This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Was he a tyrant or a devout Catholic?

This week saw a controversial Requiem Mass in Leicester, and the question on the lips of everyone who saw it was "Not a bad service, but was he a tyrant or a devout Catholic?" Certainly, the prevailing view among Catholics is that Vincent was a bullying dictator, who attempted to silence all opposition and brought shame on the Catholic Church with the wicked persecution of his enemies. But some people do hold other views.

Vincent Nichols

Detested tyrant or devout Catholic? You decide.

The somewhat eccentric Society of Vincent holds a contrary opinion, portraying its hero as a humble and kind man, who owned his own Bible, which he kept in pristine condition by the expedient of never reading it. They say that Vincent was a timid person, who wanted nothing more than to become pope, world dictator and manager of Liverpool football club. His first step was to fight for a total modernization of Catholic teaching on marriage to remove its old-fashioned "Christian" emphasis and bring it more in line with secular values.

Nichols and Thompson

Vincent attempts to bully a meek young journalist (unidentified).

However, the judgement of history is predominantly against Vincent. There are claims that he launched a persecution of Catholic priests unparallelled since the era of Queen Elizabeth, forcing the more paranoid of them to install "priests' holes" in their presbyteries. in case his henchmen came knocking at the door. Although he was simply the ordinary of the Westminster Diocese, and not a primate except in the zoological sense, he did not hesitate to interfere with doings in other dioceses over which he had no formal authority.

Vincent himself liked nothing more than having his photo taken, or being interviewed on radio and television; thus, it was all the more shocking when he attempted to imprison 500 priests in the Tower because they had written a letter to the Catholic Herald.

Richard III

Richard III - humiliated after his death by Vincent.

Said Richard III, a retired king and practising Catholic: "After my death I rested peacefully in a Catholic car-park for 500 years, before being dug up and moved to a Protestant cathedral in Leicester. They mocked me by giving me a funeral according to the rites of my evil great-nephew Henry. The Catholics, who should have known better, sent Vincent to say a Requiem Mass for me; he didn't even realise that Masses should be in Latin, but insisted on saying it in Vernacular (a Liverpudlian dialect). How did such an ignorant man ever become a bishop?"

Pope Francis and Nichols

"It doesn't fit too well, but your head seems to have swollen."

Sadly, Vincent's rule in Westminster was a long history of oppression. Worried that they were revealing too much about his activities, he denounced bloggers as "gossips", saying that they should have no place in the Church. He saw himself as a new St Augustine of Hippo, fighting the Donatists, when he issued a Reflection Document for Clergy on Marriage and Family Life that brought terror into the hearts of the faithful. History does not (yet) record his ultimate fate: did he die in a battle with the faithful and end up buried in a Catholic car-park? Or did he achieve his ambition of becoming Pope Francis II?

Vin ordinaire

Vin the Ordinary, described as a bitter red.


  1. Bit harsh of his Majesty. I was there and ++Vince was quite nice about him.

  2. I'm sure Vinnie Baby is a very, very, nice man and I'm sure his mummy loves him.

    One wonders what he would have been if he hadn't tried to be a Priest.

    All one can honestly say about Vinnie Baby is: "Keep taking The Tablets".

  3. There are worse places to bury a Catholic king than an Anglican cathedral in a city without any tourist trade. If Cardinal Knickers had insisted on re-interring Richard III in Liverpool Catholic cathedral, it might have seemed like sticking him back in a car park.

    1. Well, it may be in an Anglican cathedral in a city without any tourist trade but he has a lovely Catholic Queen keeping him company. Her husband didn't want her and Richard was a far better Catholic than Henry.

  4. It is worth reading about the death of Catherine of Aragon at:

    A deeply wronged lady faithful until the last. And now of course Cardinal Kasper would tell her that she was wrong!

  5. I think that I mixed Leicester up with Peterborough! This is the fault of living in Australia (which has just won the Cricket World Cup by thrashing New Zealand).

  6. Now is the winter of our discontent
    Made glorious summer by this sun of Ince;
    And all the clouds that lour’d upon our church
    In the deep bosom of the archives buried.
    Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
    The traddies silenced and hung out to dry;
    Their stern devotions chang’d to merry meetings,
    Their ancient plainchant to delightful measures.
    Grim-visag’d war hath smooth’d his wrinkled front;
    And now,–instead of writing to the Press
    To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,–
    He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber
    To the lascivious pleasing of a flute.

  7. Ultimately, he was a devout tyrant more than a tyrannical devotee.

  8. Where wine is concerned Bull's Blood was a fruity papal number in the days of magesterial infallibility.