22 April 2008

The Way, The Truth, The Optional Extra.

Hacker: Being a bishop is just a matter of status? Dressing up in cassocks and gaiters?

Sir Humphrey: Yes, but gaiters are generally worn only at significant religious events, like the royal garden party.

Hacker: Why?

Sir Humphrey: Well, the church is trying to be more relevant.

Hacker: To God?

Sir Humphrey: Oh, of course not, Prime Minister. I meant relevant in sociological terms.

Hacker: So the ideal candidate from the Church of England’s point of view would be a cross between a socialite and a socialist.

Sir Humphrey: Precisely.


Bernard: (Of the modernist candidate for bishop) He designed a new church in South London and among the plans was a place for dispensing orange juice, family planning, and organizing demos. But no place for Holy Communion. . . .

Hacker: And the church approved his?

Sir Humphrey: Of course. You see the church is run by theologians.

Hacker: How do you mean?

Sir Humphrey: Theology is a device for enabling agnostics to stay within the church. . . . You could turn both candidates down, but that would be exceptional and not advised.

Hacker: Even though one of them wants to get God out of the Church of England and the other one wants to get the Queen out?

Sir Humphrey: The Queen is inseparable from the Church of England.

Hacker: What about God?

Sir Humphrey: I think He’s what’s called an “optional extra.”

From the BBC series Yes, Prime Minister, via Anthony Sacromone.


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