This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Sunday, 15 April 2018

The "Pope Francis is wonderful" conference

After a rather grim week caused by news of Ealing, Alfie Evans, Syria, etc. it was a great pleasure to be invited to the "Pope Francis is wonderful, humble, merciful, loving, handsome, brilliant and holy" conference at Villanova.

With Registration priced at $225, the same amount that Jesus charged people to listen to the Sermon on the Mount, and the Conference Banquet at $75, the figure He charged the 5,000 for their sushi con ciabatta banquet, it was a bargain within reach of the poorest in our society.

Mr Bean

Massimo "Beans" Faggioli welcomes you to a feast of spiritual nourishment.

Some of the highlights were:

* Cardinal Tobin wishing everyone "Nighty-night baby!"
* Fr Antonio Spadaro doing tricks of arithmetic to prove that 2+2=5.
* Cardinal Maradiaga explaining that the money was just resting in his account.
* Faggioli himself telling us that the promoters of the Old Mass have theological views that are not Catholic any more.

Spadaro on holiness

Spadaro explains that when we say "His Holiness" we don't mean that he is holy.

The highlight of the conference was surely the speech of Fr Spadaro, for a blizzard of soundbites from it was tweeted by Ivereigh and Faggioli, to the delight of everyone with a sense of humour. Before drowning the reader in spiritual nourishment, let's have another photo.

The two Ronnies as clowns

After-dinner Cabaret. Austen Ivereigh and Joe Tobin entertain us.

Fr Spadaro is known worldwide as a brilliant mathematician, and this has helped him to master physics as well. So we were treated to the following words of wisdom.

Spadaro on science

Who says that Catholics don't have a grasp of science?

Personally, I was surprised not to see a few rigid Catholics there. Where were Sarah and Burke? No Zuhlsdorf? Fra' Matthew Festing? How about Marcantonio Colonna? Surely he is now rich enough to afford the $225? But no, they all stayed away. It's almost as if they didn't want to celebrate the fact that Pope Francis is wonderful, humble, merciful, loving, handsome, brilliant and holy.

Plenary speakers at Villanova

Non-rigid modernist Catholics (could that be Joe Tobin's much-loved sister?)

Anyway, this blog is for spiritual nourishment, not for photos of celebrities, so let us have one final piece of wisdom from Spadaro, who - it must be remembered - is not only an expert on science, but also a deeply spiritual figure.

Spadaro on spirits

Translation: "Why does everyone think my Gaudete et Exsultate is a turkey?"

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Ealing Council wins prestigious Heinrich Himmler award

Following its decision to impose a "safe" zone round its flagship baby-slaughtering facility, Ealing Council has been enthusiastically awarded the prestigious Heinrich Himmler award by the Himmler Foundation for Mass Murder, Genocide and Holocausts. Previous winners have included Amnesty International, Planned Parenthood and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service.

black

Sorry, today's news is not a subject for laughs.

Apparently some good and honourable Ealing Councillors felt it very important to prevent desperate pregnant women from receiving any help, for they considered that they had a quota of little corpses to fulfil if they were to keep up their reputation as the most Sadistic Bastards in London. Doubtless, some troubled ladies were feeling harassed by aggressive cries of "Can we help you?" and "Don't worry, dear," not to mention being deafened by silent prayer.

Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan, Mayor of London (or is it George Galloway?)

Mayor Genghis Khan, rumoured to be a descendant of the great Mongol Emperor Sadiq Khan, sent his congratulations to Ealing. "This is the way London is going," he said, "and I hope that this will bring me lots of invitations from such wonderful people as Justin Trudeau and Leo Varadkar. Anything to get away from this poxy city, which is so violent that I have banned lethal weapons such as spoons and egg-cups, not to mention dangerous acids such as lemon juice and vinegar. And don't get me started on the subject of foreign immigrants!" Other felicitations came in from Ripper Jaq, the local MP, who has been campaigning for "safe" spaces around death zones for some time.

It is now expected that Ealing's triumph will be recognised worldwide, and that luminaries from ISIS and North Korea will be hoping to arrange visits "to see how killing can be made safe, efficient, and above all uninterrupted, so that a good time can be had by all."

"We soon got rid of prayer vigils outside Auschwitz, I can tell you!"

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Gaudete et Exsultate - Goad and Insult

This is the latest instalment in our "How to be a good Pope" series, and explains how you can issue a Call to Holiness, while at the same time settling a few scores.

Five years into your reign, things may not be going too well. Your great work Appassionata Erotica was not received as enthusiastically as you had hoped, and you have a pile of unanswered dubia, filial corrections, letters, e-mails, etc. to deal with. Why, they've even organized a conference in Rome with the theme: "Is Pope Fred bonkers, or simply thick?" This is supposed to deal with some doctrinal questions in as tactful a way as possible.

Amoris Laetitia conference

Trying to understand Appassionata Erotica.

