This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Monday, 15 January 2018

A retirement plan for the Pope

Vatican memorandum - confidential.

In view of the Pope's increasingly bizarre behaviour - for many people the award of the title of Commander in the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St Gregory the Great to the blood-drenched abortion-campaigner Lilianne Ploumen was a final sign that he had flipped his lid - we are putting together an attractive retirement package for the Holy Father.

Pope and Ploumen

"Just the Ploumen's lunch for me, please."

Whereas Pope Benedict XVI has used his retirement to concentrate on praying, studying, and beer-drinking, these activities do not appeal to his successor, and we have had to find other ways of keeping him occupied.

One apartment in Francis's retirement home has been furnished as an aeroplane cabin, and - since he is not significantly more modest than Donald Trump - we have branded it as Air Francis. It is expected that the ex-Holy Father, or do we mean Holy ex-Father, will spend hours wandering round this, inventing new Catholic doctrine. Some actors will be hired to sit around all day listening to him, and they are encouraged to clap whenever another piece of the New Testament goes into the dustbin.


"The situation's serious. Pope Francis has woken up."

Apart fom this, we are a little short of ideas. What exactly does the Pope do when he's not talking? We could arrange some video games for him, I suppose; Vatican chain-saw massacre, is a good one, in which you have to dismember as many cardinals as possible. Extra points if they are wearing a cappa magna or saying Mass in Latin. We think this game should keep our client amused for hours.

We have arranged for another room, labelled simply Jesuit meeting room, where Francis can have parties with Spadaro, Martin, Sosa, and the rest of the gang. The Freemasons are kindly helping us with the decor.

Spadaro and Boff

"Now you're no longer Pope we can paint the Vatican red!"

We should perhaps provide the retired pope with a small study and a laptop with which he can write his final messages to mankind. Admittedly Francis's publication list so far is a little variable in quality: from his time as a research chemist we have his thesis Why cyanide is perfectly safe, and from his time as a bishop in Argentina a small biography Austen Ivereigh - the Great Performer; also, more recently, the work we're not allowed to mention, although its initials are AL.

Francis is already preparing his magnum opus Why I was right and all previous popes were wrong, although we understand that he currently has writer's block, and hasn't got much beyond "BECAUSE I SAY SO"; still, he'll probably be with us for another 20 years or so, and we think he may be able to expand on this a little.

Finally, if anyone has any further ideas for keeping Francis occupied, then the new pope, Cardinal Blase Cupich, Pope Francis II, will be glad to hear them!

Friday, 12 January 2018

Sherlock Holmes and the Dictator Pope

Not many of my readers will know that my friend Sherlock Holmes was a faithful Catholic: it is true that, having been brought up by Jesuits, he neither attended church nor obeyed Catholic moral teaching, but this should not be held against him.

Many will remember his epigram about "The curious incident of the cardinal in the night - the cardinal did nothing in the night, that was the curious incident," referring to the Archbishop of Westminster's failure to give any kind of a moral lead on Catholic teaching. As a result of this, and similar cases, Holmes was often consulted on delicate Catholic matters.

Thus, one morning, we were sitting in Baker Street discussing the new Encyclical Humanae Mortis, which had driven Holmes to inject himself with a seven percent solution of "coke" - the scientific name is "Coccopalmerio" - when our servant Mrs Beattie opened the door to admit a man dressed inconspicuously as a South American general.

General Galtieri

Our illustrious client.

"Mr Holmes, I need your help," said our client. "A book has been written about, er, a friend of mine, and we need to trace the author in order to, um, pay him homage. The Swiss Guards are already standing by with torture implements."

"I am at your service, Holy Father," replied Holmes (to my gasps of "amazing, Holmes, how did you penetrate his disguise?") "Shall we go to Rome, and make enquiries?"

We took Pope Francis's private jet to Rome, and the flight passed quickly, since our client remained standing throughout the journey, developing new Catholic doctrines "off the cuff": these will one day astound and delight the world. That evening, Holmes and I settled into an apartment in the Vatican. Holmes took out his violin as an aid to concentration and played a haunting arrangement of Stephen Walford's renowned concerto for piano and Balinese nose-flute (with its famous marking "Play whatever the Pope wants").

