This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Saturday, 8 May 2021

Pope Francis to collaborate with Harry and Meghan

Having sent a nessage to Vax Live, "the concert to reunite the world", chaired by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (hereafter, Harry and Meghan) - who are having enough trouble reuniting their own family - Pope Francis is anxious to exploit his friendship with the future king of the UK and president of the USA (unconfirmed).

Although Pope Francis himself admits that he is "an old man, who does not dance or sing like you", he has also sent along Cardinal "Chito" Tagle, the world's oldest teenager, who has promised to dance, sing, and burst into tears wherever appropriate.

Tagle and Pope dancing

The present and future popes? Cardinal Tagle shows off his dancing skills.

In return, Harry and Meghan have agreed to write some passages for Ecclesia Woka Sit ("Let the Church be woke"), the Pope's next encyclical. They will also persuade some of their friends to contribute: these include Chelsea Clinton (already a participant in an online Vatican conference on health), Greta Thunberg, professor of climatology at the university of Truanzee, Deacon-in-training Joseph Biden of the Devout Catholic Church of Washington, and of course Bill and Melinda Gates from the charitable foundation known as Help the Rich Get Even Richer.

Bill Gates a la Warhol

A harmless side-effect of the Gates vaccine - you turn into a geek.

There are many important issues to be addressed in Ecclesia Woka Sit. A change in the liturgy is planned, in which the priest and congregation will "take a knee" at the start of Mass, in honour of Black Lives Matter*; they will also tear down the statues of any saints who may have links with slavery - for example, by having ancestors or descendants who once wore cotton.

*At least they matter unless they are babies. (Thanks, Chelsea!)

After the recent meddling with the Lord's Prayer ("how foolish of Jesus to get it wrong" as a Pope Francis ally explained to us), more changes are planned, introducing themes such as climate change and transgender awareness and removing the embarrassing bits about forgiveness, temptation, and evil.

genuflecting

Oh praise ye the Floyd!

Priests are also being encouraged to display their pronouns - preferably they/them rather than he/him, although she/her will also be accepted - on sign boards, in church newsletters, and in emails, etc. At the start of Mass, they recommend a form of words such as "Hi, guys, gals and people of all other genders and none, I am Parent James Martin LGBTSJ (they/them), and we're going to have a really swell time today!"

Preparations for the new encyclical are said to be going well, although apparently Meghan has already fallen out with her collaborators. Pope Francis has accused her of bullying, and she has accused the entire Ecclesia Woka Sit team of racism. So it's business as usual.

Harry, Meghan, Oprah

"It was terrible, Oprah. I called Cardinal Sarah a racist, and he simpy laughed at me."

Monday, 3 May 2021

Massimo Faggioli, ambassador to the Holy See

Following the departure of Callista Gingrich from the post of US ambassador to the Holy See, relations between God and Mammon were left in the hands of a mere chargé d'affaires, Patrick Connell, until President "devout Catholic" Biden could get round to appointing a new ambassador.

It is the great privilege of this blog to be able to report that the new ambassador will be Prof. Massimo "Beans" Faggioli of Villanova University.

Faggioli book

Beans won the "write a book about two totally unrelated topics" prize.

Prof. Beans came to Biden's notice for his persistent defence of Joe's "devout Catholic" label. The other slightly-Catholic Democrat cheerleaders, Cupich, Gregory, Martin, etc., were mostly in holy orders, and Massimo was considered a more suitable person to represent Biden to the Holy Father.

Some alt-right hateful hardline alt-trad far-right Catholics have pointed out that Biden's new "kill a baby and win $5000" legislation might be considered to contradict Christian teaching, but, after all, following the lead of King Herod is Biblical, isn't it?

It has also been pointed out that forbidding Joe Biden from receiving Communion would have no perceptible effect, as the old man has usually dozed off before "The Thing" takes place, and never actually receives. Thus there is no point in the US bishops ganging up on the old chap.

Faggioli and Spadaro

Fr Spadaro tells Ambassador Faggioli his "2+2=5" joke.

So what will be the duties of Ambassador Beans? Well, Callista Gingrich spent four years exercising her diplomatic skills to the utmost. For, although Pope Francis hates Donald Trump like nobody else on Earth (see the encyclical Vir Luteus malus*), Her Excellency managed to prevent the Vatican from declaring outright war on the United States.

* Orange man bad.

