May 22, 2007

Speaking of a lost crucifix....

This story appeared over the weekend and you probably didn't see it. It's religious devotion the old fashioned way. And my kind of absolution...

LONDON (AFP) — The Archbishop of Canterbury absolved one of his top bishops Monday after he went on a much-talked-about mystery walkabout after a few drinks at an embassy reception last December.

Rowan Williams said "no further action" would be taken after an investigation into the incident involving the Right Reverend Tom Butler, the Bishop of Southwark.

Butler, who has repeatedly denied he was drunk, got a black eye, a bump on the head and lost his briefcase, crucifix and mobile phone after drinking at a pre-Christmas party at the Irish Embassy in London.

A witness claimed to have spotted him near his cathedral, clambering into a stranger's car and hurling toys into the street before a brief tete-a-tete with the disgruntled owner.

According to the car's owner, Paul Sumpter, after he found the robe-wearing trespasser in his vehicle the following conversation occurred:

Sumpter: "What are you doing in my car?"

The bishop: "I'm the Bishop of Southwark, it's what I do."

A brief fracas then occurred, and an ambulance was called, but the mystery man apparently staggered off into the night.

The bishop, who said his travel pass records show that he used public transport that night from the city centre to his home in south London, admitted he couldn't remember anything about the evening, but denies he was drunk.

Williams, the leader of the world's Anglicans, said in a brief statement that the incident had been investigated under the Church's clergy discipline procedure.

"In the light of all the evidence submitted to him Dr Williams has determined, under section 12(1)(a) of the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003, that no further action should be taken," said a statement from his Lambeth Palace office.

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