From a cache of papyri unearthed in the Egyptian desert, and now conserved in the John Rylands Library in Manchester, there has emerged a pericope which seems to have been part of a very early version of the Gospel according to Luke. We quote it here in the Geza Vermes translation:
“Two Cardinals went into the Vatican to pray, one a Liberal the other a Traditionalist.
Standing in the full glare of the world’s media the Liberal prayed aloud:
‘God, I thank you that I am not as other men are – mean, narrow and judgemental. And especially that I am not Pharisaical, like this traditionalist here. I am open, generous and LGBT-friendly. I thank you that I am more like Jesus than these others, who exalt law above mercy, and show neither empathy nor compassion’.
The Traditionalist (knowing that the world’s media were likely to give him a bad press) tried to keep a low profile, and in the silence of his own heart he prayed:
‘Lord, help me, a sinner, in all things to do your will.’
‘Now which of these,’ said Jesus, turning to his disciples, ‘do you think returned to his home justified?’
And they said to him: ‘The one who strove to do your will.’
And Jesus said to them: ‘Go and do likewise.’”