`saintly' con artist ,"BisHoP" Pat Buckley (he'll just love 'the inverted commas), the News of the _World columnist (Irish edition only sadly), has written movingly of "being... wait for it... conned.
The Ulster priest, who is persona non grata with Church officials in Dublin and whose buddy, fellow "bishop" Michael Cox "ordained" Sinead O'Connor into the priesthood, has written in his soaraway column of his foolishness in trusting seasoned fraudster and bigamist (is there no end to his talents?) Robert Peters, who posed as a priest and head of a Theological college in his successful bid to win the confidence of Bishop Pat. After he was rumbled by Buckley, who confesses to thinking him "saintly", Peters had the cheek to approach Michael Cox to ask him to make him a bishop.
Ten of Buckley's students each paid Peters £500 to attend a course at his ,so-called college in Lincolnshire, 'while one of Bishop Pat's parishioners was skilfully relieved of £3,000 by the con artist, who :convinced Bishop Pat he was a distinguished Church historian and barrister — and once even sat in the black chair on Mastermind posing as a "Minister of Religion". He is now under investigation by the RUC's Fraud Squad.
Bishop Pat, whose assistance to women who have fallen foul of the romantic overtures of clergy and penchant for unconventional ministry (including the celebration of a wedding in a nightclub and the "ordination" of a nun) has not endeared him to his former superiors, who say he has "no authority" to act as a Catholic priest and has celebrated marriages "that are clearly invalid in the eyes of the Church". Poor old Pat.
SPECULATION that the Vatican-based Bishop Michael Fitzgerald could become the next Archbishop of Westminster has sent Westminster Cathedral staff into a spin. They are wondering just how they might cope with the Walsall-born White Father's installation ceremony.
Would the Bishop, whose diocese is in Sudan, be transported by his favoured medium of transport — a camel? And would he wear the White Father's traditional garb — a white bedouin robe, Rosary necklace and red fez?
It would be so much simpler if Rome's choice was a certain permatanned bishop with a twinkle in his eye. (No prize offered for guessing who...) A cosmopolitan sort, he would look just the part, doubtless arriving at Westminster Cathedral in a chaffeurdriven Mercedes with black tinted glass, accompanied by menacing heavies to keep back the crowd of female admirers. IN HER black sequinned dress and sparkly tiara, Ann Widdecombe (who else?) was the centre of attention at the Tory Blue Ball at the Park Lane Hilton.
The, er, future PM and belle of the ball discoed long into the night with an array of handsome young Tory chaps, dancing rings round William and Ffyon as well as Mr and Mrs Michael Howard, who I understand also managed to enjoy something of the night.
READERS may recall that last week I pointed out Joseph Kelly's penchant for a photo opportunity.
Mr Kelly, the photogenic editor of The Universe, did me proud, responding by putting another picture of himself in his newspaper, this time appearing alongside Cardinal Cahal Daly (last week he was meeting the Pope).
I wonder what treat lies in store for us this week? Perhaps a selection of honeymoon snaps from his trip to Rome? Or celebrating last week's tribunal victory against a longsuffering former member of staff?
A REFRESHING comment from Poet Laureate Andrew Motion.
Interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Word of Mouth, he said that the words he missed in these days of soap operainspired and estuary English — not to mention the loony farmyard vernacular I FEAR that the close friendship between Ann Widdecombe and Fr Michael Seed could be tested by the clubbable Franciscan's recent conciliatory huddle with Clare Short on the House of Commons terrace, where they sipped a cup of tea.
The Secretary of State for International Development, who once berated Fr Seed for his role in bringing over defecting Tory Anglicans, is not exactly the most popular Minister in Her Majesty's Government among Catholics after her insulting comments about the Church and birth control. But her friendly overtures are surely deserving of a ceasefire.
"I have the highest regard for Clare," Fr Seed, honorary chaplain and spiritual adviser to Lamb's Passage, tells me. "She is of his predecessor Ted Hughes — were those with religious connotations, like grace. Mr Motion, whose sensitive, yet manly voice makes ladies of a certain age go weak at the knees, knows a thing or two about words and is proving, thus far, a good choice for a job that is only an nth less daunting than managing the England football team.
MY THOUGHTS are with Jennifer Paterson, the sexy-voices r-en oftlre kitchen who is ill with lurac.anc..eland undergoing treatment in ifk2=;•rldor hospital. Her uncle tells rrNhe has been visited by clergy frodir rompon Oratory, and that after a 1st a r Ivcr of chemotherapy she will rein horn. wish you well, Jennifer; a ir,ray he Two Fat Ladies ride agai