This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Tuesday, 14 March 2023

2013 and all that (part 2)

Continued from Part 1.

The story so far: Pope Francis the humble has been in the chair of St Peter for two years, and he is just getting started.

Francis was now tiring of religious teaching, and so he turned his attention to the environment instead. It was time for a papal encyclopaedia, which he called Loudhailer Si' because he went around shouting about it. He had realised that many Catholics were going to end up in a hot place if they did not mend their ways - possibly at the North Pole, where there were now no penguins at all.

"Next time, we're all going by bicycle."

Francis was very keen on sinners, and so he organized a Second Sinner of the Family, which, like the first one, was instructed to think of new sins that could be tried out. We shall tell of the results later.

However, Francis had not forgotten the faithful Catholics who still believed in the Bible, and so he encouraged them with new cries of "rigid!" This was a Good Thing.

At the end of the year, there was a great celebration of Creation, and pictures of baboons and toads were projected onto the walls of St Peter's in Rome. At first, people assumed that they were images of Cardigan Marxist, Cardigan Dandruff, and similar Eminems (as cardigans are called). In the end, it was realised that they were simply creatures to be venerated, similar to the "rigid" saints that had previously been respected.

Which cardigan is this?

It was also the start of the Year of Murky, in which murkiness was to be celebrated throughout the Catholic world. Churches were asked to have special "Doors of Murky" by which the faithful could enter to show their devotion to murky. If no such door was available, the faithful were encouraged to climb in through a Window of Murky, or down a Chimney of Murky. These were called spiritual exercises.

The two-headed cyclops logo, designed by Marko Rupnik SJ, a great Catholic hero.

But it was not long before the Church forgot about being Murky, as after the Sinner of the Family Pope Francis released his magnum opus, which he called Amorous Letitia, in honour of a girl he had known in Argentina in the days before he became a priest. Latin scholars tell us that it also means "The Joy of Sex".

Not all Catholics understood Amorous Letitia. The bits where families were encouraged to spend time together, washing the cats, talking to the goldfish, or kissing the car goodnight, were clear enough, but there were doubts about whether adultery was now encouraged, and whether divorce was the answer if the wife snored.

The Spirit of Amorous Letitia.

So four cardigans bravely wrote to the pope asking if he could clarify Catholic teaching for them. To a Jesuit, being asked to clarify *anything* is a mortal insult, and in a spirit of Murky, Francis pretended that the letter (known as the five "Do-be-clears") had been lost in the post.

So we shall never know whether adultery is a sin, especially since two of the Do-be-clear cardigans died soon after impertinently asking for guidance.

In the next part, Pope Francis appoints some strange new cardigans, cuts a deal with President Xi-who-must-be-obeyed, and takes up the worship of Pachanonsense.

Friday, 3 March 2023

A guest post from ChatGPT

There's not much point in our blogging any more, is there? From what follows, it seems that artificial intelligence has won. We got ChatGPT to tell us about Uncle Arthur....

"I'm soooo... sad to hear about the unhappiness of the TLM worshippers."

Could you write a piece in the style of praising Cardinal Roche in a sarcastic way?

Certainly, here is my attempt:

Oh, how lucky we are to have Cardinal Roche in our midst! His presence brings a ray of sunshine to our cloudy and dreary world. His impeccable taste and style are second to none. It's no wonder that he has been dubbed the "Prada Cardinal" by those in the know.

His liturgical expertise is truly awe-inspiring. Who else could come up with such brilliant ideas as the "Table Mass," where the priest faces the people and the altar is replaced with a simple table? It's so much more intimate and modern than the old-fashioned way of doing things.

And let's not forget his groundbreaking work in the area of translations. He's made it his mission to make sure that the language of the liturgy is accessible to everyone, even if it means sacrificing accuracy and theological clarity. Who needs those things anyway when you have inclusive language and catchy slogans?

Some might criticize Cardinal Roche for his apparent disregard for tradition and his willingness to pander to the whims of the modern world. But we know better. We understand that he is simply ahead of his time, a visionary who is pushing the Church into the 21st century whether we like it or not.

So let us raise a glass to Cardinal Roche, the Prada-wearing, table-loving, slogan-spouting liturgical genius. May his influence continue to shape the Church for generations to come!

Soon it will be able to post photos as well.

I guess that ChatGPT has already been contributing to Where Pacha Is...

Still human intervention can add something. I asked ChatGPT to mention cake as well...

Of course, Cardinal Roche's love of cake is also well known. Some might question the wisdom of indulging in such sweet treats, but we know that he does it for the sake of the Church. After all, what better way to build community than by sharing a slice of cake with your fellow parishioners?

I promise I'll stop soon, but...

Please write me a short hymn containing the lines "Oh, we are saved" and "Everyone is good".

Oh, we are saved, by grace divine,
Redeemed from darkness, we now shine,
Our hearts ablaze with love and light,
Guided by faith, through darkest night.

