A senior social worker at Brighton and Hove City Council has condemned as "shocking and profoundly disturbing", the revelation that Fr Ray Blake, parish priest at St Mary Magdalen Church, Brighton, keeps God in a small gilded cupboard in the grade II listed Church, engulfing the blogging Priest in a new and even more inflammatory row.
The high ranking social worker for the Council said, "If these allegations are true, that this Priest keeps the Lord in these conditions, then I know that his parishioners and the whole town will react angrily to the news. We have dealt with cases like this before in which neglect is shown to the vulnerable. I mean, he says he keeps God 'in a cuboard'. Does he feed Him? Does he take Him out for walks? We are deeply concerned about the emotional and physical impact that being kept in a cupboard could have on God and as such, are investigating the admissions by the Priest concerned. Whatever next? I suppose he'll say that he consumes God having kept Him in this dark cupboard and distributes Him to others during Mass, who do the same. Social services are now conducting a full investigation into the neglect and potential abuse of the Lord."
Fr Ray Blake, however, defended his decision to encase the Lord in the Tabernacle.
"Believe it or not," he said, "this is common practise for the Church. The Blessed Sacrament is the true Treasure of the Church. Here, God dwells in our midst. Many churches will say many things about God, but in every Catholic Church, God is there, literally, in the Tabernacle."
When asked whether this was tantamount to abuse of the Almighty the controversial Priest was unapologetic.
"I am more concerned about liturgical abuse in other Churches in the UK and around the World, where disrespect is shown to the Blessed Sacrament by poor liturgy and woefully irreverent behaviour which does not reflect the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist."
"We believe that the bread and wine which the Priest consecrates is not merely a 'sign' or a 'symbol', but literally, the Body, Blood, Soul, Humanity and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. As such it is vital that He is housed respectfully, treated with the highest dignity and reverence and shown, both with inward and outward gestures of worship, great love, respect, praise, and adoration."
The senior social worker refused to confirm or deny rumours that the investigation could lead to God being 'removed' from the Church to be placed either into fostering or adoption, possibly by a couple from the vociferous elements of the hedonistic gay lobby. "All options," the social worker said, "are being considered and are on the Altar. We have to think of the best interests of the eternal Son of God."
Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Families and Schools, expressed astonishment at the revelation.
"I fully support Brighton and Hove City Council's investigation into the actions of the Priest concerned. The Government is concerned for God's welfare. My department is also drawing up plans to ensure that God receives the appropriate sex and relationships education to which He is entitled. We are working with the Catholic Education Service (CES) to ensure that He receives sex and relationships education which does not discriminate against His Religious Views. There will, however, be no 'opt-out' for the Almighty on these matters, which the Government regards as vital for Him, dependent, as He is, on the even more almighty State."
Oona Stannard, Chief Executive and Director of the CES, however, has claimed "victory" in obtaining an special amendment in the legislation for God, following "intense" negotiations with the Secretary of State for Children, Families and Schools, describing as "extremely generous" an amendment to the proposed legislation which entitles sex and relationships lessons on contraception, homosexuality and how to access an abortion to be taught to God, "in the light of His Teaching."
None of the Bishops of England and Wales were available for comment.