Also, some cheeky blighter has written a book called The Megalomaniac Pope. You don't intend to read it, but you have a feeling that those skilled in textual analysis may detect traces of criticism in it.

Pausing only to phone up Booze-lager, your man in the Order of Malta, asking him to put a live scorpion in a certain author's bed, you rush off to write your exhortation "Goad and Insult". This contains:

1. Some recycled stuff from previous speeches, homilies, rants, interviews with Scalfari, etc.

2. Some attacks on straw men, which your spin-doctor Fr Spidero will interpret as referring to Burke, Sarah, Pope Benedict XVI, St Paul, Jesus, and various other people who have offended you.

3. A huge dossier contributed by Spidero, which proves that you are holy and nobody else is.

scarecrow

As a scarecrow, I wish to complain about these papal attacks on straw men.

Now, the two heresies you are most found of mentioning - a complete mystery to 99% of Catholics including yourself - are Gnosticism and Pelagianism. So mutter in dark tones that some people are guilty of these ancient heresies. It's far more serious than abortion (and anyway, your friend Emma Banana has asked you to go easy on that one from now on).

Perhaps for a change you could accuse your critics of Triclavianism. This is a medieval heresy that three, rather than four, nails were used to crucify Christ and that a Roman soldier pierced Him with a spear on the left, rather than right side (unless someone on Wikipedia has been having a little joke).

Cardinal Sarah's book

You've disagreed with your predecessors. Next, disagree with your successors.

Now, the biggest thorn in your side at present is probably that African chap with the girl's name. Let's call him Cardinal Sally. He's very fond of Silence, and has written a whole book about it. This goes against everything you stand for - why, you can't keep silent for more than 30 seconds at a time - so attack Silence. Who are silent? Nuns. Right, let's take a kick at the nuns. You might even start a new order, the Pope Fred Order of Screaming Nuns, who are forbidden ever to remain silent.

You might also want to take a kick at the Vatican librarian, who shushed Spadaro when he started singing Italian drinking songs in the Sex-and-Shopping section. That'll teach her!

Anyway, you get the idea. Offend as many faithful Catholics as you can - call them obsessive, absorbed and punctilious if they try to keep the commandments - while pointing out that you alone are truly holy. As long as James Martin, Massimo Faggioli, and Austen Ivereigh praise you, nobody else matters!

curate's egg

"I'm afraid you've got a bad Apostolic Exhortation, Fr Jones."
"Oh no, Holy Father, parts of it are excellent."

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Father Jekyll and Pope Hyde

One of the classics of Gothic horror is the story of Father Jekoglio, the humble Argentine priest, who became interested in chemical research. He discovered a mysterious potion - Amorisine - which transformed him from a normally-benevolent cleric, anxious always to love his fellow men and teach true Catholic doctrine, into a raging tyrant who, under the name of Pope Hyde, left a trail of destruction behind him.

Bunsen Honeydew

Father Jekoglio demonstrates his potion to Hans Küng.

To begin with, everyone believed that Jekoglio and Hyde were two different people. One dark night the police found the corpse of Fra' Matthew Festing, beaten to death with a boeselager (a blunt instrument), and the witnesses claimed that a sinister man in a white coat was responsible. Others pointed to the mysterious fate of four cardinals who had been asking too many questions - two dying suddenly, the others fleeing into hiding. Surely Pope Hyde knew something about this? But then the next day Father Jekoglio appeared in public, smiling, and preaching about mercy and free love (or in Latin, Amoris Libertas).

Pope poster

"Wanted" posters appear in the streets of Rome.

However, something linked the two men. Jekoglio and Hyde lived at the same address - "Humility Towers", Vatican City. Was Jekoglio sheltering the infamous Hyde? Or was there a more sinister explanation?

Hyde continued to rampage through the streets of Rome. His closest associates were some of the riff-raff of the city: Emma Bonino, the "pump murderer"; Eugenio Scalfari, the 107-year-old journalist who made up his own stories; Antonio Spadaro, the mathematical genius who was also a master of invective; Walter Kasper, the escaped lunatic. Stories continued to mount of the infamous deeds of the mysterious Hyde. Had he really denied the existence of Hell? Was he really overturning Catholic teaching on marriage? What did he really know about the Vatican Bank Robbery?

Pope smiling

Jolly Father Jekoglio.

At first, Jekoglio could control his transformations into the infamous Hyde. But then they began to occur involuntarily - often on aeroplane journeys he would begin to utter unntelligible nonsense, and give the appearance of a soul in torment. The word "synod" also acted as a trigger, and whenever he heard it he had an uncontrollable urge to invite innocent people to meetings and make up accounts of what they had said.

In the end Jekoglio resolved to cease becoming Hyde. Perhaps there would be room for him in the Benedict XVI home for retired popes? He had a serum - Magisterine - that could reverse the transformation, but it required larger and larger doses to bring him back to his orthodox Jekoglio personality. Eventually, he had gone too far, and he knew that the transformation was irreversible. He would always be Pope Hyde. And, at the end, his soul would simply disappear.