This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Who wrote that book about the Pope?

At last the secret is out, and we can reveal who wrote that notorious book about the Pope, a best-seller that has brought its author riches beyond the dream of avarice.

The book in question is, of course, "Pope Francis, the Great Reformer." It told of Francis's rise to power in Peronist Argentina, and how it affected his career. The author chose to publish the book under an obvious false name - Austen Ivereigh - as plausible an alias as Brontë Tusk, Eliot Gnashers, or Dickens Heffalump. Did he fear reprisals?

The Great Reformer

Sorry, wrong picture.

All we knew about the author was that he was some sort of Catholic journalist, with a gift for clunky prose and very liberal ideas. It seemed that he had spent some time in Argentina, but was now based in the UK. Somebody leaked the information that he ran some sort of dictatorship, the Kingdom of Voices, where his lackeys addressed him as "Sire".

There was no limit to his boldness. He once presented Pope Francis with a copy of the controversial book, taking care to disguise himself as Ronnie Corbett, before melting into the crowd.

Ivereigh and the Pope

Austen Ivereigh in disguise. Is he really a six-foot blonde woman?

But in the end, the secret could be kept no longer. The brilliant Vatican secret police tracked down the real Austen Ivereigh, and it turned out to be

Sorry, that's all we've got time for.

Friday, 16 March 2018

How to write nice things about a Pope

This is an instalment in our self-help guide "How to be a good pope", but is really intended for retired popes rather than ones still poping.

It may happen to you that after a few years as the world's holiest person you will decide to retire, in order to spend more time in prayer, contemplation, beer-drinking, piano-playing, reading the Eccles blog, and other activities suitable to your advanced years.

Pope Benedict reading a newspaper

"That's three heresies already, and I only opened it for the weather forecast."

Very good. The chap currently doing all the nitty-gritty pope stuff, such as writing ambiguous exhortations, insulting the ordinary Catholic, and praising Emma Bonino, should be left to tread his infallible path, now that you have decided to be fallible again.

But, horror! One day a pile of junk mail comes through your letter-box. It consists of a set of eleven slim volumes explaining the theology of your successor. What is worse, they want you to write something saying how wonderful it is.

Life is so dreadfully unfair. If the publishers had sent you Fifty more shades of grey, you could have sent it back saying that you only ever wore white; or if it was Building a bridge, you could have passed it on to some engineering friend. But theology is your thing, and you have to respond to the request.

Benedict XVI's letter

"There are many books that I shall never read, but these are the best."

Now, if all they want is a snappy headline for their publicity, then, whatever you write, they will be able to extract a phrase and blur the remainder. Your carefully-chosen words "When people describe Pope Bosco [your successor] as a brilliant theologian, my head begins to overheat" will be boiled down to "A BRILLIANT THEOLOGIAN", with the rest carefully obliterated.

Likewise, "Read these books? I'd rather watch the grass grow" will be edited into "READ THESE BOOKS". Then again, "I'm 90 years old, and they think I can find nothing better to do" will become "I CAN FIND NOTHING BETTER".

The moral is clear: write what you like about these books, and leave it to the boys at the Vatican to spin it whichever way they want.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Tributes to Pope Francis on his 5th anniversary

Five years ago today, a figure dressed in white came out on the balcony of St Peter's, to be greeted by enthusiastic cries of "Who the heck is that?" Yes, it was Jorge Belgrano Bergoglio, variously described as "St Francis II" (by himself), "The Dictator Pope" (by that rude 16th Century general, Marcantonio Colonna) and "The Great Reformer" (a bit of wishful thinking by little Austen Ivereigh).

Pope Francis, 2013

"I'd like to thank my agents, the St Gallen Mafia, ... and of course God."

Tributes have been pouring in, led by Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, and we are happy to print some of them here.

