This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

We interview Pope Benedict

As the Fake News Correspondent of the Italian newspaper Così fan tutte I was very pleased to be granted an interview with Emergency Pope Benedict (memo: check his official title).

My German is not very good, although after a lifetime of watching World War II films I have picked up a few useful phrases, such as "Heil Hitler", "Schweinehund", and "For you, Britischer pig, ze war is over." Still, I didn't need to use these, as we spoke in English.

Pope Benedict

"Eccles! Delighted to see you!"

Eccles: Now, Holy Retired Father, it is very good of you to give me an interview. My first question to you is: "Who is the Pope?"

Benedict: Well, it's not me, is it? Francis, I suppose.

Eccles (coming in for the kill): So if I were to contradict the claim that you refuse to deny the negative of the proposition that Francis fails to be anything other than the Pope, what would you say?

Benedict (hesitates):

Eccles (scribbling in notebook): BENEDICT NOT SURE WHETHER FRANCIS IS THE POPE.

Eccles: Let's move onto something easier. The man in the news this week is Mr Potatohead. What do you think of him?

Benedict: Who?

Georg Gänswein: Er, that would be Kartoffelkopf.

Benedict: Ah, yes, you mean Heinrich Kartoffelkopf, the great nineteenth century German theologian who refuted the ideas of Professor Maximilian Bohnen?


Dolan and Cuomo

Mr Potatohead (R) with a dear friend.

Eccles: Now, tell me your views about the leader of the free world. Is he Catholic?

Benedict: Francis? Well he does attend Mass, or so I'm told.

Eccles: Actually I meant Joe Biden, often described as the most devout Catholic since Edward Kennedy.

Benedict (laughs hysterically and begins to choke):


Eccles: One final question if I may. The other man in the news is Dr Seuss, author of such books as If I ran the Vatican, And To Think That I Saw It in St Peter's Square, How the Grech stole Christ, and The Prat in the Red Hat. Would you ban his books?

The Grech stole Christ

Banned in Malta.

Benedict: Well, they never came up before the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith when I was running it...


Eccles: Thank you, Holy Thing (© Joe Biden)!

Sunday, 21 February 2021

The Lenten temptations of Eccles

1. So, the season of Lent having arrived, Eccles went into the wilderness to pray.

2. And the Devil came unto him in his hermitage, and said "Eccles, why dost thou not go for a walk, and sit on the ground, eating the food known as pic-nic?"

3. For it was the time of plague, and the Devil had said these words to tempt him.

4. And Eccles replied, "Man cannot live by picnics alone. Besides there is a fine of ten thousand gold pieces for anyone who picnicketh at these times. For picnics kill people."


The first temptation.

5. Then the Devil tempted him again, saying, "Even hermits must enter into the markets to buy food. Why not go into the land known as Tesco without wearing a mask?"

6. And Eccles replied, "Is it not written in the scriptures, cover thy face lest thou be cast into the deepest dungeon?"

Boris in a mask

Fighting against the second temptation.

7. Then the Devil tempted him one final time, saying, "Lo! There is another hermit who dwelleth in this part of the wilderness. Why not go and have a cup of tea with her?"

8. But Eccles replied, "Get thee behind me, Satan, and remain at a distance of four cubits from me. For it is written, 'Hands, Face, Space.' Now, excuse me for I have to protect the National Health Service by clapping."

mad hatter's tea party

A gang of sinners.

9. So the Devil went away and tempted him no more, at least not until the next set of silly regulations came forth from the mouth of Caesar Boris.

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

The Wind in the Vatican

With apologies to Kenneth Grahame

"Do you know," said the Brand-Moler, blissfully drinking a huge tankard of German beer as he sat in the garden of the Pope Emeritus. "I've hardly ever been to these apartments before."

"Really?" said the Ratzinger solemnly. "To my mind there is nothing at all so worthwhile as messing about in the Vatican."

"What a day I'm having, Ratty," continued the Brand-Moler with a sigh of full contentment. What's in the picnic basket?"

"Following papal advice, there's Legumes," replied the Ratzinger briefly. "BroadBeansLentilsPeasPeanuts BakedBeansChickpeas MassimoFaggioli PulsesRunnerBeans..."

"Oh stop, stop!" cried the Brand-Moler in ecstasies. "This is too much! What a feast, Ratty!"

Max Beans

A feast.

