This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Muslims offended by Fireman Sam

Following the bizarre incident in which the Fireman Sam programme was found guilty of Islamophobic "hate crime" after one character trod on a page from the Koran, other characters from children's programmes have got themselves into trouble.

Fireman Sam

"Sorry, I thought it was just an Arabic translation of Amoris Laetitia."

First up is Thomas the Tank Engine, where the introduction of a locomotive called Mohammed the Muslim Engine has been seen as a direct insult to the Prophet, especially as this engine is used to transport "unclean" meat, including sausages and bacon. However, the producers of the show had in fact made a special effort to appease Islamic fundamentalists, as the picture below shows.

train under wraps

Fatima the Express Train was made to wear a burka.

The Teletubbies, Messrs Tinky-Winky (possibly homosexual), Dipsy (clearly a heavy drinker), Laa-Laa (named after the atheist icon, Lalla Ward?) and Po (probably a coded reference to "Mo") are also in receipt of a fatwah, for embodying virtually all the vices known to Muslims.


Symbols of western decadence.

Finally, one more children's programme that has been deemed to cause offence to Muslims is the Canadian TV show The Holy and Blessed Coren, in which the hero, Michael Coren, tries out a new religion every week. Oh dear.

Michael Coren

"Read my book Why Muslims are Right!"

Monday, 25 July 2016

Peter's Pence or the Mark of Kaine?

Many of my American readers have asked me, "Eccles, how would a saved person vote in the forthcoming American presidential election?" Apparently, the democratic process has produced a choice between a Republican regarded by approximately 3/4 of the population as a completely mad egomaniac, and a Democrat regarded by approximately 3/4 of the population as evil incarnate, whose actions and beliefs would even embarrass Lucifer. So you lose either way.

Frankenstein and bride

Two political leaders discuss foreign affairs.

Well, good luck, Americans, in finding someone to vote for. I suggest a write-in vote for the world's greatest American, Cardinal Dolan Burke.

So let's assume that Trump chokes on his wig, or that Hillary is escorted down to Hell by a demon. Time for the vice-president to take over! And now nothing can go wrong, as both Mike Pence and Tim Kaine are Catholics. Sort of...

Mike Pence is a born-again evangelical Catholic. Now don't worry if you don't know what these are, as Uncle Mike doesn't really know either. As far as we can ascertain they are Anglo-Lutheran Catholics with a dash of Aztec. It was so much simpler when Mr Pence was a simple (Roman) Catholic. At least he seems to be against abortion and same-sex "marriage", almost as if he were a member of a Church for grown-ups.


Actually, I think these are the Westboro Baptists. Sorry.

Which brings us to Tim Kaine. A "Catholic" educated by Jesuits; so obviously the usual suspects - James Martin SJ and Thomas Reese SJ - are delighted. He's Catholic, but not TOO Catholic, right? He reckons Jesus got it wrong on same-sex marriage. He is backed by Planned Parenthood, the place you go to whenever you need a freshly-killed baby. There's no danger that anyone is ever going to persecute him for his beliefs!

Kaine certificate

Probably a forgery.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Welcome to World Oldie Day

As a special concession to Catholics who have passed the age of 30 and thus no longer feel that they count as "yoof", Pope Francis has agreed to institute a World Oldie Day. Since Kraków, the site of World Youth Day, is obviously too exciting a place, it has been agreed to hold the event in Eastbourne, where the population's average age is already over 70.

Listening attentively to Pope Francis.

Said one oldie, Fred Methuselah, 95, "I no longer feel able to enjoy the benefits of World Youth Day, including standing in a muddy field in the pouring rain with a large crowd, participating in special liturgical abuses such as obtaining my Communion from a vending machine, or even taking part in mysterious Jesuit events called "Ignatian experiments"; the W.O.D. is far more to my taste."

Ignatian Experiments.

For many bishops, attending World Youth Day is something of a nightmare, although many of them nobly turn up in order to support the young folk. "We're being very ecumenical in Kraków this year," commented one bishop who was putting a brave face on things. "They've got that young chap, Cliff Richard, doing a gig. This is what really appeals to the youth of today."

