This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

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!


  1. What an hilarious 'apology'! He must have a very low opinion of his critics, to think that his quaint screed is not transparent. But it was good for a chuckle on this summer morning.

  2. It is a sad day for free speech when an honest shed-dweller cannot express his irrational dislikes in print at the expense of an international Catholic Mens' Association.

  3. Exactly because there is no absolute truth to be found, your mortal offenses against the holy subjective must be met with uncompromising, dare I say - merciless - condemnation. Don't you know that every time you offend a slimy creep and a stupid cow, not to mention a flying theologian of neo-Marxist deconstruction and relativistic reinterpretation, a little kitten dies, and a little universe of limitless objective stupidity finds itself in an unsafe space?

  4. Vatican City, april '13, interior night.
    A figure in his bed with a pretty cheap science textbook in his hands, reading intently in the dim light:

    "...lightning also frequently strikes airplanes: by acting like a Faraday cage, the aircraft protects the passengers, which are unaffected by its deadly current..."

    The figure pauses, then closes the book, and softly speaks to himself: "Looks like we found a place from which we can safely spread our doctrine, finally".

  5. "Pope Francis likes to say that while differences are divine, division is diabolical."

    i.e. "My criticisms are merely differences, yours are divisive, his or hers are schismatic."

    PS Eccles, surely your offence in using the word 'pride' was in forgetting that in modern English it must invariably be used only with the prefix 'gay'...

  6. I wonder how much of his apology was written by Crux's lawyers and at what cost. After all Ivereigh knows all too well how much an action for libel can cost.

  7. I don't see there's much difference between those up in the church of Ming the Unmerciful and his followers down in the graveyard, 'cept that down there they're all quiet. (A metaphor from lighthearted American novel Ethan Frome.) I apologize.