Gorillas in the clergy

I hear that the followers of Jesus are deeply divided on whether to allow gays into the clergy. Strangely enough, it is Pope Benny Ratzinger who is most strongly opposed to the idea. It seems that Catholics take a perverse delight in excluding the very people who might enjoy dressing up in frocks and declaiming theatrically in Latin. As they have also banned people who have normal sex, it doesn’t really leave a big pool of potential recruits for the holy orders. By my reckoning, the choice is between paedophiles and people too ugly to mate. The paedophiles currently seem to have the upper hand.

I have long advocated opening up the priesthood to gorillas. I took an aptitude test when I was a young ape and the clergy came second only to the circus. Obviously, you have to be able to perform in public (as most gorillas can), but there’s something else of vital importance: a priest has got to be good at scaring people. The fallen woman in the confessional box won’t truly repent of her sins if her pastor is a wishy-washy character who wouldn’t say ‘boo’ to a goose. Nor would the pious folk who go to Mass every week have any confidence in his ability to protect them against evil spirits. A priest must be the kind of fellow who’ll head-butt the Devil with nothing more than a crucifix between his teeth and a bible in his back pocket. In my estimation, that’s either a crazy-eyed dude who’s into flagellation or a gorilla. The meek may inherit the Earth, but they’ve got no place in the Roman Catholic clergy.

This is not to say that I would actually accept ordination into the Catholic hierarchy. The clothes and the Latin might be attractive, but the avenues for artistic expression are far greater in the Protestant camp. Many of these modern sects have taken variety entertainment to new heights, encouraging their ministers to write their own comic monologues and lead the faithful in festivals of song and dance. No aspiring young performer could ask for a better audience than the congregations at these services. The only thing I’d worry about, as an artist, is whether it was my act or the spirit of the Lord that was making them smile. Having a receptive audience is all very well, but there’s not much kudos in getting laughs from a bunch of cheesy goofs who would think Cliff Richard was funny.

The best Protestant sects are the ones that encourage speaking in tongues. Only the ignorant deride this practice as talking gibberish, because it’s obvious that the words are full of meaning, even if the humans uttering them have no idea what it is. I have a deep respect for people who can babble away with grins on their faces without fearing the ridicule of the faithless mob. Anyone who lives next door to a parrot colony knows there’s nothing like a good chatter to lighten the soul and bring one closer to heaven. It’s essential, of course, that the ministers of these churches are well-tutored in the Earthly languages to avoid embarrassing themselves in remote regions of the globe. To assume that someone speaking Swahili is conversing in tongues would be the kind of faux pas that gives religion a bad name.
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