Pope Benedict XVI: Ow! Let go of my ear! I'll sign anything you like! All right, here goes. Pope Francis is a man of profound philosophical and theological formation. I mean, look, I may have written over 50 books myself (beginning with the very short Theological Highlights of Vatican II), and Francis still finds that a colouring book is a bit of an intellectual challenge if they don't tell you what colours to use - all right, Fr Spadaro, I'll drop that bit - but... anyway, the theology of Pope Francis is like the theology of nobody else, and everything he teaches is in continuity with what went before, even when it contradicts it. I can't say fairer than that!

Pope Francis book

The Pope Francis colouring book. "I haven't read it, but it's very good."

Cardinal Burke: I wish Pope Francis well on his anniversary. To tell the truth, I never wanted to know the answers to the Dubia anyway, and Francis is doing a great job in keeping them secret. For clarity of teaching, guidance, and a perpetual willingness to answer questions, you can't do better than the Holy Father!

Fra' Matthew Festing: I was very pleased to be told by Pope Francis that I had voluntarily retired as 79th Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. This left me more time for my own hobbies of hunting, shooting, and fishing. I also take an interest in historic churches as well as my collection of wax dummies: these are all effigies of Pope Francis, so you can see how much I respect the man whose coup at the Order of Malta was almost entirely bloodless.

Mrs Mary McAleese: Our recent Voices of Faith conference in Rome, marking International Whiners' Day, was very successful, and it was a great shame that I did not get to meet you, Pope Francis. We sent you a letter of invitation but - would you believe it - you never read it! Now, normally I reject the patriarchal clerical hegemony of the Catholic Church - along with its teachings on abortion, marriage, homosexuality, God, Jesus, ... well, everything really. But I am a faithful Catholic all the same, and therefore I offer you, Francis, in the spirit of friendship, a short 94-page working document explaining how I will do things so much better when I become Pope.

Mary McAleese

"Also, I had to leave early as my husband needed some clean socks and a proper cooked dinner."

Cardinal Sarah: I have always preached the virtues of silence, and there is no better time than now.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

The Book of St Richard, Chapter 26

Continued from Chapter 25.

1. And it came to pass that Richard spake out on the subject of food.

2. "What if human meat is grown? Could we overcome our taboo against cannibalism?" he asked.

Dawkins dining

"No, it's not beef, it's not pork. Have another guess!"

3. For he had begun to tire of the land of milk of honey in which he found himself in his old age. Especially the honey, which his thousands of admirers sent him daily.

4. For Richard had cried out in woe at the loss of his favourite honey pot to the guardians of the port that is called Air. Which was all the fault of Bin Laden.

5. And now he craved the flesh of Man.

6. The lunch of the ploughman, the pie of the shepherds, and the stew of the biologist, all these he craved.

7. The toad in the hole craved he not, neither the rare delicacy known as spam.

Dr Who scene

A dish fit for a celebrity atheist.

8. And many mocked Richard, but other devout people supported him.

9. For the Ecumenical Episcopalian-Aztec Fellowship said that in a very real sense Richard was to be commended.

10. Moreover, the Hannibal Lecteran Church wished to feast with the great professor.

11. Indeed, he was even blessed by the Catholic Diocese of the Borneo head-hunters, who had been praised by the Bishop Sorondo for their social teachings.

Dawkins in jungle

"The head-hunters will be meeting me somewhere round here for dinner."

12. But the friends of Richard hardened their hearts against the cooking-pots of Dawkins.

13. Even the learned atheist that is called Grayling refused to partake of Tête d'agent d'assurances à la Dawkins avec pommes frites. For alas! he had his own woes.

14. Yeah, he had discovered that Brexodus was like unto the Great War, that Maysis was using the gas of mustard, that the Rees that is Mogg was literally the Kaiser, and that millions had already been slain.

