This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Primate gathering in Canterbury

Over now to the Anglican Communion, where the news is that Canterbury will be hosting the long-awaited gathering of primates. Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is representing the humans, but - the Anglicans being a very broad church - we shall also see baboons, gorillas, chimpanzees, etc. taking part. There will also be a guest keynote speech from King Küng the dissident Catholic.


Veneration of relics, from the last gathering in 2001

The meeting is expected to be very controversial, with disagreement on a variety of topics. For example, vestments: only the human clergy tend to wear clothes in church, but that is because (with the exception of Rowan Williams) they are not entirely covered in fur. Also, consider the case of Katharine Jefferts Schori. She wears the worst vestments you've ever seen outside a clown act in the circus, but the prospect of her stripping off is even more terrifying.

Jefferts Schori in bad vestments

Keep them on, Kathy!

Another issue is bananas. No, nothing to do with the views of Giles Fraser (who accidentally wrote something sensible recently), but the fruit. Many primates find it hard to obtain bread and wine, and would prefer bananas as an alternative for Communion.

Then there's swinging from the beams, while scratching oneself under the arms. For many primates this is an acceptable form of worship, but for conservative Anglicans it may be a liturgical dance too far.

chimpanzee tea party

More tea, vicar?

Then there is the liturgy. Could it not be reduced to a simple "Oook!"? The Catholic Paul Inwood has offered to produce a chant "Alleluia, oook, oook!" in the interests of ecumenical understanding.

Indeed, the Vatican itself has been very much involved in Primates 2016, lending St Gregory's crozier to the Church of England for the occasion (also, as it happens, Canterbury Cathedral, which has been on loan on and off since 1536).

Vatican film show monkey

The Vatican marks the primate gathering

Good luck, chaps! Oook oook oook!


  1. Oook, Oook, Oook,
    Oook, Oook, Oook,
    Oook, Oook, Oook,

    1. Nice one, sir! From the Brooke Bond PG Tips Book of Taize chants, I presume?

  2. How very exciting. Bishop Tarzan will be the keynote speaker since he has such enormous experience with primates.

  3. When I was young I thought that Primates were monkeys, now I know.

  4. Is that "mitre" for real? Please tell me you photoshopped it.

    1. It's believed to be real. What the go-ahead liberal lady bishop is wearing these days.

    2. The mitre is real but it looks better than her hair. Oh...sorry. Was that unkind?

    3. I can assure you all that it is real. I do confess to looking at "VirtueOnLine" sometimes and they have shown the same picture many times before. That particlar blog claims to be the voice of traditional Anglicanism, although it has allowed the odd comment from yours truly and I certainly do not make any claim to be an Anglican of any kind at all.

    4. That not a real mitre nor is she a real bishop.

  5. So Justin Time Welby is up to his monkey business eh?

    Before judging Katharine Jefferts Schori one should place her in the context her vestments are intended for: if Geoffrey, Bundle and Zippy had been present you would see the point of dressing that way.

    As Arch Druid Rowan Atkinson has pointed out, to understand monkey talk one should Dolittle research into the Tarzan vocabulary to realise that ‘Umgawa’ satisfies all criteria insofar it ticks the box for all the primates.

    Note to Professor Eccles.
    Are the following OU courses available this term?

    If we could talk to the animals, learn their languages
    Maybe take an animal degree.
    I'd study elephant and eagle, buffalo and beagle,
    Alligator, guinea pig, and flea.

    if I could talk to the animals, just imagine it
    Chatting to a chimp in chimpanzee
    Imagine talking to a tiger, chatting to a cheetah
    What a neat achievement that would be.

  6. Good Evening Eccles. I've had a browse through the Paula N Wood archives on primate masses which came up with a veritable medley of music. Introit "Drill, Drill, Drill"; Gradual "Guereza of My Life"; "[black] Howlerluia verse"; Offertory is a french version "Singe avec Joi"; Communion "Now is the Proboscis' Time"; Concluding Hymn "Stop That Monkey Business!!"; Setting is "The Jabbering Mass".