click here for gadget for god  
about the ship sign up for our newsletter
community the mystery worshipper gadgets for god caption competition foolishness features ship stuff
features home columnists archive
loose canons
There's a thin line between saintliness and madness. Here are inspiring tales of holy folly that laugh in the face of human wisdom... and also breathtaking examples of religious stupidity that fly in the face of common sense.

As told by Stephen Tomkins

More Loose Canons here
10: The hermit who redistributed temptation
HEN THE ROMAN EMPIRE converted wholesale to Christianity, religious people had a bit of a problem. Where do you go to get religion when everyone's baptized into the Church at birth? Where do you go to be not of the world, when the whole of the world is incorporated into the Church?

So they started becoming hermits, heading off into the desert to overcome their temptations with prayer and self-discipline, or just trying to run away from them.

Of course some did better than others. But one Father Apollo mastered temptation so well, he could, allegedly, redistribute it.

One day, he was passing a monastery as a glum faced young monk shuffled out.

"What's up?" he asked.

"I'm packing it in", answered the boy.


"I've got this lust thing. I've got enough of it to sink a nunnery."

"Why don't you talk to your abbot about it?" asked Apollo.

"I did, and he says I'm a disgusting pervert who shouldn't be allowed in a monk's robe. Not even my own."

"Hmm," hummed Apollo. "Look, go back, and give it another shot, and I'll pray for you."

So the boy went back in, while Apollo talked to God.

"Father," he prayed, "deliver this boy from his temptation, so he can get some peace. And may it be passed on to his abbot, so he learns a bit of understanding."

And apparently it worked. Soon afterwards, Father Apollo was walking along the road when he was passed by the abbot, scuttling into the nearest town.

"Where are you off to?" demanded Apollo.

"Erm, nowhere", explained the old man.

"Go home and pray, you dirty old monk," said Apollo.

Which, so far as we can tell, is what he did.

More Loose Canons
st simeon
St Simeon
Don't forget to pay your respects to our patron saint, St Simeon the Holy Fool.
follow ship of fools on twitter
buy your ship of fools postcards