The bishops of the Church of England, meeting in a conclave at Canterbury, are calling on the Church to intervene directly with the government. They want to end centuries of restrictions and be allowed to move vertically and horizontally as well as diagonally.
‘Tradition is all very well,’ complained the Right Revered James Langstaff, the newly installed Bishop of Rochester, ‘but how can I preach the word of God in an increasingly secular world when I have to wear a big red frock all day and can only bounce around at odd angles? I look a right pillock, me.’
His stance was echoed by the Right Reverend Michal Perham, Bishop of Gloucester. ‘I don’t know whether I’m coming or going sometimes. I’ve got a group of dopey midgets shuffling about in front of me, Sir Alan Sugar and Sir Alex Ferguson bouncing on and off my head, the Tower of London zooming past and Allan Carr showing little interest in protecting me. It's intolerable,’he said.
The relevance of the Church in modern society is increasingly under question. Many feel that the bishops lack the flexibility to take on the challenges of 21st century life, though others point to the example of Archbishop Desmond Tutu of what a black bishop can single-handedly achieve. However, the Right Reverend Tom Wright, Bishop of Durham, dismisses this as irrelevant.
‘Frankly if the government does not act, we’ll have to get the Commission for Racial Equality involved. Many people are rather suspicious of why we confine ourselves to one colour the whole time,’ he said. ‘And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to backtrack, before the threat to my flanks from Graham Norton and Hampton Court becomes too much. You can write the rest of the joke yourself.’