What kind of child were you?
Are you a very different adult?
Possibly a very different Eccles, but still saved.
Regular readers who come here for spiritual nourishment will not be disappointed by the theme of this post - it tells how a distinctly naughty and unsaved child can nevertheless become a truly virtuous and saved adult. When Mary O'Regan gets fed up with Padre Pio, she can write about me instead.
I started writing rubbish at an early age: when I was six I had a piece published in the school magazine (yes, they were desperate for copy). It was a satirical story, supposedly written by the Cheshire cat, giving his own account of the meeting with Alice. As with all Eccles satire, it was probably very rude and naughty - I don't have a copy of it now - and you may think of Alice as an early victim of Eccles, someone like Catherine Pepinster, say.
A mere sockpuss.
One thing I remember about my early schooldays is that every Friday we had fish pie. It was disgusting. As P.G. Wodehouse would say, it was not made from happy and contented fish, but possibly from salmon and sturgeon that had just lost a crucial referendum. Although the food on the other days wasn't wonderful, it was the sufferings caused by fish pie that made me the soulful person I am today.
A young Eccles. Note the handsome ears, and the embryonic biretta.
I was also a rather naughty child with little respect for religion. As a teenager I got very interested in chemistry (like the present Pope, as it happens), and made some nitrogen iodide crystals. My friends and I felt that the school chapel could benefit from these, so just before a service we placed some on the floor near the lectern. In due course a senior boy went up to read the lesson, and trod on the crystals, which went CRACK and emitted violet fumes. I don't suppose that the Pope also did that sort of thing, but I can console myself that I was exploring alternative forms of worship, and so was probably acting in line with the Spirit of Vatican II.
Like incense, only it's purple and explodes.
So, I haven't really changed much from childhood to adulthood, except that now I am much more saved, so of course I don't leave nitrogen iodide in churches except on special occasions.
I am asked to recommend three more bloggers for the "when I were a lad" treatment. All the good one have probably been signed up by now, so I am choosing three bad bloggers instead: Cardinal Dolan, Tina Beattie, and Bishop Campbell of Lancaster. If anyone is in touch with these luminaries - I'm not - could they please mention that Eccles has called them to greatness? Thanks.