Presently Cardinal Raymond Badger entered. He had been visiting an area full of mysterious warrens, from which strange little faces would peep out at intervals to say things like "Hail Pachamama!" "Let's build a bridge towards the weasel community" and "Won't anyone buy my new book Pope Francis on the Orient Express?"

"You know Toad's got a new Magisterium?" said the Ratzinger to the Badger once the Brand-Moler had been introduced. "A completely new one. He crashed the one his ancestors handed down to him."

"I know," said the Badger gloomily. "One of these days he'll get locked up, for sure. I've heard that the Jesuweasels are just waiting to over-run the Vatican as soon as his back's turned. Then they'll bring in rainbow flags and Ignatian yoga."

Wind in the willows scene

Three cardinals in conclave.

"Why don't you stop him?" asked the Brand-Moler.

"You don't understand," explained the Ratzinger. "Nobody stops Toad. It always has to be something new. One day it's a change to the Gloria, the next it's a new version of the Lord's prayer."

From somewhere close by came a distant whirring sound, which gradually rose to a crescendo. Then there was a mighty crash, and the Toad came flying head-first over the hedge, to land in a nearby ditch. As the animals hurried over looking very concerned, the Toad extracted his head from the mud: lying in the ditch with a contented smile on his face, he sighed and muttered to himself: "O bliss! Oh my! ... Amoris Laetitia ... Laudato Si' ... Fratelli Tutti ... Pope-pope! >>> CRASH!!! <<<"

Wind in the willows scene

Getting an answer to the Dubia.

Saturday, 13 February 2021

Jesus asks "What would Francis do?"

Jerusalem, AD 31

Jesus of Nazareth, the young preacher who is rapidly building up a reputation for His ability to change water into wine, to feed thousands of people on fish sandwiches, and to heal people who drop in through the roof, has been severely criticised for ignoring the fundamental Catholic doctrine "What would Francis do?"

What would Pope Francis do?

Lambchop, Austen the gnome, and James Martin LGBTSJ attempt to correct Jesus.

Some examples of criticisms are the following:

When He saved a woman taken in adultery from being stoned, He told her to "Go and sin no more." A true WWPFD Catholic would have told her that she could carry on with her adultery, and, after a period of discernment and accompaniment, she could be recognised as a virtuous member of the community. (See the Commandments of Amoris Laetitia, number 306, footnote 2b(xi).)

Jesus continues to make references to "God the Father", and refuses to accept other gods. Does Pachamama mean nothing to Him? Is He not aware of the useful role that idols can play in modern worship?


Was it too much to ask for this?

Riding on a methane-emitting donkey, as He did recently, showed a total lack of awareness of the climate emergency. Has He ever warned his followers about the climate crisis, which is predicted to cause Rome to burst into flames in the year 64?

Some of His catch-phrases, such as "Lead us not into temptation" and "Peace on earth to people of good will", are obviously wrong, and not in accordance with the teachings of our Holy Father Francis. They will need to be reworded.

Cleansing of the temple


However, Jesus was praised for His ability to insult Pharisees. Calling people fools, hypocrites, foxes and vipers showed a keen awareness of Franciscan teaching - although He could have been more imaginative and used phrases such as "Fomenters of Coprophagia", "Pickled pepper-faced Christians" or "Existential schizophrenics."

His expulsion of the money-changers from the temple is also regarded as good, although a true master of Franciscan disciplines would use the martial art of Papa-slappa, rather than a whip of knotted chords. Still, it's a start...

What would Pope Francis do?

Aargh! Make it stop!

Saturday, 6 February 2021

The book of Covidicus, Chapter 13: the AstroLogica Vixen

Continued from Chapter 12

1. It had been decided that all the world should be Vaxed, and the wise men produced a vixen to protect the people from the plague.

2. Nobody was sure what it did until they consulted the stars, so they named it the AstroLogica vixen.

3. Now Bo-sis and his servant Matthew of Hanoch had already ordered large numbers of the AstroLogica vixen, but their neighbour in EUgypt, the Pharaoh Ursula of Lebanon, had not ordered hers in a timely fashion.

Ursula von der Leyen

The parable of the foolish vixens.

4. So she said unto the astrologers, "Give me of your vixen, which we did not order!" But the astrologers knew of the parable of the Foolish Vixens, and refused to give of their vixen.

