Just what I wanted - ?

Again, thanks to the Curt Jester for news of this. The Anglican Archbishop of York, John Sentamu has visited the Holy Father and given him a bottle of beer. (Guardian report) The Guardian reports that the Pope was pleased with the gift. Here's a hint: he was being polite. The Pope does not drink much beer, he normally drinks Fanta (fizzy orange). I learned this from the same source which informed me that contrary to popular rumour, the Holy Father does not now, nor ever has smoked. He is not therefore numbered among the saintly puffers such as John Kemble, Pius X and Titus Brandsma.

The Archbishop's gift reminds me of the occasion on which the President of the United States of America presented the Holy Father with a stick. To be fair, it was inscribed with the ten commandments but it should also be pointed out that they were in the Protestant version. (See National Catholic Register: Gift or gaffe? for further discussion.)

Damien Thompson has announced that I am now second favourite (joint with Cardinal Pell) for Archbishop of Westminster. (Holy smoke: Your choice for next Cardinal) Puffed up with pride at this unexpected honour, I venture to give advice to heads of state, anglican dignitaries and others when visiting the Pope of Rome. It's like this: when you give him a gift, he doesn't put it on the mantlepiece in the papal apartments. Try to bring something that will be fitting for the Vatican museums. That way, your gift will be of benefit to the general public. Pope Benedict would like that.

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