Under the Biden-Kamala presidency, there is likely to be less diplomacy required, and His Excellency Ambassador Faggioli will have plenty of time for writing yet more books (the next one will be called "Is Joe Biden the New Messiah?"), and may even have time to attend Church occasionally.

The real danger is that the UK may one day follow suit, and, if a Labour government takes power, it could appoint Prof. Austen Ivereigh, another sycophantic scribbler known for his tact and diplomacy, as ambassador to the Holy See. Austen is already said to have the Pope's ear* and would no doubt get on very well with Francis.

*He keeps it in the freezer.

Keir Starmer genuflects

Keir Stermer rebrands himself as a "devout Catholic".

Thursday, 15 April 2021

Jesuits and Latinophobia

Warning: this blog contains scenes of explicit Latin, and should not be made available to children and young people.

It's been a bad week for Jesuits. First, Pope Francis SJ managed to introduce a version of the Our Father which contained deliberate translation errors. In the words of his Latin teacher, back in 1940s Argentina:

Bergoglio Minor! Et - and. Ne - with the subjunctive, a negative imperative. Nos - we, us. Inducas - subjunctive of induco, lead in, bring in. In - when it takes the accusative, into. Tentationem - accusative, temptation. What does that give us?

"Do not abandon us to temptation", Sir?

No, boy! Bend over! THWACK! It means "do not lead us into temptation". THWACK!

Ouch! Yarooh! Chiz.

Shortbread Eating Primer

The Pope's personal copy of the Shorter Latin Primer.

But enough of 1940s Argentina. The scene shifts to 2020s USA, where Fr Tommy Reese SJ is trying to take over the mantle of the late lamented Hans Küng, having already scored some Küng points for getting into trouble over his views on abortion, homosexuality, birth control (for), Jesuit control (against), etc. Let's see what he has to say about the traditional Latin Mass.

It is time to return to bishops the authority over the Tridentine liturgy in their dioceses. The church needs to be clear that it wants the unreformed liturgy to disappear and will only allow it out of pastoral kindness to older people who do not understand the need for change. Children and young people should not be allowed to attend such Masses.

Reese, Biden Obama

You can tell a man by the company he keeps.

At first sight, we thought this was from a rival Catholic blog, maybe Tommy is Saved, similar to the well-known satirical blogs The Horan of Babylon Bee and Joe Biden's State of the Onion. So we telephoned Tommy to check.

Ansaphone: Hello, you have reached the desk of Father Thomas Reese LGBTSJ: you can call me Tommy. I am away on an Ignatian Yoga Camping Trip but you can leave a message. Please press 1 if you want me to explain why pro-life views are bunk, 2 if you want to hear me talk about gay orgies, 3 if you would like to hear some new Catholic doctrine, 4 if you want to speak to me on my retreat at Fishwrap Park.

I pressed 4 and the great man answered!

Eccles: Hello, Father. Pax tecum!

ammbulance

Someone spoke Latin to a Jesuit!

I heard sounds of hysterics and the sound of Fr Tommy collapsing on the ground. Other voices could be heard:
"He said 'pax tecum' to Fr Tommy!" 
"Eeek!" 
"You've done it as well!" 
"Mea culpa!" 
"Aaaaaggggh!"
"Hey, stop speaking Latin, there are young people present! 
We don't want it as a lingua franca!"
"Help! Mommy!"
"Now you're doing it! You'll be a persona non grata!"
"Urrrrgggghhh...!"
"Tommy's gone into a coma. Give him the kiss of life, someone! 
Look, don't all rush at once! Ten minutes each."
At that point we lost the phone connection. So, I never did complete my liturgical discussions with Fr Tommy.

Monday, 12 April 2021

The Book of St Richard, Chapter 28

Continued from Chapter 27

1. A year passed, and Richard achieved the age of four score; thus, he reflected on the words of the psalm:

2. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

3. "Aha, but I am not cut off," he said, "and I do not fly away! In fact I am still locked down in Delusion Towers, with no prospect of any flight to distant parts. This proves that the Bible is wrong."

4. However, Richard had spent his year under lock and key wisely, for in response to his critics, who had said "Get a life!" he had written another book, entitled Books do furnish a life.

Dawkins book

Richard getteth a life.

5. This book recorded the deepest thoughts of the greatest scientists of our age, all of whom were personally known to Richard.

6. For example, Albert Einstein had met Richard as a child, and uttered the immortal words, "Why doesn't that kid shut up? I hope he goes far... away."