Everyone is good, in God's pure sight,
Beneath the surface, we're all alike,
No one is perfect, but all can be,
Saved by His grace, forever free.

So let us sing with voices strong,
Praising His name, all day long,
For we are saved, and everyone is good,
By His mercy, we've been understood.

"I'll have to look to my laurels!" says Marty Haugen.

Sunday, 12 February 2023

Design your own God!

As a service to my friend "Archbishop" Justin Welby (He/Him on the one hand, She/Her on the other hand, and also Bleep/Bloop in a very real sense) we are providing some useful advice to the Church of England as it decides to reject Christianity and go its own way (no longer following the 1st Century Heiliger Geist but the 21st century Zeitgeist).

The statue of Christ the King is attacked by a Welby-CottrellTM Death Ray.

From now on all religious documents, Bibles, hymn books, prayer books, etc. will need to be pulped and replaced by new "Woke" editions. OUT GO God the Father, Our Father who art in Heaven, Lord Jesus Christ, etc. and IN COME God the parent, Our parent who art - somewhere or other, but it may be downstairs rather than upstairs - and Christ the Aristocrat.

Fr James Martin LGBTSJ (slightly Catholic) has already decreed that the Holy Spirit is feminine.

"Isn't this going to cost a lot of money?" you may be asking. Well, it should be possible to divert all that cash we're giving to earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria into more worthy causes, such as making sure that nobody is upset by God's choosing a gender that they find offensive (this is far worse than being trapped under a collapsed building!) In Phase 2 we'll be sending the Muslim world new non-binary Korans, anyway.

Still, while we're updating all the Church of England books, please note that we have been asked by our Supreme Governor, King Charles III, or at least by some of his menials (M.P.s) to allow blessings of sin.

We're starting slowly with same-sex relationships (or "marriages" as they are laughingly called). A suitable liturgy is being drafted, but since this is the C of E you are of course allowed to make up your own words and nobody will complain.

Next month we shall be dismantling the ten commandments: adulterers, thieves and murderers are already queuing up for blessings.

"O God (He/She/They), who gave us Henry VIII (He/Him) as a model for our church, and thus inspired us to follow his path of adultery, theft and murder, we ask you now to bless "Casanova" John, "Fingers" Irene, and "Slasher" Maurice as they pursue their spiritual paths of lechery, shoplifting and throat-cutting."

LATE NEWS: God is apparently not amused by the Church of England's activities, and the end of the world has accordingly been advanced. Well, you can't say that we didn't all deserve a bit of smiting...

God decides to fix climate change.

Monday, 23 January 2023

World cup of uncrowned saints - nominations please

As a distraction from all the bad news that's coming out at present, let's have another World Cup - this time one of people who should be saints but aren't yet.

Please only nominate dead people that we can easily locate on the Internet (not "my mother"), but you don't have to write a long essay explaining why they should be saints. The nominees don't have to be Catholics, but I expect that the vast majority will be. You can nominate either by replying to the Tweet advertising this, or by commenting below.

This is what a saint looks like.

When I think we have enough I will arrange the usual sequence of Twitter polls.

Here are a few to get us started (found after 5 minutes of diligent research). Some are already Blessed, but I don't think any of them are saints.

G.K. Chesterton
Karl of Austria
Louis XVI of France
Marie Antoinette of France
Pius XI
Pius XII
Fulton Sheen
Over to you!

Addendum: The 64 in the competition are:
Anna Maria Taigi
Anne Catherine Emmerich
Bartolo Longo
Benedict XVI
C.S. Lewis
Catherine Jarrige of Mauriac
Catherine of Aragon
Ceslaus of Poland
Claudio Giovanni Antonio Monteverdi
Cristóbal de Morales
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Dominic Barberi
Élisabeth Arrighi Leseur
Elizabetta Canori Mora
Franz Jagerstätter
Franz Joseph Haydn
Frederick William Faber
Frère Roger of Taizé
Fulton Sheen
G.K. Chesterton
George Neumayr
George Pell
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
Girolamo Savonarola
Henry Edward Manning 
Hilaire Belloc
Isabella I of Castile
J.R.R. Tolkien
Jeremy Ponsonby Meredyth Davies
Juan de Padilla
Julian of Norwich
Karl Leisner
Karl of Austria
Louis XVI of France
Marcel Lefebvre
Marco d'Aviano
Margaret Anne Sinclair
Mariana de Jesus Torres
Marie Antoinette of France
Mary Elias of the Blessed Sacrament
Mary of Jesus of Ágreda
Matt Talbot
Mother Angelica
Nelson Baker.
Nguyễn Văn Thuận
Nicholas II of Russia
Paul Comtois
Pius IX
Pius VII
Pius XI
Pius XII
Prosper Louis Pascal Guéranger
Rafael Merry del Val
Ronald Knox
Simon of Cyrene
Solanus Casey
Sophie Scholl
Thomas à Kempis
Tomás de Torquemada
Tomás Luis de Victoria
Urban II
Vincent Robert Capodanno Jr.
Willie Doyle

Sunday, 15 January 2023

Synod and Synodality, by Jane Austen Ivereigh

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good job in Rome, must be in want of a synod.

