The Bishop of Willesden has been suspended over Facebook comments regarding the forthcoming wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
The Rt Rev Pete Broadbent laid into the "nauseating tosh" generated by the royal event of the century, and suggested he and fellow republicans would do well to dodge the hysteria by pushing off to Calais for a bit.
He continued: "I managed to avoid the last disaster in slow motion between Big Ears and the Porcelain Doll, and I hope to avoid this one too."
Just to make sure he landed himself right in it, Broadbent frothed: "I don’t care about the Royals. I’m a Republican. History: more broken marriages and philanderers among these people than not. Count them up, back through the ages. They cost us an arm and a leg.
"Talent isn’t passed on through people’s bloodstock. The hereditary principle is corrupt and sexist. As with most shallow celebrities they will be set up to fail by the gutter press... I give the marriage seven years."
The press quickly got wind of the bish's subversive musings, prompting him to apologise: "I recognise that the tone of my language and the content of what I said were deeply offensive, and I apologise unreservedly for the hurt caused.
"It was unwise of me to engage in a debate with others on a semi-public internet forum and to express myself in such language. I accept that this was a major error of judgement on my part. I wish Prince William and Kate Middleton a happy and lifelong marriage, and will hold them in my prayers."
This proved insufficient penitence for Broadbent's immediate superior, the Bishop of London, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, who just happens to be a chum of Big Ears and may be in the frame to conduct the Wills/Kate knot-tying service.
According to the Telegraph, Chartres said in a statement: "I was appalled by the Bishop of Willesden’s comments about the forthcoming royal marriage. In common with most of the country I share the joy which the news of the engagement has brought.
“I have now had an opportunity to discuss with Bishop Peter how his comments came to be made and I have noted his unreserved apology. Nevertheless, I have asked him to withdraw from public ministry until further notice."
He concluded: “I have been in touch with St James’ Palace to express my own dismay on behalf of the Church.”
Prince Wills and
Lady Di 2 Miss Kate Middleton will wed on 29 April at Westminster Abbey. The PM has declared a public holiday, the better for citizens to express their joy at the union with street parties or get on the first ferry to France. ®