7. And the learned professor Bill Nye, he whom they called the science guy, the greatest scientist of the age, had also spoken to Richard in words too profound to record here.

Richard Dawkins

"Professor Doctor Nye complimented me on my bow tie."

8. But now Richard needed to sell his new book, and so he thought of a cunning plan to bring himself into the public eye.

9. "I will find some way to insult Catholics," he said. "Then everyone will remember me once more, and maybe a dozen hardy souls will buy my book."

10. In doing this he was using the methods of the great scientists Brian Cox, who had used physics to prove that soul music did not exist, and Alice Roberts, who told the astonished world that dead people did not come back to life on Good Friday.

11. So Richard spake out, saying "Beware Catholics who tell you that bread can become the body of Christ, and wine His blood. Is it not pernicious to bring God into a religion?"

Last Supper

"If only Richard were here to explain it to us!"

12. Then he spake out further, saying that most Catholics did not believe this teaching; for being a scientist he had asked one Jesuit and stopped his experiment because he had the answer he wanted.

13. However, Richard was unaware that Catholics had discussed this teaching for two thousand years: for scientists only read the most recent literature.

14. Thus once again Richard became the stock that laughs, and was roundly mocked by all men of faith.

15. However, he had sold three more copies of his book, and was exceedingly happy.

To be continued.

The Book of St Richard beginneth here.

Saturday, 10 April 2021

Death of a god

Today we have an exclusive interview with Archbishop Charles Anne Andrew Edward, the head of the Prince Philip religion in the New Hebrides, also known as Vanuatu. As is well-known, Prince Philip was regarded as a god over there, and his demise was a good excuse for us to talk to the archbishop.

A sad day for the Philippians.

Archbishop: What are you doing here?

Eccles: You invited me.

Archbishop: Well, you didn't have to come! (As the divine Philip put it.)

Eccles: Your grace, could you tell us something about your worship of Prince Philip?

Archbishop: Yes, we use a liturgy based on the wise sayings of our god. For example, we would start a service with words something like this:
Priest: Prince Philip be with you.
Congregation: You managed not to get eaten then?
Priest: Aren't most of you descended from pirates?
Congregation: You're too fat.
Priest: Do you still throw spears at each other?
Eccles: So what will you do now that your god is dead?

Archbishop: We are moving from a Vetus Ordo worship of Prince Philip to a Novus Ordo worship of Prince Charles. My man Annibale Bugsbunni is looking for the new god's memorable sayings, but all he has come up with so far is "To get the best results you must talk to your vegetables" and some stuff about carbon dioxide, organic muesli, and monstrous carbuncles. Annibale has a difficult task on his hands.

Eccles: Well, good luck with that. Archbishop, thank you very much.

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Tributes to a great figure in theology

Thanks for the idea to an anonymous reader.

The Pontifical Academy for Life has just lamented a great loss to Catholicism in the following words:

Disappears a great figure in the theology of the century, whose ideas and analyzes must always make us reflect on the Catholic Church, the Churches, the society, the culture. #halking

Yes, the bells were tolling in the Vatican ("Küng-Küng-Küng") to mark the death of Hal King (alias Henry VIII), one of the few people to be awarded the title of "Defender of the Faith". Hal was known for his strong defence of the institution of marriage - he was so keen on it that he participated six times - as well as his pioneering work in modern surgery (removing the heads of people who no longer needed them) and his sterling work for the monasteries, which he took into public ownership as part of his charitable work.

Curiously, some people regarded Hal King as a heretic, and he was even forbidden to teach Catholic theology. It is hard to see why.

Henry VIII

Defender of the Faith.

Father James Martin SJ concurs with the PAL in his assessment of the great man's life:

Breaking: German envoys are reporting that Hal King, a towering Catholic theologian and frequent critic of the church, has died at 55. May he rest in peace.

By overwhelming popular demand, a statue of King Hal will be erected in St Peter's Square, and luckily one was already available (he kept it in the gardens of Hampton Court and regularly went out to admire it).

Küng and his statue

The Statue of King Hal.

As the whole world mourns, we recall the time that the Pontifical Academy for Life paid tribute to the late Mr Genghis Khan, describing him as an "austere religious scholar". Surely, Hal King is also worthy of this heart-felt tribute?

Monday, 5 April 2021

The Balham police go church-raiding

Scene 1: Balham Police Station. Inspector Thugg is directing his officers.

