Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Jockey & the Sheik

A long time ago, perhaps before you were born, in pre-Conciliar times, there existed in Ireland a company called Veritas, meaning Truth, which published devotional and other religious pamphlets.

Now, at this time, Ireland was very poor, but, in part due to her unquestioning Roman Catholic faith, she was producing more children than she could support. So, when they grew up, many of them went to Pagan England to seek their fortune.

Because they were not used to questioning their faith at home, they were easy prey to Proselytising Protestants in this alien land. So Veritas produced a little booklet entitled Handy Answers to enable them to repel religious boarders, so to speak.

Many of the answers were in the form of little parables which they could learn off by heart, something they certainly had been taught to do at home.

I remember one such parable, which was offered as a reply to the assertion that "One religion is as good as another", and which I would like to share with you.

Unfortunately I don't have my copy of the original booklet, and it was clearly so popular in its day that Veritas don't have one either. So I am going from memory.

Before I actually launch into the parable, I would remind you that in those days all of these sort of publications needed a Nihil Obstat and an Imprimatur before they could be published. The former, awarded by an appropriately qualified theological person, ensured that there were no doctrinal errors in the text, and the latter was the final permission of the local bishop to publish.

So, "One religion is as good as another?".
"Not so, and to prove it, let me tell you a little story"
Once upon a time there was a Jockey who had become friendly with a Middle Eastern Sheik. One summer, when the Jockey was visiting the Sheik, the latter confided in him that he had a little problem and that the Jockey might be the very man to help him sort it out. It appears that, once a year on a particular "feastday" the Sheik took a special bath and the bathwater was bottled and distributed to his followers, who drank it and thus benefitted from appropriate blessings from Allah. This year, however, the Sheik was suffering from a dreadful cold which he did not want to pass on to his followers, so he asked the Jockey if he would have the bath in his place. The Jockey was only too happy to oblige his friend and the bathwater was duly distributed to the Sheik's followers who drank it and all of whom died. So one religion is not as good as another.
I swear to God!

If you doubt me for a minute, hover the cursor over the picture above.


  1. I would like to share another parable with you. This also dates from the 1960s, but in this case it is a true story.

    I once knew a man who figured that the electric wiring in his house had got a bit ropey. It was an old house.

    So he rewired it himself to the highest technical standard of the time. When it came to the ESB passing it, they refused. It was not their standard wiring and that it exceeded their current standard didn't matter. So to get connected he had to rewire the house again. This time to the prevailing ESB standard.

    Shortly afterwards the ESB revised its standard, upwards, to one with which his original rewiring would have conformed. How frustrating for him. But it was they who had the power (literally)

    That is a true story. And I was meditating on it recently in the context of change and the Roman Catholic Church.

    I'll leave you to draw your own parallels and conclusions.

  2. And just in case you don't believe me, this is the man who suffered at the hands of the ESB all those long years ago.