This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

The Bergoglio Conspiracy

As many of my readers will know, I was hanging around Rome in a red biretta in March 2013, hoping to participate in the election of a successor to Pope Benedict XVI. The Adopt a Cardinal website had randomly allocated me Cardinal Ouellet, and I was providing him with all the support at my disposal, including gifts of sandwiches, lemonade, and a stuffed gorilla that someone had left behind in our church.

a stuffed gorilla

A gift for Cardinal Ouellet.

It was a dark and rainy night, and I was wondering what other little kindnesses I could render towards my chosen cardinal, when I heard a sharp "Psst!" and saw, skulking in the shadows, an oddly-assorted couple: a large man dressed as a priest, and a smaller smartly-dressed man in glasses. "Austen Ivereigh" said the small man. "No, Ford Prefect," I replied, thinking that he was asking about my car.

Cormac and Austen

Cardinal Cormac issues his instructions.

"The Argentine goose is coming to land in Rome," said the large man, mysteriously. "I hope that we can rely on your support."


"The chemist at the conclave is ready to release white smoke," he went on. "Or, to put it terms that even an idiot would understand: can we rely on you to support Team Bergoglio?"

Cormac the Mighty

Don't cross Cormac the Mighty!

"You wouldn't want to wake up with a horse's head in your bed, now, would you?" continued the smaller man. "My friend here can't take part in the conclave himself, but he's decided what result we want, and we need your backing. Old man Kasper's with us. Hummes is signed up. Dolan will stay on board if we keep him well fed. Mahony will do what we tell him. All in all, we're heading for victory here."

"Who is this Bergoglio?" I asked. "What is he likely to do if he becomes pope?"

"If he doesn't want to end up at the bottom of the Tiber in concrete boots, he'll do whatever we tell him," cackled the older man. "For a start, he'll make Vincent Nichols a cardinal - which Benedict would never have done - and then at the next conclave we can push for Vin to take over as pope. Gay masses in the Lateran Basilica! Tina Beattie addressing the College of Cardinals! Can you imagine it? All my dreams come true!"


Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor explains his plans.

In the end I owned up that I probably wouldn't be allowed into the conclave to vote: the red biretta was fine, but apparently the security checks were becoming more stringent, and in the end they had no record of a Cardinal Eccles. "Well, remember!" insisted the older man. "If anyone asks, this conversation never took place! You never saw me. I wasn't here..." He drew his fingers across his neck in the liturgically-approved "I'll slit your throat if you betray us" gesture, and the pair of them disappeared into the shadows.

Cormac cover

Eccles feels threatened.

It is only now that the truth is coming out: a rival gang, known only as "Team Burke", has provided me with a totally new identity, and I am ready to tell my story.


  1. I can see why a whisper of Austin Ivory would make you think that cars were being referred to and I do fear that a conspiracy might well have been planned to produce those outcomes. I do think that the Holy Spirit should not be blamed. He only prevents the preaching of error as being official Church teaching.

  2. Why was the synod of bishops just a hollowed out affair? ..........................................Because it was just a conclave.

  3. You lost me with the Ouellet stuffed gorilla.