Thugg: Well done, team. You really put those Polish Catholics in their place. Holding a service of religion on Good Friday! If they wanted to meet, why couldn't they have just torn down a few statues or looted some shops, like normal people? Then we'd have left them alone.

Police invading a church

Bad vestments.

Sergeant Bludgeon: What next, Guv? (Editor's note: all sergeants call their bosses "Guv" as a result of watching too many television serials.)

Thugg: Go out into the world and spread the Good News, Bludgeon! Go and find another church to trash.

Constable Bonehead: We passed something called Grand Mosque on the way back. Will that do?

Thugg: I guess so. Didn't Pope Francis say that Muslims were just like Christians, only richer? You won't meet any trouble. Off you go!

Bonehead: Any chance of some food before we go?

Thugg: Pick up a bacon sandwich from the canteen. You can eat it when you get to the mosque.

Muslim dancing

Liturgical dancing.

Scene 2: At the Mosque. Inside, Imam Hamza is explaining some juicy bits of the Koran.

Bonehead: Oi, Sarge, there's a pile of shoes here. Should we take off our size 14s as well?

Bludgeon: No, Doris, we'll need them if there's any trouble. Remember, go for the vicar first.

Imam Hamza: And now, my brothers, let us offer each other the sign of war.

Bludgeon: ALLAH, ALLAH, ALLAH! WOT'S ALL THIS THEN?

Hamza: Infidel! Heretic!

Bonehead: Fancy some of my bacon sandwich, Vicar?

Bludgeon: Not now, Constable. Imam Mohammed Ali Floatslikeabutterfly Hamza, alias Fred Nargs, you are charged that on the evening of April 2nd, alias Good Friday, you did do something or other and we'll decide what it was when we get back to the station.

Hamza: Boys, you know what to do!

Two altar-servers with scimitars drive the police out into the street.

Hamza: Thank you, lads. And now our next hymn, Shine, Mohammed, Shine!

Saturday, 3 April 2021

Dead people don't come back to life

Today we have another guest post from Alice in Wonderland (age 11) of St Humanist's School, Birmingham. In January she explained very persuasively that Miracles are just a bit unlikely, and now she has an Easter message for us (or possibly a Good Friday message, she wasn't sure which was which).

tweet by Alice Roberts

Dead people don't come back to life.

Some people (like Fr Chasuble our school chaplain) will tell you that Good Friday is all about someone rising from the dead. But it isn't possible. IT ISN'T, IT ISN'T, IT ISN'T!!! Top marks for rhetoric, here, Alice - J. Eccles SJ (teacher). As a scientist, I tested this by experiment. So Auntie Doris has been sitting in the living room ever since she died 3 years ago. This proves that Christianity is bunk. QED.

There are other aspects about the passion narrative - I thought passion was a fruit, but Fr Chasuble says it's what we call the bits at the end of the gospels - that a trained scientist like me (We remember your detention for making hydrogen sulphide in the school toilets! J.E.) can easily refute. There's a bit about Peter (a famous person in the Bible) cutting off someone's ear and Jesus (another famous person) sticking it back on again. WELL, I TRIED THAT AND IT DOESN'T WORK. Mrs Van Gogh the school cook is very cross too!!! Marks for initiative, here, Alice! J.E.

Peter cuts off the ear

Ear today, gone tomorrow (special joke by Alice!)

But let's get back to the big question. Fr Chasuble tells me that Easter is very important to Christians, although the Bible misses out the really important bits about bunny rabbits and eggs. So if dead people don't come back to life - as I have proved (QED) - then we can tell all those learned doctors of the church: St Thomas Augustine, St Basil the Fawlty, St Albert Mangus, ect. to pack it in.

Tomorrow I am going to Battley where lots of Muslims are hanging round a school trying to sell pictures of Mohammed. Won't they be surprised when I tell them that their sacred book the Michel Coren wasn't dictated by some supernatural God but was all made up! Have a good trip, Alice! J.E.

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

The Book of Covidicus 14: the Road Map

Continued from Chapter 13.

1. Over the next month, the children of Bri-tain were mightily vaxed, some with the AstroLogica vixen, and some with the Pfizicians' vixen.

2. And much was the dispute over which vixen (if either) was safe.

3. In the end it was agreed that both vixens were dangerous for anyone over the age of two score and ten years or under the age of three score years. So all men were equally content.

Road map

A new hope.

4. Then Bo-sis thought deeply and came up with a "Smashing Wheeze, Chaps!" However, his advisers counselled him to give it another name, and so he called it a "Road Map".

5. For it was a brilliant plan, by which the children of Bri-tain could be led from the swamps of Covid into the promised land of milk and honey (beer and crisps would also be available).

6. So as springtime arrived, the people rejoiced, for they were now permitted to sit in each other's gardens and watch the rain fall.

royal garden party

"Alas, your Majesty, only six people may attend your garden party."

7. But woe betide them if they entered the houses of their friends: for if they did they would be cast into the deepest dungeons.

8. Moreover, they were not permitted to flee the country, even to return to the land of EU-gypt: for the only people who could come to Britain must travel in the boats of rubber in order to seek refuge from the evil tyrants of EU-gypt, Ursula of Lebanon and Emmanuel Macrabaeus of the Frenchites.

9. So the children of Bri-tain, who wished above all to go to the houses that were called public, studied the Road Map of Bo-sis to see what new liberties would be granted to them.

10. And they rejoiced to see that soon they would be allowed to have their hair cut, to buy non-essential goods such as clothes, and to hold lavish weddings with fifteen guests.

11. Indeed, for many months the children of Bri-tain had grown their hair, dressed in rags, and remained unwed. So that in fact most of the people now resembled Bo-sis himself.

Boris looking scruffy

"My brother Bo-sis is an hairy man. And now I am an hairy man too."

To be continued.

Sunday, 28 March 2021

The CathEccles Herald - an apology

From Chris Altar-stripper, Editor of the CathEccles Herald.

With this witty and very moving piece about St Mary "the nympho" of Egypt, the highly esteemed writer Destiny's Child-Glenda de la Slagg brings to the end her series of hit jobs on Catholic saints. (A follow-up piece on St Mary of Nazareth has been withdrawn as it might have appeared insensitive and inappropriate, although I personally thought it was brilliantly satirical.)

St Mary of Egypt

"See, in true clickbait fashion, you absolutely WOULD believe what happened next. Gotcha suckers. Womp womp," as Destiny puts it in her unique literary style.

There have been one or two million complaints about the last piece from the readership of the Herald (now down to 36), and it is true that Mrs Child-Glenda de la Slagg scribbled it down at the end of a lively but not riotous party, shortly before throwing a chair at the editor. Has anyone got a problem with that?

Destiny tells me that she will continue to write her articles on toilet walls, with the hope that eventually they will be gathered into a big book with the provisional title Saints!!?? Arentchasickofem??!! We feel that they have done lasting good to many souls - there were people who still accepted the Catholic attitude towards saints, and as a leading secular writer - she has a regular column in the Wounded Moose Morning News (circulation 12), as well as being a much sought-after speaker on the 4 a.m. Radio Wounded Moose Will nothing send you to sleep? show - she knows how to offend Catholics!

Destiny's Child

Our writer's mother was a great fan of Destiny's Child.

Not everyone who read Mrs Child-Glenda de la Slagg's pieces enjoyed them. A few humourless people and institutions, such as Pope Francis, the CDF, Cardinal Nichols, the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, the USCCB - even Fr James Martin, Massimo Faggioli and the entire German church! - are still refusing to roll on the floor laughing at her devastating wit.

Still, the piece did reach many people and institutions who would otherwise have missed out on her offbeat way of writing about Christianity. "I haven't laughed so much since Pope John-Paul II died" (R. Dawkins of Oxford). "God will never recover from this one!" (The National Secular Society). "Whoop! Bottoms bottoms bottoms and what a super piece that was!" (S. Fry of every TV and Radio programme). With fans like this, who needs Catholic supporters?

So, you miserable "Catholics" who read the CathEccles Herald looking for spiritual nourishment, why don't you just get knotted?

Chris Altar-stripper, Editor of the CathEccles Herald, incorporating PlayCatholic and Sexy Saints.

P.S. We have been looking for a talentless nobody to take over the "soft porn" column, and we have found just the chap! A big welcome to Mr Eccles!

Duffy book

On Destiny's advice we'll soon be serialising this book about Catholics stripping!

Saturday, 27 March 2021

Vatican sale - everything must go!

