Page 7, 14th May 1999

14th May 1999
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Page 7, 14th May 1999 — Selling God
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Selling God

THE INTERNET iS fast becoming the place for entrepreneurs to clean up, with everything from coffee beans to Catholic Herald subcriptions (at www. catholicherald.co.uk) available with the help of a handy credit card.

But I am disturbed to learn of an opportunistic — to say the least — bit of entrepreneurial activity. Apparently an Irish outfit has cheekily nabbed the website address www.romancatholics.com — which, I am told, when called up by surfers is said to be "under construction". The company's only interest in the name of the site is, you guessed it, commercial, and the site is to be auctioned.

Things could get quite ugly, with a multitude of interested parties likely to bid for this exclusive address (it's a wonder nobody thought of it before).

One thing is for certain: all of the bidders, from phoney Tridentine "bishops" to unreconstructed libera tion theologians, will be firm in the belief that they represent the one true Church.

LAMB'S PASSAGE iS tickled by the notion of the Clean Slate Campaign, the optimistic enterprise that is busy encouraging us to seek reconciliation with our pals and make up for past wrongs in time for us all to get tired and emotional on the eve of the millennium and fall out all over again.

Some of those who have signed up in support of the campaign — an eclectic bunch that includes Cardinal Hume, the Chief Rabbi and H W "Bunny" Austin, a Wimbledon finalist in the 1930s — make one's eyebrows arch. 1 would like to know just precisely why Gary Lineker feels his slate needs cleaning? After all, England's greatest goal poacher famously never received a yellow

card, let alone had a cross word to say to those infuriating men in black who do their utmost to spoil the beautiful game.

A HEART-WARMING (not-to-say noseworrying) story reaches me from Paul Berry, head of RE at St Bernard's Catholic High School in Barrow-in-Furness. The school is celebrating the first anniversary of its very own chapel, which was built at considerable expense last year and has been a great success.

Fair enough, you might say, but the building which houses the chapel was formerly the boys' lavatory. "It's a beautiful chapel," Mr Berry tells me, "not a smelly old toilet." Thank heavens.

MORE computer news (tedious for technophobes and luddites, I know).

A reader wonders whether it is uncharitable to suggest that while the Rev Bruce Kinsey, the Anglican chaplain of Downing College, Cambridge, is "an otherwise amiable chap", he might perhaps be suffering from delusions of grandeur His e-mail address? [email protected] WILLIAM HAGUE was kind enough to send me an invitation this week to listen to him as he hosted a "listening event" about the voluntary sector, part of his party's Listening to Britain exercise.

Having already listened to his deputy Peter Lilley chat about the Listening to Britain's Churches initiative — a commendable project, indeed — I'm afraid I didn't feel up to much more listening to Tory types telling me about what listening they have been doing.

Pass the ear plugs, please.

(P.S. I have since been invited yet again by nice Mr Hague, who wanted me to listen to him talk about the latest Listening to

Britain's Churches report. Ugh.)

MARTIN MARPRELATE [email protected]




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