Bishops Dancing at WYD in Rio.

"Still," he continued, "it is embarrassing for someone in their 70s to be cavorting around like a teenager. I've been told that the WOD in Eastbourne will have none of that, merely an evening of liturgical ballroom dancing at the Kieran Conry Dance Hall, for those who really want it. Or there's Catholic Bingo: Laudato Si', 23! Letter from Joseph Shaw, 44! We're all off to Heaven, 67!"

Said one deacon, "One tradition that we're keeping is that of getting a flashmob of people dressed as nuns to do wild dances. We don't expect the over-80s to take part in this (except perhaps for the ever-youthful Cardinal Cormac), but some of us in our 40s and 50s can still 'groove it', as the saying goes."

Some of these could be mistaken for real nuns!

If you can't make it to WYD, then do join us at WOD! You can book through Saga Holidays.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Vincent Nichols spells it out


Dear Priests of the Archdiocese of Westminster,

You have probably read in the Tablet about a misguided statement from Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, suggesting that some priests might like to consider the possibility, perhaps, if it not too much trouble, and nobody minds, of maybe going so far as celebrating some Masses ad orientem.

For those of you under the age of 60 who won't have learnt any Latin, this is the Language of Satan's way of saying "with your back turned rudely towards the congregation, making it hard for them to take selfies with you during Mass".

Cardinal Sarah ad orientem

I'm so glad to see the back of Cardinal Sarah.

Now I wouldn't go as far as my mentor, Cardinal Kasper, who said "Blimey! Those fuzzy-wuzzy priests are getting a bit above themselves, aren't they?" but it is clear to me that my own opinions - those of a cardinal who is, dare I say it, papabile - must outweigh any ideas put forward by some jumped-up chap from the CDW who has clearly never thought about the issue.

May I remind you all that the General Instruction of the Roman Missal - which has come down to us unchanged from the days of Moses - explicitly says that the altar should be pulled back from the wall so that the cleaners can easily dust it, and this means NO FACING EAST OR YOU WILL GO TO HELL.

Vin being a Hindu

On rare occasions, facing East is unavoidable.

May I also emphasise that the celebration of the Church’s Liturgy is not a place in which priests are to exercise personal preference or taste - it is MY personal preference and taste that should be your guide in all things, even when people from the CDW say otherwise. I've even got the Pope on my side - well, I've got Lombardi and Rosica, and the Holy Father always backs up what they say, if he doesn't want to find caterpillars in his bed.

So I'm sure you'll all agree that, as your ordinary - and I have always tried to be as ordinary as possible - all matters of liturgy, doctrine, morals, and choice of football team to support are my decision and mine only. So belt up, the lot of you.


And my fan club, the Mini Vinnies, agrees with me!

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Pokémon Go - catch those cardinals!

Yes, it's the new game that's sweeping the Catholic Church - Pokémon Go! The rules are very simple: scattered around the world are 212 funny little creatures known as "cardinals" and your job is to "catch" them all!

Vincent Nichols and Theresa May

Theresa May takes time off her busy schedule to catch the cheeky Nicol.

The Pokémon cardinals can turn up in a variety of odd places - some have even been sighted in churches wandering around in circles trying to decide whether to face east or west. The greatest density of the creatures is in Rome, but nowhere - however unlikely - can be ruled out. The Baldisseri was seen playing "Chopsticks" on the piano at the London Oratory, while others have been seen hiding (badly) among dancing girls.

Dolan and the girls

Another sighting! The tubby creature known as Donut.

To "catch" a cardinal, you need to go up to him and give him the "kiss of peace". This can be anything from a formal handshake to a full-scale passionate hug. But be careful! These funny creatures like to hide (except for some, who seem to be everywhere).

Kasper and Rosica

He's behind you! Old Kaspa hides from Pokémon-addict Thomas Rosica.

Pope Francis is known to be a Pokémon fan, but this is mainly so that he can keep track of his cardinals and block them from any liturgical practices that date from before Vatican II. Other celebrity Catholics regularly seen hunting for cardinals include Damian Thompson, Tina Beattie ("only 3 of the cardinals are actually women" she complains), and even Michael Voris. But the game is not limited to Catholics, and many others are becoming addicted to it...