The first we heard of this was on Wednesday, via Edward Pentin who bothers to read Vatican press releases so that we don't have to. The Vatican is broke, and everyone is taking a pay cut. Cardinals will have their salaries cut by 10% (surely it would be simpler to give redundancy notices to 10% of the cardinals? I can give you a list) and the ordinary workers suffer cuts of 8% down to 3%.

It is not recorded what pay cuts popes (current and emeritus) will be taking - a real missed opportunity for Francis to show how humble he is. This may be because questions may be asked about why we need both a pope and an emeritus pope. What do I know?

Francis and Benedict

"Now, I'm afraid that one of you will have to go."

Next week's Motu proprio will give details of the Vatican fire sale to raise more funds. The faithful are no longer sending in Peter's Pence, since they are being spent on unpleasant films like Confessions of a Rocketman - and Elton John's sequels, involving Busman, Cabman and Bicycleman, don't sound any better.

I have already bought the tombs of three saints, which will go in my living-room once I have removed all the other furniture. I was hoping for some prestigious ones such as Pius V from Santa Maria Maggiore, but mine are obscure ones such as Pope Wilton III, Pope Jimbo XVII and Pope Ted, of whom most people have never even heard.

I also bought a popemobile - well, not the popemobile, just a unicycle that Pope Francis uses for exercise, or so I am told by his totally reliable business manager "Honest Giovanni" Becciu. My neighbours give me admiring glances as I cycle round the garden, bless them, and then fall off into the compost heap.

Late News: I am getting increasingly annoyed at a succession of itinerant priests who wander into my living room and say Mass at the tombs there. I don't care if you've been thrown out of St Peter's Basilica, you're not coming here. And get out of my kitchen - that's a refrigerator, not a sarcophagus.

fridge

The whited sepulchre of Pope Bosch.

Sunday, 21 March 2021

CDF controversially prefers wheat to tares

In a surprise statement this week the CDF (Congregation of the Doctrine of Farming) insisted on traditional Agricultural teaching that tares (also known as darnel, cockle, or weeds) were not recommended, and that farmers should sow wheat instead.

This has not surprisingly caused a certain amount of dissension among the LGBT (Love Growing Big Tares) community, and the usual suspects - the Germans, Austrians, Belgians and Americans.

Weetabix

Surely there is a market for Weed-a-bix?

The passage in Matthew 13 about the farmer sowing wheat while his enemy sowed tares is often omitted, as being too offensive, and the CDF has made itself no friends by insisting that the farmer got it right when he gathered up the tares and burned them. Said Farmer James Martin, "Clearly Jesus misunderstood this parable, as he had not yet been properly advised by a passing Canaanite woman. What the farmer intended to do was gather up the tares and make bread with them."

In Austria 350 farmers have said that they will continue to plant tares. It is rumoured that unless ten better farmers can be found, Austria is likely to be hit by fire and brimstone. (Climate change can be tough.)

Cardinal Marx on a tractor

Farmer Marx goes off to sow tares on his German estates.

Other controversial farming dubia are likely to come the way of the CDF before long. Should the sower have thrown more of the seed onto stony ground, as a way of building bridges with those of a petrified orientation? Is mustard seed really a useful crop to grow? Should the farmer with the barren fig tree have shown more mercy to it? We await the answers with interest.

Saturday, 13 March 2021

Will Francis visit persecuted Catholics in Rome?

The Holy Father has had several recent diplomatic triumphs, visiting places where Catholics are persecuted: Iraq went very well, although Francis is still trying to get the taste of sheep's eyes out of his mouth; moreover, he ALMOST managed to spare 10 minutes to see Cardinal Zen, the representative of persecuted Catholics in China. Now a request has come for an urgent visit to St Peter's Basilica, where a persecution of Catholics unparalleled since the days of Nero has begun.

Rich Raho

A devout Catholic becomes hysterical when he hears the tragic news.

From now on visiting parties of pilgrims wishing to celebrate Mass are invited to do so in one of the following locations:
  • The public conveniences;
  • A disused broom cupboard;
  • A cold area of the grotto under six inches of water.

Cerberus

Fido guards the entrance to the place reserved for Masses.

All Masses must be in Italian, and involve an idol of Pachamama, or they will be stopped. Anyone trying to offer a traditional Latin Mass will be escorted to the River Tiber and pushed in.

The good news is that several slots are available: 3.23 a.m., 3.33 a.m., and 3.43 a.m. Each slot lasts ten minutes, so do practise speaking quickly, Fathers.

