How would the Church of England deal with “the cat sat on the mat” if it appeared in the Bible?
The liberal theologians would point out that such a passage did not of course mean that the cat literally sat on the mat. Also, cat and mat had different meanings in those days from today, and anyway, the text should be interpreted according to the customs and practices of the period.
This would lead to an immediate backlash from the Evangelicals. They would make it an essential condition of faith that a real physical, living cat, being a domestic pet of the Felix Domesticus species, and having a whiskered head and furry body, four legs and a tail, did physically place its whole body on a floor covering, designed for that purpose, which is on the floor but not of the floor. The expression “on the floor but not of the floor” would be explained in a leaflet.
Meanwhile, the Catholics would have developed the Festival of the Sedentation of the Blessed Cat. This would teach that the cat was white and majestically reclined on a mat of gold thread before its assumption to the Great Cat Basket of Heaven. This would be commemorated by the singing of the Magnificat, lighting three candles, and ringing a bell five times. This would cause a schism with the Orthodox Church which would believe that tradition would require Holy Cats Day [as it would be colloquially known] to be marked by lighting six candles and ringing the bell four times. This would be partly resolved by the Cuckoo Land Declaration recognising the traditional validity of each.
Eventually, the House of Bishops would issue a statement on the Doctrine of the Feline Sedentation. It would explain that traditionally the text describes a domestic feline quadruped superjacent to an unattached covering on a fundamental surface. For determining its salvific and eschatological significations, it would follow the heuristic analytical principles adopted in dealing with the Canine Fenestration Question [How much is that doggie in the window?] and the Affirmative Musaceous Paradox [Yes, we have no bananas]. And so on, for another 210 pages.
The General Synod would then commend this report as helpful resource material for clergy to explain to the man in the pew the difficult doctrine of the cat sat on the mat.
Do you have an ‘off’ topic you’d like to share? It can be about anything, which is why it’s called “Off Topic”. Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the words “Off Topic” in the Subject Box.