I have been doing some reasearch for my next posting on the Westminster Stakes: who will follow Cardinal Murphy O'Connor. Part of my studies includes looking at the Episcopal Engagements column in the Catholic Herald. I was astonished to find that Archbishop Kelly of Liverpool is to undertake a "Pastoral Visit" to Iran at the end of this week.
I little suspected that Iran, a wonderful and welcoming country with an ancient culture which has, in spite of its fervent Islamic beliefs, never succumbed to Arabisation, housed a colony of Liverpudlian exiles. What wind of history, one wonders, drew people from the banks of the Mersey, and where did it set them down? Was it the end of slavery? Or the Corn Laws? Who knows. How do they maintain their Liverpudlianness? Is there a Scotland Road somewhere near downtown Tehran? Does a tribe of fair-skinned, slightly overweight, trainer-wearing, Everton-supporting, nasal, Iranians long for a visit from its Mullah? Is Archbishop Kelly the herald of the twelth Imam?
What on earth can a "pastoral visit to Iran" by the Arhbishop of Liverpool be about? Has he nothing better to do at home?