Catherine Pepinster, editor of the Catholic newspaper, The Tablet, POTY 2011 
Saturday, 16 June, 2012, 09:21 AM - Pepinster
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

I'd like to talk to you today about the UK housing rental market.

Their used to be a TV series about sharing a flat called Friends. In Friends, the people who shared the flat were friends. Nowadays, it's not friends who flat share, like in Friends, but people who are not friends, which didn't happen in Friends.

Rebecca Brooks and David Cameron are friends, although they don't share a flat, like in Friends.

According to C.S. Lewis, a particularly clever and insightful Christian, full of wisdom, knowledge and extreme cleverness, true friends are more than just flatmates, except in Friends. The ancient Greeks (all of them) agreed with C.S. Lewis, which just goes to show how right C.S. Lewis was, as always.

Even the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend thought that being friends was better than being servants. Jesus would have approved of the friends in Friends. However, if Jesus had just read a few verses more, he would have realised that he said that everybody hated him and his disciples, which isn't very friendly.

C.S. Lewis, whom you will doubtless recall was a particularly clever and insightful Christian, full of wisdom, knowledge and extreme cleverness, thought that heaven would be full of friends, a bit like a heavenly flat share, like Friends. There, everyone would spend eternity telling each other what the Invisible Magic Friend was like, presumably because there's not a lot else to talk about in heaven for all eternity.

That's what friendship is like - it's really good.

And that's my analysis of the UK housing market today.

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Soberingly Reverend Tom Butler, ex-Lord Bishop of Southwark  
Friday, 15 June, 2012, 08:17 AM - Politics, Butler
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Ishn't the Levenshun enquiry just fas'nating? (Hic!)

Ash a retired bee-shop, it'sh great to jusht watch daytime TV like thish. We've had three preefish and current PM'sh on now. (Hic!) And you know what? I'll tell you what. They're all diff'rnt people! Yesh! Diff'rnt!

And I'll tell you shumfin else, (hic!) they're talkin live and on oaf. On oaf! I mean, politshins might be tempted to tell (hic!) porkies OK'shly, O K shun ably, Okinawa'ly, sometimes, but no polishishun's ever gonna lie on oaf, would they? (Hic!) I mean, shtands to reason, doshn't it?

Thish reminds me of another judge. He had to deal wiff a meshy, complex case too. (Hic!) Can you guess who I'm thinking of? I'll bet you can't. It was Jesush! (Hic!) And the judge wash Ponshush Pilate! He tried to get to the truth but Jeshus shaid "Truth? You can't handle the truth!" Sho Pilate washed his handsh and threw out all the cuddly toysh.

Lord Justish Levenbread can't wash his handsh. (Hic!) He'sh got to keep dirty hands 'cos they won't let 'im wash 'em. I don't envy him - not be'in able to wash hish hands.

Anyway what's on daytime TV today? Perhapsh watch it wiff a shmall glash of sherry. I'm the ex-Bishop of Shufrock. It'sh what I do. (Hic!)

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Mona Siddiqui, Professor of Islamic and Inter-Religious Studies, Assistant Principal for Religion and Society, New College on the Mound, University of Edinburgh  
Thursday, 14 June, 2012, 08:15 AM - Sex, Siddiqui
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

Gay marriage: right or wrong? It's a simple, straightforward question. So Let me be absolutely clear in my opinion. I want to state, categorically, leaving no room for doubt, that I'm unambiguously sitting on the fence on this one.

You didn't really think I was going be foolish enough to give a simple, straightforward answer did you? Lord Singh might do that, but I'm a professor and far too clever to fall for that one.

In Islam, marriage is a civil contract between consenting adults. It's not a sacrament. So, on this important and controversial topic, we fully intend to firmly keep our heads down and wait for it all to blow over. Let some other religion be called homophobic for a change.

I will just say enough about marriage being about, love, commitment, intimacy and life long partnership, to make it sound as if my liberal credentials allow for gay marriage. On the other hand, I'll sympathise with those of any particular religion who don't have my enlightened views.

This is what Thought For The Day is all about: saying, on the one hand, and then on the other hand, dropping hints in both directions and keeping one's own opinion safely to oneself.