You thought I made up the title, didn't you?

"My dear Mr. Bennet," said his lady to him one day, "have you heard that Vatican Towers is let at last?"

Mr. Bennet replied that he had not.

"Do you not want to know who has taken it?” cried his wife, impatiently.

"You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it."

"It is the patron of our foolish cousin, the Reverend Cupich. It is the famous Lord Francis de Bourgholio! What a fine thing for our girls!"

"How so? How can it affect them?"

"My dear Mr. Bennet," replied his wife, "how can you be so tiresome? You must know that I am thinking of his inviting one of them to a synod.”

Mr Bennet returned to his newspaper.

"I see here that Bishop Pell has died," he said, "shortly after writing an article denouncing synods. He was not impressed by the new 'Enlarge the space of your tent' philosophy."

Lord Francis de Bourgholio and Mr Cupich prepare to enlarge their tent.

Turning to his favourite daughter, Mr Bennet continued, "“An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not attend a synod, and I will never see you again if you do."

The two youngest of the family, Catherine and Lydia, were particularly anxious to attend Lord Francis's synod: their minds were more vacant than their sisters', and when nothing better was offered, a camping trip was certain to amuse them.

After listening to their effusions on this subject, Mr. Bennet coolly observed:

"From all that I can collect by your manner of talking, you must be two of the silliest girls in the country. I have suspected it some time, but I am now convinced."

To synod, or not to synod?

His daughter Elizabeth frowned.

"Lizzy, you look as if you did not enjoy seeing the folly of your sisters. For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?"

Will Catherine and Lydia attend the Synod? Why is Major Hollerich so interested in camping? What plans does the wicked Captain Roche have?

Not to be continued. I hope.

Saturday, 7 January 2023

How to conduct a papal funeral

Today we have another instalment in our long-running series "How to be a good pope", providing useful advice to those readers (Hi, Blase! Hi, Arthur! Hi, Luis!) who have already booked a fitting with Gammarelli ("Pope Suits For All Sizes").

The story so far: your predecessor, Pope Benjamin, took the advice of the St Gallbladder Mafia, and resigned his office (for after Cardinal Comic Murphy-O'Blimey put a horse's head in his bed, and Cardinal Godless Dandruff enquired about fitting him for concrete boots, he felt it was time to call it a day).

Of course, some argue that he had resigned the Munus but not the Ministerium because he said the wrong words for resignation: these traddy Latin terms mean that he could still be pope. Of course you don't accept this, especially since the St Gallbladder chaps have given up trying to threaten him and gone back to money-laundering financial speculation instead. Now he is believed to have died - but maybe his last words were invalid and he is not really dead? What a mess.

Eccles: get on with the advice. We haven't got all day. Pietro.

"All-purpose funeral homily. Do not read this bit out. Oops!"

Well, one thing you have to do at Pope Benjamin's funeral is to preach a homily. Now, this will be difficult, as your usual homilies consist of a stream of insults. Not today, please! Avoid words like "rigid" and "backwardist", whatever you thought of your predecessor - in any case, you have spent the last ten years reversing all the changes he made. So keep your homily totally bland, the sort that can be given for anyone who dies - you're not very good at profound theological statements, anyway. At the end you may end with "And so we say farewell to [fill in name here]" and everyone will be pleased.

Here comes trouble...

Later in the service, the faithful will wish to receive Communion. Some rigid troublemakers will want to receive on the tongue while kneeling, but this will not go down well with all the priests present. The solution is to provide a range of priests etc. of different flavours - some rigid priests, some less traditional ones, some dressed as clowns, some holding balloons, and of course a few extraordinary ministers (they don't have to be very extraordinary, the usual vestments of tee-shirts, jeans and trainers will be fine). Then the congregation can make its own choices.

Finally, one disadvantage of a papal funeral is that you cannot exclude cardinals, even the ones you are avoiding. The last time that Cardinal Tao of China turned up you managed to avoid him by hiding in a broom cupboard, and so he couldn't complain to you about China's policy of rebranding members of the secret police as Catholic bishops. This time it's not going to be so easy. Cardinal Tao has been taking lessons in the game of hide-and-seek, and will certainly find you if you hide under the bed or in a cupboard. Does the Vatican have a "Pope's Hole" where persecuted popes can hide? If not, you'll have to meet him.

Now, gentlemen, I want a clean fight.

Or you could release some photoshopped pictures to make it look as though you met him? No, people will see through that. Make it a short meeting, in a sacred place, so that he cannot practise the ancient martial arts of Chop Suey or Foo Yung on you. Your own Papa-Slappa may be good for enough for young female pilgrims, but will never defeat a cardinal with a black belt!

