Have a go at our next caption competition (above). Send entries by email only to email@example.com by 9 a.m., Monday 25 July
Here is the winning entry for the previous competition:
It’s a model mission strategy, Your Holiness: just belt it over the bar between those posts and, laus Deo, you’ve gained a conversion (Charles Taylor)
WHEN you’re in the conversions business, it raises the question how transferable such skills are: “When the Pope agreed to assist with a conversion, he hadn’t imagined it would involve erecting rugby posts in St Peter’s Square” (Stewart Smith-Langridge); “Over the bar and between the posts, Your Holiness, and you’ll have another conversion to your credit” (John Saxbee); “Did you hear that Fr Murphy has taken up rugby? He’s scored a few tries, but hasn’t made any conversions yet” (Martin Noble); “You see, Holy Father, that a conversion at the death can send the whole team to heaven!” (Julian Ashton); “The holy fathers discussed their long and eventful careers — not so many tries, but lots of ‘conversions’” (Mark Parry); “Keep practising, and you might get a conversion” (Laurence Roughton); “Just kick it over the Vatican balcony and you’ll get a conversion” (Peter Sebbage); “Surely a conversion should be worth more than a try?” (Nick Goulding); “This conversion business — you just have to aim high enough” (Mary Hawkins).
When it comes to which team to support, many face a test of loyalties. “His Holiness had great difficulty deciding whether he should be supporting Italy or Argentina in this competition” (Richard Hough); “The bishop explained to the Pope that the Argentina rugby team would like him to bless the ball for their game with Italy, in the hope that they would experience a legitimate ‘Hand of God’ moment and win the match” (Mervyn Cox); “Oh, please bless it, Holy Father: Italy haven’t won a Six Nations match since 2015” (Martin Kettle); “If you kick it over the posts there, you’ve got a good chance to get in the Italian side” (Anne Bridle).
Other makes of rugby ball are available: “I believe Fr Gilbert is in the balcony” (John Paul Bonner); “Your Holiness, I understand the Italian rugby team is about to join the Gilbertine Order” (Richard Spray); “Sorry, I am not Pope Gilbert” (Chris Coupe); “Oh, I’m Gilbert the filbert, the colonel of the nuts. . . What do you mean, convert the try? I’m here to convert souls” (Geoffrey Robinson); “Gilbert? They’re sponsoring the Sistine Chapel this season” (Rob Falconer).
Some other entries for your amusement: “It is the Archbishop of Canterbury who has put the ball into the papal court” (Brian Stevenson); “It came from that team over there, Your Holiness. They’re shouting ‘Please can we have our ball back’ (with a blessing, of course)” (Jonathan Haigh); “I thought you tackled him rather well, Your Grace” (Kim Willing); “It’s the ecumenical question: my League or our Union” (Michael Doe); “Your Holiness heard me correctly, there’s a hooker needing the ball back” (Luke Sanderson); “‘The Arizona Cardinals want you to bless this ball so they can auction it in a good cause.’ ‘What a splendid idea. I sometimes wish I could auction a a few cardinals myself’” (Ray Morris); “This wasn’t quite what the Pope had expected when he agreed to give an audience to the ‘Northampton Saints’” (Lesley Cope).
“With injury and illness in the Vatican, an unexpected recruit has been drawn in to face the Archbishop of Canterbury’s XV” (Don Manley); “As high as you can — we are, after all, the Roman Catholic Church” (Michael Foster); “It was one of those priests over there . . . wearing All Black” (Carolyn Owens); “Give it back, Holy Father, or there might be a mass brawl” (Jonathan Jeffery); “The Vatican team did not have a wide choice of players” (Vicky Deasley); “Switching over to pope-per-view for rugby big screen matches” (Dawn Quadling); “And that, Your Holiness, is a cross-field kick!” (Pearl Davison); “Don’t worry about your next post, it’s these posts that matter” (Janet Stockton); “It’s the Patriarch. He says, he’s not playing any more and he wants his ball back” (Caroline Shuttleworth); “You’ll have to throw it back, or you’ll be in the sin bin” (Howard Reeve); “And then all you need to do is dive over that line” (Barry Osborne); “Whatever the replay shows, I scored that try fair and square. To say otherwise might prove to be a cardinal error” (Paul Crabb).
As ever, the winner receives a prize of Fairtrade chocolate, courtesy of Divine Chocolate. divinechocolate.com