Dullards and Angels

WEEDING out some myths surrounding Christmas, a man who apparently knows a great deal about these things has thrown the nativity scene industry into a bit of tailspin by saying that an ox and a donkey weren’t present when Jesus popped out of the “Virgin” Mary’s womb.

Nor, said Pope Ratzinger, were any other beasts present. And in a blow to those who believe that the angels belted out the arrival of the baby Jesus in song, Ratzi said that while angels did descend to tell shepherds the “son of God” was lying in a manger nearby, they spoke, rather than harmonised.

In his latest book – Jesus of Nazareth: The Infantile Infancy Narratives, just out in time for Christmas – the Pope does concede:

Christianity has always understood that the speech of angels is actually song, in which all the glory of the great joy that they proclaim becomes tangibly present.

Commenting in a beautifully written piece in The Observer yesterday, Tim Adams said the Pope’s pronouncement:

Goes to prove the point that there is no fun in being infallible if you can’t also be pedantic.

And he adds:

For most of us, I guess, such papal revisionism won’t result in too much seasonal anxiety beyond perhaps a momentary pause should we come to belt out ‘hark the herald angels sing!’ at a carol service. If they can’t even agree on that bit, you might wonder, where does it leave all the rest?

Adams’ observation is contained in an interview with a 58-year-old Irish widow and mother of four named Lorna Byrne, whose latest book, A Message of Hope from the Angels, has just been published.

Could this be Byrne’s ‘very beautiful’ Angel Gabriel? Photo: Tony Dornacher

Adams first points out that a large proportion of British people believe that angels – “whether singing or speaking”– actually exist.

In the most recent survey of opinion on such matters conducted by ICM for the Bible Society in 2010, 31 percent of the population professed a clear belief in angels, only 51 percent said they did not believe, and 17 percent were unsure.

This concurred with a YouGov inquiry asking the same questions in 2004, suggesting that heavenly minions were essentially recession-proof. The ICM survey found that belief was higher among British women (41 percent) than men (23 percent), slightly more common among over-45s than those aged 18 to 44, and more prevalent in London, where 40 percent of people of all creeds professed a faith in angels, than elsewhere.

Since she brought out her first memoir, Angels in My Hair, four years ago Byrne has sold well over half a million books in 50 countries with books translated into 27 languages, including Mandarin, Japanese and Korean. Websites and chat rooms abound, creating a burgeoning industry for other angel watchers.

In her latest book Byrne makes the point that Christmas is a particularly busy time for angel watchers.

In November they [the angels] all arrive with their little balls of light. I see them coming down as if down a hillside or a mountain.

Has she seen the Angel Gabriel?

He is an odd angel. Very beautiful. I never knew it was him, because he would often be there dressed as a biker …

As a biker?

Yes, something like that. I always wanted to reach up and touch his face. Would I say he is more incredible-looking than Michael the Archangel? I would have to say yes.

Before they parted company, Byrne identified Adams’ “guardian angel”:

Your guardian angel is giving a male appearance, really strong. He is standing about three feet behind you but enfolding you. And the cloak is this beautiful green and I smiled at him because he is showing me the emeralds all embedded in it. He just showed partially his wings, a fleeting appearance, but very wonderful, not feathers or silk, more like the air, and alive. Very alive. He won’t let you down …

Adams remains a sceptic:

My own faith in angelic intervention in worldly affairs has never extended beyond an annual, and generally tearful, family homage to the bumbling Clarence who saves Jimmy Stewart from despair and suicide and wins his wings in It’s a Wonderful Life; which is to say I don’t believe in God, but I do believe in Frank Capra.

Hat tip: Angel Agent Cormac 


44 responses to “Dullards and Angels”

  1. David McNerney says:

    There should be a requirement in those polls of people who believe in Angels or Demons or Creationism or any thing else of that ilk, that they must be asked whether they believe in fairies, unicorns and/or Santa Claus.

  2. RabbitOnAStick says:

    Constantly peddling this puerile nativity scene to little children is truly disgusting. It should be banned for what it is is utter nonsense and a total lie.

