This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Sunday, 3 November 2013

A homily from Fr Arfur

Hello, it's wonderful to see so many people in the church of St Daryl the Apostate this Sunday. It's been a busy week, with four festivals in a row: All Oween, All Saints, All Souls and today - as decreed by the Bishops' conference - All Fools Day.

Tarot fool

Fr Arfur

Well the events of Thursday 31st October are best forgotten, and the person who shouted "Great zombie costume!" at Fr Phil when he came into church would be well advised to apologise. Although they weren't to know that he had just tripped over his cassock and fallen into a puddle while practising his liturgical dance steps on the way to Mass.

On Friday we celebrated All Saints: we looked at the track records of the saints throughout the ages and decided that we could probably do better than that bunch of dreadful traddies. Yesterday was All Souls, and it was good to see that at least three people under the age of 70 turned up to Mass. We apologise to old Mrs Moly Bendite for wrongly claiming that she was dead - still, at least a night in a coffin seems to have done her no permanent harm.

So, we come to today, All Fools Day, on which occasion we remember fools throughout the ages.

Bishop and clowns

The bishop gets into the spirit of All Fools Day.

Now, as I was preparing for Mass, I read the sad story of Richard Dawkins, who is furious because a jar of honey was confiscated from him at airport security. Naturally, he blames religion for this, although this time it is our Muslim brethren - the late Mr Bin Laden - rather than the Catholic church that is responsible. But in a real sense are we not all responsible for the fact that the land of Dawkins is no longer flowing with milk and honey?

Dawkins bee in bonnet

Never mind, Richard, the bees in your bonnet will make you some more honey!

Now today's Gospel reading contains just one message for us: it is a story about Zacchaeus, a person of restricted growth, climbing a tree. Members of our differently-heighted community have naturally condemned it as Achondroplasiaphobic Hate Crime, so we'll move on.


A piece of offensive bigotry.

As you may know, the Bishop's Conference is urging you to respond to a survey on divorce, same-sex marriage and contraception. I do urge you to take part in this - there are 666 easy-to-answer questions, and it should not take you more than about three weeks to finish it. With a new man in the Vatican, we naturally expect a total rewriting of Catholic teaching, and Pope Francis is anxious to be told what he should believe from now on. Perhaps he has already phoned up some of you to ask your advice?

Well, that's all we have time for. Just a reminder that there will be a retiring collection in aid of ACTA, the organization that is attempting to bring the church back into the 1960s, where it truly belongs!


The ACTA magazine - affiliated to the Tablet.


  1. Darling eccles, oh dear, I wonder if that foreign-sounding gentleman who phoned earlier asking me about my opinions could have been the Pope? Does he do home insulation as well do you think? xx Jess

    1. Dear Madam,

      Further to your enquiry, a humble papal Renault 4 van has been despatched to assess your loft evangelisation needs.

      Yours etc.,

      Bergoglio & Fathers

      "It does what it says on the van."

    2. Sounds like the original White Van Man.

  2. Yes Jessica, someone called "Frank" from Rome called me up the other day too. He wanted to know if I was a saved atheist or in need of eternal insulation just before Winter sets in.

  3. I've just heard The Vatican is going to gradually phase out what's left of Catholic teaching for decree by off-the-cuff press conferences. These will be facebooked to us on

  4. My selfish genes compel me to care more about my own in-flight snack than about the fact that powerful explosive devices can be disguised as household products. Therefore, God does not exist. That is because I am very brainy.

    Perhaps I should be made a Cardinal ?

  5. Of course there is precedent for surveys, as the Gospel tells us: “Whom do men say that I am…?”

    St. Thomas informs us (IIa-IIIae Q. MCXIII – the lost volume), a gloss on the text adds: “What sayeth Twitter necnon Facebook…?”

  6. I'm just grateful I got my bottle of 'Creme de Violettes' out of Lourdes before they started measuring it all!