This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Sunday, 30 March 2014

A guest post from Robert Mickens

Since I have just been suspended from my prestigious position as the Tablet's Rome correspondent, I am very grateful to my friend Eccles for allowing me to explain the circumstances on his lovely blog.

Robert Mickens

Formerly @robinrome, now @robinthedoghouse

As you will probably have read in numerous places, starting, I think with my pal Damian Thompson's blog, I got into trouble for referring to Pope Benedict XVI as "the Rat" and speculating about his death.

Rood and norty screen shot

Mere friendly banter!

Benedict and I are old friends: when I saw him in Rome (this happens less frequently now, since he's stopped being God's Rome correspondent) I would say "Ooh look! It's the Rat!" and he would reply "Wer ist dieser Schweinehundheretischentabletistikendummkopf?" My German is nearly as bad as my Latin, but I gather that this is a term of endearment.

Mickens Mouse

Benedict (Rat) also refers to me as "Mickens Mouse".

You may recall that Benedict used to tweet as @pontifex, and I remember the time he gave me a special mention:

@pontifex Dearly beloved, Laetare Sunday is a day on which we remember the words of Aquinas. P.S. Why isn't Mickens Mouse dead yet?

Anyway, you'll want to know what happened last week. Pope Francis - we at the Tablet haven't yet thought up an insulting nickname for him, as it's still possible that he may be on our side - made the appointment of Cardinal Methuselah, aged 113. Methuselah is a sprightly person for his age: he bungee jumps regularly, boxed 15 rounds with Guido Marini only last week, and plays prop forward for the Italian Rugby team.


Cardinal Methuselah: new blood in the Vatican.

Anyway, in a spirit of merry banter I joined my friend Chris Grady (who enjoys trolling) in speculating that Cardinal Methuselah would outlive Benedict. I didn't know what trouble I was getting myself into!

There came a telephone call from Catherine Popehater, the redoubtable editor of the Tablet. "You fool, Bobbie!" she said. "It is the Tablet's policy to attack Pope Benedict (and indeed all earlier popes) by subtle means, not outright insults. Now you've given the whole game away!"

I could see her point. If the Tablet falls from grace, what will be next? Will people suspect that ACTA is run by the KGB? Will there be whispers about whether Tina Beattie is really to be taken seriously when she claims to be a Catholic?

prayer and reflection

The answer: prayer and reflection.

So I have decided to go for a period of prayer and reflection, as recommended by nine out of ten bishops to bloggers who point out where the bodies are buried. It's going to be a tough day or two, but I'll be back soon - maybe even in time for the Rat's funeral (oops!)


  1. Dear Eccles,

    Is your new fantabulousy Guest Poster, Robert Mickens, related to the Pie-Shop Owner, Mrs Mickens, in Blackadder ?

    1. Could well be, Zephyrinus. his theatrical pal Chris Grady is certainly redolent of Mrs Grady, Old Lady, in "Viz" (when you finally track down his real photo - not the one of Fr Z which adorns his Facebook page).

  2. Darling eccles, wot a scoop for yore Luvverly blogg - the Robbie Mickens, the very same ... erm, sorry, who is he? xx Jess

    1. Well he was the Tablet's Rome correspondent, Jess. Now he's, er, um, good question. Perhaps Damain will let him write a blogg.

    2. ah, the old bitter pill - that thing at the back of C's church that they use to block up the draughts - he says it is the only use for it :) xx

  3. Well Pope Francis did say that the faithful should make a mess: “Vaya lio!”.

    As Olivia Pepministro said to Stan Mickenso: “Esto es another buen lio you’ve gotten us into!”

  4. Frankly speaking, Rome made a Cardinal Error in 1965 out of the VCII while it also created a Cardinal Sin out of the NO in the Philippines. In the USA there is a countdown on the career of Cardinal Baloney on some websites while it is a work of Cardinal Importance to put an end to the current abuse of snactifications - in fact, well over 3,000 dubious snacks since 1984. The Talbot has a lot to answer for.

  5. Sorry to see Robert M go, always enjoyed his column, hope they have you back after you've done your penance.