Too Like The Real Thing?

by Paul on November 20, 2012

One of my colleagues sent me this video clip of an “Evil Vicar” from the British comedy series, That Mitchell & Webb Look.  

It is both funny and sad. There are, unfortunately, some priests and vicars all too like the “gentleman” in this clip.

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Simon November 20, 2012 at 7:38 am

Now, to be fair, I haven’t come across many like that. Not since my childhood anyway :-)

There is a very funny British sitcom called “Rev” which is worth a look too. Made by the BBC and starring Olivia Colman (the actress in the above clip) as the wife of an idealistic vicar of an inner London parish. It is hilarious.

Reply

Emma November 20, 2012 at 4:36 pm

I’ve seen that! Especially enjoyed the Christmas Episode that I saw and the drunk! Such good intentions with calamitous results! Also, Father Ted :) Then, the British are not under the shadow of Puritanism that perveates the culture in the US to this day! Especially the religious communities! If we can’t laugh at ourselves and our institutions, we’re not living and neither are they. Oh…then there’s “Bless Me Father “, that one is good for a laugh too.

Reply

Simon November 20, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Ah, Father Ted – you can’t beat the classics :-D

Reply

Emma November 20, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Yes! Thank God for Hulu! :)

Reply

Paul November 20, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Simon,

Thanks for the tip. I will go in search of “Rev.”

Paul

Reply

Fran Rossi Szpylczyn November 20, 2012 at 9:29 am

*sigh*

Bad day for me to see this – which I have seen before; my typical sense of humor fails me. Where are we headed as a church, as the Mystical Body of Christ, alive in the world? Maybe I need to go back to yesterday’s video and all the feelings of gratitude that I felt in general.

Some things cheer me today. I was reading about Henri Lacordaire OP, and that gave me some hope. And today’s Gospel is one of my favorites, Zacchaeus. And this community always cheers me, a visible sign of Christ in the world.

Thank you.

Reply

Paul November 20, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Fran,

Remember, too, that the Church has been a mess and in crisis since the Crucifixion…

Paul

Reply

Robin November 20, 2012 at 12:54 pm

Hilarious on one level, but I frequently meet people whose much less vehemently articulated idea of God is sadly similar to the vicar’s.

Reply

Paul November 20, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Robin,

I agree. Sad, isn’t it?

Paul

Reply

Dolly November 20, 2012 at 1:09 pm

This is indeed funny, but the message is quite serious. This is true not only to priests and religious or consecrated people, but to laymen as well. This reminded me of the reason why I broke away from the Church at a tender age and tried to convince myself that there was no God mostly because of the so-called “hell, fire and brimstone” sermons. Then much, much later in life, God himself brought me back to what I would call a road-to-Damascus kind of an experience.
If I am not careful, I can fall into this kind of fervor demonstrated by the vicar. I don’t know where I got this quote of Bishop Desmond Tutu, but it seems to apply in this situation: “Religion is like a knife: you can either use it to cut bread, or stick in someone’s back.”

Reply

Paul November 20, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Dolly,

I don’t know where you got the quote, but it is in our “Words of Wisdom” section!

Paul

Reply

Lynda November 20, 2012 at 1:53 pm

I’m feeling like Fran about this today as I have heard and witnessed too many incidents that concern me in our church lately. Most recently, a priest was visiting a school and talking to grade 1 children about purgatory and telling them that they would go there if they didn’t follow Jesus and it would hurt a lot. What is happening in the church today?

Words of Wisdom often carries a message of condolence for me and when I was watching this video the following was present as well:
“I sought to hear the voice of God and climbed the topmost steeple, but God declared: “Go down again – I dwell among the people.” — John Henry Cardinal Newman

I think the video serves as a reminder of the path the church should not be taking. Jesus saw people’s hearts and spoke to them in a way that invited transformation through love not fear.

Reply

Paul November 20, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Lynda,

Amen. Amen. Amen.

Paul

Reply

annette November 20, 2012 at 2:14 pm

Here is some hope… this next generation responds to this humor, they get the hypocrisy and they won’t stand for it. What does it mean for our church? Hmm…not sure. It either means that we are the fig tree that dies or it means we are the mustard seed that grows but either way, what remains is the best part; the Christ story, the promise and the Holy Spirit that lives in each of the lives we come into contact with. Will church as we know it change? God willing! We just need to hang on tight and stick to the message and all shall be well.

Regarding the video….it is fantastic. Yes there are people who are like that, but I think the value of it is that people know that the vicar is completely off his rocker and the Gospel message. But it is funny as all get out! Thanks Paul, I laughed out loud!

Reply

Paul November 20, 2012 at 8:04 pm

Annette,

I’m glad you laughed and I appreciate the advice that we “need to hang on tight and stick to the message and all shall be well.”

Paul

Reply

Denise J November 20, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Listening to the Vicar makes me squirm — partly because I have seen grumpy and self-righteous “religious” people be almost this rude, this scary, this unwelcoming. But mostly because when he says, “…your half-assed musings on the divine….You’ve thought about eternity for 25 minutes, and think you’ve come to some interesting conclusions? …I coundn’t give a ha’penny ??? for your internet assembled philosophy!”

Yup — felt that. I haven’t used his words — heck, I couldn’t even understand all of them! — but I have communicated the same idea. I am not always patient with folks who ended their own religious education at the age of 12, but feel they have a full and mature understanding of the Church. And from this wisdom, they feel an obligation, out of concern for me, to enlighten me & to help rethink my participation in the Church. “Spiritual but not religious” is so freeing, so much more rewarding, so much more in line with 21st century thought.

Ugh.

Yup — still squirming. In a good way. Very useful video to watch before I go spend time with the extended family. Thank you for sharing!

Reply

Paul November 20, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Denise,

It made me squirm as well.

Paul

Reply

Jim November 20, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Yeah, the “You’ve thought about eternity for 25 minutes . . .” part makes me squirm, too. I’ve put in a lot more than 25 minutes, but I wonder if it’s arrogant to think my “interesting conclusions” amount to anything next to centuries of theological development under the likes of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. And, like Denise, I feel some antipathy toward people who feel entirely certain that they know all about God and the metaphysics of Creation because they went to Sunday School. Does that make me, in some way, as nasty as that vicar, or does it go to show that even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while? Even that horrible vicar might have made a few valid points worth considering.

Reply

Paul November 20, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Jim,

I’d heard about the stopped clock being right twice a day, but never about the blind squirrel finding a nut!

Paul

Reply

Emma November 20, 2012 at 5:16 pm

If it’s of any consolation to those who are discouraged, I can only say that I and very few of my peers pay much attention to what goes on in the higher eschelon of the church. Perhaps we choose to focus less because we aren’t as closely linked as some here or because we quite frankly “just don’t care “. We all have our places. What I don’t get is why so many criticize when perhaps they should offer it up in prayer? None of us are perfect, not even those in charge, not even our church. We’re all a mess! I think that is a GOOD thing! “Chill ” and pray for them! They’re just as lost as the rest of us. Thank God!

Reply

Paul November 20, 2012 at 8:07 pm

Emma,

You reminded me of a piece by Andrew Sullivan recently where he posited a two-level church – one level occupied by the hierarchy and a whole other level based on the parish which doesn’t really care a whit about what they other level proclaims.

Paul

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: