Dis is me, Eccles

Dis is me, Eccles
Dis is me, Eccles

Monday, 27 April 2015

The Irish chalk and cheese referendum

In the UK we have already seen Equal Nutrition imposed without any opportunity for the public to vote on the issue. In Ireland they are holding a referendum on the subject, and it seems that all major political parties support the idea that chalk and cheese should be legally equal.

A chalk cake. Bakers who refuse to make these are sued for all they've got.

Supporters of the family have naturally been concerned about the consequences for children, arguing that a child "needs its proteins and carbohydrates." The "yes" voters, who claim that feeding a child on chalk is just as good, have a powerful counter-argument: they scream "Bigot! Bigot! Bigot!" until everyone goes home in disgust.

On this blog we are generally concerned with spiritually nourishing matters rather than simple bodily nourishment, and so we look to Christianity for guidance. Apparently, Christ never directly condemned the eating of chalk - which means it must be OK - but on the other hand He refused to feed the 5,000 on it, instead relying on an old-fashioned and probably bigoted diet of bread and fish (i.e., carbohydrate and protein).

feeding the 5000

I DEMAND that you give me chalk, you bigot!

Isaiah does mention chalk, but in a typically Old Testament bigoted way, for he says "He maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder." This is supposed to be the origin of Judeo-Christian persecution of chalk-eaters, but since it is in the Old Testament we may ignore it, just as we ignore the Ten Commandments.

On the other hand, Christ preached against offering children stones when they ask for fish, so that makes Him a "bigot" too.

child and mother

An old-fashioned child, eating cheese. He also has a "mother", so is doubly bigoted.

Prime Minister Enda Life has called for Ireland to become a "fair, compassionate and tolerant nation" by feeding its children on chalk. Enda is of course very keen on the protection of life, and so he brought in abortion legislation in order to eradicate as much life as possible. For those unfamiliar with the language of politicians, we note that "protection" here is used in the sense of a "protection racket", where gangsters protect someone by burning down their houses. Enda feels that destroying the lives of children by giving them a chalk-based upbringing will give them all the protection they need.

Enda and baby

Enda explains to a delighted baby that he will be brought up on a diet of chalk.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Catholic Church changes teaching on abortion

Following advice from Mrs Hillary Clinton, widely tipped to be the next president of the United States, the Catholic Church has decided to change its teaching on abortion. Following her comment that "deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed" so that killing off children is made easier, there has been a unanimous response of "Oh gosh, we never thought of that" from the Church.

watching Osama Bin Laden attack

Hillary and friends enjoy a webcam set up in Bill Clinton's office.

Mrs Clinton has angrily insisted that for many years she has been negotiating with Pope Francis and his predecessors by e-mail, explaining to them how they have totally misunderstood Catholic teaching, but unfortunately all the correspondence was accidentally deleted. You know how these things happen.

Bill, Hillary and Jean-Paul II

"I'll think about it" promises Pope John-Paul II.

Meanwhile, on these shores Mr Edward Miliband, a well-known atheist and politician, has declared that he wants to meet Pope Francis. Having been leader of the opposition for nearly five years, he has not previously shown the slightest interest in hopping on a plane to Rome (or even hanging around when Pope Benedict XVI visited), but the approaching election has concentrated his mind wonderfully, and he realises that he urgently has to challenge David Cameron for the votes of any so far undecided but gullible Christians.

Miliband and three groupies

All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!

Coincidentally, the Pope has expressed a long-standing wish to meet Ed Miliband, in order to decide whether he is real. "Some people find the Christian faith difficult to accept," he said, "but believing that Ed Miliband is a real person is far more of a challenge."

Thursday, 23 April 2015

The Scottish bishops disaster

By William McGonagall
'Twas in the year twenty-fifteen
That strange events in Scotland were seen:
The Nationalists' hopes began to burgeon
Because of a bonnie wee lass called Sturgeon,
Who was bound to do well in the General Election
Because of a mood of disaffection.
McGonagall poster
The Catholic bishops were all very fine,
Except perhaps for Keith O'Brien.
Of the rest I would mention especially
Philip Tartaglia and Leo Cushley.
Devine was divine, and as for Toal,
There was quite a high chance of saving his soul.
Cushley and Salmond

Trouble ahead: Leo Cushley makes a new friend.

But 'tis often thought that Catholics
Should be careful when dabbling in politics.
Bishops, you may write your flock a note
But don't tell 'em exactly how to vote.
When making our choice most think it better
To ignore the tedious "Bishops' Letter".
Bishops' letter
Alas! The bishops had been gammoned
By Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond.
They fell into a hopeless passion,
And expressed themselves after this fashion:
"She may have got enormous feet,
But her voice is low and sweet -
Aye, she's a' the world to me;
And for bonnie leftie Nicky 
I'd lay me doon and dee!"
Nicola Sturgeon

Bonnie Leftie Nicky.

I must now conclude my lay,
And tell the world what many men say.
Bishops are blessed, and they know how to pray,
But in Scotland, as in England, they
Sometimes don't take care what they say.
Respectfully, I warn the episcopal classes:
"Your conduct sometimes rather crass is.
Worship God, and say your Masses,
But don't trust any political lasses,
Or people will say you're a bunch of asses!"

Wiser than some bishops.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Are you a top Catholic?

As described slightly inaccurately here, 100 rich and famous people in San Francisco have written an open letter to the Pope demanding the removal of Archbishop Cordileone because of his insistence on Catholic values. The comedy PR man, Sam Singer, has been hired to help, and he has made the very important point that these are "top Catholics", not just any old people. Which raises the question: what is a top Catholic?

Tony Blair

This is what a top Catholic looks like.

Unfortunately, I have not heard of most of the top Catholics in San Francisco, although they do include Charles Geschke, the president of Adobe Systems. He's the one who sends alerts to my computer every two or three days announcing a new version of Flash Player. Being gullible, I download them, but they never work properly.

However, there are top Catholics everywhere, and we can only gaze at them in wonder. When the "kiss of peace" comes in church, you are not allowed to shake hands with them, but there will usually be an aide available to represent them.

Remember that Jesus said "You cannot serve God and Mammon, so choose one of them. I really don't care which!" To be a top Catholic, you really need to be rich and powerful, so make sure you choose Mammon!

Mother Angelica

Happy 92nd to Mother Angelica, a highly revered Franciscan nun. Not "top" though.

Who are the two people mentioned in the Nicene Creed, apart from Our Lord? Well, Mary, of course, but the other is Pontius Pilate, the man who liked washing his hands. Pretty "top" I'd say, and without too many religious convictions to get in the way. Unlike Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea who started off "top" but went downhill once they started to take religion seriously.

Chris Patten

Chris Patten, named by the Tablet* as one of the most influential UK Catholics.

*Of which he happens to be a Trustee. That proves he is a top Catholic.

Well, you get the point. When the Day of Judgement comes and Christ has to choose between sheep and goats, what will He do? Will He take aside the president of Adobe and say ironically, "You know, your program still doesn't work properly, but you're a top Catholic so come and sit and my right hand," or will he settle for a humble nun who spent her time doing good deeds and saying the Rosary? I've no idea.

Pope and Biden

The Pope is honoured to meet a top Catholic with no particular religious views.

One last point. It is the season for letter-writing, and now Cardinal Nichols is getting very worried that people may write to the Pope complaining that he is too strict about upholding Catholic teaching. May I implore readers NOT to do this? Thanks.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Christian Comment at election time

Deacon Donnelly, formerly a protector of the pope, has had a "Christian Comment" article banned by the prestigious Barrow Evening Mail, because of its political content: apparently the suggestion that Christian belief might actually be relevant for those wondering how to vote was too much for the newspaper. The Evening Mail claims to be in pre-election "purdah" - itself a Hindu/Muslim notion, involving the editor covering her body and retiring to a secluded room.


The Evening Mail's ace reporters on the streets of Barrow.

Admittedly, the Evening Mail has had an exciting week, with many more interesting news stories to cover, and it may simply not have had space to publish the Nick Donnelly piece, provisionally entitled Help! All the candidates is unsaved persons. Take, for example, this story, which gave the newspaper a "Hold the front page" moment, involving all the staff working overtime.

newspaper scoop

A story soon to be taken up by newspapers worldwide.

The deacon's full article can be found here, but as a public service we publish a revised version, which should meet the rigorous journalistic standards of the Barrow press.

Every General Election I am faced with a dilemma as a Christian – which candidate and political party can I vote for in good conscience?

Well, they're all jolly good chaps, aren't they? Labour's wonderful - very sound on making sure that all kids are adopted by gay couples! Killing off baby girls - that's another nice one! My heart warms to John Woodcock - a great man and a great star. He reminds me of many of my favourite Biblical characters such as Cain, Jezebel and Herod the Great.

Then the Liberal Democrats and Green party are even better! Abimelech and Herodias would have voted for them, like a shot.


Abimelech is declared to be duly elected to parliament.

It's been really great seeing David Cameron's legalisation of same sex marriage, especially since it was a surprise that we weren't expecting! And LGBT rights are now to be taught in Christian schools, which will be much more useful to 5-year-olds than learning to read. Simon Fell is the Conservative candidate, and he's the first animal-human hybrid to stand for parliament. Well done!

He's no worse than many other MPs, to be fair.

You don't need to make a protest vote, but many of my friends who want to see the entire third world starve to death say that UKIP may be the way ahead here. An embarras de richesses, eh?

It is a solemn and binding duty to vote. Didn't Emily Davison say "I have a dream" and then spend 27 years on Robben Island fighting the Fascists in World War 2, all because she wanted to put an X against the name of some deranged half-wit chosen from a bunch of greedy, perverted time-servers? So we should do this too. But how can I choose?

See, Nick! Be nice about everyone, and they'll publish your piece. Eccles.

Nick, gagged

Sigh... here we go again.

The life of a secret nun

With the news that Pope Francis has killed the fatted calf for the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (the "prodigal nuns"), some readers have contacted me, saying "Who are these ladies? They don't look like nuns at all. Could they be the Women's Institute?"

Francis and quasi-nuns

"F" briefs the secret nuns.

Let me make it clear at the outset that I will have no truck with any jokes about their unusual habits. Now, where we?

The secret - or plain-clothes - nuns are an elite order of Catholic agents. They go around in "mufti", and are in most respects indistinguishable from ordinary members of the public. Their director, "F" has given some of them a "Licence to Pray", although this is only permitted in emergencies. One of their most famous agents is "Double-six seven", 667, or Jackie Bond, who often introduces herself by "The name's Bond, Sister Bond".

Campbell and nuns

In England, "M" entertains some less prestigious "uniformed" nuns.

Some of the films in which Sister Bond's exploits have been recorded are Dr Küng, From Eccleston Square with Love, You're Only Resurrected Once, On His Holiness's Secret Service, and The Man with the Golden Vestments. Fans of the Bond series will remember another recurring character, the eccentric Cardinal K, who provides our heroine with the latest in a series of improbable new doctrines produced in his laboratory. Many of them don't work properly, or have undesirable side-effects.

Cardinal Martini

Cardinal Martini - shaken but not stirred.

One question remains though: why are all "F"'s secret agents old ladies in their 70s? Wouldn't a younger agent be better able to thwart the plans of Ernst Stavro Dawkins or Rosa Toynbee? Sister Bond admits that this might be so, but maintains that it is all part of her disguise as a harmless old woman, whom nobody could possibly take seriously; and so far this is the case.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

San Francisco Catholics ask Pope to replace God

Satan. Increasingly popular amongst San Francisco Catholics.

More than 100 people claiming to be Catholics have signed a full-page advertisement in the San Francisco Chronicle. It takes the form of an open letter asking Pope Francis to name a new God more closely aligned with San Francisco’s progressive ideals. Apparently, the "usual" God, known to some as Jehovah, Yahweh, or simply God, is increasingly out of touch with liberal ideas on morality, and it is time for a replacement.

Baal - said to favour same-sex marriage.

Being himself the offspring of a "three-parent family", namely, a man, a cat and a toad, the demon Baal has been suggested as a worthy replacement for God. Admittedly, he is regarded as one of the seven princes of Hell, and also identified with the god who had trouble with Elijah in the Old Testament, but he is not known for fostering "division and intolerance", which, in the eyes of San Franciscans, are the worst sins possible.

The worship of Mammon is also very popular amongst SF Catholics.

The signatories of the letter include various influential Catholics, such as B.L. Zebub, the uncle of the captain of SF's pancake-racing team "The San Francisco Tossers", Lucy Fur, a director of the "Catholics for Abortion" charity, and Belle Phe-Gore, a prominent politician and expert on getting other people to pay carbon taxes.

Archbishop Cordileone - so far uncooperative.

Even though all the signatories to the letter are very very rich, important and famous, it seems that neither Pope Francis nor Archbishop Cordileone of San Francisco currently favours dropping God in favour of one of the more demonic alternatives. We don't often find ourselves in agreement with Cardinal Kasper on this blog, but even that Prince of the Church has declared that "Worshipping Satan is a step too far. Maybe. Well, at least at present." You can't get much more definite than that!

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Is it still safe for Catholics to laugh at Father Vin?

Reprinted from the Catholic Herald.

Six years on, the popular sitcom "Father Vin" continues to divide Catholics. Telling the tale of three useless clerics marooned on the remote island "Britain", some have seen it as a mockery of Catholicism, while others see it as brilliantly slapstick, surreal and childish.

Vincent Nichols

Father Vin.

Crucially, the ludicrous characters are the butt of the jokes, rather than precious elements of the faith. The humour is gentle, and all "Father Vin" fans have their favourite episode. For some, it is the one where he goes to a synod and can't remember how he voted. For others, it is the embarrassment he suffers when he discovers that "gay" masses are taking place on his doorstep. Yet again, others will remember the difficulties Vin gets into when he tries to silence 500 Catholic priests, only to be reminded that the Pope wants "dialogue".

Down with this sort of thing

Father Vin demonstrates against the Catholic Herald letters page.

Of course "Father Vin" contains other memorable characters. We have all laughed at the rather dim Fr Timothy Radcliffe, who is totally unable to understand some aspects of Catholic teaching on sexual matters, and Mrs Beattie, the tea lady, with her "Try another heresy, Father, go on, go on, go on!" However, our personal favourite is the disgraced Father Kieran, with his fondness for DRINK and GIRLS.

Kieran and wine


Perhaps the most popular of all episodes is the "Kick Cardinal Cormac up the backside" story, in which Father Vin is told that the only way that he can become a cardinal is to "give the boot" to his predecessor. Watch this sort of superlative comedy, and you will never wish to say "Down with this sort of thing!"

Fr Ted and Bishop Brennan

A bad day for Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor.

Eccles is blocked

It has become something of a matter of pride to be blocked on Twitter by George Galloway, Even Tom Chivers managed it by tweeting "booooooooooooooo" at him, which will probably even get him sued. George is a much-misunderstood fellow, who managed to make friends wherever he went, especially if it was Saddam Hussein's Baghdad or a Hamas knees-up. Not many people know that he is a talented cat-impersonator and an expert on forced marriage. Will he be re-elected as Respected MP for Bradford West? Well, that all depends on whether he captures the Jewish vote.

blocked by Galloway

Most likely to say: "Many of my best friends are Israelis."

Still, I have managed to get blocked by many on Twitter in my time. The roll of honour includes another great hero of mine, Richard Dawkins, the distinguished zoologist, theologian, poet and moral philosopher. Originally an expert on chickens, he has now diversified his interested into selfish genes, blind watchmakers, and deluded gods. Professor Dawkins understands that to be a good scientist, you have to have a spiritual dimension to your life. He is a deeply sensitive man, who is anxious never to give offence. If he stood in Bradford West, he would certainly have many Muslims supporting him.

blocked by Dawkins

Most likely to say: "Of course, I'm probably wrong."