As for what you say to him... keep it short. Pretend you have an urgent appointment with two cardinals who want to ask you a few Dubia. This may even be true, but if it is, I can't help you.

Sunday, 1 January 2023

Tributes to Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI

As the Catholic world (and many others) mourns the death of the Emeritus Pope, we found a variety of alternative tributes.

Kevin McGhoul of the Daily Moron.

So that's got rid of Benedict then! Did you know that he was Hitler's right-hand man and founded the Hitler Youth? I can reveal that is true name wasn't Benedict, but Joseph Goebbels. After the war ended he changed his name to Ratzinger, then a bit later he hid himself away in Rome to avoid the Nazi-hunters. I know all about these things.

Who would have thought that this man would end up as Pope?

You know that Jimmy Saville was a Catholic? Well, doesn't that prove that Benedict covered up child abuse? Also he was transphobic, homophobic, claustrophobic, and [I'll think of some more phobias later]. Our ace correspondent Greta Thunberg tells me that his carbon footprint was enough to kill three polar bears every week!

Fr Tommy Rot SJ.

I forgive Benedict for his many faults - mainly sacking me from Amerika magazine because he realised that I was a useless toad. During his papacy and that of Pope John-Paul II - come to think of it, during all papacies except the present one - free debate was suppressed and only people who actually believed all that Catholic stuff were allowed to guide the Church.

Benedict described homosexuality as "intrinsically disordered" - an accusation which has set the Jesuit movement back many years. No, the big mistake the electors made in 2005 was in choosing someone who was wise and intelligent - they certainly avoided that error when it came to the 2013 conclave!

Instead of listening to other opinions, Benedict insisted on Catholic teaching! You wouldn't catch Pope Francis telling people what to do, or what to believe! He listens to everyone, from Pachamama downwards!

Professor Doctor Max Beans.

As you can read in the 25 articles I have written since I heard about Pope Benedict's demise yesterday morning (Boston Globule, Commonwart Magazine, Les Crocks, The Beano, Huffington Puffington, Gelato Weekly, ...) the reign of Pope Benedict was a disaster. He may have been the greatest theologian in the world (after myself, that is!) but he was responsible for a revival of traditional Latin Masses, the Ordinariate, and a legacy that Pope Francis is finding it hard to destroy. Hermeneutic of Continuity! I tell you, if Francis knew what it meant, he would be cancelling it!

Benedict made many Catholics feel orphaned, and not only those who were complete bastards already. If only he had been more progressive!

Will that do, Eccles? I have to write ten more hit pieces before lunchtime. The Babble-on Bean blog is getting impatient!

Friday, 30 December 2022

The Book of Numbskulls 1 - the fall of Bosis

Continued from here.

1. In my earlier writings, O Theophilus, namely the books of Brexodus and Covidicus, I told the story of how Bosis led the children of Bri-tain out of the land of EU-gypt, and how they were hit by a great plague.

2. Now I must tell the tragical history of the downfall of Bosis and his replacement by his servant Trusshua.

On the way out...

3. For by the seventh month, Bosis had lost favour with the people.

4. First, because of his love of cake. For he had held a great feast, at which there appeared on the wall, written in letters of fire, the words MENE PEPEL ARUN HARPE, which is to say "The people of the Beeby Sea have found thee wanting and wish thee to go."

5. Second, there was a man named Pincher, who was accused of pinching two men.

6. But Bosis refused to believe in his iniquity, defending Pincher by saying, "Doth Raab rob? Doth Mogg mug? Is Eustice useless? Well, perhaps yes in this last case, but I cannot believe that Pincher doth pinch."

7. But the end was in sight, for Sajidiah, the bringer of health, and Rishi the Sunakite, the bringer of wealth (or not), now resigned from their offices, followed by many other ministers.

8. And even the aged patriarch, John of Magdala, who had led the Conservatites thirty years earlier, spake from his tomb, saying "It is time for the 1922 B.C. committee to intervene, they that wear grey suits and dwell in smoke-filled rooms."

The spectre of the late John of Magdala.

9. So Bosis admitted that the game was up and a new leader was needed. Besides, he had led the people out of EUgypt (except perhaps for the Irish of the North), reduced their footprints of carbon, and brought prosperity to all. Or so he said.

10. Then there came forth eight brave heroes, all willing to lead the children of Bri-tain into a glorious future.

11. But soon the candidates disappeared one by one, as in the fabled book of Anima Christi, known as "Ten little Tories", which was known throughout the land of Bri-tain.

12. So that only Trusshua and Rishi the Sunakite remained.

The race for power.

13. Now the people of the Western Minster preferred Rishi, but the Law of Profits told them that they must consult the humble Conservatites who dwelt among the grass roots.