15. Wherefore then should he divert himself with the lighter pastimes of the table?

16. So Richard ate alone.

To be continued.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

How social media bring people to the Catholic Church

In the news this week is Youtuber (whatever that is) Lizzie Estrella Reezay, who has announced her conversion to Catholicism. Apparently, social media are bringing in converts by the zillion: this blog will try and discover why.

Lizzie Estrella Reezay

"I owe it all to reading the Eccles blog."

Says one convert, "I feel that the Catholic Church is truly united behind Pope Francis at present. There is a general sense of well-being. He has solved the problems of China, by allowing them to appoint their own bishops, and probably the next Pope as well. He has waved his hand and made all the sex and financial scandals vanish into thin air. He has written a document on marriage and the family, Amoris Laetitia, that everyone can agree on. He has made some brilliant appointments of cardinals, by choosing the most unlikely people! What a time to be alive!"

Dawkins tweet

"I'll have the shepherd's pie, made with real shepherds." No wonder people would rather be Catholics.

Said another convert, "I like the way new Catholics are made welcome. Austen Ivereigh - surely one of the giants of Catholic journalism - has described us as neurotic, and he is spot on! Then there's Professor Doctor Doctorior Doctorissimus Massimo Faggioli, a man whose knowledge of Catholic theology since 2013 (when the subject was invented) is second to none: he has warned us against conservative converts, and quite right too. Apparently the Catholic catechism will soon contain a section explaining that we should support Marxism, and that's only fair."


"Walter Kasper is my hero. A pillar of orthodoxy and traditional teaching."

Another convert spoke of the powerful work of Father James Martin LGBTSJ in driving people into the Catholic Church. "His new book, Digging a hole, is pure genius, and explains how we should all strive to go downhill. As explained in the papal encyclicals Facilis descensus Averno and Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate, there is wide path that we can all follow, paved with good intentions, and this is the way he wants Catholics to go."

But why do people rely on social media for their spiritual nourishment? Instead, could the Catholic Church not appoint people as leaders - you know, generally-respected shepherds of the sheep, who could give guidance? We would expect such people to speak out on issues of public concern. I've even thought of a name for them - bishops!

chess bishop

A bishop, showing leadership.

No, there's no hope there, and so people are driven to social media for guidance.

A final word from another convert: "In the end, the most effective tool for Evangelisation is surely the Eccles blog. Pope Francis is a regular reader of his "How to be a good pope" advice column; Peter Hitchens has never been the same since it was pointed out to him that Queen Elizabeth I martyred Catholics; Antonio Spadaro hangs on his every word. It can't be long before these three people (and many others) come out as Catholics." He's right, you know.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Snopes fact-checks the Eccles blog

CLAIM:, the left-wing fact-checking site, motto: "Don't believe what they say about Obama, but do believe what they say about Trump," recently investigated the truth of a piece on the sometimes spiritually-nourishing satirical site "The Babylon Bee" (which is basically like the "Onion" but occasionally quite clever).


Snopes decided that the BB piece was Fake News, and, as a result, Facebook decided to threaten Mr Bee with sanctions. Apparently, some morons actually believed that a certain BB article was factual.

We have now received the Snopes verdict on various other claims put forward on this blog, and the news is grim.

CLAIM: 2+2=5.


ORIGIN: Fr Antonio Spadaro, a bosom pal of Pope Francis, tweeted the following: "Theology is not #Mathematics. 2+2 in #Theology can make 5. Because it has to do with #God and real #life of #people..."

So far this teaching has not been confirmed to be infallible, magisterial, and part of the Catholic Deposit of Faith. Snopes consulted several well-known brilliant people, including Stephen Hawking, Mary Beard, Stephen Fry, and Richard Dawkins, and - although most of them admitted that they didn't know much about real life - they agreed unanimously that 2+2=4. Indeed, this fact was apparently known to the ancient Greeks ("Pythagoras's Theorem"), although some claim that the discovery was first made by the Babylonians or even the ancients in India.

