The Innocence of Uncle Reg

Uncle Reg was a priest in Yorkshire. He looked forward to death with the certainty that it would lead to eternal happiness. On my last visit he pointed out the spot where he wanted to be buried, under the dry-stone wall beside the West Riding church where he used to officiate. It was a beautiful winter’s day. The gravesite was illuminated by a snowy sun; Uncle Reg, by the sunshine of faith. He had fulfilled himself totally. His maximum income from the diocese had been £800 per year, but this had never impeded happiness.

Uncle Reg’s one secular passion (not vice) was motorcycles. The great love of his life (after Christ and the Church) was a Norton 500. As I saw him ascending Pennine hills with the throbbing Norton beneath him, I realized that this was a mechanism for dealing with celibacy. I am sure that this thought had never occurred to him.

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