Dis is me, Eccles

Dis is me, Eccles
Dis is me, Eccles

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Final report of the Synod on the Family

N.B. Texts in red did not achieve the necessary 2/3 majority, but have been kept in the report just in case the Holy Spirit changes His mind next year.

Vin at synod

"I can't remember meeting Kieran Conry, but I know he's a good family man."

1. We've all had a jolly good fortnight's Synodding, and we particularly appreciated Signora Odone's scrumptious cakes.

2. Homosexual partnerships are great, so much more exciting than heterosexual ones in many ways; we can't see what all the fuss is about, really.

3. No women bishops; Bible still preferred to Koran; polygamy not on offer yet; but all Masses to be in Italian from now on.

4. The Anglicans are fine fellows, so let's do what they do in future. Why should we be any different?

Welby and Pope Francis

"Your arguments are very convincing, Mr Welby."

5. The Sistine Chapel is a great place for concerts, parties, liturgical discos, bar mitzvahs (Jewish), public floggings (Muslim), and hiring out for corporate events. Indeed, we're having some "my other cardinal's in a Porsche" stickers made.

6. From now on, everything said by Cardinal Kasper is infallible doctrine.

7. In the elegant words of St Louise of Mensch: if you're a remarried divorcee, it's wrong to take communion. Is that so hard to understand, dummy?

8. No Africans to be invited to future synods, they really don't understand Western secular culture. Cardinal Kasper never mentioned Africans. Any tape-recordings you have made are forgeries.

Cardinal Napier

Cardinal Napier gatecrashes the synod, disguised as a Yorkshireman.

9. Notwithstanding pressure from the BBC, Guardian and Tablet, we're still basically fans of Christ's teaching, and we think He got most of it right.

10. Raymond Burke is a nasty traddy and we hates him we hates him we hates him is making the Pope look foolish; he will be sent to sort out Arundel and Brighton the Knights of Malta.

Bergoglio and Burke

Even in his days as a chemist, Mr Bergoglio had it in for Mr Burke.

11. Let us now sing Lewis Carroll's moving "Cardinal Kasper song". The first four lines, at least, go quite well to the tune of "Dear Lord and Father of Mankind".

He thought he saw an Argument
That proved he was the Pope:
He looked again, and found it was
A Bar of Mottled Soap.
'A fact so dread,' he faintly said,
'Extinguishes all hope!' 

12. Notwithstanding the above, new Catholic doctrine will continue to be developed by the Pope by means of informal interviews of which no proper record is taken, or by telephone conversations to random people.

Conclusion: We should not throw stones at people, but it is all right to throw bread rolls.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Cardinals quarrel over which television show to watch

More controversy has broken out in Rome at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, where senior cardinals have been arguing over which Vatican television station to watch in the evening, when they relax after a hard days synodding. As readers will know, there are two Vatican television stations, Vatican Trad and Vatican Mod, and they broadcast "Vetus" and "Novus" forms of the same television shows.

Sisterhood of Karn

The sisterhood of Karn, from the Brain of Morbius.

It is believed that the quarrel started when Cardinal Kasper decided to switch over from Vatican Trad, which was showing a Doctor Who story, The Brain of Morbius, starring Tom Baker, to Vatican Mod, which was showing a Matt Smith story about lesbian lizards. Apparently, he felt that the (chaste) order of the Sisters of the Sacred Flame, as featured in the Morbius story, was too old-fashioned, and he considered it to be nearly as bad as the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. In any case the sisterhood did not sufficiently respect the value of homosexual relationships, and they certainly showed no sign of being Tablet-readers.

It is reported that Cardinal Pell, who had been enjoying the Tom Baker story, went over to the television and switched channels back again - being a traditionalist he would not use a TV remote control - and the evening continued with bickering and channel-switching for several hours.

Brain of Morbius

The Brain of Kasper, said to be guiding the Synod.

The next evening, Vatican Trad was showing an old Sherlock Holmes film starring Basil Rathbone, while Vatican Mod was showing the modernist version, Sherlock. This time Cardinal Burke arrived first, and was comfortably seated in front of the Hound of the Baskervilles, when his enjoyment of the film was ruined by the arrival of Cardinal Kasper, who sat himself down and switched over to the Benedict Cumberbatch story, Sherlock, while asserting confidently, "Pope Francis prefers this version of the story, it's much more tolerant and merciful towards divorced, remarried, unmarried, or multiply-married families."

