Duchy Personalities: The Bishop of Quorndon

2. The Bishop of Quorndon of the Diocese of Charnwood, the senior cleric in the Duchy.
John Thomas
John Thomas, Bishop of Quorndon

John Thomas has been incumbent as Bishop in the Duchy of Charnwood for longer than many care to remember. His initial appointment met with some dismay in the Duchy,  and continues to provoke controversy today, chiefly as a consequence of his peculiarly liberal attitudes and eccentric interpretation of the Christian liturgy.

Chief amongst his “eccentric” beliefs is the bizarre concept that warfare and soldiering were not, in his opinion, strictly in keeping with the fundamental teachings of Christ. His predecessors were always at pains to emphasise warfare as being central to Christian teachings. Everyone in the Duchy seemed perfectly happy with this arrangement. Bishop Thomas however, has distressed many with his quasi-heretical interpretations, examples of which are reproduced below:

Biblical text – “…If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

  • John Thomas’ heretical interpretation: One should resist the urge to take violent vengeance against an aggressor.
  • Traditional Charnwoodian bishop’s interpretation: If one attacks you on the right, bring about the other flank also so as to bring to bear a greater concentration of musketry upon the enemy.

Biblical text – “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the children of God.”

  • John Thomas’ heretical interpretation: Jesus’ teaching is one of love and those who seek peace instead of war are blessed.
  • Traditional Charnwoodian bishop’s interpretation: Blessed are those who win a victory on the battlefield and thereby put themselves in a position to enforce a peace upon the beaten enemy. A previous incumbent in the role of Bishop even went so far as suggesting that Jesus had intended to say “blessed are the munition makers”.

John Thomas has been present at many of the important services in the life of the Duke of Charnwood and his family. He married His Grace the Duke to the Duchess, baptised their daughter Lady Eleanor and saw to the funeral services of both the Duke’s parents.

Charnwood Church
The Bishop is a regular preacher at the Gracedieu family’s own chapel set in the grounds of the Duke’s family home.

He is considered to be a warm and friendly man, one in no manner excessively conscious of his senior clerical position, and one who readily engages everybody in witty, humorous and relaxed conversation. It is, perhaps more than anything else, his charming manner which has done much to preserve his position in the face of significant clerical, military, no to say mercantile outrage to his pacifist teachings.

“The devil’s chaplain” – A contemporary illustration of the bishop depicted shocking the congregation with his vile and sickening words of peace!

A curious hobby of the Bishop has emerged into public domain in recent years. It appears that John Thomas, despite his pacifist leanings, is an avid collector of artworks graphically depicting historic battles. When challenged, Bishop Thomas retorted that warfare should be graphically captured on canvas where it can do no harm save for instructing passing admirers of the horrors that await future participants on the field of battle.

Amen to that!



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