This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Friday, 14 November 2014

George Orwell's "2014"

It was a cold November 2nd, and in England the Catholic Church was celebrating All Saints Day. For by orders of Comrade Nichols of the Ministry of Truth, all holy days had been moved from their correct dates, as part of a general break with that evil thing known as "tradition".

Winston Smith looked outside, and saw a poster bearing the portrait of an old man in white robes. BIG FATHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption beneath it ran. Big Father, the man who had seized power eighteen months ago, driving into exile President Benedict the good. Big Father, who kept an iron grip on the Church.

Pope Francis


On another poster were written the slogans produced by Big Father's right-hand man, Comrade Kasper.


Winston Smith checked his watch and turned back to his television set, which could never be switched off. It was now broadcasting endless programmes of puppet masses and tango dancing from St Peter's, Rome. The Mass had reached the point where the comrade deacon was instructed to announce the Two Minutes Hate.

Cardinal Burke

Comrade Burke, Enemy of the People.

As usual, the face of Raymond Burke, the Enemy of the People, flashed on to the screen. Comrade Burke had once been one of Big Father's most loyal supporters, but had now disappeared from public life. Some said that he was already dead, smothered in his own cappa maxima, while others claimed that he had merely been exiled to the barren wastes of Malta. On the screen, Smith saw crowds of Catholics screaming words of hatred for Burke, the enemy of the people. "AIRPORT BISHOP!" they yelled. "SELF-ABSORBED PROMETHEAN NEO-PELAGIAN!" "BAT-LIKE CHRISTIAN!"

Christopher Lee as Dracula

A bat-like Christian in traditional Cappa Maxima.

The two-minute hate being over, the Mass continued on its way, with the usual liturgically-approved procession of clowns towards the altar. Winston turned his head away from the screen, and opened his copy of the State Newspaper, the Tablet. "Arrange the following virtues of Big Father in order of importance, then complete the following sentence in not more than ten words. I love Big Father because... First prize: a two-week holiday on Tina Beattie's luxury houseboat, the Tinatanic." Theological debate was not what it used to be.


The Tinatanic.

There was a hammering on the door. Was it a gang of ACTA thugs, demanding "dialogue"? Or had the thought police discovered that Winston possessed a copy of the suppressed Catholic Herald? Should he have been expecting the Spanish Inquisition...?


  1. The bat-like Christian appears to be engaging in liturgical dance. This is a worrying development for those of us who thought we had merely to hang around in the dark and frequent funerals.

  2. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. (Sorry, I felt compelled to do that due to an involuntary pythonic reflex action.)

    What an excellent post, Eccles. The satire speaks truth in volumes. This is indeed a true expression of the moment we are all experiencing, and it is essentially Orwellian in character. I read your satirical 1984 parallel with a shudder of recognition.

    The clocks are indeed striking thirteen in the Catholic Church. The ancient European Catholic Feast of Fools traditionally began with the words "put down the mighty from their thrones" in the Magnificat at Holy Innocents. But that topsy-turvy festival only lasted until Epiphany. These theologically and liturgically impoverished clowns have taken over for a generation, and their foolish feast will become the main menu, not just a relaxation of the norms.

  3. The Drac. photo was taken at Word's End (how appropriate!).

  4. Brilliant piece. Sad thing is that only a small proportion of Catholics will understand it and even less will sympathise with it.
    Keep up the good work.