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Church of England Is 'Not Dead Yet'


There was a time in my youth when no party was complete without someone reciting lines from the 1975 film comedy “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”. 


For my generation, that movie's catchphrase “Bring out your dead!” is the verbal equivalent of Proust’s madeleine, evoking powerful memories of things past. I once even heard Lord Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, obliquely refer to that classic line in a press conference.

The “Bring out your dead!” movie scene begins with John Cleese carrying over his shoulder an old man dressed in a nightshirt. He starts to place the old man into a cart carrying victims of the plague. Eric Idle is the driver.

Cleese: Here's one.
Idle: Ninepence.
Old Man: I'm not dead!
Idle: What?
Cleese: Nothing!  Here's your ninepence.
Old Man: I'm not dead!
Idle: 'Ere! 'E says 'e's not dead!
Cleese: Yes he is.
Old Man: I'm not!
Idle: 'E isn't?
Cleese: Well, he will be soon. He's very ill.
Old Man: I'm getting better!
Cleese: No you're not. You'll be stone dead in a moment.
Idle: I can't take 'im like that! It's against regulations!
Old Man: I don't want to go on the cart.
Cleese: Oh, don't be such a baby.
Idle: I can't take 'im.
Old Man: I feel fine!
Cleese: Well, do us a favor...
Idle: I can't!
Cleese: Can you hang around a couple of minutes? He won't be long.
Idle: No, gotta get to Robinson's. They lost nine today.
Cleese: Well, when's your next round?
Idle: Thursday.
Old Man: I think I'll go for a walk.
Cleese: You're not fooling anyone, you know. (To Idle) Look, isn't there something you can do? (They both look around)  
Old Man: I feel happy! I feel happy!  
(Idle deals the old man a swift blow to the head with a wooden mallet. The old man goes limp.)  
Cleese: (Throwing the old man onto the cart) Ah. Thanks very much.
Idle: Not at all. See you on Thursday!
Man: Right! All right.

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