This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Thursday, 17 August 2017

The Mad Auster's Tea Party

With apologies to Lewis Carroll.

There was a table set out under a tree, labelled "Catholic Church", and the Massi Hare and the Mad Auster were having tea at it: the Wintormouse was sitting between them, fast asleep.

The table was a large one, but the three were all crowded together at one corner of it: "No room for converts! No room!" they cried out when they saw Alice coming.

Mad Hatter's Tea Party

Alice's first experience of Catholicism.

"There's plenty of room, you've driven all the other Catholics away!' said Alice indignantly, and she sat down in a large arm-chair at one end of the table.

In the distance, Alice could see other tables, also labelled "Catholic Church", including several of a more traditional appearance, which were well-populated. Still she decided to stay with this curious trio for a while.

"Have some tea," said the Massi Hare encouragingly. Alice took a sip and started coughing badly. "It's got pepper in it!" she said.


Too much pepper and darkness in tea made by the Duchess of Rosica.

The Wintormouse woke up briefly, said "We made the tea, so why should she complain about it?" and then fell asleep again.

The Auster tapped his head significantly. "She's neurotic," he explained. "See my learned article in Crux, the journal of Catholic psychiatry."

"I want a clean cup," interrupted the Massi Hare: "let's all move one place on."

The Auster moved on and the others followed. Alice rather unwillingly took the place of the Massi Hare, who had just upset a jug of heresy into his plate.


The Spadaro explains to Alice that round here 2+2=5.

"The Wintormouse shall tell us a story," said the Auster, who had clearly established himself as the leader of this quaint trio. "Wake him up!"

"Once upon a time there were four little sisters," the Wintormouse began; "and their names were Amoris, Laetitia, Laudato, and Si'; and they lived at the bottom of a well-"

"What did they live on?" said Alice, who always took a great interest in questions of eating and drinking.

"They lived on half-baked doctrine,' said the Wintormouse, after thinking a minute or two.

"They couldn't have done that, you know," Alice gently remarked; "they'd have been ill."

"So they were," said the Wintormouse; "very ill."

This nonsense was more than Alice could bear: she got up in great disgust, and walked off towards another table, from which the sweet sounds of Gregorian chant were emanating. Suddenly the Cheshire Catholic appeared before her once more, grinning from ear to ear.

Cheshire Cat

The Cheshire Catholic.

"Can you just answer five questions for me?" said Alice to the Cheshire Catholic.

"No, I don't think so," said the Cheshire Catholic, fading away until only a grin was left.

"Oh how irritating everyone is," said Alice.

Just then the Rigid Rabbit rushed past muttering, "I'm late for Mass, I'm late for Mass!" and so Alice decided to follow him, as the most sensible person she had yet encountered.

white rabbit

The Rigid Rabbit.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Austen apologises for insulting everyone

Why I showed no sense or sensibility in my article for Crux.

Recently I used the term "pride and prejudice" as a metaphor, and then - because we writers feel compelled to substantiate our assertions with good evidence - listed a number of people as examples. That offended Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley, Miss Elizabeth Bennet, and many others on their behalf. For that I want to apologize. I shouldn't have given names, and I shouldn’t have used the term "pride and prejudice". Sorry.

Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet

Sorry, folks! I was right of course - I always am - but I shouldn't have said it!

Well, that didn’t work out so well. I tried to push out an inflammatory novel under the cover of what in the UK the media calls the "silly season" - John Allen came to me and said "Crux needs something silly, and you're the silliest person we employ" - but all I provoked was a chorus of fury.

I am also in the position of having insulted a very worthy clergyman, Fr William Collins, a good friend of Fr Thomas Rosica, describing him as a pompous and grovelling man, with some kind of neurosis about his position. Would that I had been more respectful, sensitive, and measured when writing about that slimy creep!

Lady Catherine de Bourgh

Lady Catherine de Bourgh objects to my describing her as "haughty and domineering".

Finally, Miss Lydia Bennet, now Mrs George Wickham, is another whom I have mortally offended, labelling her as silly and flighty. I apologise to the stupid cow and her crooked husband.