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From Norwich, it's the bishop of the week, Monstrously Reverend Graham James, Lord Bishop of Norwich  
Wednesday, 13 June, 2012, 08:34 AM - Think of the children, James
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Aren't families just fantastic? Except the ones that aren't. The government is going to spend lots of money on troubled families. This is what we Christians call "pastoral" work, where we, the pastors, look after you, the sheep.

Now, this may be something that's new to you, but there seems to be some sort of natural instinct where parents want to do what's best for their children. At least that's my opinion. I can't think where I got the idea from but it seems to hold quite generally for some reason.

Take misplacing children. I misplaced my daughter once and it was ever so upsetting. David Cameron also misplaced his daughter. I expect he was quite upset too. even Mary and Joseph misplaced Jesus. He was later discovered discussing science medicine theology, as you would expect with the visible bit of the Invisible Magic Friend.

It isn't easy being a parent, deciding what's best for your children, but whatever is best for them is what I think we should do. Won't everyone please, please, think of the children.

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Great Uncle Dr Lord Indarjit Singh JP, CBE, Baron Wimbledon, Director of the Network of Sikh Organisations  
Tuesday, 12 June, 2012, 09:00 AM - Be nice, Interfaith, Materialism, Singh
Rating 4 out of 5 (Highly platitudinous)

There's a big Sikh festival coming up. Happy anniversary of the martyrdom of Guru Arjan everyone!

Guru Arjan was a really good Guru. He launched the very first inter-faith network, complete with buffet lunches. He held that all faiths are pretty much the same, except that being a Sikh is best. Then he got martyred.

To commemorate his death, we give lemonade to confused passers by. Sometimes people of other faiths join us in giving lemonade to confused passers by, but people of no faith never join us in giving lemonade to confused passers by.

In this jubilee year (has anyone mentioned the jubilee yet?) we've decided that we're not just going to be nice to confused passers by on the anniversary of Guru Arjan's death. We're going to be nice to people for the whole year!

This year is the 25th anniversary of the inter-faith network, with its regular buffet lunches. It's thanks to the inter-faith network that British people of faith have largely resisted the temptation to exterminate one another, as happens in many other countries. This just goes to show the benefit of regular buffet lunches.

I think we should now go further. I think people of faith should consider being nice to people, not just this year, but every year, or at the very least, in alternate years. This will combat our, and by "our" I do of course mean "your", tendency to materialism and selfishness, which happens when people don't have a faith or attend inter-faith buffets.

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Rabbi Lionel Blue 
Monday, 11 June, 2012, 08:14 AM - War, Rabbi Lionel Blue
Rating 1 out of 5 (Not platitudinous)

No parody today. Just listen to the gentle Rabbi's warning.





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Rejoice! Two new Doctors of the Church. 
Sunday, 10 June, 2012, 08:03 AM - Not TFTD
No doubt you are all getting very excited about the upcoming Year of Faith, where Catholics, all over the world, will go around having even more faith than normal.

"What the world is in particular need of today is the credible witness of people enlightened in mind and heart by the word of the Lord," said Pope Benedict.

Who could possibly disagree that? With all the problems of over population and scarce resources, what the world really, really needs, is more of the Catholic faith.

Pope Benedict wishes to direct our attention to two relevant role models that we may turn to in the Year of Faith. As such, saints John of Avila (1500-1569) and Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) are to be made Doctors of the Church. In choosing saints John of Avila (1500-1569) and Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) as relevant role models, His Holiness highlights, once again, the significance of the modern church in our daily lives.

The Maryvale Higher Institute of Religious Sciences, with its strict, Catholic, scientific approach to Catholicism, is maintaining a special web page for the Year of Faith. If you want to know more about saints John of Avila (1500-1569) and Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), then they are the people to ask.

You can also spend your Year of Faith with Mary courtesy of the International Marian Research Institute, although shockingly, I could see no reference at all to saints John of Avila (1500-1569) and Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179). They offer everything from a Certificate in Marian Studies to the full STD with an emphasis on Mary (Doctorate in Sacred Theology, not be confused with any other meanings of STD). Candidates for the certificate must produce an original research paper on Mary.