Anyway, although Snopes wouldn't approve of him, G.K. Chesterton made a similar pentaphobic comment:

Snopes also wouldn't approve of the self-evident observation that a person born male remains male for the rest of his life, whatever drugs and surgery he uses to support his delusion that he is really female. Let's move on.

CLAIM: The Pope is Catholic.



ORIGIN: On the one hand, some people would say that by definition Pope Francis, personally appointed by the Holy Spirit (with a little help from the St Gallen Mafia), cannot be other than Catholic. On the other hand, the old chap is not known for asserting Catholic teaching, preferring to make muddled statements that can be intepreted in several ways, and usually are. Still, any definition of "Catholic" that includes Fr James Martin, Nancy Pelosi, Austen Ivereigh, and Tina Beattie must definitely include Jorge Bergoglio.

To please Archbishop Mark Coleridge, Cardinal Zen forgets the problems of China, and reacts to the Snopes verdict with joy.

CLAIM: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau believes he is a teapot.


ORIGIN: This claim appeared on the Eccles blog as part of a totally serious article on the problems faced by people who self-identify as teapots and wish to transition to a full teapotic lifestyle. Justin Trudeau is well known to be totally insane (this is a charitable way of saying that he is the second most evil world leader around at the moment, and is challenging Kim Jong-un strongly for first place), and thus anything is possible. However, although little Justin pushes abortion and same-sex marriage for all he's worth, his aim is to be a DESPOT not a TEAPOT.

"I'm a little despot, short and stout..."

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Vatican to host Winter Olympics

There have been snowfalls in Rome this week, a direct result of a billion faithful Catholics taking the papal advice in Laudato Si' seriously, and thus saving the planet. Accordingly, St Peter's Square has been transformed into a venue for winter sports, which are so much more popular than papal audiences these days, and it has now been agreed that the Vatican will host the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Eskimo and igloo

Cardinal Nanook of the North stands by the dome.

The Catholic Church is very strong in certain events, such as snowball fights - it will have a natural advantage when the referee shouts "Let him who is without sin cast the first snowball" - and building snowmen, especially ones that look like saints.

pope snowman

Graven images are OK, but don't worship them!

These traditional sports are likely to replace some of the sillier Olympic sports such as Curling (feel free to disagree). We are happy to give our readers a preview of what we may expect at VAT2022.

snowball fight

Traditionalists in a snowball fight with the Modernists, but versus populum not ad orientem.

Archbishop Arthur Roche was a renowned ice-skater in his youth (yes, I now know this is a lie invented by his admirer, Damian Thompson), and he is anxious to shine as well. However, things have not gone well so far.

ice skater

Archbishop Roche wonders what went wrong.

When it comes to the more "artistic" sport of ice-dancing, there are some strong contenders, and here we see four eminent Catholics waiting to be measured for their tutus.

4 dreadful Catholics

"I'm used to skating on thin ice," comments Fr Martin.

Finally, the Holy Father himself will be only 85 at the time of the Vatican Olympics, and he is also planning to take part in his PopesleighTM.

Pope in bobsleigh

Going downhill very quickly... is this a metaphor for something?

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Charity accuses "transpotphobic" teacher of hate crime

It is worrying to read that the charity "Teasmades" has called the police after a teacher refused to acknowledge one of his pupils as "transpotted".


The Director of Teasmades.

The Catholic (and indeed medical) position is clear. Many children go through a phase of singing the immortal hymn "I'm a little teapot, Short and stout. Here's my handle, Here's my spout" (arr. Dan Schutte), and this leads some of them to believe for a while that they are in fact teapots. But transpotterism is a psychological condition, and there is no way that such kids can really be teapots.

I'm a teapot kids

Should these kids be given surgery to fit handles and spouts?

The Catholic Catechism (based on quotations from the book of He-brews) is clear. Transpotted children and adults should be treated sympathetically: for example it is not permissible to describe them as "potty". Teasmades, however, is going too far in saying that they should be encouraged in their fantasies, and describing it as a "hate crime" when someone refuses to buy into such delusions.