It will be noticed that many people have written criticisms of my writing, such as Dr Joseph Shaw, Fr Tim Finigan, Fr John Zuhlsdorf, Fra' Eccles, Dan Hitchens, Ed Peters, Fr Ed Tomlinson, Fr Dwight Longenecker, G.K. Chesterton, Cardinal Newman, ... they can't all be wrong can they? Well, of course they can, if I am right! Still, as Fr Phineas T. Barnum pointed out "there's no such thing as bad clickbait!"

Pope Francis, in his encyclical Al Italia, observes that differences in philosophy, theology and pastoral practice "bring richness to the Church", and he welcomes people who disagree with him. In fact Fr Spadaro has compiled a list of them, with skull and crossbones symbols besides their names! They've not been forgotten!

Pope Francis entering aeroplane

What new doctrine will the Holy Spirit give us today?

Respect and love and openness to the Spirit - there's the basis for dialogue. How to be equal and unequal; disagree without dividing; how to make two plus two equal five; to square the circle and get round my critics; there's the challenge for querulous Catholic commentators.

Why it's not as if there were some absolute truth that we were all seeking - what a quaint and (dare I say) rigid idea!

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Excommunication from the Church of Google

With the decline in Christianity, many people have moved to the Church of Google, a worldwide organization run by a "pope" called Sundar Pichai. Unlike in the Catholic Church, for instance, where answers to fundamental questions are hard to come by if Pope Francis chooses not to supply them, the Church of Google has answers to everything.


A "google" in Oxford comments on the state of religion there.

Ask the god Google for "answers to the dubia", and, after first offering you "answers to the Dubai", because it thinks it knows better than you do, it finally admits that there are 91,200 results for your query - which is probably one per Catholic priest (except for the Pope himself, of course).

But that is not all that Google will do for you. If today is the 147th anniversary of the birth of Aloysius Squirm, the inventor of the singing bottle-opener, it will tell you. Or more likely, it is the 112th anniversary of the death of Ms Bruce Wurgledoom, the famous pioneer of transgenderism.

What Google won't tell you, is that the day is Easter, let alone the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Religious festivals are highlighted if they are politically correct, so the Aztec "Day of Organ Removal" will be remembered by a jolly "doodle" showing a high priest going about his business - if you are lucky there will be an interactive game, in which Google encourages you to remove the liver, spleen, kidneys, etc. of a heretic.

Aztec sacrifice

A religiously diverse doodle for the Aztecs.

The teaching of Google is sometimes regarded as intrusive. Messages such as "You searched for the phrase 'Thomas the Tank Engine', so here are some adverts for sex toys that we thought might interest you" have been criticised by some conservatives. Still, the faithful say that Google knows best.

But this week we discovered that all is not well in the Church of Google, as Pope Sundar excommunicated one of his priests, Father James Damore (which is almost an anagram of "Father James Martin", but that's probably a coincidence). Father James's offence was to write a parish letter on the subject of Equality (everyone is equal) and Diversity (oh no, they aren't!)

KLM own goal

The Google faithful are encouraged to fly KLM because of its "diversity" policy on safety.

Unlike many churches, the Church of Google does ordain women; however, as with the Anglicans, many people regard their ministry with suspicion. We tried to find a Google "mother" to comment on Fr James's claim that women weren't capable of coping with stress, but they were all so upset that they had decided to spend the day at home. (The men were all away with hangovers, so at least in this respect everyone was equal.)

Pope Sundar explained to us that "free speech" at Google was used in the same sense as "Comment is free" is used by the Guardian. The faithful may say what they like, provided that it not heretical - a bizarre idea that will never catch on in the modern Catholic Church!

This blog is maintained by Google. Oops!

Catholic converts - are they all nutters?

A special in-depth analysis for Crux, by Austen Ivereigh, with additional insults from Michael Sean Winters and Massimo Faggioli.

Converts!!?? Arentchasickofem??!! Blimey, I think they're all neurotic!!?? Not like me!!?? I've got a badge from my brain-care specialist saying that I am "almost sane"!!??

escaped lunatic

Shouldn't all converts wear one of these??!! Stands to reason, innit!!??

Pope Francis tells me that he has a serious problem with converts. Unlike most Catholics they have actually taken the trouble to study the teachings of the Catholic Church, and they keep tripping him up every time he gets it wrong. This is what we intellectuals call "a distorted hermeneutic". Curiously, that's also what my doctor told me I had got, when I strained myself throwing stones at converts. But I no longer need to wear a truss for it.