    A virgin indeed. What a disgrace to perpetuate this when the original words used – of the unsubstantiated oral crap – were maiden. Not virgin.

    And as to Byrne. what a deluded idiot. She sees angels coming in November with their balls of light.
    I am sure she also believes in ‘Santa’. As he at least is clearly historically ‘true’. Being St Nicholas from near Antalya in Turkey.

  3. AgentCormac says:

    There’s a common link between Byrne’s pathetically transparent ‘visions’ and Ratty’s pointless ramblings regarding what was present at Jesus’ birth, and how exactly the angels went about telling Mary she’d been raped by Big Daddy – they’re both cashing in on xmas. Just how gullible or duped would you have to be to want to line the pockets of either ‘author’ by buying one of these utterly valueless tomes?

  4. RabbitOnAStick says:

    unfortunately half a million were/are. .

  5. The Woggler says:

    I really don’t get angels. Surely, as they’re in gods’s image, live in heaven but are able to come to Earth at will, and apparently immortal, surely this means god created something else superior to man. Yet isn’t man supposed to be god’s special creation?

  6. David Anderson says:

    While shepherds wash their socks by night
    All seated around a tub
    A bar of Sunlight soap came down
    And they began to scrub.

  7. tony e says:

    All this nativity nonsense would have never happened if Mary had been a bit more honest with Joseph and said ‘Remember that party I was at?’ ‘Well I had a bit too much mead and it was dark and I thought it was you.’

    So if god impregnated Mary, didn’t he go against one of his own commandments, namely in the adultery department?

  8. AgentCormac says:

    He must have created the devil too, Woggler. And what kind of dumb-ass mistake was that for someone who’s supposed to be infallible?

  9. Barry Duke says:

    For the life of me I cannot get the image of “angels with little balls of light” out of my head, and it’s seriously affecting my ability to concentrate on serious work this morning. Think I’ll go walk the dogs …

  10. barriejohn says:

    Woggler & Agent Cormac:

    I really don’t get angels. Surely, as they’re in gods’s image, live in heaven but are able to come to Earth at will, and apparently immortal, surely this means god created something else superior to man. Yet isn’t man supposed to be god’s special creation?

    He must have created the devil too, Woggler. And what kind of dumb-ass mistake was that for someone who’s supposed to be infallible?

    You’re condemned to go round in circles on this. Man was created in God’s image, with free will, which meant that he could choose not to worship and obey YHWH, unlike the angels, which were created as purely spiritual beings to do his bidding – and help run the universe, which, of course, hadn’t yet been created! (Up to that point they been playing Scrabble and doing jigsaws to pass the time.) Oops – Satan and his followers amongst the celestial throng DID choose to rebel against God, so were “cast out of Heaven”. Hell was prepared for them, but due to some heavenly oversight they were not immediately despatched to said place of torment, but were given the opportunity to suborn Adam and Eve into joining them there for all eternity. Adam and Eve were “redeemed” by God, but no redemption was available for the “fallen” angels, as they had sinned “wilfully”. God now announces that it was his plan all along to populate Heaven with “the saved”, who will be so eternally thankful for their narrow escape from Hell Fire that they will be falling over themselves to masssage his infinite ego with their praises for ever and ever and ever, conveniently fogetting all about their “unsaved” friends and loved ones who are screaming their heads off in The Lake of Fire. This was the plan from the very beginning (before time even existed, of course, in which case plans could not be made), as God (outside of space and time) not only knew what was going to happen, but planned it that way. Though he did give us free will. I think. (If there are errors in this I take no responsibility – God made me write it.)

  11. Angela_K says:

    David McNerney

    Another requirement of those polls should be a compulsory IQ test; I bet most of the respondents who claim god nonsense are very low down the scale.

  12. Barry Duke says:

    @Angela I think you may have our friend Bob Hutton in mind. Judging by his take on the US election results, you could could count his IQ on the fingers of one hand:

  13. Stephen Mynett says:

    Inspired by David Anderson

    Away in a manger
    No crib for a bed
    And nothing to eat
    The oxen had fled

  14. RabbitOnAStick says:

    OT Agentcormac

    I see bridsh*t didn’t yet delete your comment on lunatic link re sodomy, as he needed to sycophantically agree with that deluded twerp Yephorass first post.
    I am not sure though i see the logic in George Sooros having a smelly finger. Is that a bum reference? i wasn’t quite sure.