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson

Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, in a pre-Vatican II story.

In the end, it was decided to let Cardinal Napier - invited in as a token African - decide which television station would henceforth be the preferred medium for Synod 14, although at the time of writing his decision was not yet known. However, we have heard on the grapevine that Pope Francis himself is not interested in television, but prefers the humbler and simpler life of a radio-listener. We must wait a little longer to see whether he prefers modern programmes or more traditional ones.

goon show

Pope Pius XII was a great fan of the Goon Show (suitable for saved persons).

Thursday, 16 October 2014

In praise of Cardinal Kasper

Coo-ee, Wally-babes!!?? Your Eminence, I mean!!?? It's little Judy Piranha here, the Nun on the Number 6 Bus, Entertainments Officer (!!) at the Convent of Naughtiness!!?? First of all, an apology!!?? I was rude about you my previous post, but that's because I thought you were a nasty traddy, like most princes of the Church!!?? Now I see that you're a sort of Prince Harry of the Church, and you like a good time just as much as the rest of us, baby!!??

Kasper's puppet theatre!

The logo of the Extraordinary General Synod on the Family.

So, Wally, dear, you're right about those NASTY African cardinals!!?? We shouldn't listen to them!!?? They're probably CANNIBALS in their spare time, or they do VOODOO, and some of them are WITCH-DOCTORS of the Church!!?? What can they tell us about Christian teaching, eh??!! Don't talk to me about St Augustine of Hippo!!?? He was an African too, and he probably did tribal dances in the jungle!!??

Now, take your own country, Germany, Walter mein Herr!!?? Throughout the 20th century it led the world in morality, compassion, and justice!!?? Well, except for HITLER!!?? And even Hitler was a vegetarian - so no taking bites out of passing sheep for him!!?? The only wool he ever chewed came out of the finest carpets!!?? So shut your face, Cardinal M'bongo (memo, check name!!), we don't want to hear from you and your brethren!!??

Judy Piranha!

Judy Piranha gets tough with the Africans!!??

Western secular values are great, aren't they??!! We're told that it's the age of free love, with sex with whomever you want, whenever you want - but this is what the Catholic Church is MISSING!!?? We could learn a lot from the ANGLICANS here!!?? They don't feel they have to take any notice of what somebody in the BIBLE said about MARRIAGE and the FAMILY!!?? No, they're getting lesbian bishops now, and FUN all the way!!?? Or indeed, take the ATHEISTS!!?? They're TOPS on morality!!?? They must be - when did you ever hear Richard Dawkins announce that he'd sinned!!??

Kasper's puppet theatre!

Meanwhile, back at the Synod...

That Relativism post deceptionem is great, isn't it??!! No more whining about GOD, SIN, etc. (YAWN!!), but just those simple words from Alice in Wonderland: Everybody has won, and all must have prizes!!?? Or, in the language used at Vatican II: FROM NOW ON, DO YOUR OWN THING, GUYS!!??

Never mind Cardinals Burke and Hare (memo, check name!!) Of COURSE the Relativism doesn't reflect the discussion so far!!?? It isn't supposed to!!?? It reflects WHERE WE'RE TRYING TO GET TO!!?? And I know Pope Francis agrees with me!!?? He phoned me up at the convent!!?? "Judy, my dear," he said. "You're leading the way in naughtiness, and that's WONDERFUL!!??"

Caucus Race

The Synod's conclusion: Everybody has won and all must have prizes!!??

So it's hats off - well, wimples off, and indeed anything else off that you fancy - to Wally Kasper!!?? With him in charge, the Catholic Church is going back to the 1960s, where it truly belongs!!?? Byeeeee!!??

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Eccles hears some confessions

During my time in Rome, participating in the very Extraordinary Synod on the Family, I went into St Peter's Basilica, and sat down for a nap in a confessional - as one does. This turned out to be a bad move, as I dreamed that various people came and confessed their sins to me, mistaking me for a priest (perhaps the red biretta had something to do with it).

Not a good place to take a nap.

Clearly, I cannot reveal who took part in my Confessional dream, and indeed I will try not to give any clues away.