After two or three minutes the door opened and an African cardinal strode in. "SILENCE!" he bellowed angrily, and threw a book at my companion's head, stunning him slightly.

The Power of Silence

"... so many noisy popes..." (paragraph 40)

Once I had bandaged his head, Holmes and I made a tour of the building. We were standing outside Cardinal Coccopalmerio's apartment when we heard impassioned cries of "No! Yes! YES! YES! YES!"

"I see that they are working on an answer to the Dubia," I remarked to Holmes. He gave me a funny look that I did not understand, and began to analyse the mystery we were trying to solve.

"Watson, my theory is that the book The Dictator Pope was not written by the real Marcantonio Colonna, as he has been dead since 1584. More likely, it was written by a liberal Catholic, tired of trying to defend the Pope's obvious failings."

Marcantonio Colonna

"I have an alibi. I am dead."

"Amazing, Holmes. Could it be Spadaro? Ivereigh (no, it's too well-written)? Massimo Faggioli? James Martin (no, there's no obsession with homosexuality)? Rosica?"

"These are deep matters, Watson, and perhaps I am wrong. But the case presents interesting features. For example, why is the book produced only electronically, and not on paper? Did Cardinal Baldisseri steal all the printed copies?"

Putting on his liturgical deer-stalker, Holmes led me into Mass, where Cardinal Paradigm was going to preach about Parolin Shifts in Amoris Laetitia. To me it sounded like complete heresy, but then Homes explained that this sort of nonsense was necessary if a cardinal wished to be considered papabile, and Cardinal Paradigm probably didn't believe half of what he was saying.

Parolin dressed in white

"We have found the man who stole the Pope's vestments" announced Holmes.

To be continued?

Saturday, 6 January 2018

How to spot an unsaved person

Let's start the year as we mean to continue, with works of mercy, which include smiting the heretic (or at least, instructing the ignorant and admonishing the sinners).

Father John Z has recently blogged about being blocked on Twitter by Rosica [Rosie] and Faggioli [Beans/Mr Bean] - two people who get a lot of praise on this blog - and he has a point. In fact, everyone on Twitter, including @pontifex, is blocked by Rosie, so Fr Z gets no points for that. Somehow Beans hasn't yet blocked me, but then he is a man of great intellect, at least by the standard of most beans.

For me, the simplest way to find people heading for the Lake of Fire is to see who blocks me on Twitter. So let's start with the most Eminent, and work downwards.

Cardinal Napier

"You're blocked!"

Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier came out well during the 2015 Synod on the Family, signing a letter complaining about the absurd way it was run. However, he later backed down, and became an uncritical fan of Amoris Laetitia, even though it contains some distinctly dodgy passages.

In fact, he turned into a combination of Candide and Polynanna, tweeting random phrases from the dreaded AL. "Love is never having to say you're sorry." "Love is like a tin of sardines, we're all looking for the key." "Some people claim that marriage interferes with romance. There's no doubt about it. Anytime you have a romance, your wife is bound to interfere." That sort of thing.

Several people asked him questions, in particular, about why heretical interpretations were being put forward, and not contradicted by the Vatican. For a while he blustered and flustered, but anyway in the end he gave up trying to answer questions and blocked poor Eccles, who only wanted to learn from the master.

tweet from Napier

It's a pity that he's destined for the Lake of Fire, as sometimes he said what more cardinals should be saying.

We move on to the Bishop of Lancaster, Michael Gregory Campbell OSA. A man who nearly made it into the top flight of English bishops (along with Egan, Davies, Hopes, and one or two more), he has done some very good things: for example, speaking out against abortion, and telling ACTA to go boil their heads. We haven't seen much of ACTA lately, but maybe that is because they have already won (Vincent Nichols seems to like them), or maybe it is because they were banished to Gehenna by Michael Campbell. I don't know.

Unfortunately, the Diocese of Lancaster website, and so, by association, the bishop, blocked me on Twitter, probably because I criticised the big mistake of Mike's reign at Lancaster. Remember? He suppressed the Protect the Pope blog. Why did he do it? Well the story is that various people were very upset by it (I don't think Tina Beattie was a fan), and somehow Vinnie Nichols, in one of his first moves as Cardinal, decided to lean on Mike. A sad case.

