This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

No Kiss of Peace for Eccles

Long-time readers of this blog will remember Fr Arthur, our local priest in good standing who takes very seriously the view that we are all sinners: indeed, for two pins he will give you a list of your sins, and, if he spots you in the confessional, will remind you of all the things you forgot to confess.

Fr Arthur has now recruited Deacon Marvin to help him, another man of pronounced likes and dislikes - mostly dislikes. On Sunday we had a hymn by Bernadette Farrell, "Christ, Be Our Light". It's not a completely bad hymn - it doesn't give me stomach cramps like "Shine, Jesus, Shine" or "Walk in the Light" do - but it reads more like a Guardian editorial than a hymn.

The Scream

All music is equally valid, you see.

Now, you may remember that Mrs Farrell wrote a rather impudent piece in the Tablet, in which she concluded that all styles of worship were equally valid and that the composer James MacMillan was wrong to express dislike for the dross produced by Paul Inwood, Dan Schutte and Gerry Fitzpatrick. Somehow Deacon Marvin overheard a private conversation in which I criticised Bernadette's musical taste, and that set him off.

There's a point in the Novus Ordo Mass where we are encouraged to offer each other the sign of peace. Usually it is the deacon who says this particular exhortation, and what we got this Sunday was the following version "Let us now offer each other the sign of peace. Except for Eccles, who is revolting and unkind, a bitter and twisted old neverwas. Anyone who shakes hands with Eccles is not worthy." You could see the Christian love radiate from the deacon (and the steam coming out of his ears) as he said these charming words.

Deacon Gollum

"We hates Eccles because he criticised Mrs Farrell."

Fr Arthur slapped the little deacon on the shoulder, as if to say "Good man," and so the Kiss of Peace went on without me. "Peace be with you." "Peace be with you." "Sorry, Eccles, you're an untouchable." "Peace be - oh, I've done you already, haven't I?" "Unhand me, sir!" "Ugh, you just sneezed in those hands." "Peace be with you." "Pax tecum." "Traddy pig!" "That makes twelve handshakes, I'm on a roll this week!" "I'm a Catholic, get me out of here!" "Bog off, Eccles." "Peace be with you."

Well, I never much liked the Kiss of Peace, and it is only an optional part of the Mass, one of those things that the Ghost of Vatican II slipped in when nobody was looking. And it is humbling once in a while to be told by a man in holy orders that he hates us.

St Nicholas and Arius

St Nicholas gives Arius the "slap of peace".


  1. Due to a form of blood cancer and other ailments collected over the years I've caught some horrible diseases with 'the sign of peace' even though I wear freshly washed gloves each time. Mum thinks it's a 'lovely gesture' but she's CofE.

    1. Ladies in the C of E are not all as tolerant as your Mum

  2. I'd just like to say - as a modified version of my earlier rant - that if people are in good standing, then who am I to even question it? (Rabit zizzes paws in a nonchalant manner and goes off to groom donkeys.)

  3. Speaking as a fangirl toady in good standing, I offer a long distant sign of peace to bruvver Eccles. Though I must say "Christ be our light" gives ME stomach cramps.

  4. I see the cowardly unkind, anonymous and somewhat creepy bruvvereccles has refused to publish any comments by me sent from from hushmail accounts, posing as Australian atheist lawyers/grannies; self-made East End businessmen; Patagonian llama fanciers; Venezuelan Salopians in exile; mollusc-molesters, lady organists; theology students; orthographically challenged Spanish pensioners called Lynda; philoprogenitive Mancunians; fake archdiocesan representatives seeking to bully personal information about former seminarians from elderly priests; Priors of the Order of St Lauren; lovelorn Languedocians and eleven or so other anonymous accounts.

    Remind me to write another apology letter next week.

  5. My fellow parishioners now know to keep well clear of me during the "sign" of Peace or whatever it is.

    Recently an outsider insisted in presenting his hand to me contrary to what I would have thought were very strong indications that he should desist. All this was accompanied by a lovely smile showing off lovely (false) teeth, which he very nearly lost, and next time he will.

    Now where was I, yes, this abominable practise is optional and should be avoided by all sane and Catholic worshipers!