Wednesday, September 01, 2004

A two and a half hour tour

At first, it's an innocuous sounding story -- three men rescued from a sinking trawler in the Atlantic close to County Mayo. But then, thanks to the Irish Times news update (subs. req'd) we learn a little more about what the boat was doing there in the first place. It seems that it was to be the lynchpin of a floating parish, where the parish would be wherever the bishop, or possibly "bishop," wanted it to be:

The boat, The Patriach, was owned by controversial priest Bishop Michael Cox, who had intended to consecrate it for use as a 'floating' church. The crewmen were...two and a half hours into their journey when the fire broke out.
Speaking to ireland.com this afternoon Bishop Cox said he had intended to consecrate the boat.
"I had hoped to travel around the coast with it and challenge the abortion ship. I heard there is going to be a move to bring the ship here", he said
Bishop Cox said he was a member of the Mater Dei, Mother of God Order which he claimed had its headquarters in Birr, Co Offaly. Singer Sinead O'Connor is a high-profile member of the order.


Indeed, it appears that Ireland has developed something of a comparative advantage in eccentric priests recently. We're not sure how Sinead's membership of this particular order relates to her "Mother Bernadette" stint a while back. The "abortion ship" to which the bishop refers is a Dutch ship used by an abortion rights group which sails to European countries with restrictive abortion laws, creating a legal headache because of the jurisdictional ambiguity.

We're not sure what exactly the bishop had in mind for the Dutch, had his own vessel proven seaworthy, but Ireland was about due for another round of marine high-jinks after the fiasco of Reality Show-on-Sea last year.