14. And the lot fell upon Trusshua, and what a lot it would be, as I shall relate next.

To be continued.

Sunday, 25 December 2022

The 2022 Catholic Advent Calendar

In the end, this is what I saw after opening all the little windows.

For the record, this is what was revealed:

1. We start off in party mood with Cardinal Coccopalmerio.

2. We see the return of another great religious figure (complete with a new hairstyle). Blair.

3. Jolly old Uncle Wilt is here to celebrate a TLM with you. Or not.

4. Now, Advent is traditionally the season for synods, and we ask "Who is missing?" Are YOU doing enough to change the teaching of the Catholic church?

5. Out pops one of the greatest theologians of our age - or, indeed, any age - Mike Lewis of the "Where Pacha Is" blog.

6. Music is an important part of worship, and the vuvuzela won a recent Twitter poll on the subject. Enjoy!

7. A real heavyweight today - Cardinal "Rhino" Marx enjoying the LGBT surroundings.

8. Devout Catholic Nancy Pelosi heads into retirement, vowing to spend her declining years in performing good deeds.

9. Ooh look, it's Tommy Reese, the very model of a modern liberal Jesuit.

10. It's Cardinal Maradiaga. In a world of financial and sexual scandals, here is someone we can really believe in.

11. This new cardinal, Robert McElroy, is described as a "kindred spirit of Pope Francis". Need we say more?

12. A spiritually nourishing picture of a drunken man surrounded by custard pies (World meeting of families). By Father Marko Ivan Rupnik SJ, who is in a spot of bother right now.

13. Unlucky 13. We begin the second half with Bishop Gustavo Óscar Zanchetta. Pope Francis has backed him all the way, so it's rather unfortunate that Z's been sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison.

14. No prizes for recognising Devout Catholic Joe Biden, seen here doing his Mussolini impersonation. In his spare time Joe tells me he is President of the Thing c'mon, you know man. His views on marriage and infanticide are truly fascinating.

15. Cardinal Becciu (my financial adviser) says he could have been pope if only the newspapers would stop writing about him. Better luck next time, Angelo!

16. We haven't had a distinguished theologian yet - unless you count December 5th - so here is Massimo Faggioli ("Max Beans" to his friends), a modern Aquinas, winner of the "Top Theologian named after a vegetable" prize for 10 years running.

17. Cardinal Farrell, a friend of the famous McCarrick, is Camerlengo of the Church. I was wondering who Pope Francis had told him to appoint as his successor, but he hasn't told us yet. Probably one of the people on this calendar...

18. We all love genial Archbishop Paglia. Vincenzo ("Paggles" to his friends) has brought a new mission to the Pontifical Academy of Life, commissioned a homoerotic mural in which he features, and is a supporter of charitable donations.

19. Although he is now almost entirely forgotten, the devout Boris Johnson was the first Catholic prime minister of the UK. In 2019-2022 the country went through a golden age in which Christian doctrine dominated public life. Possibly.

20. Blase Cupich, winner of a recent world cup of cardinals. Universally loved.

21. We welcome Austen Ivereigh, author of "Pope Francis, the great Redeemer" etc. and now an "expert" charged with writing up all the moans and grumbles from contributors to the Synod on Synod on Synods. Whoopee!

22. Father James "Jimbo" Martin LGBTSJ. Known for his, er, imaginative Catholic teaching, and for bringing "gay" and "trans" issues into as many debates as possible.

23. At this time of year we wait for the fat man in red in whom nobody really believes. "Santa" Roche knows whether you've been bad (TLMs) or good (NO masses)!

24. We open the last window on the Catholic Advent Calendar to reveal a symbol of happiness and joy.

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all readers!

An unreligious baggage writes about Christmas

A guest post from Apollyon Toynbee of the Guardian.

Christmas comes with good cheer. The tragedy is the religious baggage.

I love Christmas! It's the time of year that all we Guardian writers are filled with good cheer, as we migrate to our villas in Tuscany and take part in all the usual traditions. Hot cross buns! Easter eggs! Drinking ourselves sensible!

I watch "It's a pretty rotten life", that movie in which a rich capitalist decides to kill himself, and we all cheer him on. (I turn off before the last bit, which is about a fascist creature called an angel, who stops him.)

I also watch "A Christmas Carol" in a special feminist version in which Ms. Scroogy goes to Bob Snatchit's House and steals all his food becase he is a SEXIST PIG.

No religion in any of these films, you will notice!


No, it's the attempt by Christians to hijack the event with their nonsense about a baby being born in Nazareth, or wherever it was. Why, they've even hijacked the traditional name "Christmas", deciding to call their imaginary baby "Christ". I haven't gone into this in detail, but it seems that they also worship other imaginary children called East and Pente!

