Some confusion about "the real thing" here.
Clive Schlee, the Managing Director of the Away-in-a-Manger chain of shops, has reacted gallantly to a post on this blog asserting that, being in the food retail business, he was naturally inclined to be a Cafeteria Catholic. Indeed, he is now planning to withdraw the controversial line of Virgin Mary crisps, which has led to many enraged deacons furiously ignoring his shops.
His concession has rather taken the wind out of our sails...
Richard Branson - expecting to rename the "Virgin" brand in the near future.
Still, it seems a pity to waste a blog post, so here is an alternative account of what happened:
I met Elvis C. Leech in his luxuriously-appointed office, which contains statues of Tina Beattie, Hans Küng and Catherine Pepinster as well as the latest issues of the the Tablet and National Catholic Reporter, as he explained his new range of hard-to-swallow products.
Eccles: Elvis, you say that your Virgin Mary crisps are "like the real thing but much drier." What completely batty religious beliefs do you have which lead you to presume that the Blessed Virgin Mary was flavoured with Worcestershire Sauce and chilli?
ECL: Oh, I am a great believer in Nutrition Theology, which associates religious figures with foodstuffs. When one of our staff suggested Virgin Mary crisps, I thought, "What a brilliant conception, Tony! Simply immaculate!" Of course then I had to make certain assumptions...
E: Keep digging, Elvis, you're in a deep hole already.
ECL: Well of course Our Lord is generally linked to bread and wine, so we thought nobody would be offended by our new range of "Christian Butties," which are made with lovingly-baked bread, flavoured with wine made from grapes trodden by the finest French feet.
Grapes trodden by the finest French feet.
E: Will there be any other foodstuffs associated with famous religious figures?
ECL: Yes, our market research suggested that the Muslim community would appreciate Mohamburgers, which of course contain only the finest beef, and no horse meat at all. However, we don't expect to make a prophet with that line. Perhaps we should make them from ham instead?
E: You just do that, Elvis, and I am sure that the Muslims will beat a path through your door.
ECL: There's also our new line of "I can't believe it's not Buddha" margarine. Guaranteed to make you lose weight - to enlighten you, in fact.
I can't believe that's not a Buddha knife!
E: Thank you very much, Elvis. Lots of food for thought there. I wouldn't eat any of it, however.