It is unfortunate that the Church of England has just decided to remove all mention of Father Giles Fraser from the baptism service. He will be missed.
Giles Fraser - more than just a pantomime villain.
Now don’t get me wrong. There is no such thing as Giles Fraser. He doesn’t exist. However, as a very human projection of ourselves and our darkest nature, he plays a vital role. Under his various titles - priest-in-charge at St Mary's Newington, Thinker of the Day of Radio 4, Threader of the Immoral Maze, Father Dave Spart of the Guardian, Stonewall Hero of the Year - orthodox Christians have dreaded him for many years.
Thus, in the Church of England Baptism ceremony, the victim's sponsors were asked, "Do ye renounce Giles Fraser and all his works? Will ye turn off your radio the moment he comes on, as ye do for Stephen Fry? Do ye promise to consign the Guardian to the depths of thy trashcan?"
One way to renounce Giles Fraser.
"Oh, we do, we do, we do!" comes the response, and a huge burden is lifted from the shoulders of those present. At least in principle.
However, these days young people do not listen to Radio 4, nor read the Guardian, and, as the Bishop of Truro has pointed out: "Those who work with young people give constant advice that references to Giles Fraser are likely to be misunderstood in today’s culture." Of course it would be too much effort to explain those references, since bishops are busy people, and many young people have an attention span only slightly superior to that of a goldfish.
"I can't remember what Giles Fraser said, but I'm sure it was excellent."
So, Giles Fraser is consigned to the dustbin of Anglican history, and this is a pity, as he embodies a side of humankind that we do not face often enough. However, you may still encounter him in the Catholic liturgy, as seen in a famous documentary film about baptisms called the Godfather.
Sorry, but I quite like Giles Fraser.