5. And Macrabaeus of the Frenchites, he that was called Emmanuel, spake out, saying "In sooth, the vixen does not work! It is essential that ye give it to us!"

6. Meanwhile, the plague continued to rage, and the people were still locked down.

7. But many people came into Bri-tain from distant parts, where the plague raged even fiercer.

8. These included the kingdoms of Sheba, of Ethiopia, of Mesopotamia, and even the lands previously undiscovered, such as the most distant parts of Africa.

9. Also, one that was called Eswatini, which was clearly an invented name.

10. So Bo-sis spake out, saying "Let us welcome all those who come from the three-and-thirty lands where the plague rageth, and let us lock them up for ten days in the mighty tower that is called Fawlty.

11. There my servants Basil, Sybil, Polly and Manuel will care for them." And it was so.

Basil Fawlty

St Basil healeth the wounded chariot.

12. But the children of Bri-tain continued to rage against the lockdown, and so Bo-sis consulted the wise men of the land, who came up with an answer.

13. "We shall open the houses that are called public: but the people shall not be permitted to look on the wine when it is red, nor the ale when it is brown, nor even the gin that is a snare.

14. Likewise the hostels known as chippy, where the lover of good food eateth: they shall remain open, but they shall not be permitted to serve food.

15. The temples in which dwell the doctors of medicine shall remain open: but only those who are fit and well may visit.

16. Likewise, the dental surgeons shall only be allowed to remove the teeth that are healthy.

Civil servant in snow

A servant civilly maintaineth the distancing that is social.

17. Finally, the mighty offices where dwell the servants that are civil shall be open: but these servants shall not work.

18. So no change there."

To be continued.

Thursday, 4 February 2021

A man for all Zuhlsdorfs

A new production of A man for all seasons, describing the martrydom of St John Z, has been announced. Obviously the script is too long for this blog, but we can at least give an idea of the plot, together with some of the dialogue. Of course some details are exaggerated slightly for dramatic purposes...

The main dispute is between Bishop Hying VIII, who wishes to convert the Catholic Church into a branch of the Demonic Democratic party, and St John Z, a priest and author (his famous blog Ztopia tells of an ideal world where people drink lots of Mystic Monk coffee, take photos of aeroplane seats, carry guns, and speak almost entirely in Latin).

The trial of Father Z.

The accusations against Fr Z start when he conducts exorcisms against the Flu Manchu virus and Demonic Influence in politics. He refuses to sign a document renouncing his Catholic faith and selling out to the Zeitgeist. His enemies swoop, and the bishop (whose spine has been removed) feels he must act to avoid damning criticism in Amerika, the Fishwrap, and the Bitter Pill.

Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the Bishop's command make it round? And if it is round, will the Bishop's command flatten it?

From the days before the Catholic Herald became a lifestyle magazine.

Recalling that Hying is prepared to sacrifice his principles for a quiet life as bishop of Madison, Wisconsin, Fr Z lashes out at him with the words:

"For Wisconsin? Why Donald, it profit a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world... but for Wisconsin!"

In the end things turn out badly for Fr Z. His "other" bishop, the man from Velletri-Segni, is envious of the blog Ztopia, and so "by mutual agreement with the bishops", Fr Z agrees to have his head cut off, to be drawn and quartered, and buried in copies of the Fishwrap (the ultimate insult).

A fate worse than death.

This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast – Man's laws, not God's—and if you cut them down – and you're just the man to do it – d'you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake.

Saturday, 30 January 2021

Even Pope Francis can't answer this!

Here is today's brain teaser:

How can one explain to children that - for example - their mother, abandoned by their father and often not willing to establish another marriage bond, receives the Sunday Eucharist with them, while their father, cohabiting or awaiting the declaration of the nullity of the marriage, cannot participate in the Eucharistic table?

Golly, that's a head-scratcher, isn't it? Why, even Pope Francis can't answer that.

Pope Francis puzzled


I put this knotty question to my catechism class ("Let Eccles help you stay saved") and one of my star pupils, Ray Burke (age 6) responded:

"Please, sir! I know. The mother hasn't done anythng wrong, and being a Catholic (we assume) she believes that marriage is for life; on the other hand the father is living in a sin with no intention of repenting. So he will be unsaved if he takes communion."

Of course the right answer couldn't be that simple, as I told the cheeky boy:

"Raymond! Haven't you read Amoris Laetitia? This supersedes anything you may have seen in the Bible! Look here, on this page - no, not that one, it's all about sharing in the household chores, such as power-hosing the television, throwing the cat out of the window, or bathing the hamster.