Many people will be surprised to know that I have been blocked by Professor Tina Beattie, the well-known professor of Money, Life and Health (or something like that). Tina is a Catholic after my own heart - well, after her own heart, actually - and from her I have learned many things about the Catholic faith that no priest or bishop would ever dare to tell me. Her ground-breaking God's Mother, Eve's Advocate, is probably the only book on theology that I could recommend to people who enjoyed Fifty Shades of Grey. O Tina, tell me it was just a misunderstanding!

Correction: I am not blocked. But I thought I was...

blocked by Beattie

Most likely to say: "The important thing is to remain true to Catholic teaching."

Even more puzzling is my cold-shouldering by Damian Thompson, the Spectator's publisher for Religion, Society and Human Flourishing (or something like that). In the good old days of Telegraph blogs, when Friday night was sock-puppet night, we found that we had many common interests, such as Catholicism, custard, and the oeuvre of Gladys Mills. To add insult to injury, once the organ-grinder had spurned me, so did the monkey (Paul Priest), a man considered to be Corby's answer to James Joyce.

blocked by Thompson

Most likely to say: "I think of Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor as my mentor."

And so it goes on. The Diocese of Lancaster blocked me after I constantly praised its bishop's tough line on bloggers. Stephen Fry was so embarrassed by my description of him as the cleverest man of this age or indeed any age, that he humbly blocked me. On the other hand, Catherine Pepinster, Polly Toynbee and Giles Fraser - people who provide me with much quiet amusement - still haven't blocked me, so perhaps there is some hope that they can be saved. Oh, and this man hasn't blocked me, either: indeed, quite the reverse!

Pope Francis tweet

Pope Francis writes a tweet inspired by Eccles's blog.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

How should saved persons vote?

There's been very little about it in the news, but some people may be aware that in the UK we are having General Election on May 7th. In fact, you wait five years for someone to publish a manifesto, and then seven (?) come along at once.

However, most of the nastiest laws that get passed do not even appear in manifestos - do you remember anyone promising us same-sex "marriage", genetically-modified babies, or sex-selective abortion? Or even "yes, ye can shove yer Granny off a bus" legislation (that one seems to have been defeated, at least for the time being). So,burn the manifestos and start again.

Rule 1: All party leaders are villains. Cameron, Miliband, Clegg, Farage, Sturgeon, that thick woman from the Greens whose name I've forgotten... I wouldn't trust any of them to feed my cat if I went away on holiday.

Cameron and Miliband

Two unsaved people.

Rule 2. All major political parties contain one or two decent people. Even the SNP - they must do, or the Scottish Catholic bishops wouldn't fawn on them so much. Not sure about the Greens, actually.

Well this isn't getting us very far. You may vote for a saved candidate, and find that his or her leader bites the head off hamsters and performs human sacrifices at the full moon. So we'd better think again about this.

Black Mass

A typical party conference.

If you go to a polling booth, you will be handed a piece of paper looking something like this (without the pictures).

Sir Jasper Babyeater-Smyth (Conservative)

Edna Bully (Green)

Brother Eccles (Saved Persons' Party)
Pope with red nose
Praying Lord Frank (Monster Raving Loony Party)

Chris Fraud (Lib Dem)

Nicholas Frogbasher (UKIP)

Moira McNasty (SNP)
Vincent Price as Richelieu
Cardinal Vincent Nichelieu (World Domination Party)

Arthur Tablet-Freke (Tina Beattie for Queen Party)

Damian Thompson (Custard Liberation Front)

Sid Thugg (Labour)
Well, it's a tough call, but I rely on you to spot the most saved person in that list. If you are not so lucky with your ballot paper and you think that all the candidates are unsaved, then just write "UNSAVED", "VERY UNSAVED", "NO CHANCE OF BEING SAVED", "SAVED? DON'T MAKE ME LAUGH", etc. against all the names in turn. This may mean that your vote doesn't count, but it's perhaps the best you can do.

