Come again?

Fishmonger [turning to me from an animated conversation]: Do you happen to know when Easter is next year?
Me: Yes, it'll be the first Sunday on or after the first full moon after the vernal equinox.
Fishmonger: Thanks!

...I've since looked it up, just to make sure, and it's not quite that simple. I blame the Council of Nicaea, and the Synod of Whitby.

On reflection, perhaps I should just have said 27th March.

Two Yorkshire residents watching telly last week

Me: Oh look, Tintern Abbey!
Jen: Yes it is!

Bishop's mate

Just saw this on the BBC News home page:

Welby seeks gay marriage bridge

I initially misread the headline as: Welby seeks gay marriage ‘bride’.

Now that would have been newsworthy!

Pontificating

BBC News: Pope Francis tries to build bridges in sceptical Turkey
A pontiff yesterday

Do you see what they did, there?...

Pontiff, from pontifex, from pons facere, the Latin for to make a bridge.

[My old Latin teacher, Spiny Norman, would be so proud of me.]

Privilege

Gavin Francis, writing in this week's London Review of Books (subscribers only link):

In New Problems in Medical Ethics (1956), Peter Flood, a Benedictine, stated that Christians in pain should accept suffering ‘as permitted by God for our betterment’. Pain was a ‘privilege, in union with the redemptive sufferings of Christ’. It was essential that a physician tell people they might be close to death, even if they weren’t sure, so that the patient’s opportunity for repentance wasn’t squandered and their admission to heaven put at risk. Pain relief might be administered in small doses, except to those such as lapsed Catholics—the fear being that even small doses might prevent them from returning to the religion of their baptism. In the same volume Eugene Tesson, a Jesuit, sanctioned physicians to administer pain relief only to the dying who had ‘made an act of submission to the Divine’ and those ‘in danger of falling into despair and blaspheming the goodness of God’.

These are the sort of religious, moralistic nutters who, in 2014, think assisted dying is against God's will.

A miracle child!

And, lo, it came to pass that a child was born in lowly Paddington, to humble parents. And all of heaven did rejoice, and all the people in all the lands of the Earth did raise up their voices and sing, for it was a miracle child. For, in all the history of mankind, no woman did ever bear child before.

And the Earth did shake. And men did converse with wolves. And the great enemy of the south was thwarted. And Vanessa Hudgens did share bikini holiday snaps with her blonde pal. And horses did enter burger restaurants. And Big Pharma did mobilise patients in battle over drugs trials data.

And there was an end to war and pestilence. And peace fell across all the lands. And God saw, and said it was good.

Amen.

Advent

According to my calculations, the Archangel Gabriel should be appearing to Princess Duchess Kate right about… NOW!