"Father, my Relatio post disceptationem was intended as a bit of light relief after a hard week's listening to oddballs, but people are taking it seriously. There are even lunatics such as that comedy Jesuit who works for the National Catholic Reporter - what's his name, Rees-Mogg? - saying that my little updates to Christ's teaching were the work of the Holy Spirit, almost as if there were some great battle going on between two Persons of the Trinity. I thought my little Relatio wouldn't fool anyone, but even the traddies think I'm serious. Some are calling me Erdő the Weirdo..."

"... and I've got this hilarious idea called 'gradualism'."

"Father, I've been told I need to go to Confession, but we scrapped that sort of thing when I was running Arundel and Brighton. Still, if you want me to confess something, I daresay I can think of something. Er, I was Jack the Ripper all along, also I shot President Kennedy, kidnapped Shergar, and persuaded Nick Clegg to go into politics. Also I am secretly a member of ISIS, a freemason, and a Guardian-reader. Oh, and I killed Edwin Drood. What do you mean, I'm making up confessions again? Well, it's not as if I had any real sins to confess, is it?"

"Also I impersonated Ed West."

"Father, I admit it. I suppressed the Protect the Pope blog, and pretended that I hadn't. Deacon Donnelly was starting to discover where the bodies were buried, and people were leaning on me to stop him before he got too close. Tina Beattie said she was being mocked: her students were playing 'Heresy Bingo' when she lectured, and throwing paper darts at each other behind her back. The burden of my sins is intolerable, and all I have been able to do since then is to wander round the diocese having my photo taken eating and drinking. Also, I copied Eccles's idea of writing a humorous religious blog, and now people can't tell us apart. There will be no further statement on this matter."

An Eccles look-alike.

"Father, it's a fair cop. When we made Conry a bishop, I had a pretty good idea what he got up to in his spare time. In fact I saw his little black book of telephone numbers - well, a big black book, really! Still, Kieran was one of the 'lads' and it seemed only fair to do him a small favour by giving him a job. Also, I tried to get Damian Thompson sacked from the Telegraph because of his perpetual sneering at me. But that's not a sin, is it?"

The queue for confession never ends.

"Hello, Father, you know who I am, the world's most famous atheist theologian and retired biologist. Of course it isn't logical to talk about Good, Evil, Sin, Confession, Forgiveness and Redemption, ha ha. But I have got myself into a small dilemma. Christianity - and the Catholic Church in particular - seems to be flourishing now, even though I spend 16 hours a day condemning it on Twitter with all the most powerful materialistic arguments at my disposal. So I turned to condemning Islam instead, and look what happened! Half of New College, Oxford has joined ISIS, after hearing me sound off about Islam on High Table, and even my wife Lalla seems to have filled her wardrobe with niqabs, hijabs, burkas, and so on; also, she keeps surfing the web looking for holidays in Syria. What am I doing wrong?"

"Was it something I said?"

Monday, 13 October 2014

Catholic Church endorses a Dalek lifestyle

We have reached the half-time point of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, and the two teams have left the field to eat their oranges and have a pep talk from their managers (we won't mention the unseemly incident of the two captains, Cardinals Kasper and Burke, exchanging punches on the way to the changing-rooms).

To mark this stage, a provisional preliminary draft interim preprint "RANDOM WIBBLINGS" has been issued, setting out the Synod's conclusions so far. Apart from the insertion of the word "not" at certain key points, it is likely to be become the basis of an infallible statement of Catholic doctrine by Pope Francis, probably around tea-time tomorrow - at least if you believe the Tablet and the Daily Mail.

screaming pope

Pope Francis wishes he'd never called the Synod in the first place.

The Synod took evidence from several families leading a Dalek lifestyle - this generally involves attempting to dominate the entire Universe, while exterminating anyone who gets in the way - and the general mood was sympathetic. It was felt that there was no place for the hardline traditionalist attitude esposed by Dr Who, and that instead the Church should value the Dalek orientation, with the inherent qualities of aggression, sadism, cruelty and ruthlessness. The key point is this: "Daleks have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these creatures, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities?"


Essential nutrition for those attending the Synod!

It is hoped that Daleks will adopt the principle of gradualism (Christ spoke of little else), and move slowly from a lifestyle of mass-exterminating to one of more limited exterminating. Certainly Daleks should be allowed to take Communion, as indeed should remarried divorcees, active homosexuals, atheists, Muslims, Cybermen, Tina Beattie, cats, dogs, goldfish, and indeed any other creature that shows an interest.

