Of all places, the Church should be the encourager and caretaker of character in its deacons, priests, and bishops. Forgive us whilst we indulge in a massive generalisation, but it seems that there are far too many terribly earnest but dreadfully dull people in collars these days...One wonders whether we're so intent on weeding out the barmy and deranged that we excise the merely colourful.
And then today I saw the obituary for Father Paul.
Father Paul, otherwise known as Lieutenant-Commander the Reverend Paul Inglesby, who has died aged 94, held unconventional views on the origin of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) and once tried to stop the Queen watching Steven Spielberg's alien film Close Encounters of the Third Kind, claiming it was a satanic plot to seize control of her mind.
He wrote to the Archbishop of Canterbury to urge him not to let the Queen attend the premiere "as, he claimed, the film had a satanic theme involving mind-control." I bet the +ABC longs for the days when he got letters like that. I bet he was also happy when Father Paul decided to jump ship and join the Greek Orthodox. Why they took him, I do not know. In the interest of full disclosure, I note that this happened after a trip to California.
Father Paul seems to have spent an inordinate amount of time trying to warn anyone who would listen "about the dangers of an obsessive interest in flying saucers and the like. This interest, Inglesby cautioned, was fraught with menace for the unwary and riddled with heresy and false belief." I find this somewhat...ironic. Are you spending a lot of time worrying about UFOs? Do you have a complete set of the Flying Saucer Review? Did you know there was such a thing as the Flying Saucer Review?
His book, UFOs and the Christian, is, alas, out of print. And the church has lost another of its eccentrics.
Rest in peace, Father Paul. The truth is out there.