Priests are human beings. They have feelings, too. They try, they suffer, they get frustrated.
However, what seems to be denied them is the ability to express those feelings on Facebook.
I genuflect in sympathy toward Canon Paul Shackerley, an Anglican priest in Doncaster, England. For, perhaps in an amusing attempt to lay bare his humanity, he reportedly went on his Facebook page one weekend and posted: "I've done f*** all today other than jazz lesson and visit a friend. I hear the fizz of tonic in my gin beckoning."
If there's one place whose inhabitants truly need the occasional gin and tonic to fizz them through the day, it is Doncaster, England. It is a town where the joys are relatively scarce.
Canon Hackerley seems to have warmed to his lyricism. Another posting read: "Alas, I have religion tomorrow. At least I'm not preaching this week."
Yes, being a priest can seem like a job, sometimes. This is why, perhaps, he also posted a picture of himself building a snowman with the accompanying thought: "Forgive my sin of frivolity. Sin is such fun!"
One other post that appears to have offended was: "Pisss myself! H, you are so funny!!! It was good to share over lunch yesterday and at the URC Homelessness 'event.' I say 'event.' It was hardly worship, was it?"
Oh, yes. Someone was offended. That someone, though, clearly believes in privacy controls because, according to the Daily Mail, he or she wrote an anonymous letter to the canon's bishop.
Part of this letter reportedly said: "Your priest colleague uses language that most would find abhorrent for a man in his position and pretty distasteful for anyone as a matter of fact."
Gosh, yes. How terribly distasteful. Like sneaking behind someone's back to complain about them, perhaps.
The canon, who's something of a character -- yes, he has a pierced tongue and eyebrow -- has now apologized.
His bishop, Peter Burrows, told the Mail: "Whilst meant in a jocular sense, he recognizes that some of the language was unfitting."
How sad that Canon Shackerley hasn't been given the opportunity to use this event in order to give a sermon on the subject of, say, honesty being the policy. Or, perhaps, love thy neighbor as thou lovest thyself.