James Martin

"I'd rather have a cuppa!" Fr James Martin SJ wants to put the "tea" in LGBT.

Under the Equality Act, schools have a duty to accommodate transpotted children, for example by providing them with cosies, and places where they can pour out their troubles. This does not include medication, such as injections of tannin, as it would clearly be wrong to mess around with young children's biological make-up. As for surgically fitting them with handles and spouts - an operation available on the National Health Service - this should clearly be forbidden to children, and discouraged in general.

Trudeau dancing

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is a famous "transpot". It may explain a lot.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Sack him! He's a Catholic!

Some people - priests, doctors, teachers, composers, poets, engineers, maybe even some journalists - have real jobs.

Others, such as Anthony Annett, Assistant to the Director at the International Monetary Fund's Communications Department, don't. Imagine being on your deathbed and saying "I wish I had worked harder at my life's vocation of assisting the director - if I had made tea for him more often, he could have done more directing, and the IMF could have made more communications. I would have been remembered with gratitude by future generations."

Antony Annett

Tony's also into "sustainable development". Note the sustainable triffid grown from seed.

So, feeling at a loose end, Annett called for an interdict to be imposed on EWTN until they get rid of Raymond Arroyo. This is because of certain criticisms made of "Paradigm" Cupich and "2+2=5" Spadaro - fairly mild criticisms, really. No accusations that they are directly in the pay of Satan, no claims stronger than the obvious ones that they talk total garbage much of the time.


Spadaro has also joined in the witch-hunt.

But that's the way things are these days for a certain breed of bullies. I don't like what they say, so get them sacked! Admittedly, when it comes to clergy the situation is a little different - James Martin SJ manages to pour out his heresies and blasphemy unhindered (apart from being uninvited by organizations that booked him thinking he was a celebrity chef), because neither Cardinal Dolan nor General Sosa is prepared to take action, in case it actually turns out to be the other one's duty.

James Martin (chef)

James Martin (chef), author of "Building a fridge".

Now there are rumours going round that all blogs written by Catholic clergy will need to be approved by the Vatican. It's not clear whether this blog will be affected, although I may be asked to return the red biretta I stole from the Vatican locker-room. But some of the less hagiographic clerical bloggers may get horses heads' in their beds, and little notes in green ink saying "Annett doesn't like you."

Anyway, Arroyo - author of "The Mother Angelica I knew", "Mother Angelica and the Chamber of Secrets", "What ho, Mother!" and "Mother on the Orient Express" (that's enough Arroyo books), is one of the good guys. So lay off him, Annett!

Arroyo and Mother Angelica

"How about a Mother Angelica keep-fit book? No? Shame."

Remember, if it's a matter of asking people's bosses to sack them, when you don't like what they say, it would be very wrong to pray to the Almighty, asking Him to deliver a new Pope.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Pope Francis has got a little list

It was time that someone set the Pope Francis book of insults to music, and it will now form part of Gilbert and Sullivan's latest opera, The Dictator, subtitled The Fourteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.

Pope singing a song

Take it away, Holy Father!

As some day it may happen that a victim must be found,
I've got a little list – I've got a little list
Of the Catholics that we are trying to drive underground,
And who never would be missed – who never would be missed!

There's the creed-reciting parrot-Christians meaning what they say –
The fomenter of coprophagia - he has had his day –
The self-absorbed Promethean neo-Pelagian -
And airport bishops, who are quite authoritarian,
Museum mummies, and of course the fundamentalist –
They'd none of 'em be missed – they'd none of 'em be missed!

CHORUS (Spadaro, Martin and Rosica): 
He’s got 'em on the list – he’s got 'em on the list;
And they'll none of 'em be missed – they'll none of 'em be missed.

Pope and Spadaro

"I'm sure they'll not be missed."

