Oddly, this rather obscure story was reported on NPR, CNN, Fox News, and the New York Post, so there is a good chance that you may already have heard about this incident.
To summarise, Southwark Cathedral, the Anglican cathedral south of the river Thames, had a resident cat which was cared for by the dean’s verger, Paul Timms. She had her own Twitter account (twitter.com/doorkinsm) and was the subject of a book, Doorkins the Cathedral Cat, by Lisa Gutwein, wife of the deputy dean’s verger. The cathedral also sells a range of Doorkins merchandise. The likeness of Doorkins is now preserved in the form of a corbel on the north side of the retrochoir.
Therefore, when Doorkins died, the cathedral held a Service of Thanksgiving. All seemed to be well until the bishop of Burnley, the Rt Revd Philip North, tweeted a reply to the dean of Southwark, the Very Revd Andrew Nunn:
Is this a joke? I do hope so. If not it’s grossly insensitive to bereaved families and those ministering to them in the NW under the regional Coronavirus restrictions.— Bishop Philip (@BpBurnley) October 27, 2020
The reaction to the bishop’s message was overwhelmingly negative, but I cannot help feeling that he has a point. With much of the country under regional lockdowns, and the whole of the country only recently released from a national lockdown, many people have been prevented from attending funerals and memorial services for their human relatives and friends. There is no suggestion that the memorial service was illegal, but I do wonder whether it was perhaps somewhat frivolous and self-indulgent to hold such a service under the circumstances at the time.