My atheist great-grandfather, Gilbert N. Sullivan, a classical scholar and also president of the humanists, called Christmas “Mithras' birthday”, because Jesus usurped this winter festival from him. (Hang on, Eccles, she really said that!) Of course the shops refused to sell him Mithras' Birthday cards, which just goes to show the level of bigotry in our society.

And don't get me onto the subject of the three "kings" bringing gold, frankincense and myrrh, when - so they tell me - ordinary citizens can't afford these luxuries and have to rely on myrrh banks! I blame Rishi Sunak.

In general, I am very tolerant of religions, provided that they are practised behind closed doors where nobody can see them. (And no cheating by making silent prayers in the streets! My friends in the Police have stocked up with tear gas, rubber bullets and tasers, just in case anyone tries to pray while thinking - or do I mean tries to think while praying?)

The anti-prayer task force has spotted a lady praying silently!

No, at this time of year I show my religious sensitivity by wishing all my Muslim friends a "Happy Hanukkah", since I know that in their gurdwaras they are celebrating that moment - sacred to them at least - when Krishna did whatever it is he did.

Admittedly, they sometimes utter a discreet "Ali Baba!" ("God is great") as they go about their traditional stabbing activities, but we can overlook such solecisms because we all believe in diversity!

Confucius he say "This is brilliant, Polly!"

Christianity is the worst, though. I dug into the Guardian bag of insults and out came "homophobic", "transphobic", "pro-life", "preaching" and "smashing and decapitating a vast statue of Athena". So there we are!

Give me the badly behaved quarrelsome gods of Valhalla, the Greeks and Romans. (Hang on, Eccles, she really said that as well!)

But worst of all, is the fact that organized religion has robbed us of the right to bump off Grandad when he's being a nuisance (The "right to die"). A lot of these do-gooders wear crosses - an instrument of torture - but whenever I suggest to them that I should be allowed to crucify Grandad Gilbert, who has a nasty dose of arthritis, they hurriedly change the subject.

So Christmas comes with good cheer, enjoy it. But know that it also comes with grandparents - I mean, religious baggage - that we should shed!

Will this do? I have recycled some of the best bits from my 2006, 2015, 2019 and 2021 articles on the subject, but there are one or two new bits as well. Apollyon.

From the desk of Katharine Viner (Editor). Not bad, Polly, but couldn't you have mentioned the fact that Christianity was invented by bronze age goatherds like C.S. Lewis (I think it was)? Love, Kathy.

Tuesday, 20 December 2022


With apologies to George Orwell.

Winston Smith's route to Mass took him past the People's Aborturama. Here, citizens were encouraged to punish their unwanted children with painful execution, so that their organic components could be recycled for the good of the state. Seeing officers of PrayPol, the Prayer Police, standing nearby, Winston hastily put his hands in his pockets and arranged his features into a large smile. That way, nobody would accuse him of praycrime.

A scene of explicit praycrime.

Naturally, Big Brother had no objection to the use of prayers, provided that they were taken from the Synod 2021-2045 Handbook. This had been compiled by the late Citizen Ivereigh of the Ministry of Religion on the instructions of Pope Francis the Godly, whose remarkable brain was now operating for eternity thanks to the miracles of science.

The Pope (aged 148) continues his work.

State-approved prayers were mostly addressed to Pachamama, the People's goddess, and involved repentance for environmental wrongs, such as plasticstrawsinning or candlecrime. Unauthorized prayers outside the People's Aborturama, the Youthinasia retirement home, or DragonQueen, the children's gender reassignment playground, were of course severe examples of praycrime, and the offender was liable to compulsory re-education.

A doubleplusungood example of praycrime.

Re-education mostly consisted of the guilty citizen being imprisoned in the Greta Thunberg Education Facility (formerly Oxford University), where the offender was forced to listen to endless lectures on Critical Race Theory, Gender Theory and of course Climate Change (scientists had recently revised their estimates, revealing that the World would be consumed by fire no later than 2090).

Winston arrived on time at the Pachamama Cathedral Mosque. Mass would start with a two-minute Hate of White People, who, it had been established by the Big Sister of Oceania (formerly President Meghan of the United States), were responsible for all the evils of the world...

To be continued? I hope not. Just read the newspapers if you want more.

Monday, 19 December 2022

How to get rid of a turbulent priest

Probably several of my readers will one day become pope (Hi, Blase! Hi, Arthur! Hi, Tina!) and will need me to advise them on how to behave. Today's topic is the vexed one of getting rid of a priest you don't like. These days, popes don't often poison priests - in fact Francis has been a model non-poisoner - and the most common solution is simple laicisation. But of course we don't laicise everyone who offends.

For example, Cardinal Cocaine, who wears a lampshade on his head and knows all about "gay" orgies can't really be said to be a problem!

Not a problem.