The conclusion is clear: it would be unreasonable to demand any particular code of conduct, least of all the adherence to Christian teaching.

Dalek aloft

A Dalek is borne in triumph through the streets of Rome.

Further reading: Pope Francis baptises a Dalek.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Bitter disagreement at the Synod

Reprinted from the Tablet, in the days when it was a religious newspaper.

Whitby, A.D. 664

After a week of fierce debating, the Extraordinary Synod on the Date of Easter and the Monastic Tonsure, called by King Oswy of Northumbria, shows no signs of reaching agreement.

Whitby Abbey

Whitby Abbey - damaged when the debate got out of hand.

It is clear that there are two strongly-divided parties to the discussion. First, there are the traditionalists, led by "Saint" Wilfrid, who wish to calculate Easter on orthodox Roman lines; second, there are the modernists, led by Colmán, Bishop of Northumbria, one of the discredited "Magic Circle" of English bishops who prefer to go their own way, keeping to the Ionan tradition. Following a request from St Damian the Spectator, the debate has also been extended to include a discussion of monastic hairstyles. In the end, the decision will be made by King Oswy.

Oswy of Northumbria

"Who am I to judge?" asks King Oswy.

So far the Synod has heard evidence from a number of families advocating disordered lifestyles: some celebrate Easter at Christmas, some celebrate it twice a year, and some do not celebrate it at all, regarding it as a nasty traddy feast, far inferior to pagan festivals such as the Blessing of the Inwood. Cardinal Kasper has suggested that these people should be shown Mercia, although it is difficult to see how this could best be done.

The situation is worse in the far south of the land, where it is rumoured that Fr Steven the Fisher has abolished Easter altogether, replacing the Light of Christ with Endless Night, while Dame Tina the Beater describes the whole concept of Christianity as male-dominated, and proposes a radical women-only alternative. There are even reports of extensive heresy in the kingdom of Arundel and Brighton, where Bishop Kieran the Scandalous has resigned in disgrace.

Worzel Gummidge

Kieran the Scandalous has let himself go a little since he resigned.

Moving onto the secondary subject of the synod, namely monastic tonsures, many have been annoyed by the comments of "Baldy" Sseri, recommending a complete shaving of the head; still less do they approve of his exhortation, "Come unto me and ye will be shaved". For those, such as St Damian, who judge a man on the quality of his hairstyle, the tonsure is an abominable fashion to which they can never subscribe in good conscience.

monk with tonsure

Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. (2 Kings 2:23).

We shall continue to bring you regular reports from the synod, as we follow the team of great minds wrangling over the future of the Church.

Ven. Bede the anachronistic.

Friday, 10 October 2014

A lucky escape for Pope Francis

Pope Francis today declared himself "delighted" that the Nobel Peace Prize had been awarded to Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Statyarthi, rather than to himself. For several months he had been hotly tipped to become a Nobel Laureate, following in the steps of such peaceful people and organizations as Barack Obama, the EU, Al Gore, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Jimmy Carter, Yasser Arafat, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Henry Kissinger, Le Duc Tho, Pope St John-Paul II, Stephen Fry, The BBC, First Great Western Trains, Ryanair, Gerry Adams, Nicholas Parsons, and Adolf Hitler. But in the end he escaped.

Pope Francis laughing

Pope Francis puts a brave face on his disappointment.

Said a spokesman, "Pope Francis has made heroic efforts to broker peace in the Catholic Church between the Tabletistas and the Catholic Herald People's Front (and their sister organizations in Rome, the Kasperites and the CDF), even to the extent of calling a special synod so that weirdos and misfits of every description could have their say. It would have been sheer cruelty to have awarded him the Nobel Peace Prize, which, with the exception of Bl. Mother Teresa, is generally reserved for politicians and lunatics; it's definitely not intended for people who are pro-life, or in favour of traditional ideas of marriage! Nobel was Swedish, you know - the country of 'free love' and all that..."

Obama playing golf

Barack Obama, Golfer, Nobel Laureate, and not much else.

Commentators have also observed that, if Pope Francis had been given the Nobel Peace Prize, then he would have felt obliged to reciprocate by canonizing Alfred Nobel, who was the inventor of dynamite and an arms manufacturer (he owned Bofors). Some Catholic commentators feel that this might be a step too far, especially since no miracles are yet attributed to St Alfred, beyond that of regularly turning bozos into international treasures by awarding them prizes.

