This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Monday, 25 June 2012

What ho, Gabriele!

Paolo Gabriele

My butler, Paolo Gabriele

"BENEDICT!" screamed my Aunt Agatha. "What's all this I hear about money-laundering?"

I had just been giving an audience to a group of Catholic journalists from the Telegraph, and now had a bit of a headache. "Benny, old bean," said their leader, a man called Damian with funny hair, "don't you think that one of the great spiritual challenges of our day is addiction?"

Personally, I don't think that addressing the Pope as "Benny, old bean," is right - we don't read of Jesus addressing St Peter as "Pete, old bean," do we? - but then Damian is spiritual leader in his own right, so I said nothing. However, after a two-hour lecture on the dangers of compulsively downloading pictures of cupcakes from the Internet - I may have dozed off a little, and got some of the details wrong - I was glad to see Damian, Cristina, Tim and little Will leave. At least it wasn't Tony and Cherie Blair again, telling me how to rewrite 2,000 years of Catholic dogma.

Blair blessing Pope

Tony Blair giving me his blessing

So that is why I was lying in a darkened room, nursing my headache, when the door burst open, and my Aunt Agatha stormed in with her comment about money-laundering.

Now, being Pope isn't as easy as it may seem, you know. It's not all burning up the town in a Popemobile or sticking a "Kick me" sign on "lofty" Cormac when he comes round to unblock the drains - although these things do give some job satisfaction. You also have to be seen in church occasionally, give spiritual guidance to your flock worldwide, and deal with daily obscene phone calls from Sr Margaret Farley (frankly, she talks more like a sea-captain than a nun).

Sex toy

Lifelike blow-up Farley dolls on sale now, as a reappraisal of sexual theology

So I replied to my Aunt Agatha in no uncertain tones: "Really, Aunt, it's not my job to worry about the finances. We have accountants to do that."

"You really are a wastrel, Benedict," snapped my aunt. "It's time you got a proper job. Now, call your man Gabriele: he's the only one who knows what's going on round here."

"Splendid idea, Aunt Agatha," I replied. "Perhaps he can make me one of his pick-me-ups."

I rang the bell, and Gabriele shimmered in. Unfortunately, there was no pick-me-up to be seen: in fact he was carrying a pair of large suitcases.

"So, Gabriele," said my aunt. "Do you know what's going on in the Vatican?"

"Indeed, my lady," replied Gabriele. "It's all explained in these confidential documents. I was just taking them to my friend Gianluigi Nuzzi the journalist, for safe keeping."


A secret Vatican document

"Good man, Gabriele, I knew I could trust you!" I said.

Will Aunt Agatha intervene? Or will the details of the Vatican's annual spending on pizza, chips and beer be released to the press? Will Sr Farley turn up and make an improper suggestion? If we find out, we'll let you know.


  1. Aunt Agatha is a very old, bad-tempered lady - now who does that remind me of?

  2. Sounds like Anti Moly's sister is the highly-plaiced Vatican sauce.

  3. I have to admit I have a great admiration for American radical feminist nuns and I have been happily contributing 20 pence a week from my charity budget to their terrorist campaign to make Starbucks stock only Fair Trade Nicaraguan coffee or their coffee machines will be attacked by fat nuns wielding sledge hammers. A very good cause.

  4. Commenting on the Daily Telegraph blogs has been disabled "for essential maintenance". Pull the other one! It's because Damian Thompson has had enough of people rubbishing his book.

    When commenting returns, will the 'Social Media Reactions' be gone?

    1. Aren't all the blogs disables? Tim Stanley's was.

    2. In de words of charmin, polite, culltured (etc.) Tom Chivvers:

      Comments are turned off for maintenance on our entire site. I don't like it. No one has told me I'm a neo-Marxist stooge for nearly 24 hours

  5. Still, it turns out dat de NatWest computter fialure was cuased becuase dey tried to implement Disqus.