  15. Broga says:

    These angels, who so readily communicate with Byrne, never reveal anything we don’t know already. All they do is be around to offer help that cannot be detected. They don’t replace limbs and they don’t provide the answers to medical or astronomical questions. And yet people buy books containing this twaddle. If I find one waiting on my lawn, with a piece of real information, I’ll let you know.

  16. Matt Westwood says:

    “Once in Royal David’s city
    Stood a lowly cattle shed
    Where a mother laid a donkey
    While she gave the oxen head”

    I actually spoke to an American woman once who genuinely did believe in Santa so maybe all bets are off on the continued sanity of the human race.

    As for angels, I would be interested to hear how an ordinary xtian sheep would define an angel. Ask one (obviously don’t ask a scholar as they’ll probably quote some boring mediaeval book), an ordinary attends-church-twice-a-year believes-in-astrology thinks-that-sex-is-sinful sort of person. I really would be interested in the answer. Then ask them why they wear nighties all the time.

  17. barriejohn says:

    I’m sure that I speak for every visitor to this site when I say how overjoyed we are at this news:

    Indeed, I had to be immediately rushed to hospital with what “royal watchers” referred to as “mal de majeste”, or Royal Sickness. It did occur to me that all you other loyal subjects of these wonderful people might wish to join me in sending them a suitable gift. Suggestions would be welcome, and I would be more than happy to receive donations for purchase of the same. Just send as much as you can to my account ASAP:

    Barrie John. 09-01-62 96668881


    (PS Hoping to join Barry in Benidorm soon if all pans out for me!)

  18. barriejohn says:

    PPS I often watch that fascinating fly-on-the-wall documentary series, Benidorm, Barry, but I’ve never caught a glimpse of you on it yet. There is a gay couple in the series. Do you know them at all?

  19. AgentCormac says:


    Thanks for the heads-up. I’ve left Birdshit a reply to the effect that he clearly doth protest far too much and for his own sanity should come out forthwith – although I doubt very much that he will have the balls to publish it.

  20. Broga says:

    @barriejohn: Wonderful news. I do hope Kate is properly cared for with lots and lots of doctors and nurses around her and not left waiting for hours in the corridor of one of these NHS wards which are so short of staff.

    Isn’t it great to know, in Dave’s deathless prose, “We are all in this together.” And this just proves it. I’m so excited I may just have to have a big slug of my Christmas bottle of Laphroig to celebrate.

  21. RabbitOnAStick says:

    If you want to learn the truth about advent. Not the calendar but the real truth about boniface and advent. Go to lunatic link Christian voice. Birdshit has the truff.

    Looks like Robin Gibb wrote the piece. Maybe he’s been resurrected.

  22. barriejohn says:

    Saint Boniface – Beast if an icon

  23. Matt Westwood says:

    @Broga: “I do hope Kate is properly cared for with lots and lots of doctors and nurses around her and not left waiting for hours in the corridor …”

    Well, absolutely. It’s utterly gross to have some rancid bint puking all over the floor in a hospital.

    I ate an underripe apple a few years ago. It gave me tummy-ache. I was, like Kate, rushed into my private room in hospital, with three on-call nurses ready to do my every bidding, e.g. plump up my pillows, hold the beaker of orange while I sipped it through the straw, and even spray the can of air-freshener around after I’d done a shit.

  24. Marky Mark says:

    (He is an odd angel. Very beautiful. I never knew it was him, because he would often be there dressed as a biker …)

    This woman is bat-shit crazy!

  25. Robster says:

    These people need more nonsensical superstitious claptrap to believe in like angels etc? Afflicted religious adherents must have a bottomless pit of space in their empty heads to file all this “belief” nonsense away.