Anyway, I can't find it at the moment - it may be in a foot-foot-foot-note printed in 2pt type - but I'm fairly sure it says we mustn't judge people, there is no such thing as good and evil, let us accompany the sinner on his journey of reconciliation. No that doesn't mean we have to sin as well, Walter! Now, try and be merciful!"

Ray and Walter are very keen children. They wrote a letter to Pope Francis with some questions about Amoris Laetitia, but the reply must have got lost in the post.

Letters to Pope Francis

Unfortunately Ray and Walter's letter wasn't included.

In other news, there is hope for Cardinal Zen, as Pope Francis has finally agreed to receive a cardinal from a country with a despotic ruler who encourages massacres of the innocent. No, not China.

Cupich and Pope Francis

"You did it, Blase! You got Joe elected! Well done!"

Thursday, 28 January 2021

Catholics For Genocide

Some personal news: I'll be joining Catholics For Genocide as their Director of Communications and Strategy on February 1st. As a Christian and someone deeply committed to mass murder and ethnic cleansing, it's a dream to join this team of brilliant advocates.

I am hoping that my move will backed by Chelsea Clinton and the beautiful Charlotte Clymer, who coincidentally has just been appointed as Director of Communications and Strategy for our sister organization Catholics For Choice! Meanwhile, Uncle Joe Biden has promised to give funding to Planned Orphanhood, which is one of our partners in the mission of bringing Catholic values into the business of widespread slaughter.

Genocide poster

We are still waiting to hear from Sister Swinging Bluejean, the campaigner against the death penalty; will she make a statement if the people we are targeting are not murderers on death row but perfectly innocent citizens who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Some bigoted traditionalists have suggested that genocide is not something that Catholics can support with a clear "conscience" (may we remind them that the idea of a conscience was dropped from Catholic teaching at the time of Vatican II?) Our answer to that is simple: very few senior bishops have criticised our movement, and Pope Francis certainly hasn't! Many of his best friends in China like nothing better than rampaging across the country wiping out people from the wrong team!

Pope and Xi

Is it really worth upsetting my friends in China for the Uyghurs?

The bad news is that a team of American bishops has dared to suggest that genocide is "wrong" (despite its being official Democratic party policy). Still, nobody has stopped us genociders from receiving Communion, and we are counting on Cardinal Blase Cupich to tell those turbulent bishops to be quiet!

Sunday, 24 January 2021

Miracles are just a bit... unlikely

After our piece from Brian Cox, aged 13, explaining that science rules out the existence of the soul, another clever child has sent us a contribution.

Hello, I'm Alice Roberts, of St Humanist's School, Birmingham. I may be only 14, but I won the school's Frankenstein Prize for Biology, and I am very very clever. Like Brian Cox, I have friends who call me Professor (as well as Miss Smuggy-bloomers) and when I grow up I want to be on the television!!

Alice Roberts

Now, miracles!!?? I've thought about them a lot, and my considered opinion is that they don't happen very often!!?? Father Chasuble, our school chaplain, said to me, "Alice, it will be a miracle if we can ever instil any common sense into your head."

Well, he didn't manage to do it, so that proves my point, doesn't it!!

Take that alleged miracle at Cana, for example! Many's the time I've tried to turn water into wine by following the recipe in the Bible - you pour water into big pots and voilà!! It has never worked!! Well, once it produced a brownish liquid, but that was just because the pot was dirty (Mummy said the cat had been sleeping in it). Anyway, this miraculous so-called wine made me very ill when I drank it!!

Cana miracle

"That's three glasses of wine, and a gin and tonic for Alice."

I've thought about miracles a lot. I tried walking on water, but that didn't work, and I got very wet!! How can Christians insult our intelligence by telling us that it's possible?? I even tried curing the blind man at number 12 by smearing mud in his eyes. Did it work?? No it didn't!! And the police gave me a good telling-off!!

No, take it from me, miracles are very unlikely. You'd need some sort of supernatural help, wouldn't you?? Some sort of God, maybe?? Ha ha ha ha ha!!

Well, I am giving miracles one last chance. I'm giving a big dinner party to all my thousands of admirers (once the Covid is over) and we'll see just how far we get with five loaves and two fishes!! If you ask me, it's very unlikely to work!!