Likewise, Father Jimbo SJ, who can't take a cup of tea without relating it to LGBT issues, and whose Biblical teaching is best described as "imaginative", is to be welcomed into the Vatican and asked for his advice! Then there's Archbishop Paggles, who stars in homoerotic murals, doesn't really understand what a Pontifical Academy for Not Bumping People off is supposed to do, and seems to be in all sorts of other troubles. He's safe. Even Fr Rumpy, who won a prize for the worst ecclesial art ever seen, who has trouble keeping his vestments on, and who solves his problems by absolving the people he has sinned with, only gets a brief slap on the wrist from the CDF.

Rumpy's masterpiece - a drunken man surrounded by custard pies.

But what's the point of being pope if you can't sack a few people? Aha! I have it! There's this Pavanne chap of "Priests Against Murder", who is admittedly rather eccentric in his methods. Worst of all he is very very very pro-life! Emma Bonehead isn't at all happy! Mariana Mozzarella has complained!

Sack him! But do it in a Jesuit way - i.e., don't say exactly why you're sacking him. Mutter something about blasphemous communications (Uncle Wilt has explained to you that backing Donald Trump is a hideous blasphemy) and accuse him of disobeying his bishop (a catch-all, as sometimes you have to choose between God and your bishop).

Public Enemy Number One.

You are, of course, a merciful pope (as well as a humble one), so you won't be sending the Swiss Guard round to do a Thomas Becket on him. Well, not this week. Thank Heavens that the art of removing turbulent priests has evolved since the days of Henry II, and you can simply cast him into outer darkness!

Sunday, 18 December 2022

What the Prodigal Son did next

A sequel to the earlier parable.

1. So the prodigal son, Harry, with the prodigal daughter-in-law, the sorceress Meg-han le Fay, parted from his father a second time, and went into the wilderness to seek an even bigger fortune than he had already.

2. "Leave us alone!" cried the happy couple. "We have told you many times, by means of interviews, epistles, paintings, interpretative dance, commemorative mugs, even by means of the Metropolitan Oprah, that we are humble strolling players who wish to preserve a dignified silence."

Harry painteth a self-portrait in the style of Van Gogh.

3. But it was not to be. "I am going spare," said Harry, "and the only way to be ignored will be to write the best-selling story of my life, also to be called 'Spare'."

4. Meanwhile, the grandmother of the prodigal son, who happened to be the Queen, died at a great age, and his father became King.

5. This Queen had responded to the claims of Meg-han Le Fay by saying "Recollections may vary", which is how queens say "Thou art a silly cow and everything thou sayest is as the droppings of the bulls of Bashan."

6. But now that the Queen was dead, the prodigal couple decided to invent more stories about life at the royal palace.

7. "For I am black but comely," said Meg-han Le Fay, "and thus I am the victim of racial attacks by the late Queen and her corgis of war."

8. Which was not true, for the people had greeted her with "Who is this that appears like the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, majestic as the stars in procession?"

"Boris! Liz! Rishi! Keir! Attack!"

9.But Harry was also much grieved. "Once when I was three years old, my brother William called me a 'pest', and it hath traumatized me all my life. What can I do?"

10. And Meg-han le Fay replied, "Let us arise and go unto the men who flick the nets, and ask them to make a powerful twenty-six-part entertainment about us.

11. Thus can we remain private, as we have always wanted; we can be revenged on the wickedness of William; and, best of all, we can be rewarded with much gold."

12. And it was so.

The people are entertained by the story of the prodigal couple.

Sunday, 4 December 2022

Magi "traumatized" after being asked where they came from

Bethlehem, 4 B.C. approx.

The three Magi, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar (real names: Chas Parr, Mel Keir, and Bill Tazzer), have declared themselves "totally stunned" after they arrived at the stable in Bethlehem and were asked where they had come from.

The question you must never ask.

After travelling for several weeks from Persian lands afar, the three kings presented their offerings of gold, frankincense and myrrh, which they claimed to have bought in a gift shop in Bethlehem, even though the items were in a bag bearing the legend "Ali's Bazaar - eveything for your Adoration needs".

On being asked "Where do you come from?" they originally replied "Hackney" (a suburb of Jerusalem), although it was later revealed after a gruelling 15 seconds of traumatic questioning that their background was more exotic.

"We're not angry with the Holy Family," said Chas. "All we want is for them to be driven out into Egypt."

It was later revealed that the three men had a history of baiting royalty, and that King Herod himself was deeply upset by what they said when they visited him. However, Herod did not ask them about the origins, so history is sure to look kindly upon him.

"Well, winding up King Herod was a good start. What shall we do next?"

Thursday, 1 December 2022

The next conclave

Cardinal Farrell (camerlengo): By popular demand, I am stepping down from the organization of this conclave, and our brother Cardinal Eccles will run the proceedings. He tells me that his agenda will produce white smoke within just a few minutes...

"Only one man can sort out this mess."

Eccles takes over.

I have invited all cardinals here, even ones too old to vote, as they may still be elected pope.

