CARDIFF – Charlotte Church told reporters yesterday that “in all probability” she will become a practicing Buddhist soon. The nineteen-year-old singer, who has been struggling for the last three years to establish her identity apart from the music industry, said she is “thoroughly disenchanted by the antediluvian posturing of the Catholic Church” into which she was born.
“Pope Benedict’s unwarranted criticism of the Harry Potter books proves that the church still has its feet firmly planted in the intellectual muck of the thirteenth century,” said Church. “By every measure one can name—the ordination of women, the right of priests to marry, the affirmation of gay rights, the wisdom of family planning—the church is at odds with forward-thinking Catholic intellectuals everywhere.”
Conservative Catholics reply that Church’s comments are the product of her resentment at being asked not to attend, let alone sing at, the funeral of Pope John Paul II. The Voice of an Angel star had been scheduled to sing at the pope’s funeral until the Vatican discovered a self-photo of a topless, smiling Church for sale on eBay.
That discovery was made by Cardinal Umberto Rigatoni, who thought he was bidding on a ‘Classic Church’ photo of another sort when he made his £1 winning offer.
Rigatoni, who is well known in Vatican circles for his interest in ecclesiastical architecture, said he was “shocked and dismayed” when he downloaded the photo and saw “the glistening breasts of a desirable young woman. As any right-thinking Catholic man would, I deleted the photo of those glistening, heaving breasts at once.”
Church readily admits she took the photo with her new Sony Ericsson S710a cell phone and sent the image in a text message to her boyfriend, Welsh rugby player Gavin Henson, 23. The message accompanying the photo read, “Hope these help get you up for the big match with Ireland.”
“I don’t see what my breasts have to do with the dead pope or with my voice,” said Church. “If some musty old cardinal sitting in his airless study doing who-knows-what at the keyboard can’t handle the site of my globies, that says more about him than it does about my singing ability. If you ask me, it’s celibate priests that suffer from penis envy.”
Church became interested in Buddhism after reading a copy of Bicycle magazine at her dentist’s office in London several weeks ago. She was particularly impressed by the fact that the Buddha never claimed to be divine.
“It suddenly struck me that religious wars and persecutions from time immemorial to the present were all started in the name of someone who claimed to be divine,” said Church. “I don’t think I could ever trust a religion whose ‘top dog’ claimed to be divine.
“What’s more,” said Church, “I was fascinated by the Buddhists’ no-soul-no-self-no-problem approach to living. The less ego involved in life, the better.”
Although Church said she hasn’t got Buddhism “sorted out entirely yet, the schools and branches and all,” she is inclined toward Tibetan Buddhism because “the Dalai Lama and Richard Gere are such spiritual beings.”
In other news, the public relations firm hired by the recently uncloseted Deep Throat, W. Mark Felt, issued a statement today saying that despite the lurid illusions of his cover name, Felt was “never anything more than friends” with Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.
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