Costume holy men
As Catholics in England and Wales celebrate Ascension Day today, three days later than the Pope does, we sent our reporter (Ecclesiastes, the secretary of Eccles) to interview Vincent Nichols, President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales.
Eccles: Happy Ascension Day, your Grace. Now why exactly did you decide to celebrate it today?
Vincent Nichols: We were going by the guidance given in the Acts of the Apostles, To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion, by many proofs, for forty-three days appearing to them, and speaking of the kingdom of God.
E: Sure that it wasn't forty days? Admit it, you wanted to stay in and watch television on Thursday night.
VN: Well, there was a very good programme on. Britain's Got Heresy, you know.
E: I think I saw that one. Was that the one where Diarmaid MacCulloch and Tina Beattie were wrestling in a vat of custard, Anglicans versus Catholics?
A wrestling champion
VN: Yes, that's the one. But let's be serious now, Eccles. You can't expect faithful Catholics to go to church on any day except Sunday. That's why, from 2013, we shall be reorganizing Holy Week.
E: So Good Friday will not longer fall on a Friday?
VN: No, in the interests of efficiency, and getting "bums on seats," we shall have Maundy Sunday, Good Sunday and Easter Sunday on the same day, 42 days after Ash Sunday. After all, the date of Easter is a bit arbitrary, anyway, and our Eastern Orthodox Brethren tend to celebrate it a week or two later.
E: Won't Maundy-Good-Easter Sunday be rather busy?
VN: Perhaps a litte. We haven't yet decided whether to recommend three services or one big one. Probably, the latter, so that the Sabbath is kept fairly free for traditional devotions. IKEA, for example. As a gesture of generosity to the Ordinariate, I am going out later to buy them a flat-pack altar. Don't let anyone tell you that we're not making exceptional provision for these newcomers to the Church.
A gift for the Ordinariate
E: Thank you very much, Vincent Nichols. At least you won't have any trouble with Whitsun, eh?