I cannot begin to tell you the joy I feel that we have saints John of Avila (1500-1569) and Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) to guide us through the perils of contemporary society. If there was one thing that we people of faith needed to show us how to live in the modern world, it is the example of saints John of Avila (1500-1569) and Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179).

The appointment of saints John of Avila (1500-1569) and Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) as Doctors of the Church, shows that this Pope really knows how to bring people back to the Catholic Church.
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Catherine Pepinster, editor of the Catholic newspaper, The Tablet, POTY 2011 
Saturday, 9 June, 2012, 08:49 AM - Sport, War, Pepinster
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Happy Euro 2012 everyone! Yes, today I'm going to talk to you about football.

Which brings me neatly onto the subject of the blanket bombing of German cities by Bomber Command at the end of World War II.

A memorial is about to be unveiled to the 55,000 young men who died from Bomber Command. It's taken a long while because of the controversy surrounding the destruction of cities like Dresden.

So was this bombing justified? In order to find out, we naturally turn to the 13th century Catholic Theologian and military strategist, Saint Thomas Aquinas. Jesus said to love one another, do good to those who hate you. Thanks to the genius of Saint Thomas Aquinas, we now know that what Jesus actually meant was, declare all out war against your enemies.

The Catholic Church has refined this complex theology to: declare all out war against your enemies, but only after you've tried talking to them first. Hitler was a good example. He was a very bad fascist dictator, whom the Catholic Church (eventually) decided was much worse than all the other fascist dictators that they'd established concordats with. The Catholic Church officially approves of war against Hitler.

However, it's important when blanket bombing civilians that this is done in a moderate and proportionate fashion. Excessive blanket bombing really is unacceptable.

So there we have it, proof once again of the value of Catholic theology in action.

Enjoy the football.

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Soberingly Reverend Tom Butler, ex-Lord Bishop of Southwark 
Friday, 8 June, 2012, 08:04 AM - Sport, Butler
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

There'sh lotsh of shport coming up (hic!) and we're gonna lose at everyfing. Absolutely everyfing. I mean why are our athletes sho rubbish?

They're not rubbish really. (hic!) It'sh because they're actually sho brilliant that they jusht appear to be rubbish. They end up getting all exshited and throw out all the cuddly toysh. They need to relash, chill out, (hic!) maybe have the occasional, shmall glass of sherry.

Shaint Paul had the shame problem. He tried to do good (hic!) but ended up founding Chrishtianity inshtead. He wash talking thish over with the Invishible Magic (hic!) Friend who told him to relash, chill out, maybe have the occasional, shmall glash of sherry.

Erashmus, the centuries dead theo... (hic!) theo... (hic!) ologian, he should be made England coach. He'd be a lot better than the one'sh we've had recently.

You all need to relash, chill out, maybe have the occasional, shmall glash of sherry, like I do. I'm the ex-Bishop of Shufrock. It'sh what I do. (hic!)

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Rev Lucy Winkett, Rector of St James Piccadilly, handy for Fortnum and Mason 
Thursday, 7 June, 2012, 08:28 AM - Be nice, Economics, Winkett
Rating 3 out of 5 (Fairly platitudinous)

Jesus told a parable where workers were hired at different times of the day but all paid the same amount. Those who worked longest complained but the employer told them they were only casual labour and he could do what he liked. Humans may think this is totally unfair but the Invisible Magic Friend is allowed to be unfair because he's in charge.

This is similar to the work for prisoners being proposed, except that in the parable they weren't prisoners and had a contract for an agreed wage. It's also similar to the unpaid jubilee stewards who were told to sleep under London Bridge in the cold and the wet, except that they were treated even worse than the Invisible Magic Friend treats vineyard workers.

It's also similar to the Beecroft Report that recommended allowing employers to behave more like the Invisible Magic Friend and get rid of various inconvenient workers' rights. This debate, unhelpfully, becomes polarised between those who think workers should have rights and those who don't.

Which brings me neatly to my just seeing It's a Wonderful Life for the first time. That's a nice film with Jimmy Stewart playing someone nice.

Hard working people like vicars need to be treated fairly and employers should be more nice like Jimmy Stewart and not like the Invisible Magic Friend.

Which brings me neatly to the Spanish economy. Oh dear.

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