! There are even some schools left that are not being run by us.

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Mountainously Reverend James Jones, Lord Bishop of Liverpool and Bishop of Prisons 
Thursday, 18 March, 2010, 08:35 AM - Environment, Science, James Jones
Rating 2 out of 5 (A little platitudinous)

The Advertising Standards Authority has adjudicated on Climate Change and found the case wanting. Despite climate scientists' 90% confidence that extreme weather events will increase, the ASA considered this did not justify the use of the word "will" instead of the more guarded "may".

Climate scientists could learn a thing or two from Jesus' answer to difficult questions. With all the tact of a political spin doctor, the second lump of the Invisible Magic Friend rarely gave a straight answer to a straight question. He left people guessing, even now 2,000 years later. This is exactly what climate scientists should do. After all, it's not as if there's any rush or anything.

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Oliver McTernan, director of the NGO Forward Thinking  
Wednesday, 17 March, 2010, 08:13 AM - Gibberish, McTernan
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Oliver McTernan here, from the NGO Forward Thinking, a proactive, demand-driven, facilitative organisation that works to promote in the UK greater understanding and confidence between the diverse grassroots Muslim communities and the wider society including the Media and the British establishment, to promote a more inclusive peace process in the Middle East, and to facilitate a global dialogue between the religious and secular worlds. Hi.

Happy Saint Patrick's day everyone! Saint Patrick is of course the oldest, the biggest, the best patron saint of the best country in the world. Although other countries are quite good too. I wouldn't want to be seen to be putting them down or anything like that. I totally respect other cultures that have the misfortune to not be Irish. I mean it's not like it's their fault or anything is it? I've met some jolly nice people who're not Irish. Some of my best friends are not Irish.

Saint Patrick followed in the example of Abraham by going to Ireland to found a church. He created a uniquely Celtic way of being Catholic and the people of Ireland have never looked back. Today, Christian priests in Ireland are more popular and enjoy greater respect than they've ever done. Generations of Ireland's sons and daughters have been entrusted to their holy hands.

It was as a young teenage boy, alone with his sheep, that Patrick discovered the need for natural rhythm, for a lifelong partner, to experience the imminent, yet transcendent nature of the Invisible Magic Friend.

So let's all join together in being proud to be Irish, even those of you who aren't.

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5 comments ( 505 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 2.9 / 229 )

Right Awful Anne Atkins - Agonising Aunt and Vicar's Wife  
Tuesday, 16 March, 2010, 08:19 AM - Bible, Atkins
Rating 5 out of 5 (Extraordinarily platitudinous)

We classically educated vicars' wives are able to talk a lot about Shakespeare, or "the Bard" as those of us in the know like to call him. Shakespeare was of course the greatest writer who will ever live. While ordinary people like you might treasure your childhood cuddly toy, sophisticates like myself treasure our first folio edition of "the Bard". I paid a three figure sum for mine, way back in the days when only people like me could afford it. First folios are so much better than modern editions because they have old spellings like Nay anfwer me ; stand & vnfold your felfe.

Everything that is old is so much better than anything that is new. Everyone knows that art stopped short in the cultivated court of the Empress Josephine. C.S. Lewis, a writer who was nearly as good as Shakespeare and a Christian, said so, so I must be right. My husband, a vicar, is trained in the science of theology and he has observed similar confusion in the eye of biblical scholars with their text analysis, grammar comparison and vocabulary listing. Due to the horrors of all this modern 19th century scholarship some theologians even doubt that Jesus walked on water. With insight possessed only of a theologian, they point to the second law of thermodynamics and say "It is impossible to build a 100% efficient engine or heat pump, therefore clearly Jesus could not have walked on water!"

I have even heard it suggested that the third lump of the Invisible Magic Friend could not have impregnated the Virgin Mary with the extra chromosomes needed to conceive the second lump of the Invisible Magic Friend because it's just silly. Fools, fools! IT'S IN THE BIBLE! People who were definitely eyewitnesses, mostly illiterate and spoke Aramaic, wrote it down in Greek for us. People must be REALLY STUPID not to believe it when it's written down in the Bible and is really old as well.

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22 comments ( 680 views )   |  permalink   |   ( 3.1 / 196 )

Rev Canon Dr Alan Billings, an Anglican priest  
Monday, 15 March, 2010, 07:58 AM - Justice and mercy, Billings
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

The Children's Commissioner has proposed raising the age of criminal responsibility to twelve. Well I don't really want to discuss that. Instead, I just want to point out that you've all become very confused about childhood. In the good old days, when people were Christians and actually paid attention to Rev Canon Drs and their views on everything, childhood was a simple matter - it stopped when children went into the factory or down the mines. Nice and simple.

Today we've gone on educating them and educating them because we've closed all the factories and mines. We now find ourselves in the bizarre situation where our children know more about all this new fangled interwebby thing than we do. Christianity has nothing to say about when childhood ends, but I'll bring it up any way. Jesus did say, "Anyone who harms one of these little ones, it would be better that they be thrown into the sea with a millstone around their neck. Or possibly just moved to another parish."

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His Eminence, Most Rev Cardinal Sean Brady, Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland (even the Northern bit) 
Monday, 15 March, 2010, 06:05 AM - Sex, Not TFTD
I would just like to comment on calls for my resignation by some of the more hysterical corners of the press. They're creating all this fuss over a rather trifling incident where I was part of a meeting where two young boys were forced to sign vows of secrecy regarding their abuse by a certain Father Brendan Smyth. This was necessary in order to protect the good name of Fr Smyth and the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church from the malign indiscretion of these wretched victims.

I really don't know why they're getting so worked up. I've made it clear to them that I was only following orders. Besides, as a Catholic I decide what is right and wrong based on what the Church teaches me. This was the 1970s and the Church had not yet reached a conclusion as to whether conspiracy to conceal serial predatory sexual abuse of children was right or wrong. All our instincts told us to protect the reputation of all those involved and to move Fr Smyth to a new parish where he could make a fresh start. We had already taken the really important step of making sure that Fr Smyth could not hear confessions. What more could we be expected to do?

You can't help feeling that some sections of the press have it in for the Catholic Church. We're the real victims here. I think it's time to move on now so that I can continue my job, providing moral leadership for the whole of Ireland.
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Richard Dawkins books 
Sunday, 14 March, 2010, 10:03 AM - Not TFTD
Less than a day left to put in a bid on five signed Richard Dawkins books dedicated "To the Platitude of the Year 2009 winner". The auction ends at 7am on Monday.

These books form a unique and highly collectable set. Proceeds go to the NSS. More details.
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Vishvapani (a much nicer name than Simon Blomfield)  
Saturday, 13 March, 2010, 08:13 AM - Be nice, Vishvapani
Rating 0 out of 5 (Not platitudinous)

Don't be put off by all the stories of aid being diverted to weapons. Don't use it as just another excuse not to give.

We Buddhists like giving. It's one of the four noble truths that people are made unhappy by going around wanting things. Conversely, not wanting things will make you happier and you can be even happier still by giving things away.

Don't worry if you're a rather poor person whose wants largely consist of your next square meal and a working bar on the electric fire, because you don't have to give money. You can give time, expertise and energy, and many charity premises already have their own electric fires. You can even just give a Mother's Day card (although this will involve wanting a Mother's Day card and then wanting the money to buy it with, both of which could make you very unhappy, so give it away quickly).

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