Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Blessed are the non-smokers

In July there is going to be a smoking ban in England and Wales in public places. "The people at the Ministry" are insisting on Churches putting up notices in Churches, Mosques etc.

Dear Bishop,
We are an old-established firm of ecclesiastical sign makers and we would like to offer you our services now that the Government has told cathedrals and churches that they must put up No Smoking signs by July 1st. We are well qualified to fulfil your needs and our motto, taken from the gospel of St Matthew, is: "An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign." Business, as you can imagine, is booming.
We can do the standard notices, such as "Thou Shalt Not Smoke," or "This Font is Not an Ashtray" and "Blessed are the Non-Smokers". These come in a number of sizes, ranging from "side chapel" to our jumbo-sized "York Minster". We enclose a chart showing the varieties of lettering we can offer. Anti-smoking signs are tailored to the individual needs of the place of worship. Our production methods are geared to both High Church and Low Church (high tar and low tar) requirements. We also have "Smoking is Strictly Forbidden in the Confessionals" notices which are going down very well with the Roman Catholic dioceses.

Many discerning bishops are now choosing one of our stained glass windows to get the anti-smoking message across. Our craftsmen can do you a wonderfully colourful east window depicting St Jeremy Casting Out the Inhaling Ones. We also have the poignant Torments of St Bensona of Hedges in which she suffered 40 days and 40 nights of withdrawal symptoms after an angel told her to forsake her 30-a-day habit.
Or you may prefer our highly dramatic window showing God Sending a Mighty Wind to Extinguish the Flame of Satan's Zippo.
An illuminated text can do wonders to enhance Norman architecture. A village church in Norfolk has just put up this quotation from St Matthew which we prepared specially for the parish: "Why beholdest thou the Marlboro Light that is in thy brother's mouth, but considerest not the slim panatella that is in thine own mouth?" The vicar tells us that this has cut down smoking incidents at Evensong by 15 per cent.
This text is also available in the New English Translation version - "It is counter-productive to be judgmental about your brother who relaxes with the occasional cigarette when you yourself have just enjoyed a crafty small cigar". We are also proposing to bring out a text saying: "It is easier for a rich man to pass through the eye of a needle than for a smoker of Camels to enter the kingdom of heaven."
Many clergymen are also finding that audio-visual aids can be useful. Let our experts visit your place of worship to see if we can install our clap-of-thunder and flash-of-lightning feature which is triggered by a smoke alarm every time somebody goes behind a pillar for a quick drag. We also rig up speakers so that a deep booming voice (Tom Baker, actually) delivers the anti-smoking message from the rafters.
We can do: "If you wish to smoke, please go into outer darkness."
Also: "Smokers will be forgiven" and "I can always see what you're doing".
Our most popular line is: "Repent of Thy Silk Cut", with added boom in the voice. Have you considered installing a statuette of a passive smoking saint? Place the statuette in a convenient alcove and sit back and watch the congregation marvel when it gives a delicate cough. Tick a box on the enclosed order form for your preferred saint. (Please note: St Anthony is currently out of stock.)
If you order three passive smoking saints we will send you 10 free signs saying: "This way to the Giving Up Smoking Workshop in the Crypt".
You may be thinking of a non-threatening humorous approach. We can help you there, with our sign which says: "When the floor of the apse is full, please use the ashtrays provided."
Finally, discretion is assured if you order from our special "Schism" range of signs. You will receive, by post and under plain cover, the one which says: "Smoking is not permitted in this church. See, that's what you get when you let in women priests."

2 comments:

Henry said...

This is a genuine hazard. Sometimes the smoke makes me sneeze just like cigarette smoke. I would not be surprised if Health and Safety get on to this one eventually.

I suspect the problem is the burning charcoal rather than the incense. The incense does not actually need to burn, it just needs to be heated.

The answer would be to have a fireclay pot which fitted inside the thurible. The pot would be heated on a gas ring or electrically - like an electric kettle or iron. When hot, the fireclay container would be put in the thurible and you would then drop the incense in as usual. This would probably be nicer anyway as the high temperature of the burning charcoal spoils the fragrance of the incense.

But we do not want push-button coin-operated electric candles please.

Study of particulates in a Catholic church

joan said...

Blessed Miguel Pro smoked cigarettes using a cigarette holder. Miracles would occur when this holder was touched to a person.