Science rules out the existence of the soul

Hello, my name is Brain Cox, aged 13, of St Dawkins' Comprehensive Shcool, Oldham. I am a very clever boy, and top in Sceince, which is Pshyics, Chemitsry, Boilogy ect. I am so clever that the other boys call me Proffesor, Swotty, and sometimes Genuis!

Brian Cox

Today's guest contributor.

Anyway, I have made a brillaint discovery! There is no SUOL! All those old fools we were taught about in Divinnity got it wrong! Let me explain.

I have read a big book with long words in it called "Particule Pshyics for Boys". This book says we are all made of prottons, nuetrons and elecctrons, which go whizz whizz whizz isn't is super? Then they are made up of quacks and there are six types of quack called strange, charm, fizz, pop, bang, and woke. After that it gets a bit complicated as there was a chap called Heisenbreg who was uncertain, and another one called Schrodigner who had a cat.

Anyway, the point is that the book doesn't mention the SUOL. If we had a SUOL, it would react with the quacks and release gama rays. We would all go BOOM. Which we don't. QED.

Einstein and Georges Lemaître

"If you're so clever, padre, where's your SUOL?"

In this big book, it says that sceintists have made very accurate measurements looking for a SUOL, and didn't find one! I even did my own experriment, and put some nitrogen iodide on the floor of the shcool chappel, which goes BANG if you tread on it.

What hapened, Proffesor, you are going to ask. Well, I'll tell you. The shcool chaplin went BANG when he trod on the nitrogen iodide, but we did not observe any signs of a SUOL emanating from his holly body as he fell to the ground. And the Headmaster was very cross with me and gave me six of the best for doing sceince in chappel during Lent.

P.S. The chaplin survived the experriment.

Still, all is not lost. The BBC was very impressed by my sceintific accumen, and they have invited me to do a TV series in which I blow up holly men to see if they have a SUOL. My first guest is Cradinal Nickles!

NI3 fumes

A tricky moment for Cardinal Nichols.

Friday, 22 January 2021

How Eccles became a devout Catholic

After watching events on the other side of the Atlantic, I decided that it was time to look more holy. Obviously, being a devout Catholic is all a matter of public image, and has nothing to do with what you actually do. But some people don't realise this, so I got myself a Press Secretary.

Jennifer Psaki

Jenny Psarkasm, my press secretary.

Jenny's job is to tell the neighbours how devout I am. For example, I go to Mass sometimes; indeed, I have my own reserved pew, complete with cushions, a supply of gin, and other aids to sleeping. Also, I go to Mass sometimes. I don't actually believe any of that Catholic stuff, but - did I tell you? - I go to Mass sometimes.

It's true that I do like conducting human sacrifices in my garden, and some of the neighbours have objected to that. However, Jenny reminds them that I am a devout Catholic, and this smooths over any difficulties. By the way, I go to Mass sometimes.

Uncle Wilt says I am a great guy who would never think of posing outside a church with a Bible, like that wicked Mr Trump who used to own our house. In fact I do own a Bible - made by a company called Douay and Rheims - although I haven't got round to opening it yet!

Biden Bible

My Bible is wrapped in polythene, so that it doesn't burn my hands.

Anyway, I hope that reassures you that I am a devout Catholic. For further testimonials, ask Fr Jimbo, our local LGBT representative; or Poor Hoho, a local schoolteacher; or else Professor Beans from the College of Leguminous Catholicism, who has even written a book about me, "Eccles, the devout Catholic"!

By the way, my memory isn't all that good. Did I mention that I go to - you know - Thing, sometimes?

Thursday, 21 January 2021

Jupich Iscariot condemns statement from the other 11 disciples

Jerusalem Times, Good Friday, AD 33.

Cardinal Jupich Iscariot, winner of the World Cup of Bad Apostles, today condemned a statement from the other eleven disciples, which had been issued from a secret address ("The upper room") to mark the crucifixion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Jupich described the statement as ill-considered and felt that its critical attack on Governor Joe Pilaten was inappropriate. Unfavourable comments about the habits of Joe's pet camel, A, were also considered offensive.


Cardinal Iscariot puts on his "angry" face.

The statement from the disciples had been a simple affirmation of Christian doctrine, but this is considered dangerous in today's political climate, and is likely to get many people into trouble with the authorities.