Bofors cannon

They don't like it up 'em! A Bofors cannon keeps the peace.

However, as we have reported elsewhere on this blog, the 2013 Nobel Prize for Physics was awarded to God, for His "God Particle", and pious Catholic Louise Mensch, author of "She gave up Corby for love" shared the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature. So it's only Peace that has eluded the Catholic Church.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Graduality, or how to be saved the easy way

Thanks to the Synod on the Family, the idea of graduality, also known as gradualism, has come back into fashion. The basic idea here is that we are none of us perfect, but hey, we don't need to be, at least not yet!

Moses and 10 commandments

Beginners should start by trying to obey just one commandment.

Find the Ten Commandments a bit of a challenge? Well, pick one of the easiest to obey, and start with that. This is what I have decided to do, and so now I give you the ECCLES PLEDGE: I promise not to commit murder. Or at least, not very often. This leaves me with more time free for other sins, such as coveting my neighbour's donkey, stealing, or bowing down to graven images.

Anti Moly

Eccles's Anti Moly is very pleased that Eccles has pledged not to murder her.

Of course, for some people, even giving up murder is too ambitious. As Cardinal Kasper says, we should show compassion even towards those who have chosen a serial-killing lifestyle. If - like so many of my readers - you are a serial killer, then may I respectfully suggest that you start by cutting down a little? Say one murder a month? I believe that you can buy little sticky patches to put on your arm, which give you all the stimulation of serial killing, without actually having to go out and commit the sin of murder.

Likewise, if you are given to adulterous affairs, bishop, then the gradualist approach is to progressively reduce the number of marriages you break up, until you are down to one at a time, or even none!

St Augustine

St Augustine of Hippo: "Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet!"

Now, how does this work for people who are divorced and remarried? Will they gradually be admitted to communion? Well, the first time they approach the altar steps they will be condemned by the priest in thunderous tones: "BEGONE! ADULTEROUS VERMIN!" Then the next time, the priest will say "Oooh, you are awful, but I like you!" but still refuse them communion. Until eventually the priest will say "Well, what's the odd sinful lifestyle between friends? Probably, Jesus was only joking! Come and join in the fun!" Thus our separated brethren are ACCEPTED once more.

Or they could give up their second marriage bit by bit. They might start by sleeping in the garden shed, to avoid the temptations of the flesh. Eventually they could return to their previous spouse: this could be awkward if he or she has remarried, but, hey, it is better to have three in a bed than only two, if it's the wrong two.

Snow White

Thou hast had seven husbands... even if they are on the small side.

Well, I hope you have found this little guide to gradualism helpful. Next week, we explain how a compulsive bower down to graven images can gradually repent, so that soon they simply give graven images a polite nod when they pass them in the street. Thus, according to my brother Bosco, they will have done almost all that needs to be done to assure Salvation.

Even cardinals can be saved

Even cardinals can be saved.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Sister Judy Piranha joins the blog

Coo-ee, Eccles!!?? Remember me from Damian Thompson's blog??!! I'm Sister Judy Piranha of the Catholic Nuns for Naughtiness, and it's WONDERFUL to be able to pour out my thoughts to your loyal readers!!?? Oh, the fun we had when HUNKY Damian Thompson wrote his WITTY blog for the Telegraph!!?? Remember how he used to mock Kieran Conry so CHEEKILY!!?? And Johann Hari??!! And Vincent Nichols??!! And where are they now, eh??!! All disgraced!!??

Judy Piranha

Sister Judy Piranha.

We in the Catholic Nuns for Naughtiness think this Synod on Sex is a great idea!!?? We're hearing lots of spicy stories about naughty Catholics!!?? Yes, they've found some typical Catholics in polytransgendered relationships to tell those old bishops a tale or two!!?? BUT Pope Francis sent me a VERY cold response when I asked if I could join the Synod!!?? Even though I offered to arrange a display of nude liturgical dancing in the coffee break!!?? Hmmph... some FUDDY-DUDDY Popes don't appreciate the Spirit of Vatican II, do they??!!

