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Bishop Bob #1

by Lionel E. Deimel


There once was a bishop named Bob

Who was unfulfilled in his job;

To be a big fish

Was his passionate wish,

So he’d lie, cheat, deceive, plot, and rob.



Bishop Bob #2

by Lionel E. Deimel


There once was a bishop named Bob

Who yearned to become a nawab;?

Soon a canon named Vicky,

Whose sex life was icky,

Spurred the bishop to seek a new job.





The “Bob” in these limericks is Robert W. Duncan, who was Episcopal Bishop of Pittsburgh in 2006. I wrote these poems in April of that year with the help of someone whose identity I don’t recall. I lost track of the limericks and  rediscovered them years later.

Bishop Robert DuncanBishop Duncan had been plotting the removal of the diocese from the Episcopal Church, ostensibly over theological differences. Two years later, he partially succeeded, separating a majority of its parishes from the diocese but failing to abscond with the diocese itself and a smaller number of its parishes. The schism was effected only after the Episcopal Church had deposed Duncan, removing him as a priest of the church.

Some further background is needed to appreciate these poems. “A canon named Vicky” in the second poem refers to Vicky Gene Robinson, a canon and gay man who was elected Bishop of New Hampshire. (Robinson’s odd given name resulted from his parents, anticipating a female child, being presented instead with a male infant born at death’s door.) Bob Duncan opposed homosexuality and the ordination of homosexuals. The church’s stance regarding homosexuals was a major rationale Duncan cited justifying his schismatic actions.

“Nawab,” also in the second poem, is likely unfamiliar to most readers. It is pronounced with the accent on the second syllable. It is a synonym of “nabob,” a more common word but one that would have created an inferior rhyme.

— LED, 4/6/2023

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