Pilate a la Palin

Governor Joe Pilaten is not amused either.

Joe Pilaten himself is generally regarded as a harmless buffoon with an obsession for washing his hands, although the Disciples' statement is very critical of his fondness for taking innocent life (completing a task that his mentor Barack Heroda failed to finish many years ago).

Naturally Jupich, given the choice between affirming Christian doctrine and pleasing the governing authorities in the United States of Judaea, will drop his religious principles every time. Indeed, there are already reports that he is involved in a scandal known as Thirtypiecesofsilvergate. Still, since he is a powerful cardinal, his words will always be heeded, however crass they may be.

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Requiem Mass for Twitter victims

We shall be holding a Requiem Mass for all those slain by the tyrant Rasputin "Jack" Dorsey in the recent Twitter massacres. Top of the list is @realDonaldTrump, known for his very modest tweets such as "EXCUSE ME FOR MENTIONING IT, BUT THERE MAY HAVE BEEN SOME VOTING IRREGULARITIES RECENTLY. I COULD BE WRONG." and "JOE BIDEN IS A DEEPLY RELIGIOUS MAN BUT I THINK I MIGHT POSSIBLY BE A SLIGHTLY BETTER PRESIDENT THAN HE WOULD BE."


We are lighting a candle for every vanished account.

But there are others, many with names such as @MAGATRUMPISGOD, @IAMATRUMPBOT, @TRUMP20202020, @THATTRUMPGUYISSWEET, @QANONNYNONNYNO, @MASSIMOLOVESTRUMP, and @JESUITSFORDONALD (this last one is believed to be a sockpuppet of Fr James Martin SJ). This leaves Twitter in the hands of more respectable users, such as the President of Iran, the Chinese Secret Police, and Pope Francis.

Mr Neutron

Donald Trump retires into private life.

Rasputin has also asked that we include in our Mass a hymn for Twitter's share price, which is fading faster than the number of users.
Abide with me, fast falls the Twitter price,
Jack's shares are tumbling, that's not very nice.
Jack Dorsey

Our prayers are with Rasputin at this time.

As Catholics we firmly believe that there is life after Twitter, but whether the after-life is Gab, Parler, or one of the places with silly names such as Sp3rn, is a matter for theological debate.

Saturday, 9 January 2021

Covidicus, Chapter 12: Lockdown again

Continued from Chapter 11.

1. At the end of the year the Emperor Macron of the Frenchites ended the great war, and the children of Bri-tain were ready for their next crisis.

2. For the plague continued to rage fiercely, and Bo-sis decided to lock down the people once more.

Old man in straitjacket

Even the philosopher Grayling was locked down.

3. Although the Scottites, Welshites, and Irishites made their own plans, so as to be different from the Englandites. So they held a lochdown, a lloc'dwn, and a loughdown.

4. Thus with a mighty cry of "HERE WE GO AGAIN" everyone went back to his home and was driven to the mighty engine known as Zoom (or McZoom, Zoom-bach and O'Zoom if they came from the other three tribes).

5. Although some realised that there were easier ways to address their neighbours, and so they simply opened their windows and shouted "I HATE YE ALL."

6. And Bo-sis told his officers to find those who refused to be locked down, and throw them into the deepest dungeons.

7. But some of the rebels were very active old ladies aged four score and ten, and required twelve officers to overpower them.

Old lady of 104 being arrested

"We need backup. Call for an armed response!"

8. Meanwhile, it was time for all the world to be vaxed, and so the mighty vixen was delivered to the people, starting with the dancing girls known as nurses, the old and infirm, and those whose labour was considered essential, such as the officers of equality and diversity and the professors of transgender studies.

9. Then a cry came out, "Let all the children of Bri-tain go into the streets at the eighth hour of the evening and applaud their heroes.

10. Such as the nurses who dance, the politicians who chatter, and of course Neil, son of Fergus, whose models have guided Bri-tain into these dark days."

11. And the people cried out with one voice, "במזג אוויר קופים פליז זה? אני צריך קקאו!" Which is to say, "In this weather of the monkeys of brass? I should hot drink made with roasted and ground cacao seeds mixed with milk and water!"

12. Although Keir, chief of the Labourites, did indeed go forth into the streets. However, he took no cocoa with him, lest he be arrested by the guards for committing the great crime known as Pic-nic.

Keir virtue signalleth

Keir signalleth virtue.

