Monday, April 20, 2009

Don't mention the Hitler Diaries!

Hoax Alert: If you were one of the people invited to the Papal Nuncio's not-to-be-missed shindig (Dolphinarium has some very distinguished readers) but failed to attend because you got a message telling you the event had been cancelled due to him having been taken ill, you fell for the same hoax which fooled Ruth "Legs" Gledhill.

Apologies for my inaccurate report here earlier today. In it I said that tonight's reception for the Papal Nuncio had been canceled due to a sudden illness. I am afraid this turned out to be a hoax. I had received a call from a plausible informant, claiming to be Monsignor Vincent Brady, the Nuncio's private secretary. The caller was no such thing, but a fraud; a clever fraud too, I have to admit, who must have known that in order to check such information the person whom I would have rung was none other than Father Brady.

But that's not the only hoax story to have fooled The Thunderer on 20 April. So did this one which reported that Pope Benedict was going to present a "luxury facsimile" of the 1530 appeal by English peers to Pope Clement VII asking for the annulment of Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Infuriated Vatican spin-meister, Father Frederico Lombardi SJ fired off a letter to The Times, declaring that the story is "completely untrue and has no basis in fact whatsoever", and asking for the paper to issue "an immediate and unambiguous denial".

According to Damian Thompson, the conspiracy-theory doing the rounds is that "a mad hoaxer is trying to punish the Times for the anti-Catholic tone of some of its recent reporting."

Feeling a touch red-faced, on Facebook Legs Gledhill admitted to feeling "a total twit," saying wonderingly, "Honestly, this religious world we live in - who would do a thing like that? But I still think this lot r better than the world of the Damian McBride's."

By mentioning McBride, I have a hunch that she may have inadvertantly stumbled on a clue about the hoaxer's identity. This looks like an inside-job.

Could it be ...

Ruth-less Kelly up to her dastardly tricks again?

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