Vincent Nichols and the Hindu

"I've got one!" A Hindu holy man joins in the fun.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Face East, young man, and dress properly

Two news items have dominated the press this week: one Catholic, and one Anglican.


A moral compass for priests.

First, Cardinal Sarah, the leading "stop Tagle" candidate for the next papacy, has reminded priests to celebrate Mass ad orientem, starting in Advent. This is generally regarded as the start of the pantomime season, and any priests seen facing the wrong way at Mass are liable to be greeted by shouts of "He's behind you!" So far we have not heard any disagreement from Fr James Martin SJ, himself an experienced pantomine dame, who is willing to face either way.

James Martin having a rave-up

"The Holy Spirit is female!" Oh no, he isn't!

Facing God is a concept popularly believed to have disappeared after Vatican II, along with Latin, Sin and Redemption, so it is interesting to hear from a Cardinal who is prepared to reject the Spirit of Vatican II.

selfie in Mass

Whatever else is happening, remember to take a selfie during Mass!

LATE NEWS: IN a letter to his priests, Cardinal Nicholas has explicitly disagreed with the Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. However, we think there may be an explanation.

Sarah and Nichols

"Do celebrate ad orientem, Vin. So many people want to see the back of you."

Over at the Church of England, the big debate is over what clothes the vicars should be allowed to wear in church.

bucolic priest

The Rev. Worzel Gummidge recommends the rural (scarecrow) look.

We recently visited Father Gummidge's Church, and heard a delightful anthem from Galton and Simpson, entitled Beta vulgaris in horto, which begins

I've got mangel-wurzels in my garden, 
I've got mangel-wurzels in my shed,
I've got mangel-wurzels in my bathroom, 
And a mangel-wurzel for a head.

Here is another example of Synod-approved vestments:

clowns and Bible

Protestant ministers (as is well known Catholics don't read the Bible).

Yes, times are definitely changing. Our final picture of some Episcopalian bishopesses shows an example of quiet dignity. Church services are not there just for religion - they are also there for displays of fashion, and they give our costume holy women (and men) a way of recycling their old curtains!

wimmen bishops

True holiness.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Chilcot report on the Reformation awaited

This week sees the publication of Sir John Chilcot's long-awaited report on the Reformation in England. In 1553, Queen Mary appointed Chilcot to conduct this enquiry into the circumstances surrounding the 1534 attack on the Catholic Church, but it has taken Sir John 463 years to come to some definite conclusions.

medieval monk with quill pen

Sir John Chilcot begins to draft his report.

It is likely that the lion's share of the blame for the action that led to the death of thousands and destroyed monasteries will fall to Henry VIII, also known as "Tudy". Although initially a very popular ruler among his subjects, and elected with a huge majority in 1509, Tudy is now universally regarded as a cruel and greedy despot. Tudy was aided by his sidekick "Alastair" Cromwell, with his famous claim that the Pope had weapons of Mass Destruction targeted on the Archbishop of Canterbury, and that they could be deployed within 45 minutes.

Fountains Abbey

Fountains Abbey was destroyed, but no WMDs were ever found.

Of course Henry Tudy has long since departed from public life, and is believed to be living a quiet life in retirement under the name of Brian Blessed. It is unlikely that he will be impeached for war crimes at this late stage.

It is generally agreed that the Catholic Church in England has still not fully recovered from Tudy's War, even after nearly 500 years. A succession of puppet rulers has been put in place - most recently Car-din al-Cormac and Car-din al-Nichols - but they have not succeeded in restoring the ancient glories of Cath-liq.

Nichols and Westminster Cathedral

Al-Nichols stands outside the Grand Mosque.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

The Sockpuppets of the Vatican

One of the most curious cases that I ever encountered with my friend Sherlock Holmes took us to the eternal city of Rome.

selfie Rome

The Vatican!

"So, Watson, we have been called in to investigate how the Vatican City, which numbers a mere 840 people, managed to attract 42,000 signatures for an online petition demanding a second EU referendum."