  26. Trevor Blake says:

    Of most vital interest is whether His Holiness weighed in on the Caganer. To quote Wikipedia: “A Caganer is a figurine depicted in the act of defecation appearing in nativity scenes in Catalonia and neighbouring areas with Catalan culture such as Andorra, Valencia, Northern Catalonia (in southern France) and the Balearic Islands. […] The exact origin of the Caganer is lost, but the tradition has existed since at least the 18th century.” Whatever the Pope may think of the Caganer, we have… this.

  27. OurSally says:

    >a large proportion
    >31 percent of the population professed a clear belief in angels, only 51 percent said they did not believe, and 17 percent were unsure

    To my mind (as an engineer) 31% is not a large proportion, it’s less than a third. I mean, if we want to be pedantic.

  28. barriejohn says:

    I have just seen the front page of the Daily Mail:


    Another headline, elsewhere, says : “What better to cheer up the nation?”. Can’t think of a single thing myself!

    As Private Eye will no doubt put it: “Pregnant woman has morning sickness”.

  29. tony e says:


    Just make sure Broga does not see the headlines, oops too late!

  30. barriejohn says:


  31. Angela_K says:

    I wonder if David Cameron said to William “Look the country is up the creek so get your wife up the duff to pacify the plebs”

  32. the Woggler says:

    Less than underwhelmed by the news, but let’s not take it out on the baby.

  33. lucy says:

    re baby. Interesting looking at the BBC blog responses. Republicans seem to have come out in force. Hurrah.

  34. the Woggler says:

    “And because I oppose Islam I am a closet Muslim, and because I oppose GM crops I am a closet Monsanto employee and because I oppose the war in Afghanistan I am a closet MoD civil servant? What a mixture! ‘Agent Cormac’, some people oppose evil. Get over it.”

    I quite agree with Mr Green here. Because he is a fucking asshole doesn’t make him a closet nice guy. Because he is an idiot doesn’t make him a closet intellectual. Because he opposes evil doesn’t make him a closet wife-beater.

  35. barriejohn says:

    I have asked Birdshit what his basis is for calling homosexuality “an evil”. Comment awaiting moderation!

    Here’s a brilliant comment from the other Uganda thread, which also ties in neatly with the wonderful news regarding Wills and Kate (see – God guides us all the time):

    Ashley DICKENSON
    1 December 2012 at 16:29

    Ideally I would have liked to have witnessed HM The Queen using her Diamond Jubilee Address within Parliament to call our nation’s leaders to repentance, not just for current ungodly laws but for those passed in her name since she came ot the throne, that have in effect legalised sin as well as led this nation deeper into the moral abyss. Also to call this nation to prayer. Or am I expecting too much and it will be left to TRH Prince William & Kate to take up the Judeao-Christian standard that arguably led to this country’s greatness, albeit far from perfect?

  36. David Anderson says:

    What baby?

  37. Matt Westwood says:

    @Angela_K: I wonder if it went something like: “Wills, pretend to get your wifey up the duff, so we can have a feelgood-factor to end the year on. Pretend she’s sick so as to lade on public sympathy. Then in new year, pretend she’s had a miscarriage to give them some drama to chomp on while we all nip out the proverbial back door having robbed the stupid fuckers blind again.”

  38. barriejohn says:

    God has given us a sign, DA. Unto us a child is born, and his name shall be called Upper Class, Aristocrat, Privileged, Opinionated, Ignorant, Freeloader, and he shall do bugger all and spout nonsense just like his grandfather (for he shall have to wait a bloody long time to ascend the throne, just like him), and all the people shall say “This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvellous in our eyes”!

  39. Angela_K says:

    Matt Westwood. Well our royal family is a bit like a soap opera!

  40. Broga says:

    Baby joy; baby blues. OK, this is true and may God smite me if it isn’t. I have met perhaps 20 people this morning and the interest in the Wonder Baby is zilch. Nada. Indifference. Now I live in a rural area on the west coast a long way from London. However, I just wonder how much the “Nation’s Joy” is manufactured by the media (lots to write about), the BBC (irrevocably knee jerk arse licking) and the politicians who assume that their sycophantic comments will get them votes.