Continued in Chapter 13.

Thursday, 7 January 2021

Did John-Paul II and Benedict XVI inspire the Washington riot?

Part of a newly-discovered manuscript by Agatha Christie.

Miss Marbles was a white-haired old lady with a gentle appealing manner, and known as "Loster" Marbles to her nearest and dearest. However, her great friend Sir Henry Blithering, a retired Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, knew that if anyone could solve the mystery of the Washington riots, it would be she.

Tina drivel

"Do you have any thoughts on the matter, Miss Marbles?" he asked. "Does this remind you of any incidents in your life at St Mary Roehampton?"

Miss Marbles' eyes twinkled. "Now you mention it, Sir Henry, there was the time when a window was broken in the Centre for Human Flourishing, and it turned out to be caused by a cricket ball struck by one of the visiting Sexist Priests team, which was playing against our own Catholic Deaconesses XI. Sometimes there is great evil in the world."

She completed a stitch in the woolly biretta that she was knitting for her niece Raymonda, who was hoping to become the next pope, and continued her analysis of the hideous crimes in Washington.

"Human nature is much the same everywhere," she explained, "whether we are talking about crime in a small village or a large city. There are two wicked men in the world who now think their evil will go unpunished, but I rely on you, Sir Henry, to bring them to justice."

"But who are they?" asked Sir Henry.

Miss Marbles gave a self-deprecating smile, and carried on with her knitting for a while, before continuing.

"Why, Sir Henry, who could be guilty of this dreadful evil except Pope St John-Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI?"

Popes John-Paul II and Benedict XVI

"We're safe unless Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple turns up."

"But John-Paul is dead, and Benedict has retired to spend his life in praying and drinking beer!"

"We should always consider the most unlikely person," said Miss Marbles firmly. "They obviously thought that they were beyond suspicion, but a man who is refusing to ordain women is capable of organizing insurrection, whether he is young, aged, or even long dead. Even canonized saints can go astray."

Sir Henry reflected briefly on the possibility that Miss Marbles was losing her grip, before realising that, once again, the sage of St Mary Roehampton had unerringly pointed her finger at the evil doers.

"Benedict was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Inquisition," he commented. "I didn't expect that!"

"Nobody expects the Inquisition," said Miss Marbles sweetly.

This is a bit too sensational, so don't publish it until I'm dead. Agatha.

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

A-men and A-woman: the hidden A-gender

Pastor Emanuel Cleaver, part-time Democratic Congressman and part-time United Methodist minister (so managing to serve God and Mammon at the same time), has hit back at critics of his "A-men and A-woman" ending to a prayer.

"It is not right to say that I have a hidden A-gender," he explained. "People have said that I am a blasphemous twerp who mocks religion. I want to put them straight on this, and explain that I am simply a complete moron." Actually, what he really said was that his critics are "soiled by selfishness, perverted by prejudice and inveigled by ideology," which is amazing alliteration, incredible invective, and charming chatter, but not the sort of thing we expected a holy man of God to say in a theological debate.

Emanuel Cleaver

"And now a prayer to St George Floyd."

In his prayer Pastor Cleaver also slipped in the sentence "We ask this in the name of the monotheistic God, Brahma, and God known by many names and by many different things." Well done, Pastor, this is top-quality gibberish, of the sort that this blog has been trying to achieve for years! Pastor Cleaver later explained that "Brahma" is a shortened form of "BarackObama", a semi-divine being worshipped by Democrats and known to unbelievers as the Obaminable one.

Fr Cleaver later explained that he was off to conduct a Methodist Mass, and that to preserve sexual equality he would be saying prayers to Gloria and Benny Dictus. "A lovely couple," he informed us.

Now I suppose you're expecting this post to conclude with a catalogue of similar atrocities perpetrated by Cleaver, such as the "Old Testament and New Testawoment" or his 50 forms of Amen to go with the 50 (?) possible genders, such as "A-non-binary", "A-gender-fluid" and "A-Cis-Female". No, we have high standards here, and we won't descend to such schoolboy/girl humour.

In the ecumenical words of Pastor Cleaver, Ali Luiah! and his wife Fatimah Luia!

Sunday, 3 January 2021

How to be popular with Pope Francis

Over now to Dublin, where the newly-appointed archbishop, Dermot Farrell, is consulting his spiritual director, Monsignor Gríma Wormtongue.


Monsignor Wormtongue.

