This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Fra' Matthew Festing seen in Rome

As most readers will know, Pope Francis commanded Fra' Matthew Festing, deposed Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of Malta, to stay away from Rome during the election of a new Grand Master. This of course is a perfectly reasonable command, and not at all the action of a man who gets over-excited by absolute power. The reason given - inasmuch as the Pope actually gives explicit reasons, rather than hinting something to Ivereigh the odd-job man, who tells Fr Spadaro, who leaks it to the press - is that Fra' Matthew might try and influence the election - e.g., by winning it.

Other places that Festing is asked to avoid this month are:

  • Croydon,
  • Corby,
  • Malta,
and in addition he is forbidden to visit his Auntie Doris in Margate. Although the Pope does not have supreme authority over Rome (or Croydon/Corby/Malta/Margate etc.), this does not deter him from telling Catholics whether they may go there.

Pope and a crowd

Where's Festing? If you spot Fra' Matthew, tell the Pope and you will be made a cardinal!

Thus, rumours are going round Rome that Fra' Matthew may be in Rome, but in disguise. One commentator has even suggested an invisibility cloak.

The search for Festing is complicated by the fact that thousands of his fans have descended on Rome, wearing red uniforms and claiming to be the man sought by the Pope.

Pope and Festing

"Fooled you!" A Festing lookalike confesses to Pope Francis that he is really Spartacus.

Conspiracy theorists may also wish to take note that at the recent celebrations of Pope Benedict's 90th birthday, the main refreshment on offer was Boeselager (or in English, booze-lager), a drink named after Festing's former deputy.

Pope Benedict party

"Good disguise, Fra' Matthew!"

If you live in Rome, do remember to check your cupboards, under the bed, and your garden shed, just in case a persecuted ex-Grand Master is hiding there. And will mischievous people please stop telephoning the Vatican and saying "Hi, Matthew Festing here. I happen to be in town. Fancy doing lunch, Holy Father?" It is not funny.

Friday, 21 April 2017

The Book of Brexodus, Chapter 9

1. Many months ago, O Theophilus, I told of the bloody fighting between the children of Bri-tain as some of them strove to flee from the land of EU-gypt.

2. But let us now tell of the wondrous deeds that followed.

Cameron and May

Cam-aaron and May-sis (renamed).

3. After many debates and votes, in which the wisest people in the land the members of parliament took part, it was decided that May-sis should trigger the 50th article, in order to cast down the Tusks and Junckers from their mighty seats.

4. And there was a great grayling and gnashing of tusks from the deepest thinkers of the land, they that sat in the New College of the Inanities.

5. "Alas, the people have voted the wrong way," said the deep thinkers. "We must have another election, in which the voices of the Leavites are silent!"

Anthony Grayling

Try and be philosophical, Anthony!

6. Still, the Day of the Trigger came, and May-sis and her advisers began to speak with the Pharaoh Juncker. For they knew that within forty years they must reach an agreement on the movement of camels carrying spices, gold, and precious stones.

7. But the people cried out, saying, "We want an election, for thou hast done away with Cam-aaron the High Priest, and we did not choose thee!"

8. But May-sis said, "No."

9. And again the people cried out, saying "Thou art a chicken!"

10. And May-sis clucked, "No."

11. And again the people cried out, saying, "Give unto us an election, that we may see a dazzling array of talent presented to us on the screen that is called Idiot-Box. Yeah, the Ukipites led by whoever-it-is-this-week, the Corbynites, the Libdemites of Farron, the Nationalites who worship a sturgeon, the magical Greenites who leave no footprints of carbon, and best of all the Monster Raving Loonites.

Monster Raving Loony Party

A threat to May-sis.

12. And finally May-sis said "Oh, all right, the people may have their election."

13. And the people cried with one voice, "How cynical is May-sis, that she exploiteth the weakness of the Corbynites in such a manner. She seeketh a majority, and this is not seemly conduct for a prime minister."

14. However it was written in the ancient laws of Cam-aaron that May-sis could not call an election, unless the Corbynites voted to cut their own throats. Which they did.

15. At least, those are the words of the prophets, Comres, Mori, and Yougov. In my next chapter, O Theophilus, I shall reveal whether these prophecies came to pass.

To be continued.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Be nice to atheists at Easter

For once, an ecumenical post - no digs at Anglicans, Lutherans, Orthodox, etc. Not even Fr James Martin SJ. We're all in this together, folks.

Twitter is not the world - there are rumours that those things walking down the street are also human. If you prick them, do they not bleed? If you tickle them, do they not laugh? If you poison them, do they not die? (If you get into trouble testing this theory, I accept no responsibility.) Still, if the real world is anything like Twitter, there are a lot of very unhappy atheists wandering around at present.

Gary Lineker

An intellectual giant among atheists, seen in happier times.

The problem is, that there are two big celebrations going on this week:

1. Jesus Christ rising from the dead. Mankind redeemed. Life suddenly has a meaning.

or

2. Bunny rabbits. Chocolate eggs. Er, that's it. This is what my life has been leading up to.

So if you're stuck at party (2) and you see people at party (1). What do you do? Why you get cross and say things like:

Of course Jesus never existed. Or, if he did exist, his message was "Enjoy yourselves, folks" and he was probably an atheist. Nah nah nah, you never see accounts of the Resurrection written by people who said it didn't happen! Children are brainwashed. Tee, hee, hee, why shouldn't I choose Thor or the (ho, ho, ho) flying spaghetti monster instead?

Hell

This is the real alternative to Christianity, but it may be tactless to mention it.