When I was press secretary to the Archbishop of Westminster, he drew my attention to a little-known convert called St Paul. We don't hear much about him these days, but my researches have shown that he was clearly neurotic!! Well, there you are then!!

Edith Stein

Edith Stein - another neurotic convert. H/T @drcrouchback

A neurosis is a pathological or extreme reaction to something that simply doesn’t correspond to reality. For example, a sample of Crux readers were asked for their reactions to my writing:

10% were suicidal,
20% said "I'm a teapot, I'm a teapot",
50% had severe bruising to their heads through repeated facepalms,
and the other 20% said they could no longer sleep with the light out in case the Ivereigh Monster came to eat them up.

Oh, I forgot John Allen, who simply said, "FANTASTIC STUFF, AUSTEN!! KEEP GOING!!"

A friend in Ireland writes: "I keep seeing people who seem to have converted because they believe what the Church teaches. What a change from the old days, when Catholics were Catholics because their parents were, and it was considered bad form to mention religion at home!"

Enda, you're right!!

Enda Kenny

Enda Kenny, the most prominent "Catholic Voice" in Ireland!!

Conversion should be an act of humility. New Catholics should say themselves "Am I as humble as Austen Ivereigh?" They should forget all that they have learned about Catholic doctrine, and listen to the wise voices of people like me. It means faith - in the Pope and in me!! It means trusting that the Pope is guiding the Holy Spirit, and that I can do no wrong!!

Francis is the first to invite criticism - it bounces off him like water off a duck's back. Yes, he is always willing to clarify Catholic teaching, as Cardinal Meisner could have told you, if he hadn't died while waiting for an answer!!

So, let's have no more converts!!?? They're all nutters!!??

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

St Elizabeth the LGBT activist

Hello, guys and gals, I'm Fr Arthur your new "Yoof Priest", and I'm preaching the official "Yoof Sermon" at the "Yoof Mass" or "Gig" as we Yoof Priests call it. Taking my lead from my hero, Fr Dom of Brentwood, I take as my text today the passage from Luke 1, where St Elizabeth was persecuted for being an LGBT activist.

St Elizabeth

St Elizabeth, an inspiration to LGBTQISJXYZαβPQRAREYOUSTILLREADING™∇⊕ZZZ999 people everywhere!

As Fr Dom so wisely tells us, Elizabeth was shunned for being barren. But why should she have been barren? Was she a lesbian? Or even bisexual? Perhaps she was "trans", and would have preferred to be called Elijah, or maybe a gender-neutral "El"? Yes, that was the real cause of her persecution, the homophobic tradition in 1st century Judaea!

Nowadays being a lesbian is of course no barrier to conceiving. Science has conquered nature, and we can make children in test-tubes who do not know who their parents are. And I am sure that many of you yooful ones here present would have preferred things that way! In future this will be the usual way to produce kids - in giant hatcheries - and sex will be reserved for pleasure as God intended!

Aldous Huxley

Aldous Huxley. A dead white male but his "Brave New World" showed us how to advance!

Anyway, in the end Elizabeth gave way to the fascist hegemony of her times, and God gave her a child. And what a disaster that was! John the Baptist! Someone with distinctly old-fashioned views on marriage, a scruffy old drop-out who came to a bad end. The least said about him the better!

Oh, excuse me, my mobile's ringing. Hello, bishop? What's that people have been saying about me? A complete fruitcake? That's not nice... All right, that's all for today, lads and lasses.

© Fr Arthur 2017

Saturday, 5 August 2017

The National Trust takes over Animal Farm

With apologies to George Orwell.

"I am an old donkey now," said Benjamin, "and old enough to remember those days fifty years ago, when we had the sexual revolution, and threw Farmer Jones out of his farm. For he would not let the male animals mate with male animals, nor the females with females. What a great day for freedom that was! As a Catholic donkey, I was taught that such deeds were acts of grave depravity, but we should not speak ill of them."

Benjamin the donkey

Benjamin, the Catholic donkey.