    What is encouraging is the Republic, or at least a resistant to manipulation, response. While I am on this subject (who got me started on this?) I just have to wonder about the reality of Wills the Whiz Kid pilot. What brings this on is a book I am reading called “Indian Summer; the secret history of the end of an Empire.” Lord Mountbatten, arse licker extraordinary to the Duke of Windsor whom he ditched fast when it no longer suited him, was given high command, including a senior strategic role in the war. He thought up, based on nothing except his vanity and love of fancy uniforms, the plans for a raid on Dieppe. Montgomery and others told him it was madness. However, as a royal he got his way.

    Ill planned “The men who mounted the beach entered a killing field.” Men died in their thousands as they were slaughtered in the face of German guns. pp116 – 122. Mountbatten, a loathsome creature much admired by Charles Windsor escaped censure. As a commander of ships he crashed many and sank one. A sailor who knew him said if it were not for his royal connections he would have been court martialled half a dozen times. Instead he was appointed Viceroy of India.

    This, my friends, is what the Windsors represent, this is what so many are conned into revering.

  41. barriejohn says:

    Broga: My father served in the Royal Navy during WWII, and the Dieppe raid was one of his favourite topics. His views on naval “top brass” were unrepeatable! He joined up in 1937 to get a career, due to the abysmal education that his generation had received, and joined Ark Royal with the rest of his class immediately she was commissioned. His best friend, hoping to follow him, joined up ASAP, but HIS class were sent to HMS Hood, which they thought the highest honour possible for a naval rating. He was 21 years of age when he and his mates went down with her in May 1941 – ’nuff said. Churchill was really behind the Dieppe Raid, and was no better than Mountbatten. The lives of the men meant very little to them – look at Gallipoli and other of Churchill’s ventures, and the chaos that Mountbatten left behind him in India. (BTW: There are amazing personal similarities between Hitler and Churchill, which might partly explain why the latter was so successful in dealing with the former. Hitler refused to go anywhere near combat troops when things went belly up, and Churchill – just like Lloyd George before him – was the same!) No wonder Churchill was ditched so emphatically after the war – the people knew what was best for them, and had had enough. J B Priestley said that the British were at their best during the war, and were never as good afterwards, and he was right in many ways. My dad’s generation wholeheartedly believed that they were fighting for a better world and a better society, and their experiences enabled them to see right through anyone who was bullshitting them. There’s a lot of cynicism about politicians nowadays, but very little of the idealism and selflessness that characterized that generation.

  42. Broga says:

    @barriejohn: Thanks for your fascinating account. Both Churchill and Mountbatten had reputations for being indifferent about the lives of soldiers. I think Churchill’s papers from the war, which belonged to the nation, were passed on to his son who, I think, sold them for around £12 million. It’s different rules for our “betters” from the rest of us.

    If you detach many of the great and the good from their ill gotten money and their titles they appear to be what they are: rather ignorant, often drunken and frequently squalid individuals. However, they have an army of PR people i.e. highly paid liars to burnish their image. The government, of course, censors the facts from the subjects e.g. Charles Windsor’s letters to Ministers which, even the govenment said, would make it difficult for him to become king if the contents were made known.

  43. RabbitOnAStick says:

    two things you forgot to mention 1. Norway where Churchill – ignoring what he did at Gallipoli – lost so many British soldiers lives by HIS botched stupidity and meddling in military affairs of which he was singularly incompetent- being a stupid journalist (no offence intended). And 2. his approach to colonial TROOPS WHERE HE WANTED VERY MUCH TO SACRIFICE THEM as opposed to BRITISH Troops EVEN THOUGH HE HAD NO REGARD for them (British troops) either. Singapore is the place i mean. He was desperate to send hundreds of thousands of Australians to certain capture. [So he ‘wasted’ them in North Africa and Italy instead – so he got what he wanted – their deaths etc].
    As to Gallipoli he a liar a criminal and an incompetent bastard meddling in things he had no business which he subsequently blamed on others.

  44. barriejohn says:

    ROAS: You are correct. He never took the blame for ANYTHING. His career should have been over after Gallipoli, but the usual official whitewash allowed him room to squeeze back in again; but how on earth it was Chamberlain who went after the Norway fiasco I shall never understand!