Times, as everyone knows, are hard and as Cardinal Keith O’Brien resigns I’m sure we’ll all wish him well in whatever career direction he decides to take.
But what career options are there for a man with religious training ?
Here are my top three.
Harold Davidson, the Rector of Stiffkey , was defrocked at Norwich Cathedral on 21 October 1932, on charges of immorality, after which he exploited his notoriety by making a living in various forms of seaside entertainment.
In 1937 Davidson worked in Skegness, where he was billed as “A modern Daniel in a lion’s den”. He would enter a cage with a lion called Freddie and a lioness called Toto, and talk for about ten minutes about the injustice he felt had been done out to him. On 28 July, he was moving through his act when he accidentally tripped on the tail of the lioness, the lion attacked and mauled him.
He died from his injuries.
In 1894, when Joseph Stalin was sixteen, he received a scholarship to attend the Georgian Orthodox Tiflis Theological Seminary in Tbilisi. Although his performance had been satisfactory, he was expelled in 1899 after missing his final exams.
Stalin became leader of the Soviet Union from 1922 until his death on 16 October 1952. In those 30 years as leader he is thought to be responsible for between 40 and 60 million deaths.
In 1828 Charles Darwin attended Christ’s College, Cambridge, and studied for a Bachelor of Arts degree as the first step towards becoming an Anglican parson but despite doing very well in his exams in 1931 he later that same year, on 27 December 1831, set sail on The Beagle.
Almost 30 years later Charles Darwin published ‘On the Origin of Species’, on 24 November 1859. One of the most important scientific books ever to go into print, it rocked the religious institutions of Great Britain and the world.
So it would seem that the potential career paths for former Cardinal Keith O’Brien are many and varied.
I’m hopeful that readers will come up with other examples which I can add to this list.