GW: So, Dermot, are you keen to follow in the footsteps of your predecessor Archbishop Diarmuid Martin? If so, we can book you an appointment at the clinic to have your spine removed. Then all you need to do is lie on the floor and let all the politicians tickle your tummy.

DF: Diarmuid did a very good job, didn't he?

GW: Yes, Catholicism is almost extinct in Ireland now. How do you plan to continue his work?

DF: I'd like to become popular with Pope Francis, with a view to getting a red hat.

GW: Ah, the Vincent Nichols approach. Support the Pope in everything he says, and indeed go the extra mile when it comes to preaching absurdities. What do you have in mind?

DF: I thought I'd try pushing for women deacons. In the old days that would have got me excommunicated, but now all you get is a Christmas card from Fr James Martin saying "I knew you were one of us! Keep up the Ignatian yoga, brother!"

GW: I'll give you a tip. Keep an eye on Bishop Georg Bätzing, head of the German Bishops' Conference. He's gone the full Jimbo, with calls for a change in church teaching on homosexual relationships, ordination of women deacons and priests, and so on. He'll be getting a cardinal's hat next time, like Uncle Wilt Gregory, who got his for being nasty about Donald Trump.

DF: But does Bätzing really expect church teaching to change?


The ride of the German Deaconesses.

GW: That's the great thing. He can claim it has, and nobody in the Vatican will dare to correct him. Luckily many German women are two metres tall and wear suits of armour, so he can ordain them while pretending he thought they were men. Then later on he can talk about the German Catholic Church, or Katholischelutherischekartoffelsalatkirche, as they say in Limburg, as if it were simply a local branch of the church rather than a heretical sect.

DF: Great! Now let's try this in Ireland. Oh, and order me a red hat from Gammarelli's...

Tuesday, 29 December 2020

How to revive a dead Apostolic Exhortation

This is the latest instalment in our series "How to be a good pope", intended mainly for those who one day expect to be sleeping with the Keys to Heaven under their pillow, and giving out red hats to all their best mates. (To judge by the number of hits this blog gets, only people expecting the very top job will actually read this.)

Now, one thing that popes do is to write encyclicals and apostolic exhortations. Most of these are destined to gather dust in the Vatican library, and most of your cardinals will be borrowing copies of How to hide your drug habit and Money-laundering for beginners rather than one of Pope Leo XIII's 88 encyclicals (yes, really), and he was an Agatha Christie compared with you.


"I feel another encyclical coming on..."

So you decide to have a special year to celebrate your writings, and maybe clock up some more royalties. You are just over halfway through a year of celebration of "O SOLE MIO", your encyclical about the environment, and after an initial rash of jokes about plastic straws and Greta Thunberg, the world simply refused to take note, and went back to thinking about God instead.

They're not getting away with that! Even before the O SOLE MIO year of admiration is over, hit them with a new year (in fact fifteen months) dedicated to your other masterpiece AMOROUS LASCIVIA. In order to get it past the censors, attach the name of a great saint who won't answer back - Joseph, perhaps, who was well known for saying very little.

Ah, but you're saying, AMOROUS LASCIVIA went down very badly. Four cardinals spotted that it contradicts the previous 2000 years of Catholic teaching on marriage and the family, and sent in some Dubia. Two of them have since died, but the other two are beginning to suspect that you are never going to answer them - how faithless of them, in another twenty years or so you will have worked out which of the 32 possible combinations of YES and NO is the one least likely to embarrass you most reflecting Catholic teaching.

Pope Francis and Dubia

Sometimes, Dubia can be TOUGH.

Just ignore them and set up a website with lots of pictures of YOU doing family-type things - you know, smiling at children as if you liked the little beasts, blessing families, etc. Try to avoid the one featuring father, mother, father's previous wife, father's mistress, and mother's live-in lesbian lover, no matter what Fr James Martin says; also the one where the kids wouldn't smile and you hit them.

Now, you need a good programme of events to keep things going. Organize a "We love Amorous Lascivia" conference with distinguished speakers such as Austen Ivereigh and Massimo Faggioli. You may have to do it by ZOOM: some of the speakers will prefer this as they won't have to wear trousers. Next get those unsold AMOROUS LASCIVIA tee-shirts and coffee mugs from the cellar. Be imaginative!

There, that'll stop them worrying about the mess you got into with the Pachamama Synod!