"But Holmes, why do they want another referendum, anyway?"

"Really, Watson, that is childishly simple. They got an answer they did not like, so naturally they wanted to run the vote again. But we are faced here with the interesting case of the Sockpuppets of the Vatican."

"But the Vatican, Holmes? Is this not a crime that one associates more with dens of iniquity such as North Korea or Chiswick?"

Holmes nodded his assent, took out his violin, and played some haunting selections from the works of Paul Inwood. I hurriedly fled into another room, knowing that I could do nothing about my friend's addiction to bad music.

pope Francis and Baldisseri

"Now, Lorenzo, here is the list of sockpuppet accounts that you asked for."

When all was peaceful again, I had a suggestion to make.

"Could it be the doing of Cardinal Baldisseri?" I asked. "He is an experienced manipulator of synods, and maybe he has moved into other forms of chicanery."

"I think not, Watson. His hands are full with another matter. Following requests that the last papal conclave be re-run, on the grounds that the St Gallen Mafia had fixed it, he has been masterminding his own response.

Indeed, a giant petition signed by 42,000 cardinals - some with previously unknown names such as Cardinal Eccles, Cardinal Custard and Cardinal Biggles - has expressed its complete and utter faith in the election of Pope Francis. Baldisseri has had no time for other activities."

Pope Benedict XVI

Another suspect?

I then suggested that Emeritus Pope Benedict, who had retired from the Chair of St Peter, expressing the wish to spend more time in "praying, tweeting and checking up on spiritually nourishing blogs", might have a hand in the sockpuppetry.

"I did indeed consider him as a possible suspect," agreed Holmes. "After telegraphing to my agents in Bavaria, I even discovered that 'Benedict' is not his real name, and that he is known to his oldest friends as 'Holy Joe'. However, he was definitely otherwise engaged when the crime was committed. No, he is not the Napoleon of Crime that we seek."

Meanwhile, the word "Napoleon" had triggered something in Holmes's mind. "Watson, this is definitely a three-prayer problem. Leave me in peace to meditate in St Peter's Basilica - you will recognise it by the moving picture about monkeys playing on the outside - and we shall see if divine inspiration arrives."

After a restful doze through a three-hour sermon from Cardinal Kasper on "Why fornication is the new marriage", Holmes had a new suspect.


Fr Napoleon Rosica? Surely not!

"No, that's impossible," he said. "Surely there must be some other explanation..."

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Pope says Catholics should apologise to the Jesuits

In his latest aeroplane conversations, Pope Francis was asked whether he agreed with Cardinal "Rhino" Marx's recent suggestion that the Catholic Church should apologise to Jesuits. As an SJ himself, Pope Francis agreed that Jesuits should not be discriminated against, but should be respected and accompanied pastorally.

Rhino Marx

"Rhino" Marx: "The Church has been very negative about Jesuits".

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that being of an SJ orientation is not in itself sinful, but acts of a Jesuitical nature (e.g. dishonesty, distorting Church teaching, going around with a silly smug grin on one's face, and other things not suitable for a family blog) are indeed considered sinful;. Accordingly, SJs who happen to be Catholic should try to abstain from such acts. We recall Pope Francis's earlier words "If a Jesuit is genuinely seeking God, then who am I to judge?"

3 clowns

Showing mercy to Fr James Martin S.J.

But now the Holy Father has now gone further, and insisted that the Catholic Church should apologise to the SJ Community for any offence it has given over the years. This has not gone down well with the more traditional commentators, many of whom regard Jesuitism as a lifestyle choice (and are shocked by "SJ" marches), rather than something intrinsic.

Jesuit day

Fr Thomas Reese SJ gives offence by participating in an SJ event.

Many Catholics point to the Bible, quoting phrases such as "brood of vipers" and "whited sepulchres", which are traditionally held to refer to people of an SJ orientation. (St Paul is even ruder...) However, in this year of Mercy we should try and forget these uncomfortable words, says Pope Francis, knowing that Christ Himself would have been horrified to think that He was causing a minute's offence to anyone.