Bishop of Lancaster and nuns

Tea and sympathy for the bishop.

I still read the bishop's blog, and it used to contain a regular "Here I am having tea with nuns" picture. However, once I pointed this out, the pictures stopped appearing. I hope that Mike is still getting lots of tea from nuns, even if he is too bashful to admit it.

Going down the food chain, we come to mere priests like Rosie and Jim (Rosica and Martin), Spider (Spadaro), and lesser forms of life such as Austen Ivereigh (the Voice of Catholicism), plus comedy vicars like "Rev" Kate Bottley, and professional atheists such as Owen Jones, Stephen Fry, and Richard Dawkins.

These people are already in the world to get as much publicity for themselves as possible, despite their incredibly limited talents, so let's not discuss them. But there is a surprise in the tail!


Could Spadaro be saved after all?

As a unique act of MercyTM, Fr Antonio Spadaro has recently unblocked me, along with a whole swathe of other saved persons. My own cynical theory is that he suspects that one of us is the great Marcantonio Colonna, author of The Dictator Pope, and he is watching us carefully to see who it is. I admit nothing.

Anyway, everyone knows that MC is really Fr Zuhlsdorf...

Friday, 5 January 2018

Why the Pope is right about everything

What I did in my holidays, by Stephen Rex Mottram Walford, aged 9.

In my holidays I went to Rome to talk to the Pope, who is a big fat man who is always right about everything. They say he is "incorrigible", which means that it is impossible to correct him, because he is always right. He's also got a Magisterium, which means that nobody can ever ever say he's wrong or the smoke of Satan will choke them to death. Cor lumme!

Walford, Pope, 266 shirt

"They were sold out of 666 shirts."

"What do you do, little boy?" the Pope asked me.

"I play the piano," I said.

"Oh, you tickle the Ivereighs?"

At that moment a small man with silly glasses who was cleaning the Pope's shoes with his tongue looked up sharply.

"Oh sorry, Austen, I wasn't referring to you," said my friend the Pope. "Don't worry."

"They tell me that ne of my cardinals is on the fiddle," he continued. "It's traditional for this to happen while Rome burns. Perhaps you can do a duet with him."

The Pope told me that he is directly appointed by God, who is a big man with a beard. This is why everything he says is right, and if you disagree with him you are a nasty nasty dissenter, and will go to Hell, which is a nasty place a bit like Luton, and you will never again be invited to tea with the Pope.

Cardinal Marx

I think this may be God.

"So you see, my lad, if I want to repeal Curriculum Vitae, which is something Pope Paul VI wrote, then I can do so, and you know I am right. The same goes for those bits of the New Testament that aren't very popular."

"What happens if another Pope comes along later and says something different?" I asked, for I am only nine years old and the Pope is a lot older than I am. So I may have to come and worship a new Pope.

The Pope said something under his breath which I didn't understand because I am only nine years old, but it ended with the word "SARAH!". Then he spat on the floor, which Mummy tells me is rude, unless a Pope does it, when it is the Will of the Lord.

I think I understand now that a new Pope can say that Pope Francis was wrong, but the Holy Spirit will make sure that he doesn't. Only Pope Francis can say that someone else was wrong. This is called Theology, and I was told to ask our teacher Mr Faggioli to explain it. We call him "Beans" in Year 6.

The Pope took me to see the Sistine Chapel, which is a big room with funny paintings on the ceiling. He told me that his adviser Father James Martin had recommended that it should be repainted with rainbow-coloured stripes, as that is more welcoming to gay people. Mummy says being gay is sinful, but Mummy is rigid, and Pope Francis says we should get rid of her. Maybe my father can divorce her and marry Fräulein Kasper from next door, as that is what is recommended in the world's greatest book Amorous Lascivia.

Sistine Chapel

Cardinal Maradiaga says he knows a man who will offer him a good price for these paintings. No questions asked.

Anyway, it was very nice meeting Pope Francis who is always right, and he is not at all like it says in the very rude book The Dictator Pope. I was with him for an hour, and he didn't send anyone to the torture chambers, so that proves he is merciful as well as always right, doesn't it?

Very good, Stephen! You really do understand the consequences of Vatican II.
M. Faggioli.