Pope Francis upsets the Turks

Ahmet Davutoglu, Prime Minister of Turkey, has angrily condemned Pope Francis's description of the Ottoman Empire's murder of 1.5 million Armenians as "the first genocide of the 20th century".

Ahmet Davutoglu

"Hey, Francis, we only killed half the population. Not a real genocide!"

Clearly, mentioning this sort of thing is bad manners, and according to poor injured Ahmet "an evil front is being formed before us. Now the pope has joined it and these plots." Apparently, this is the end of the famous saying "Turkey's voting for Christians". Pope Francis, in turn, has responded by giving up turkish delight, which he was going to do anyway, given that doctors had told him he was getting overweight.

turkish delight

The Holy Father is no longer delighted.

We are expecting further outspoken comments from the pope any time now. It is thought that he may mention the War (you know, it involved someone called Adolf Hitler, generally understood to be something of a bad egg), if he can face the wrath of Angela Merkel. Or he may go even further and talk about Stalin, in which case Vladimir Putin won't be sending him any more Christmas cards.

Basil Fawlty as Hitler

Preparing for a meeting with Angela Merkel.

Of course Turkey is one of our highly esteemed allies in NATO, so that if Pope Francis's tactless mention of the Armenians is to be regarded as an attack on it, then the UK, USA, etc., will be asked to declare war on the Vatican. The UK is already calling up its shock troops, the geriatric ACTA Brigade, which has been dying to have a pop at the pope for several years, especially during this era of diplomatic tension with the Bishop of Lancaster.

old man in wheelchair with gun

ACTA's youth coordinator rushes to the defence of Turkey.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Letters to the Tablet

Highlights of the Bitter Pill's letter page.

I am very upset by the letter from 461 Catholic priests in Britain regarding the maintenance of old-fashioned Catholic teaching on marriage and the family!!?? Don't they realise that we are waiting for the Holy Spirit to change her mind about this one, and until she does we shall scream and scream until you're sick of us??!! The process requires debate, prayer and discernment, but we certainly don't want to hear from a bunch of celibate men!!?? And that includes Jesus!!??

"Sorry, Holy Father, I forgot to post your letter to the Catholic Herald."

Cuddly Walter Kasper has spoken of the Church's living tradition, and the need to create it afresh!!?? After all, what's the point of tradition if it's just handed down by someone else??!! Tradition needs to be developed, otherwise it's just traddy!!?? This rude and naughty letter clearly refutes (or do I mean rebuts?) Kasper's position!!?? Shame on you, you horrid priests!!??

The letter has provoked further controversy within an already fragile Catholic Church - that's not my fault, Peppy, is it??!! Still, congratulations to brilliant Mgr Keith Bottletop of Bayswater for refusing to sign!!?? Good old Bottled-out is Sister Judy's Man of the Month!!??

Possibly not Mgr Bottletop.

So shut up, you horrible priests!!?? ACTA's criticism of the Catholic Church is fine, but we don't want priests reminding people of Catholic teaching!!?? And, EEEK! Sister Moira has told me that a lot of laymen are also signing letters saying that they like Catholic teaching!!?? Where will it end??!! Will Vincent Nichols sign a declaration of faithfulness??!! No chance of that, luckily!!?? Byeeeee!!??

Sr Judy Piranha, CRSS, Chelmsford

Sr Judy and Sr Moira

In The Tablet of 28 March there was an interesting article, which noted that Jesus, according to three of the Gospels, invited Judas to share in the Last Supper, whilst being fully aware of his pending betrayal. See, in those days everyone was allowed to share communion, and encouraged to go out and betray Jesus! Shouldn't this be the practice nowadays as well?

Antony Demon, Northampton.

Judas Iscariot renews his subscription to the Tablet.

Of course, there is a more dignified way for droll people to appear in print.

The rest of this drollery is here.