Clover the old mare nuzzled up to him. "It was necessary at the time," she said. "We were told that Napoleon and Snowball were deeply in love, and suffered great persecution. Everyone said that a revolution was necessary. But it seems to me that the world is a different place now."

"My Catholic guides are very weak," said Benjamin. "Squealer the Jesuit Pig is enlisting the animals in a bridge-building programme, and we have new slogans. The motto 'VIRTUE GOOD, SIN BAD' that I learned in my catechism has been dropped."

Just at that moment, as though at a signal, all the sheep burst out into a tremendous bleating of "VIRTUE GOOD, SIN BETTER! VIRTUE GOOD, SIN BETTER!"

James Martin recipe

Things turn out badly for the sheep.

Clover led him round to the end of the big barn. "My sight is failing," she said. "But it appears to me that that wall looks different too. Are the Ten Commandments the same as they used to be, Benjamin?"

Benjamin read out to her what was written on the wall. There was nothing there now except a single message. It ran:


National Trust rainbow badge

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. (Sorry, wrong book.)

However, there was worse to come. As the animals turned back, they saw Squealer the Jesuit Pig welcoming the famous Stephen Fry to the new "gay" farm. The creatures looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Francis calls synod to decide whether he is Pope

Pope Francis has decided, once and for all, to call an Extraordinary Synod on the Papacy, in order to decide whether he is legitimately the Pope.

Francis, hatless

Is the Holy Spirit trying to hint something here?

Apparently the Catholic Church is divided into three factions:

1. Those who think that Pope Francis is the validly elected Pope, and, although he is "a bit strange", it's perfectly OK, since, after blessing us with a saintly pope and an intelligent pope, the Holy Spirit decided it was time for a change.

2. Those who think that Pope Francis was unlawfully elected as a result of the machinations of the St Gallen Mafia (its "Mr Big", Cardinal Danneels, is said to have put a horse's head in Pope Benedict's bed). Thus we are either sede vacante, or else Pope Benedict is still the Pope.

WARNING: this sort of talk can get you excommunicated, which means that it is far more serious than being an abortionist, a euthanasist, or an active homosexual. It certainly won't get you an invitation to a cushy population-control conference at the Vatican.


Mr Big models the latest in rainbow chasubles.

3. Those who don't really care who the Pope is, or what he teaches, as they are the sort of Catholics who never attend church anyway; they think that Catholic teaching needs to be "updated" to bring it into line with modern secular thinking.

Thus, we expect two years of impassioned debate on the papacy, but, since Cardinal Baldisseri has already written an account of it, we know what will be decided. All that remains is for Pope Francis to write an apostolic exhortation, "PAPA SUM OR NON SUM?", which will summarise the discussion in Jesuitical language so confused that nobody will be quite sure what the answer is.


An omen? A giant Spidero appears outside Ottawa's Notre-Dame cathedral.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Party of priests mistaken for a stag do

More on that news story about priests being told to leave a pub because the bartender thought they were a stag party.

Martin, Colbert, Rosica

It's all right, my friends really are priests!

Apparently the bartender became suspicious when one of the priests, known only as "Jim", began to tell people that "gay" sex was just fine, and anyone who disagreed with him was a dirty pervert. Also, he claimed, his fellow-Jesuits, bishops, and some of the cardinals agreed with him. He explained that he had prayed a lot, and God had told him "Nice work, Jim! I couldn't have put it better Myself! LOVE the 'bridges' bit!"

The priest then broke into a chorus of "Glad to be gay," and slumped under the table, sobbing into his crème de menthe.

women bishops

Luckily, nobody spotted this rather obvious hen party!

The bartender - an otherwise unemployable theology graduate - had attempted to engage the party of priests in serious religious discussions, with reference to the Bible, the Catholic Catechism, the writings of 200 popes, St Ignatius, etc. but all that the priests could say was "**** all that, this is the new age of Mercy!"

He therefore concluded that they could not possibly be real priests, and attempted to eject them all, including an overweight fellow called "Rosie". However, he was later persuaded that they were from the new order of secularist priests - good friends of Pope Francis - and permitted them to stay.

Eric Idle, Robbie Coltrate, nuns

"I was truly shocked by their behaviour!!??" said Sister Judy Piranha (L) of the Nuns for Naughtiness.