Perhaps we'll get a more favourable reply from Cardinal Gasbag - yes, that's you, I'm talking about, Mr Kasper!!?? Every time I telephone Cardinal Gasbag, he's BUSY giving another interview, all about how New Testament teaching makes his HEAD ache!!?? Well, of course it does, you chump!!?? The first rule of the Catholic Nuns for Naughtiness is that there are NO RULES, and we don't want any 1st Century MAN telling us what to do, even if He is the Son of God!!??

Kasper horror mask

The Walter Kasper horror mask!!??

Yes, as a tribute to Cardinal Gasbag, little Judy has designed a mask to wear, so that you can jump out on your friends and shock them with new and naughtier Catholic doctrines!!?? And with Hallowe'en coming soon, the mask has another use!!?? We'll be wearing them in our devotions to the Sacred Catholic Pumpkin!!??

But enough of the Synod!!?? Little Judy's been looking at the Daily Mail!!?? And we're reading lots of stories of Mr Cuddles, the bishop who won't say no to WOMEN!!?? Now that he's leaving his Bishop's Pleasure-Dome, perhaps he'd like to stay with us in the Convent of Naughtiness??!! We're in his diocese!!?? And we'll have such FUN together!!?? Lots of the nuns would LOVE to confess their wicked ways to him!!??

dancing nuns

Coo-ee!!?? Bishop!!??

Well, I must be going now!!?? I've got a column to write for the Tablet!!?? And Professor Tina Beattie is giving our nuns a talk tonight!!?? With EXPLICIT pictures!!?? Luckily she has no other engagements in the next decade!!?? I'm hoping that one day Tina will stop being an old CONSERVATIVE, and join us in the Catholic REVOLUTION!!?? Byeeeee!!??

Monday, 6 October 2014

The Tablet's survey on the Family Synod

A revised version of something else. Any accusations that the survey is slanted towards getting the answers that the Tabletistas prefer are clearly baseless.

Taming of the Shrew

Explaining family life to the Synod.

1. Married couples will address the bishops every day of the Synod. Which most closely reflects your view?

• I'd rather hear from same-sex couples.
• Chuck out all the bishops and let Mrs Pepinster decide things.
• The bishops would learn more by watching Eastenders.

2. How can the Church best support families? Select up to three options.

• Rewrite all the church's teaching on sex.
• Recognise that the church shouldn't be teaching at all.
• Organize gay dating events.
• Give Kieran Conry a new role looking after distressed wives.
• Sponsor the Tablet to print photos of Page 3 lovelies.
• Offer family-friendly Masses with the religious bits removed.
• Who cares? The "family" is an obsolete idea.

Puppet Mass

A family-friendly Mass.

3. Do you believe that in an ideal world a child should be brought up by a father and a mother?

• No, a she-wolf was good enough for Romulus and Remus.
• No, a child should have 3 parents, one of them trans-sexual.
• No, "parents" is a traddy idea that was rejected by Vatican II.
• Yes, provided that the father and mother may each be of either sex, or none, or both.

5. Do you pray with your child(ren)?

• Pray? What's that?
• Only when they have exams coming up.
• No, but we watch Songs of Praise.
• No, but we read the Tablet's wine column and then get drunk together.
• No as I don't want to indoctrinate them in outmoded forms of worship such as prayer when many secular alternatives are available such as the music of Paul Inwood the beauty of liturgical dancing and doing one's own thing...

6. Do you talk to your child(ren) about faith?

• Yes, I read to them from the works of Hans Küng.
• No, since I am a Tablet-reader, and as such do not have any particular faith.
• Yes, as a child of the 1960s I have all the discs of Adam Faith.

Adam Faith

That's as close to faith as we get round here.

7. If you are a divorced and remarried Catholic whose marriage has not been annulled, do you:

• Receive communion and hope nobody notices.
• Receive communion because my priest doesn't care who turns up.
• Turn up to church but try to trip up other people as they push past me to take communion how dare they try and feel superior...
• Stay away from church because obviously God is at fault.
• I am not a divorced and remarried Catholic, but I am working on it.

8. Is a couple’s decision to cohabit

• An indication that we should drop the sacrament of marriage.
• Not worth worrying about, unless one of them is a bishop.
• Unambitious - why don't they have a foursome with the neighbours?
• None of the church's business.

9. What do you hope will be the consequences of the current synod on the family and next year's? (Tick as many as apply.)

