Cat Among the Pigeons: A Catholic Miscellany
by Alice Thomas Ellis. Flamingo Original, £5.99 WHO, WHEN WRITING of present day forms of workshop in our churches, wrote: "The sinister, truth-denying influence of New Ageism with its hysterical, orgiastic elements is increasingly prevalent, and a hideous, levelling sentimentality is creeping in everywhere."?
Alice Thomas Ellis, of course, who, judging by the numbers of letters dispatched following the appearance of her abrasive weekly column in the Catholic Herald, has become a spokesman for those bewildered churchgoers who mourn the erosion of solemnity.
In this witty collection of articles she takes a swipe at things such as women priests, the destruction of the fabric of churches, the installation of wall to wall carpeting and lavatories, the absurd move by feminists to turn Him into Her, the unfortunate turning away of the priest from altar to congregation and the unhygienic insistence on the shaking of hands (the latter gesture more reminiscent of the Okey Pokey than of spiritual contact).
Interspersed with these religious matters Miss Thomas Ellis discourses on cats, food, foreign travel, politicians, the absence of properly attired nuns and the corruption of language.
Had she, before publication, read the paragraph on the back cover of her book "Cat Among the Pigeons is a highly entertaining, often outspoken but always insightful collection from one of Britains best loved journalists" she would doubtless have penned a withering attack on editors' blurbs.
This is a book full of common sense and would make an excellent present at any time of the year.
Writing last Christmas about an objectionable item on the BBC -"I'm the Virgin Mary and I'm about to have the little baby Jesus and I ain't got nowhere to do it"the author observes that she was contemplating ringing up the complaints department when she remembered an earlier snippet that was even worse. Some lad was moaning on about the tightness of his jockstrap when he played football, at which he was told that his discomfort was as nothing compared to what went on in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Though the blasphemous idiocy of this remark rendered Miss Thomas Ellis speechless, happily for us it sent her scurrying for pen and paper.