Friday, 27 February 2015

Unexpected Death of Father Wilfred - Chapter 4

Unexpected Death of Father Wilfred | FICTION: Crime Detective Mystery
by Julius Falconer

...‘Who are your suspects, Inspector?  You can tell me!’
‘No, I can’t, Young Lady, and you know I can’t.  If it comes to that, you were there that evening: we have to consider the possibility that you could have done it.’
‘Me? Me, Inspector? What would I be doing going round murdering old priests?’
‘You might have thought he was an obstacle to the modernisation of the Church.’
‘But we all thought that! That’s no reason to murder the old man.’
‘You’re not very respectful, are you, Miss Bradford?’
‘I don’t mean any harm by it, but if the Church is to attract young people, make them feel at home, give them some sort of inspiration for living, doesn’t it have a duty to give us priests who can relate to us, speak on our wave-length, bring the Church into the twentieth century? Fr Tarbuck was old-fashioned and out of touch.  
He made no effort to meet us on our own ground.  Fr Gabriel at least tried to talk to us about the changes proposed by some council in Rome that met recently.  I want to be a good Catholic, but it’s all still so stuffy.’
‘Stuffy?  In what way?’
‘Let me give you some examples, Inspector.  Fr Gabriel has told us that the Church authorities, God bless their cotton socks, are contemplating changing the ruling on birth control. About time!  But I bet you they don’t.  I bet you anything you like. And what about married priests, priests with families who know what it’s all about?  What about women priests? Why aren’t women – half the human race, for heaven’s sake – allowed to make any decisions?  What about prayers we can understand? “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name”: what sort of English is that? What about all those funny robes the priests wear? Why can’t they dress soberly and simply? What’s all this with receiving communion on the tongue? I don’t get it. And little wafers instead of proper bread?  And whatever happened to the wine?’
‘Yes, well, let me interrupt you there, Young Lady,’ said Wickfield. ‘You’ve made your point, but you must realise, I’m sure you do, that like any other institution, the Church moves very slowly.  You need to have a bit more patience.’
‘Patience!  And in the meantime, young people are leaving the Church in droves. They’re living together, not bothering to get married in church, not having their kids baptised. Priests are leaving, and my mum says it often seems to be the more thoughtful ones who go.’
‘Do you think any of this has anything to do with Fr Wilfred’s death?’
‘How do I know? But I told you before, Inspector, he got in the way of people who want change. Isn’t that a good enough reason for murder?  It isn’t, in my book, but I can’t answer for everyone, can I?’ she asked archly...