John the Baptist apologises to Salome for his rudeness.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

The Book of Brexodus, Chapter 6

Continued from Chapter 5.

1. So the children of Britain came finally to vote on whether they should remain in the land of EUgypt.

2. And half of them said "stay", and half said "go", but slightly more said "go". So it was decided that the people should leave the courts of Juncker.

3. And Cam-aaron was exceedingly grieved, and said "Alas, I cannot take you into the wilderness: I shall resign my position as High Priest, and eke out a humble existence advising the rich and powerful, eating massive dinners, and giving speeches to those who can afford me."

4. For this had earlier been done by the great warlord Blair, he who had conquered the lands of Mesopotamia, at least briefly.

Dave and Sam Cameron

Cam-aaron and his handmaiden prepare for a life of riches.

5. However, many of those who had voted to remain in the courts of Juncker the Pharaoh lamented in deep distress: indeed they wept for several days, refusing to be comforted.

6. Some spake out with a voice of wrath, saying "We must vote again, as the common people have given us the wrong answer." And others, more gentle, suggested, "Er, best of three?"

7. Said one man: "It is mostly the fault of the aged men, who voted to leave. For, as it is written, God giveth wisdom to the young man, and folly to the old."

8. Said another: "Indeed, my son is sore distressed that he could not vote. He is only two but he hath a mighty grasp of the issues."

clever baby


9. Next, a great petition was born, with ten thousand times ten thousand signatures, mostly in the names of the puppets that are called Sock.

10. And others, who had earlier voted to leave, spake out, saying "I knew not that I was voting to leave. For I thought that I had entered my name into a prize draw, that I might win a camel or at least a box of dates."

11. Then another man, whose name was Lammy, which is to say, "Stupid", cried out with a loud voice, saying "Let us ignore the vote completely. For the voters are not blessed with wisdom such as I possess."

Lammy's gaffe

On another day, Lammy commenteth on the election of a High Priest.

12. Thus no man could tell whether the will of the people would prevail, and whether Bosis would indeed be able to lead his people towards the promised land.

To be continued.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Justin Welby and Vincent Nichols resign

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Vincent Nichols, Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, offered their shock resignations today, following the referendum in which the people of the UK voted to leave the EU.

Welby and Nichols

Unskilled workers: no reasonable offer of employment refused.

Welby and Nichols had campaigned vigorously for "Remain", convinced that the EU was God's own system of government, and that Jean-Claude Juncker was a truly holy man, beloved of the Lord. Discovering, however, that they had called it wrong and that God probably regards Juncker as a bit of a prat, the two Archbishops have realised that their positions as pastoral leaders are untenable.

Mary and Juncker

Spot the difference. (Justin and Vincent didn't!)

Meanwhile, you may judge your own attitude to the European Union, by deciding which of these hymns best reflects your reaction to the result of the referendum.

1. O God our help in ages past.
2. Now thank we all our God.
3. God moves in a mysterious way.

Tardis removals

God moves in a mysterious way.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

The Book of Brexodus, Chapter 5

Continued from Chapter 4

1. So the great day approached, on which the children of Britain were to vote. Should they stay in EUgypt, or seek the promised land flowing with milk and honey?

2. And there spake out many learned people, some of whom wished to stay, and some to go.

3. For example, there was a man named John, also called Cleese, who wished to leave. Meeting some Germanites, he spake out, saying "Do not mention the war," and, on another occasion, said of his servant, "I'm sorry, he is from Bar-celona."

Fawlty Towers Germans

John preacheth to the Germanites.

4. While, on the other side, there was Edward, he that was known as Izzard, who wore a wondrous hat, but said nothing very memorable.

Izzard and Farage

Edward preacheth while dressed up as Eccles's Anti Moly.

5. However, following the tragic slaying of Jo Cox, the Remainites of Cam-aaron and the Leavites of Bosis came together in a show of unity, saying, "Now is the time to put aside our differences, and to speak peace one to another."

6. And this era of peace lasted for approximately five minutes.


A debate on the Common Agricultural Policy.

7. Then the people shouted out with a multitude of voices:

8. "The Leavites are traitors!" "The Remainites are frauds!"

