This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Is your bishop saved?

So 450 (saved) Catholic priests have written a letter to the Catholic Herald, saying, in effect, that they are OK with Christian teaching and don't want to change it. However, there are reports that some senior churchmen have been applying pressure against signing the letter; moreover, the notoriously publicity-shy Cardinal Nichols has rebuked them for communicating with the press, issuing them with a supply of bushels, under which they are instructed to hide their lights.

A quick calculation using my fingers and toes suggests that, if invited, three bishops would definitely have signed the letter, or at most five. The rest... oh dear. As a now-forgotten journalist called Damian Thompson once put it, "The Magic Circle".

Philip Egan

This is what a saved bishop looks like (Philip Egan).

It is time for a scientific analysis of our bishops, to decide whether they are saved or not. From Easter I shall keep an informal record of mentions of bishops (or at least the ones I notice) to see whether their actions are those of a saved or unsaved person. So Mgr Egan scored very well this week with his comments on abortion (against), same-sex marriage (against) and family life (for). He probably gets bonus points for upsetting Conor Burns MP.

Of course, some bishops are hardly ever in the news. For example, we have never had occasion to mention Bishop Drainey of Middlesbrough on this blog. Indeed, I suspect that unless you live in the Diocese of Middlesbrough you may not have heard of him (and possibly not even then).

Terence Drainey

Terence Drainey. Nice chasuble, but saved status unknown.

How about an unsaved bishop? Well, to take a hypothetical example, suppose that a bishop stopped one of his deacons from writing a totally orthodox Catholic blog, and gave a misleading account of the whole affair? Would he not be in a state of sin (and unsaved) until he repented and that deacon's gagging was ended? No matter how many worthy deeds he did in the mean time?

Ugh. Let's have another saved bishop.

Mark Davies

Another saved bishop (Mark Davies).

So how can a bishop score points? Positive things are easy, but unfortunately rather rare: defend Catholic teaching, especially when it is attacked by MPs who really belong in the Goon Show; ban the Tablet; refuse to allow Timothy Radcliffe or Tina Beattie to speak on church property in your diocese; stick up for people who want traditional forms of worship; set up a fifty-mile-radius exclusion zone in which Paul Inwood's music is banned; you know, do all the things they taught you to do at bishop-school.

Negative things? Prevaricate about Catholic teaching; bully your clergy if they show signs of orthodoxy; encourage the Tablet; join in dodgy ecumenical services with Muslims and Hindus; invite dissident speakers; cosy up to ACTA... well of course none of the bishops would ever do such a thing.

Eccles and Vin

Eccles (L) watches a very senior bishop to see whether he is saved.

Naturally, other countries have unsaved bishops too. There are distressing accounts of Bishop Bootkoski of New Jersey giving the bootkoski to Patricia Jannuzzi, a teacher in a Catholic school who defended traditional marriage. Well done, bishop: Cardinal Dolan, the Grandmaster of the St Patrick's Day Gay Pride Parade, would be proud of you.


"Show her the door, 44!" Bootcatholic calls out the Bingo numbers.


  1. We are all agog as to whether our new Bishop in A&B is saved or not. A priest was heard saying that he believes in God. Which way does that count?

  2. Nicholas, I believe that is an improvement on the last fellow.

  3. Another agog here. Have failed to find out much about our new Bishop. We shall have to wait and see. Wonderful to hear that he believes in God - that is definitely a good start!

  4. Is Cardinal Nichols saved or unsaved?

  5. Bishop Drainey is a big mate of the former Bishop (now Archbishop) Arthur Roche, formerly of Leeds. I saw them together during the then, New Year celebrations for 2014, at Palazzola. The neice of one of them was getting married there at the time. Palazzola is a really nice place, it was the Summer School of the English College, Rome.

  6. Saved or unsaved. Maybe that should be unsaved or those with a "lifeless soul". We are lucky because Pope Francis has the answer. The reading from the Apostle to the unsaved Scalfari says:
    "What happens to that lifeless soul? Will it be punished? How?
    Francis’ answer is very clear: there is no punishment, but the annihilation of that soul. All the others will participate in the bliss of living in the presence of the Father. (saved) The annihilated souls will not be part of that banquet; with the death of the body their journey is ended ( unsaved) and this is the basis for the missionary work in the Church: to save the lost souls (But since Karl Rahner SJ we don't need to have a mission) And this is also the reason why Francis is a Jesuit to the core." we can be "in" the Church but unsaved! So that is how bishops are unsaved... does that include the Bishop of Rome?

  7. If the pope can declare 50% of marriages invalid then using the same logic a future pope could declare "50%" of everything from the past as equally invalid also. Logically therefore, most of us today are probably in schism but have no appreciation of our situation. This whole thing is a shambles and we have pope who thinks that the mess is, well, sort of interesting. I beg to differ. How interesting is an untidy room?

  8. I think statistics are outside papal authority. Dante saw Pope Celestine in the unsaved. A persistent tradition identifies Celestine V as the nameless figure Dante Alighieri sees among those in the antechamber of Hell, in the enigmatic verses: "I saw and recognized the shade of him. Who by his cowardice made the great refusal". —Inferno III, 59–60
    A Papacy like life is a journey. "The first shall be last and the last first".
    What would Dante write about the Synod? That means those that think they are saved are not. Is Kaspar he is unsaved. I think he is a theologically very Weimar Republic.

  9. “I do not think there are many among Bishops that will be saved, but many more that perish.”
    St. John Chrysostom, Extract from St. John Chrysostom, Homily III on Acts 1:12.

  10. I saw that comment which John Fisher reports about Pope Francis thinking that the "unsaved" will simply be annihilated! This is as bad as the potty idea of Cardinal Kasper that it is OK for those in irregular unions being able to receive Holy Communion. What a disaster this Pope is!

    1. He's only a bishop of Rome.We haven't seen a pope around these parts in years.

  11. Yes but St. Janarius has the answer. His blood only partially liquefied. What is he telling us? Pope Francis has the answer “The bishop just announced that the blood half liquefied. We can see the saint only half loves us. We must all spread the word, so that he loves us more!” St Janarius Bishop of Naples won't be at the synod many is only half convinced or ambiguous about Francis!

  12. I lost one of my bishops last week when I was almost checkmated several moves before. The other bishop was saved and had a hand in the salvation of my king.

  13. Are you sure that last picture isn't Bishop Elton John about to read his Pastoral Letter "Contra Dolcem et Gabbanam?"