Catholic leaders today claimed that the Booker prize-winning novelist Hillary Mental was "not for respectable people." Although given every advantage in life, including a Catholic upbringing, she had turned to the dark side, and was a deeply sinister person.
In 2010, Mrs Mental said that girls were ready to have babies at 14. "Having sex and having babies is what young women are about, and their instincts are suppressed in the interests of society's timetable," she said (yes, really). Catholic leaders have seized on this as being the sort of scandalous comment which leads to child abuse.
Asked if he would call for Hillary Mental on his deathbed, Archbishop Vincent Nichols said, "Certainly not. What a stupid idea."
Sister Muriel, one of the nuns who ran the Catholic school at which Mrs Mental was educated, said, "She was always a troublesome child, scribbling rude words on bits of paper when she should have been listening to her teachers. No wonder she's turned out badly."
Hillary Mental is the author of Wolf Hall, of which Susan Bassnett in the Times Higher Education Supplement said: "I have yet to meet anyone outside the Booker panel who managed to get to the end of this tedious tome," placing her work on a par with the immortal The Da Vinci Code.
Cardinal Sean Brady has offered protection to Mrs Mental, in case she feels threatened by outraged Catholics, although, he said, "She really is not a respectable person."