Mr and Mrs Whiner, and the others of their race -
And the old triumphalist - I’ve got him on the list!
And the existential tourist with a pickled-pepper face -
He never would be missed – he never would be missed!
Then the sloth-diseased acedic Christian - he'll be going soon,
The slaves of superficiality, the sourpuss priest-tycoon;
And the modern gnostics, rigid Christians, who are too polite -
The Christian bats who still prefer the shadows to the light!
And then the querulous and disillusioned pessimist –
I don’t think he'd be missed – I’m sure he'd not be missed!

CHORUS. He’s got him on the list – he’s got him on the list;
And I don’t think he'll be missed – I’m sure he'll not be missed!
Pope and Cupich

"Buddy, can you spare a paradigm?"

And that type of leprous courtier, who just now is rather rife,
The restorationist – I’ve got him on the list!
Promoters of the poison of immanence, causing strife –
They'd none of 'em be missed – they'd none of 'em be missed.
And those cardinals who know their faith, 
                                 but will not change their mind,
Such as – What d'ye call him – Raymond Thingy,
                                     and Walter -  Never-mind,
And then there's Gerhard What's-his-name, and Robert You-know-who –
The task of filling up the blanks I'd rather leave to you.
But it really doesn't matter whom you put upon the list,
For they'd none of 'em be missed – they'd none of 'em be missed!

CHORUS. You may put 'em on the list – you may put 'em on the list;
And they'll none of 'em be missed – they'll none of 'em be missed!

Burke and Sarah

"Let's go for a drink - I don't think we'll be missed."

Saturday, 17 February 2018

The Pope praises the Eccles blog

In some conversations in Chile, faithfully transcribed by Fr Antonio Spadaro, Pope Francis has lavished praise on this, the Eccles blog.

"So many Catholic blogs faithfully record everything I say or do," explained the Holy Father, "and this leads readers to conclude that I am a heretic. On the other hand, there isn't a word of truth in Eccles's lovely blog, from beginning to end. Therefore readers of it do not question my orthodoxy, my sanity, or my fitness for the role of Deputy God and Corrector of Catholic Teaching."

Fr Spadaro catches up on "Eccles".

"As for the other blogs," continued the Pope, "I don't even read them. I'm too busy not reading letters from Cardinal Burke, and from people in Chile. It takes me several hours every day to not read anything that comes my way. My loyal sidekick Spadaro, the Jeeves to my Wooster, the Robin to my Batman, and the Fool to my King Lear, does all my reading for me, don't you, Boy Wonder?"

"As for that book by Marcantonio Colonna - and we know who you are, it didn't take us long to spot someone riding round Rome in a 16th century costume - well, I haven't read that at all. But I can assure you that it is false from beginning to end, especially the bit about my being caught in General Galtieri's wardrobe dressed as a nun. Or was it my being caught in a nun's wardrobe dressed as General Galtieri? Anyway it never happened."

Not the best way to be inconspicuous in Rome.

"Reading Eccles's blog, on the other hand, has kept me sane. It is full of spiritually nourishing advice, and many of the ideas he comes up with provide inspiration for my own policies. I ask myself 'WWED' - 'What Would Eccles Do?' and then try to take it even further."

"Well, that's all I've got time for now, I need to go out and insult a few more Catholics. Luckily Eccles has drawn my attention to a fine 19th century list, which includes terms such as 'goldfish-catcher', 'turnip shepherd' and 'proprietor of midgets'. I must try and work these into my next homily."

The Amoris Cube - an Eccles invention - is harder to solve than the Rubik cube.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Pope Francis becomes a constitutional monarch

Catholics have the difficult task of reconciling the following two propositions:

1. The Pope is the Vicar of Christ, the successor of St Peter, the big cheese of the Universal Church, and an all-round infallible bloke.

2. Pope Francis spends all his time making a fool of himself, his knowledge of Catholic doctrine is at best hazy, and he has the mindset of a South American dictator.

