This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Catholic Church to celebrate the Black Death

It has been decided that, following the celebrations in 2017 of the anniversary of the Reformation (with its mass-slaughter on both sides, the destruction of the monasteries, etc.), it would be similarly appropriate in 2023 for the Catholic Church to celebrate the 675th anniversary of the Black Death.

Federico Lombardi

Federico Lombardi explains

"It used to be thought that the death of 100 million people was nothing but one of the worst tragedies of European history," said Fr Federico Lombardi of the Holy See Press Office, "but nowadays we can look back and see the positive aspects of this period of history. Many people were brought to God rather sooner than they expected, and industrialization came to a halt, protecting the Middle Ages from the worst aspects of climate change."

It is thought that Pope Francis is anxious to reach out to the rodent community - although he will not celebrate the Rodentine Mass - since he appreciates that, although rats are widely blamed for bringing the Black Death to Europe, they too suffered many grievous losses. "The Holy Father has a great fondness for funny little creatures with whiskers," explained Fr Lombardi.

Cardinal Marx

Funny little creatures with whiskers are welcome!

Apart from holding ecumenical human-rodent Masses, using specially blessed cheese, it is not clear what else is planned for the Year of Bubonic Inter-Species Reconciliation. Will Paul Inwood, the Pope's Official Composer, be asked to provide a suitable anthem, possibly "Alleluia Squeak-Squeak"? How will Robert Mickens, he who referred to Pope Benedict XVI as "the rat", react now that we are asked to love the little creatures? Watch this space for further details.

Fawlty Towers rat

Ecumenical dialogue with a rat, or possibly a Siberian hamster.


  1. Splendid news! And now to make reparation for the biggest inter-species genocide in human history - namely that of mosquitoes. It must be remembered that only an unrepresentative few of these little creatures carry malaria, dengue, filariasis, West Nile virus, chikungunya, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, Saint Louis encephalitis, Western equine encephalitis, Eastern equine encephalitis, etc etc

    We in Europe should take our share of these helpful little creatures. I am hoping that Pope Francis, like Popes Damasus, Sixtus V, and Alexander VI, will be foremost in encouraging us to take many of these refugees, by reflooding the Tiber marshes, in a gesture of peace and reconciliation.

    If you need to know any more about mosquitoes - they are next to "mosque" in the dictionary.

  2. HAMSTER ???

    HAMSTER ???

    Touch that and you'll never play the piano again !!!

  3. The "Word on The Street" is that Mulier Fortis, always happy to contribute to Holy Years (Merci; The Rat; The Black Death, etc), has promised to ensure her "Two Hooligans" are kept inside for a while.

    Almost certainly, this will dramatically reduce the mortality rate amongst "The Little Furry Things with Whiskers" and contribute to "The Feel Good Factor".

    "If you're happy and you know it, Squeak, Squeak",
    "If you're happy and you know it, Squeak, Squeak" . . .

  4. We can never be forgiven for what we have done to the little smallpoxes. Not only have we denied these poor little indigenous creatures autonomy and self-determination, we have actually wiped them out except for a few enslaved in captivity in a couple of labs somewhere. Liberate them!!!

  5. What about lions? The Coliseum saw many a Christian done to death by a lion but no talk of reconciliation there! Perhaps the Vatican could organise a few lions lying down with a few lambs and a few cardinals who might not be missed (in the event of a failure of reconciliation.). I should certainly buy a front seat for that event. Ticket sales could go towards supporting those Vatican officials who don't know where the next bottle of Laphroaig is coming from.

  6. And what does Tiddles think of all this? Anyone who gets a flea in their ear from Pope Francis is strongly advised to go to their nearest A&E immediately.

  7. To be strictly correct, PC wise, it should be called the non-White Death. This doesn't mean only non-White people got it but at least it lets white mice off the hook.

    From the rats' point-of-view, they were only the means of delivering 'smart lice' which were only intended to attack specific targets ... the 100 million others were merely collateral damage.

    I think the this constant use of colour to identify disease (eg Black Death, Scarlet Fever, Yellow Fever) is a little jaundiced.

  8. Hey, the rats were the victims here! The bubonic plague culprit is the Rat Flea (Xenopsylla cheopis) which bites the rats and infects them, so the rats die, whereupon Xenopsylla moves on to biting humans, cats, dogs and anything else warm-blooded, to whom it also gives the infection.

    But before that, Xenopsylla is the victim here! Poor things have innocently feasted on blood which has been populated by the plague bacillus (Yersinia pestis) which then multiplies in the flea's gut, preventing it from feeding and leaving it starving, which is why it goes around biting anything it can find.

    I suspect Yersinia is a victim here, too, only I can't think how.

    All of which would be relevant if the Black Death was in fact bubonic plague. Medical historians are much divided about that, some thinking it's a different disease, such as one of the haemorrhagic varieties of fever (such as Ebola) ex Africa, or possibly a mutant organism, which has since died out.

    Rodentine Mass is an inspired phrase!

  9. The Rodentine Mass is a real Rat Zinger! Shine on!

  10. CharlesDawson: Did not Pope Francis say something about preserving all species in Laudatio Si?