• Cardinal Kasper for Pope!
• The Church to allow every possible marriage as a sacrament, irrespective of the number of people involved or their sexes.
• Take-over of the Catholic Church by the Anglicans.
• Adultery to be re-classed as a cardinal virtue.
• ACTA to be allowed to run the Church.

church for sale

"Once we stopped the EF Mass, we tried everything else: clowns, puppets, the tango..."

10. What is your marital status?

• Civil partnership involving three men and an elephant.
• Married, but I've locked my other half in the garden shed.
• Infatuated with Tina Beattie, but I know we can only ever be good friends.
• Divorced/beheaded/died/divorced/beheaded/survived.
Married to myself.
• Can't remember.

Grace Gelder

Oh, I do love myself!

11. Where do you live?

• Westminster.
• Arundel and Brighton.
• Blackfen.
• Roehampton.
• Gallifrey.
• Somewhere normal.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

The love poems of Kieran Conry

With apologies to Robert Burns, William Shakespeare and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
My love is like a red, red rose;
My other love's a white'un;
And, thanks to Cormac, no-one knows
What fun we had in Brighton!

The great lover Lochinvar prepares to gallop off on his trusty steed.

Shall I compare thee to glass of wine?
(I am the Tablet's expert, N. O'Phile.)
Thou art full-bodied, fruity - quite divine!
Thy nose is good - thou hast both taste and style!

Old faithful.

How do I love them? Let me count the dames
By making little notches on my crook.
Though they suspected I was playing games,
The other bishops all refused to look.

Cardinal Nichols reacts to the allegations.


Attending the Synod on the Family? Show your support for the two sides of the debate by buying a Kasper mug or a Pell mug.

The Kasper mug - now only half price!

The Pell mug. Hurry - these are almost sold out!

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Liturgy for people marrying themselves

With the announcement that Miss Grace Gelder has gone through a ceremony of marriage with herself, with the aid of Tiu de Haan, a "subtle combination of secular cleric, counsellor and friend," we are pleased to supply a brief liturgy for such an event.

Echo and Narcissus

Do you, Narcissus, take Narcissus to be your lawful wedded husband?

The happy single enters, to the accompaniment of a suitable piece of music played on the organ; for example, the "Lone Ranger" theme, or "You'll always walk alone", or Björk's Isobel. Note that all marriages - including auto-marriages - must by law include (a) a Scotsman in a kilt; (b) a small child who will cry out when the "any just cause or impediment" question is asked; and (c) a relative who has been celebrating too early.

Celebrant (Mother Tiu): Marriage is a gift of God in creation through which husband and wife may know the grace of God. However, it is also available to husband and husband, wife and wife, three husbands and an elephant, wife and two cats, husband alone, wife alone, or even nobody at all.

Giles Fraser

"Only bigots would try and prevent someone from marrying themselves," says Giles Fraser.

Celebrant: Does anyone know just cause or impediment why this N may not marry himself (or herself)?

There will now be a solemn pause in which a small child may cry out "That's my mummy!"

Congregation (sotto voce): He (or she) is a barking mad lunatic, but he (or she) is our friend, and anyway there's going to be a good party afterwards.

Mother Tiu will add dignity to your big day.

Celebrant: Right. Do you, N, take this N, to be your self? Will you love yourself, comfort yourself, honour and protect yourself, and, forsaking all others, be faithful to yourself as long as you shall live?

N: I will. Ha ha ha ha, look at me, isn't this hilariously funny?

Celebrant: N, I now invite you to join your hands and make your vows, in the presence of God and his people.

N: I, N, take me, N, to be myself, to have and to hold from this day forward; for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till I do kick the bucket. N, I give myself and receive from myself this ring as a sign of our marriage.

Cardinal Kasper is convinced that the forthcoming Synod will encourage people to marry themselves.

Celebrant: I now pronounce you man (or woman) and self. Those whom God has joined together let no one put asunder, although frankly you should definitely go and get psychiatric help. You may now kiss yourself, and take a selfie. That will be 500 guineas plus VAT. Don't forget to sign the registers.

A final hymn may now be sung, such as "Dear Lord and Father of mankind, forgive our foolish ways" / "There was I, waiting at the church" / "Turn back, O Man, forswear thy foolish ways" / "High on a hill. Was a lonely goatherd. Lay-ee odl-lay-ee odl-lay hoo hoo." (Arr. Inwood).

Waiting at the church.