I love that last argument. Suppose you want to go from London to Edinburgh? There are many wrong ways to do this:

1. Take the M23 to Brighton, then drive into the sea.

2. Get on a Circle Line train and go round and round until you are thrown off.

3. Take a United Airlines flight to New York. If you can.

4. Sit in a dark cupboard moaning "Edinburgh doesn't exist."

Since there are 99999 wrong ways to get to Edinburgh, this PROVES that there is no right way. Anyone you see driving up the A1, taking a train at King's Cross, or taking a flight advertised as going to Edinburgh, is just a deluded fool who believes in sky fairies / invisible friends / whatever the latest insult is.

Edinburgh

Of course this place doesn't really exist!

For once, Richard Dawkins doesn't seem to have joined the atheists' grayling and gnashing of teeth about Easter. These days his atheism seems to be less obsessive than his dislike of Brexit, Trump, Muslims etc. and advertising some ghastly tour of the States that he is making - perhaps he is having second thoughts in his old age?

Anyway, have a happy Easter, dear grumpy atheists. Remember, this is the choice that faces you:

Peter and John

Peter and John heading for the biggest event in history.

OR

multi-faith vegan egg-painting

The second-biggest event in history.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Pope Trek

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Vatican. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new heresies, to develop new practices and new doctrines, to boldly teach what no man has taught before.

Pope Francis and Cardinal Tagle

"Live long and prosper!" The Captain and Mr Tuglu demonstrate the traditional Vulgan greeting.

Jorge T. Kirk: Pope's log, stardate 2017.4. We have beamed on board two aliens suffering from acute Heresitis: there's a sick lunar man and an omnisexual Martian, James Martian, no less.

James Martian: Bleep, bleep, bleep! The Holy Spirit's a woman! Mary Magdalen wore a dalmatic! God can learn a lot from us! Can I use the ladies' rest room, please?

Mr Spockaro, science officer: Fascinating!

Dr McCoccopalmerio: This behaviour is perfectly normal for some alien species, Jorge.

Captain: Excellent, give the man a job in communications!

James Martin

"Bleep, bleep, bleep!"

Captain: Pope's log, supplemental. Meanwhile, nobody on board knows where we're going, but my science officer, Mr Spockaro the Vulgar, has a theory.

Mr Spockaro: Jorge, I've reprogrammed the ship's computers to use the formula 2+2=5. It is the most logical solution.

Captain: So where are we?

Spockaro: Anywhere you'd like to be, Captain, provided that it's somewhere the Church hasn't been before.

Spadaro

Mr Spockaro is a master of the Vulgan Death Grip.

Mr Tuglu (urgently): Captain, Lieutenant U'Sarah has jumped ship. We think he may be heading for Cappa Magna to join the rebel Burkons.

Captain: Set course for Cappa Magna, Mr Tuglu. Warped Doctrine 8. Dr McCocco, any news on the health of Amoris Laetitia?

Dr McCoccopalmerio: She's dead, Jorge.

Captain: See if you can save some of her, "Boneheads". Her footnotes, at least.

Dr McCocco: Damnit, Jim, I'm a doctor, not a faith healer!

Spockaro: Captain, we're approaching Cappa Magna. Witless worms on the starboard bow.

Captain: Mr Spockaro, I want you to beam down with me. We'll take with us three red-shirted security personnel who can be conveniently wiped out, since we're the ones essential to the plot.

Tobin, Farrell and Cupich

The three expendable red-shirts. They never will be missed

Engineer Baldisseri (for it is he): Standing by, Captain, ta beam ye doon ta the planet!

Captain: Thanks, "Baldy", let's go! We'll shoot to kill, so set phasers on "Mercy".

Omnes: ♫ We're Pope Trekkin' across the universe,
Boldly going forward, still can't find reverse. ♫

(From Kevin Mayhew's Bad Hymns for the 22nd Century).

Spockaro and Tuglu join in the sing-song.

How will the Captain and Spockaro fare when they land on Cappa Magna? Will they succumb to an epidemic of Familiaris Consortio virus? Or will it simply wipe out the three expendable red-shirts? Why has "Baldy" filled the transporter room with stolen books? Have we heard the last of James Martian? Does General Sosa of the Jesuites still reject the Gospels, or has he found some tricorder readings dating from the 1st century? Finally, what role will be played by a three-foot gnome called Ivereigh?

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Pope Francis thrown off aeroplane

Breaking my Lenten fast to report some hot news. E.

Catholic Airlines have apologised for dragging Pope Francis off their flight to Heaven, and suggesting he travel by Air Luther instead ("you'll feel much more at home there," said one member of staff).

 Pope Francis leaves plane

Pope Francis leaves the plane.

According to reports, four cardinals led by Raymond Burke joined the flight at the last moment, and it was therefore necessary to remove four less "saved" passengers. The computer selected four people who were regarded as being of low priority: these included Fathers Spadaro, Rosica and Martin SJ, all of whom were described as part-time Catholics in the media profession. They agreed to leave peacefully on being offered a recompense of 30 PAG (30 pieces of silver, worth approximately $800). However, the fourth passenger selected, Pope Francis, refused to budge.

Pope standing up on plane

"I don't mind standing throughout the flight!"

It seems that Pope Francis had proposed to stand throughout the flight, entertaining the captive passengers with new revisions to the Catholic Magisterium, but this was against civil aviation regulations, and the offer was refused.

Late news: Air Luther's flight to Heaven has been diverted to another airport, Purgatory International, where passengers may be expected to wait for a few hundred years before going on to their final destination. The only light reading available will be a complete set of Vatican II documents.