This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Friday, 27 September 2013

How to be a bishop

I receive many letters from Catholic priests in good standing, telling me that they have been sent letters similar to the following one. Naturally, they ask for my advice.

Bishop Jones

Uneasy lies the head that wears a mitre.

Dear Fr Crony, You have been specially selected by our computer to become Bishop of the diocese of Arrogant and Brittle. The job comes with a beautiful house in scenic Pease Pudding, and your own company bicycle. Accept now without delay! Yours, Pope Brian XIX.

Of course you'll say "yes", but what should you wear? It is important not to stand out from the crowd, and so I recommend an old football shirt for everyday wear. On ceremonial occasions (in particular, religious worship), you should wear the company uniform, including a mitre, but even a dog-collar is considered to be overdressing when you attend discos in aid of CAFOD.

Kieran the red

Now available in red!

As a bishop, you are the shepherd of your flock, but occasionally you will find that one of your priests has been "stitched up" in an article by an unscrupulous journalist. For example, the priest may write a blog, the contents of which are distorted, and made-up quotations added. Your duty is plain here - apologise for him. Explain that you don't read blogs. Do not on any account offend the press, the broadcasters or the secular media in general! By going against the general consensus of the Catholic Church, you will stand out as a man of principle!

Argus, godless

Well done, Bishop!

As a bishop you will be approached occasionally by off-beat organizations, such as GERIACTA, the organization of 80-year-old Catholic rebels who want to depose the Pope and set up a Politburo. Give them your support, Bishop! Arrange meetings with them, explain that dissent is the life-blood of the Catholic Church, and that we should welcome people of all beliefs and none! Why, if a leading Catholic institution such as the Mater Misericordiae Hospital in Dublin is prepared to conduct abortions (and to drop the "Mater" title, as it's really not appropriate now), it's clear that Catholic dogma must have changed beyond recognition. Out go Humanae Vitae and the other fuddy-duddy documents! In comes your own Episcopal Encyclical Fac Rem Tuam (or, since Latin is obviously not "cool", you may just say Do your own thing).


Wrong, wrong, wrong!

Another job of a bishop is to interpret Christian doctrine. There's no point leaving it to those guys in Rome - they don't understand the everyday problems of Arrogant and Brittle. Make some really outrageous statement such as "The gospel has little to say about sexual behaviour." When the laughter dies down, you will find that you have opened the floodgates to fornication, adultery, incest, homosexual acts, ... so you will make lots of new friends, and may get invitations to wild parties!

The sort of wacky fun that your new friends get up to.

Well, there's only one fly in the ointment, dear infallible bishop, which will stop you doing and saying exactly what you want. Some meddlesome traddy troublemaker with a totally different idea of a bishop's responsibilities may kick up a fuss. So keep a suitcase packed in case a quick departure is required!

CDF van

If this van draws up outside your house, be very afraid!


  1. It's time all those Catholic priests in good standing, sat down!

  2. Other good head wear for bishops is big cheese wedges, clown hats, florescent coloured wigs and balaclavas.

    1. Ahem LeonG, being from Wisconsin, we're pretty fussy about who wears cheese wedges. Well-fed Cardinals are permitted temporarily but being a Green Bay Packer fan is a sine qua non.

      Not sure anyone in Arrogant and Brittle has even heard of the Packers.

  3. Dear Sir,
    I am sick and tired of you people on traddy blogs dissing the hard-working Bishop of Arndale & Bottle. He has worked very hard to diss himself without any help from you, so please don't try to take all the credit for making him look ridiculous.
    Yours etc. with wild gestures and florid expressions,
    Completely Barking of Tunbridge Wells
    (Northern Hemisphere Co-ordinator for ACTA and dog food taster)

  4. Darling eccles, can you make one in wool? I could try to knit one, purl one - though there seems to be enough nits and artificial pearls before genuine swine xx Jess

    1. Madam,
      If you are suggesting that Catholic bishops in England have a monopoly on woolly thinking, I respectfully ask you to consider the great multicoloured knotted woollen muddle produced by Anglican bishops over the past forty years that has resulted in nobody knowing what the Church of England stands for.

      Yours etc.,
      William Wippell of Tunbridge Wells,
      (By appointment to Her Majesty, professional multicoloured chasuble knitter.)

  5. Looks like ole' Bill Gardner has managed to bring Brighton down to a new unprecedented low with his brand of hack calumniating. Argos must have its eyes shut by now.

  6. I thought it was the Diocese of a Affluent and Bourgeois.