Communicating with God: One Person at a Time (Chapter 7, page 2 of 12)


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Chapter 7

The Bishop did not, however. Mgr. Grant, - in his accustomed gentle and laid-back manner - had never thought to mention such a trivial event. The first the Bishop knew about it was at some funeral in Birmingham when the Bishop of the Forces - rejoicing in the name of Mgr. Tickle - cheerfully said to him that he would have this young chap from his Diocese and thanks for sending someone. I was summoned to appear on the Episcopal carpet and he read the riot act, accusing me of doing things behind his back, being ungrateful to the diocese which had accepted me, neglecting my duty to the parish and the schools, letting down my parish priest not to mention the dignity of my bishop. Unfrocking in the middle of winter seemed a distinct possibility until the bishop had to draw breath and I pointed out that I had done everything by the book - permission and blessing of Vicar General, agreement of parish priest etc.

He telephoned Mgr. Grant there and then, listened, calmed down and even apologised - but made it clear that my future duties lay in looking after schools (my job was simply to act as secretary - or 'correspondent' as the official description had it - to several boards of Governors chaired by the old man and I was the only handy curate who could type with four fingers rather than the usual two) and there was no way I was going to go off to be a chaplain - even just for the suggested four years. I had no problem accepting his decision; I had not set my mind on anything and also realised that they were shooting British servicemen in Cyprus and other trouble spots. Another priest was sent off to do a four year term. He did not really want to go but accepted the appointment, enjoyed his time in the RAF and got back safely without being shot.

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