As a result of the GLORIOUS REVOLUTION OF 2018, the Pope is henceforth a constitutional monarch, whose duties are limited to opening supermarkets, having tea with visiting dignitaries, and carefully avoiding the expression of an opinion on any subject whatsoever.

Pope Francis and Queen Elizabeth

"And what do YOU do?"

In the end, a Pope limited to purely ceremonial activities (for example, he may offer Mass, but is forbidden to preach a homily) is a lot less trouble all round. "But won't we miss the encyclicals and apostolic exhortations?" you ask. Well, actually, no we won't. We are already bombarded with far too much stuff from popes. Given that Catholic teaching does not and *cannot* change, why do we need more verbose stuff with Latin titles to tell us this?

Ah, you may say, some issues never arose in previous centuries. Do transgender men cause climate change? Is it sinful to eat crocodiles on a Friday? How about crocodile-skin handbags? Should we destroy the Daleks, or would they be saved if they switched to wind power?

Dr Who and Davros

A Doctor of the church discusses theology with a leading Jesuit.

Well, there's no point asking the Pope to rule on these issues. Synods don't seem to be the answer, as Cardinal Baldisseri will only rig them. Ho hum, it may be all down to Ignatian discernment (= guesswork) after all.

Anyway, these are minor issues, and can be sorted out, provided that the general policy is conservative, i.e., change nothing.

Pope and Trump

"Have you come far?"

The Pope will of course be allowed to make a Christmas broadcast, just as his opposite number Queen Elizabeth, the Supreme Governor of the Anglican Church does.

"In January we visited Chile, and I had great pleasure addressing cheering crowds, which in some cases ran into double figures. I had such a good time that I have persuaded my friend Archbishop Scicluna to go there for a little winter break. We have also been making friends with the Chinese, and they tell us that from now on they will save us the trouble of appointing bishops, but simply pick them from the Central Committee of the Communist Party! Why didn't we think of that before? Also I opened a new abortion clinic on the invitation of my good friend Mrs Bonino..."

Pope and crown

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

Yes, from now on Catholicism makes a lot more sense. And when we get a new Pope, we can go back to the old system.

Valentine's Day massacre to go ahead

In Chicago, Cardin Al Capone has confirmed that, even though it is Ash Wednesday, the traditional Valentine's Day massacre will go ahead.

Cupich and big crozier

Cardin Al Capone - and isn't that the biggest crook you ever saw?

As we've been told ad nauseam today is both Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent, and St Valentine's Day, the day for buying chocolates, flowers, gin, scrubbing brushes, copies of Building a Bridge, etc. for your loved one, depending on their inclinations and how much you love them. But can we celebrate both at once?

Following his sensational lecture at the Von Heretic institute in Cambridge, at which he told the world that, although "strictly speaking" chastity is required (don't you love that phrase?), it must sometimes be abandoned, Capone is now preparing to massacre the Catholic faith in other ways.

Pope and Cupich

"Did I appoint Cupich as a cardinal? Silly me, I mean Chaput!"

In particular the great man - the cardinal who put the "bile" in "papabile" - is launching a series of Amoris Laetitia seminars, to tell the US Bishops how to interpret it. A cheaper option would be to pulp all copies of AL and admit that it is a turkey, but... well, it's too late now. Or is it?

Catholics are looking forward to seeing how the Vatican will celebrate Easter on April 1st (All Fools' Day). It's possible that an all-star line-up of celebrity fools will be present in Rome - Cupich, Marx, Kasper, oh the list is too long to give in detail. Then perhaps Pope Francis will surprise us by admitting "You've all been fooled! Amoris Laetitia was just a joke designed to test you! Now I know which of my cardinals to put up against the wall." And out will come the papal machine-gun.

Cupich glasses

Out of respect for his office, Capone will be offered a blindfold.

No, I think not.