9. "Cam-aaron is a cheat!" "Bosis is a liar!"

10. "The Leavites have got bad breath!" "The Remainites never wash their feet!"

11. "Vipers!" "Scorpions!" "Toads!" "Locusts!"


A typical Leavite/Remainite (you decide).

12. "If we remain, we shall be slaves!" "If we leave, we shall be ruined!"

13. "There will be war!" "There will be disease!" "There will be famine!" "There will be a lack of free bus passes!"

14. "Boil thy head!" "Shut thy gob!" "Stuff it!" "Bog off!"

15. And thus it was seen that the politicians, the celebrities (the actors, the footballers, and other leading opinion-formers), and even the bishops and professors, had finally learned how to act as adults.

Geldof v-sign

St Robert of Geldof discusseth fishing quotas.

16. In the words of the apostle Paul, "When I was a child, I spake as a child. But now that I am a man, I still speak as a child. So Nah, Nah, Nah to the lot of you!"

Continued in Chapter 6.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

How to be a Good Pope 4

Continued from Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

As we have pointed out before, it is quite likely that one or two of our readers will end up as popes; or, if not, as mothers of popes, fathers of popes, etc. You therefore need to know how good popes behave - and if you are the parent of an errant pope, to say "Bosco, stop being silly!" at the right moment.

Pope Francis and his parents

"Give 'em Hell, Jorge!" says Maria Regina Sivori.

Now, it is the duty of all popes to challenge the faithful, by saying things that will make them think. So you could tell them "Most Catholic marriages are invalid, because Catholics have not read my lovely book Appassionata Erotica, complete with amusing footnotes." This will go down well, and probably lead to husbands and wives walking out, children being abandoned in the street as "invalid", and everyone saying what a wise pope you must be. Then, when nobody is looking, change "Most are" to "Some are", or "One or two may be", or "I heard a rumour that there was one", just in case anyone asks you for some definite facts.

Of course marriage is not the only way to have a relationship with someone. You can cheer up your flock by saying that relationships based on fornication are just as good really. Who needs the sacrament of marriage? If nobody ever married, then adultery and divorce would vanish from the face of the earth! In the new modern streamlined church we can also get rid of ordinations, baptisms, marriages... You can go down in history as the pope who sent everyone to Heaven - believers or unbelievers - without any fussing about.

Lennon and Yoko

A model for the modern Catholic Church.

When discussing relationships you should of course be "gay-friendly". In the words of Saint John Lennon, "All you need is love!" Why not fly the rainbow flag over the Vatican, or organize a "Vatican Pride" event? A few of those stuffy traditionalists will object, but you will be able to convince the secular public that "We all believe the same thing, really". Then expect to receive extravagant praise from that ultimate arbiter of morals, Fr James Martin SJ - as pope you'll know that means you've "arrived"!

Monday, 20 June 2016

Baroness Warsi quits the Catholic Church

In a stunning body-blow to the Catholic Church, Sayeeda Hussein Warsi, also known as Baroness Warsi, has announced that from now on she is joining the Muslims, acknowledging the prophet Mohammed as her redeemer and saviour. This high-profile defection is so calamitous that Cardinal Nichols will probably have to resign, and even the papacy itself is threatened.

The reasons given are that Warsi could no longer stand the hatred and nastiness she encountered in the Catholic Church. However, as far as we know she has never even met Fr Thomas Rosica, so it is not clear what the problem was.


"I'm not a turncoat," insists Baroness Warsi.

The most remarkable aspect of this defection is that - as with her high-profile "defection" on the Brexit referendum - nobody had the faintest idea that she was ever on the other side.

LATE NEWS: Baroness Warsi has spoken out again, saying, "From now on I identify as a woman, and anyone who refers to me as 'Fred Warsi' is guilty of a transphobic hate crime." The mother-of-one has made it clear that she is does not wish to be regarded as a member of the racist, xenophobic, nasty, male sex. In this case, we are happy to go along with her wishes.

Pope and tiger

"Don't worry, he only attacks Catholics."

In other news, the Pope has "defected" to the Catholic Church.