First. Calling all frauds, embezzlers, people who say "The money was just resting in my account", and investors in dodgy property schemes. Please leave, we don't require you any more.

Several cardinals leave, Becciu loudly protesting "I'll sue someone - I was intended to be the next pope!"

All homosexuals, trans-cardinals, friends of Father James Martin LGBTSJ, those with beach houses, those who cover up abuse... oh hang it, and all Jesuits. Please go.

A mad rush for the exits.

Who let him in?

All Germans, Belgians, and - yes - Argentinians (we don't want to make that mistake again!) OUT!

Some times you pull up the wheat with the tares. Pope Emeritus Benedict (aged 108) goes out with a sigh of relief. Cardinal Müller looks less happy.

All those soft on abortion and euthanasia, those associated with the Pontifical Academy for Death. GO!

A few more leave.

All cardinals who think that synods about synods are a GOOD THING. HOPPIT.

There were never many of these, and most have left already. But one or two creep out synodically.

And take that scarecrow with you!

Anyone associated with that scandalous deal with China. No not you, Zen, dear Eminence.

Is that Parolin I see leaving?

All fat clowns who hate the traditional Latin Mass. BEGONE!

Roche waddles out with one or two friends. Most of the others have left already.

Phew! Well that just leaves Sarah, Pell and a VERY few others. Can you sort it out between yourselves now, guys?

"We don't suppose you'd take it on, Eccles?"

Sunday, 27 November 2022

Francis "shocked" to discover that China is ruled by baddies

The Vatican-China deal (arranged by that wily oriental Pa-Ro Lin) is now in tatters, after the Chinese went ahead and appointed two new cardinals, Ro-Chee and Mac-El Roy, without any consultation.

"I am shocked, SHOCKED, you hear, to discover that China, which we had assumed was as benevolently run as the Vatican, is in fact run by a brutal dictator who persecutes the Traditional Latin Mass" said the Holy Father today.

Cardinal Czerny (moustached) tells Pa-Ro Lin that he is SHOCKED.

"If only someone had warned me that President Xi was not to be trusted!" said Pope Francis. "Surely we have some of our own clerics over there who are not members of the Chinese Secret Police? Couldn't one of them have taken the trouble to come to Rome to warn me that things were not going too well over there?"

There's even a rumour that some cardinal I've never heard of has been arrested and put on trial for alleged financial misdeeds. Cardinal Becciu tells me he is SHOCKED as well."

No sign of any Chinese cardinals in Rome!

Still, all is not lost. Pope Francis has asked one of his synod "experts", the wily little oriental I-va Ree (you've done that joke already) to go to China and "sort them out". I-va Ree already has a China-style suit, whch he wears when he wants people to take him seriously (not much luck there!) so he should fit in well.

"What the Chinese need is more synods!" says I-va Ree.

Friday, 25 November 2022

Comedy award for Martin and Ive

The popular comedy duo, Martin and Ive, has just swept the board in the prestigious Francis Awards, defeating Cardinal Becciu's solo routine ("I would have been pope if only the press hadn't kept telling the truth about me"). So it seems only fair to share some of their finest jokes with our readers.

As with Morecambe and Wise, one of the duo has short fat hairy legs.

Let's start with Jimbo's comments on the Holy Spirit.

Great gag, Jim!

You see, unlike Vatican II, which was only inspired by the Holy Spirit, this new Vatican III is managed by the Holy Spirit. Take note, it wasn't Pope Francis waking up with a hangover one day and saying "How can I best undermine traditional Catholic teaching? I know - get a lot of heretics to write in, together with moaning Minnies with grudges, and turn the lot into an Even Newer Testament, saying it was inspired by the Holy Spirit." No, the Trinity in His Wisdom decided that the time had come to throw away 2000 years of teaching and start again!

Ivereigh explains blasphemy.

Yes, for 2000 years the disciples, saints, popes, doctors of the Church, etc. have been committing blasphemy. Simple doctrine like "No murder", "No adultery" and "No theft" can't be regarded as set in stone. Especially not adultery, which became "OK" again after Amoris Laetitia.

Note the way that the great comic Austen turns round Catholicism in order to parody it. In the old days it was blasphemy to subvert Catholic teaching, but now - ho ho - it is blasphemy to insist on it.

One more joke from Ivereigh to finish off? Yes, why not?

A new reversal of Catholic teaching.

The recipe is the same here, but still effective. It is modernism to reject modernism - have I got that right? What popes said in the past has to be interpreted using the totally contradictory wibbling of the present incumbent. But we must remember that Austen is an Oxford don - at Camp Hall (memo: check name), and this is what we call Oxford humour, and like "alternative" comedy, is not usually funny.

I've got it - contra-Chestertonian, that's what these guys are. GKC was a master of paradox, saying things that seemed absurd but turned out to have wisdom in them. Jim and Austen go in the opposite direction.

Anyway, congratulations on your "Francis" award, team!

"We wuz robbed."