On being told of these new regulations, Pope Francis laughed heartily for 20 minutes and then hastily composed himself and said "We must visit these poor oppressed pilgrims. Make sure they cough up 20 euros each, as the Vatican is rather broke at the moment, with the Roma Power Company threatening to cut off our electricity any time now. We do have our own dynamo, but little Ivereigh can't keep running round in his wheel all night."

Pope Francis laughing

Pope Francis expresses his deep distress at the persecution.

A papal visit to St Peter's is not considered to be one of the more difficult tasks, involving just a ten-minute walk from the humble study in which the Pope works on developing his new doctrines. However, it has few photo-opportunities, and no racing around in a popemobile, let alone a chance for EX AEROPLANA announcements.

Still, such a trip would be a very welcome boost to morale, and the pilgrims are grateful that a provisional date of March 13th 2043, the 30th anniversary of Francis's accession, has been agreed.

The Prodigal Son

1. A certain man named Charles had two sons. The elder son was serious and wise, although a little bald, and everyone said that he would be a king one day.

2. However, the younger son, Harry, was wild and lived life of riotous living. He would remove his clothes in order to play the game of pool, and he would dress himself in the uniform of the Nazites.

3. Then one day the younger son was wed unto a lady called Meg-han from a distant land, although she had already been wed before.

Royal Wedding

And they all lived happily ever after.

4. Some say that he wed Meg-han twice: once in a garden, and once in a church.

5. And Meg-han did not know how to behave in the courts of the family of Harry. For nobody had told her that his grandmother was a powerful queen who could open buildings simply by cutting a cord.

6. Nor did Meg-han know how to treat the servants of the Queen, for she hissed and shouted when her tiaras were improperly placed.

7. But it is true that Meg-han, who was black but comely as the curtains of Solomon, was once deeply distressed. For there came one to her who asked what nature of child she would bear - ginger and irresponsible, or black and bad-tempered.

8. So eventually the younger son said, "Father, give me my share of the estate. I wish to become independent.

9. For my wife Meg-han hath had enough of opening abattoirs in Goole and recycling centres in Basingstoke.

10. She wisheth to return to the holy wood of her forefathers, wherein she may be a celebrity without any duties, save to speak voice-overs for him that is called Disney."

Charles and Harry

The father is grieved on hearing of his son's wish to depart.

11. And thus Harry and Meg-han left the family that is known as royal, and began to squander their wealth in wild living.

12. Indeed, Harry forsook the title of "Your Prodigal Highness" and changed his name to "Mr Sussex".

13. They went into the market-place and tried to make their fortune by selling useful items, under the name of "Sussex Prodigal".

14. But, alas, nobody wanted to buy a carbon-neutral biodegradable gluten-free halal antiracist gay clockwork hedgehog that played "Shine, Jesus, Shine!" even if it did bear the label "Sussex Prodigal".

15. So, when they had spent all theor substance, they sought another way to pay their way.

16. And Meg-han said, "Once I was a celebrity, and acted in a play called Suits. Although you may not believe it, I played a selfish good-for-nothing who was seeking a wealthy husband. Perchance I can act again."

17. But the people of the Holy Wood did not require an actress who could play an aggressive bad-tempered, selfish, good-for-nothing. Although they did say that, if they were to remake the humorous play known as Psycho with a female star, then they would call on her.

18. Then, in desperation, Harry and Meg-han went into the fields to feed the creature known as Oprah. And they wished that they might fill their stomachs with the pods that the Oprah ate, but their fee was far less than hers and they could not afford them.

Harry, Meghan, Opera

Feeding the Oprah.

19. So Harry said, "I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, 'Father, you have sinned against Heaven and before me. You are no longer worthy to be called my father.'"

Evangelist's note. This doesn't seem to be going quite as expected. Perhaps we'll try for a happy ending later.

(Warning: parts of this are recycled from an earlier parable.)

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?

Eccles (scribbling): BENEDICT ENTERS THE POTATOHEAD DEBATE.

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: BENEDICT BECOMES EMOTIONAL AT THE MENTION OF SAINTLY JOE BIDEN AND HAS DIFFICULTY CHOKING BACK HIS TEARS.

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 (scribbles): BENEDICT DEFENDS RACISM, SEXISM, GENDER BIGOTRY AND CLIMATE DENIAL OF DR SEUSS.

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."

picnic

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?

Pachamama

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

Better...

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!