(RNS) The Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church have been on a long road to reconciliation in the centuries since Henry VIII broke with the pope.
But it’s unlikely that the latest faith-sharing move by a drunken Church of England vicar will do much to advance the cause of ecumenism.
Indeed, the Rev. Gareth Jones is only making headlines in England because authorities found him passed out in central London after a night-long binge and Jones — still wearing his collar — kicked, punched, bit and spat at them when they tried to rouse him.
Realizing he was too inebriated to have the desired physical effect, the vicar then took another tack, claiming he was with the Holy See’s embassy to Great Britain and therefore had diplomatic immunity.
“I’m from the Vatican, you’re f—-d,” Jones reportedly yelled at a police officer and a paramedic.
In fact, Jones, 36, a married father of one, is not Catholic — nor connected to the Vatican embassy as he claimed — but is pastor of an Anglican church in St. Mary and the Virgin in northeast London.
Jones had apparently ingested three bottles of wine, several pints of beer, a number of gin and tonics and vodka during what Court News UK called “a binge of biblical proportions.”
“I’m not sure if he has anything to do with the Vatican because he is with the Church of England,” prosecutor Edward Aydin told Court News.
“There’s no relationship between those two religions,” Aydin said.
Jones, who was ordained in 2006 and said he was repeatedly in trouble with the law as a youth, later expressed remorse for his actions: “I am utterly ashamed and sorry for any harm that I have caused,” he reportedly said.
On Friday (June 3) he appeared in court and pleaded guilty to two counts of assault by beating. He was ordered to pay more than $1,500 in fines and seek treatment.
But Jones will also have to face an ecclesiastical court, his lawyer said.