This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Church of England casts the net wider

The CNC is apparently unable to reach a decision on who to recommend as the next Archbishop of Canterbury: all the obvious candidates are either too traditional, too liberal, too evangelical, in favour of women bishops, against women bishops, writers of dreadful blogs, known clowns from Thought for the Day, in favour of same-sex marriage, against same-sex marriage, too black, too white, Arsenal supporters, Manchester United supporters, in the habit of sniffing too much, adenoidal, too fat, too bearded, or otherwise ruled out. Or if not, their wives are.

Accordingly the CNC has cast its net a little wider, and now it finally has a list of two nominees who are not Anglicans in the traditional sense.

Abu Hamza

Abu Hamza (often mistaken for Richard Chartres)

Widely regarded as a safe pair of hands hooks, Abu Hamza is just the person to bring a breath of fresh air to the CofE. Likely to be welcomed by many in the Muslim community. Only snag: do the people of Lambeth and Canterbury want to be woken at dawn by a voice crying "Ayeeeeeeee... Death to the Infidel. Ayeeeeeeee..." (Previously they were woken by the bleat of an "Ayeeeeeeee... I do think it is most valuable for us to be able to have dialogue with Richard Dawkins. Ayeeeeeeee..." from Rowan Williams.)


Yoda of the Jedi, this is

Yoda is claimed by some malicious people to be merely a puppet and not a religious figure at all, but then the same accusation has been levelled at people such as Giles Fraser, so this is not supposed to be a disadvantage. He is said to have Prince Charles's ear - and indeed the church's future primate and supreme governor do both seem to have hearing apparatus in the "XXXL" size. One snag: seems to have unfashionable views on Good and Evil, which may upset the General Synod. Will his comment "When you look at the dark side, careful you must be ... for the dark side looks back" return to haunt him? Will it put paid to any hopes of a merger with the Church of Satan?


With Hallowe'en fast approaching, why not get yourself a Damian Thompson horror mask?

Be the blood-crazed life and soul of the party, as you impersonate one of Britain's leading comic characters! Strike terror into your friends, as they think you are about to bore them silly with your anecdotes about Mrs Gladys Mills! Watch them hastily hold in their stomachs, fearing that you might write a blog post about their weight problems!

Better still, wear it at Mass, and watch the priest hastily cross himself and sprinkle you with holy water!

Available from all good joke shops. Banal opinions on music, literature and politics supplied separately.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

How to choose a new Archbishop

With the eyes of the world on the Anglican church, we offer some advice to help it choose a new Archbishop of Canterbury.

1. The Buddhist method. Look for a baby who is a reincarnation of Rowan Williams. Two problems here: first, Rowan is not actually dead; second, this would leave the Church of England without firm leadership for about fifteen years. Oh - so no change there, then.

Rowan Williams

The new occupant of the high chair of St Augustine?

2. The Catholic method. Lock all the bishops away in a room and don't let them come out until they are able to declare "Habemus Puppet:" this means that one of their number will do what the rest tell him (this is the Anglican church, after all). He will also change his name; so we may end up with an Archbishop Æthelnoth II, or Plegmund II, or even Rowan II. The only snag we can see is that if one locks up all the Anglican bishops in a room, then the winner will be the only one without a knife in his back.

Habemus Puppet

Habemus Puppet!

3. The Government would find it so much easier to push its agenda of same-sex marriage for all if the Church of England could be converted into a government department. In this scenario, there is a strong case for appointing Nick Clegg as the new Archbishop. As a man with no strong religious views he will appeal to all sections of the Anglican church. Moreover, he has nothing much else to do at present.

Archbishop Nick

Let us put our hands together for a few simple prayers.

4. Well, if the Queen wants to be supreme governor of the church, can't she do her own dirty work? Technically, she could be advised by David Cameron, a man who thinks that the Magna Carta is one of the ordinaries of the Latin Mass, but she prefers to take advice from scholarly publications such as the Sun and Daily Mail.

Queen reading

The Queen studies the form book and desperately tries to decide between +Cuthbert Bognor-Regis and +Elvis Luton.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The Book of St Richard, Chapter 14

Continued from Chapter 13

1. Now it came to pass that Richard decided that the world needed to hear his views on politics.

Constitutional change

A proposal for constitutional change.

2. And Richard bade the Queen to retire, that she be replaced by a president; for he said unto himself, "Perchance the British people will wish to elect an expert on chickens, genes and memes, with a First Lady from Gallifrey."

3. But the Queen hardened her heart, and refused to go. And Richard wept.

4. Then in the tenth year of the millennium, Richard spake unto the world saying "I agree with Nick," which is to say, "Vote ye not for the very rich man called Ca-me-ron, neither for the poor man called Brown, whose insanity is legendary. Nay, vote ye for the one called Clegg, he that is called woeful."

5. Now Clegg was a man of great virtue, for it was said that he had slept with fewer than 30 women.

Clegg and a woman

Clegg (left) faileth to sleep with a thirty-first woman.

6. Moreover, Clegg said in his heart "There is no God."

7. Indeed Clegg was inclined to say that "by God" was written "bigot," although he spake not these words when his wife was in the room and armed with the wooden pin that rolleth. For it smiteth as well.

Agreeing with Nick

Richard Dawkins, agreeing with Nick.

8. And Lo! the first miracle of St Richard came to pass. For Nick, a man with no visible talents, was exalted greatly, and became the second minister of the land.

9. And Nick said to himself, "I am now a man set under authority, having under me many men, and I say unto one, 'Go,' and he goeth; well, in fact he replieth 'Get lost, for it is not official party policy,' but at least in theory he might go some time."

10. Then, following the miraculous elevation of Nick, Richard spake out again, saying, "Faith schools are a menace." And the high priests and scholars were sore afraid, saying "What meaneth the old fool now?"


Voodoo - as taught in all faith schools.

11. For, Richard argued, it is wrong to teach any religious views to a poor innocent child, unless they have been approved by the Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.

12. But the world mocked Richard for his foolishness. Thus proving the truth of the old adage, "Even saints can have off days."

13. Now a mighty conflict was brewing in the West, between two pious and religious men, named Obama and Romney.

14. And Richard's heart was torn. For Obama was a devout Christian, who attended church on the 29th day of February each year. And Romney was a latter-day saint, which is even better than an ordinary saint. And neither worshipped at the Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.

15. So the land of America waited eagerly to see which way Richard would tell them to vote.

Listen to Dawkins

Your future lies in the hands of an Oxford zoologist.

Continued in Chapter 15.

Monday, 24 September 2012

St Ubbs, an Anglican saint

Reprinted from the Indecent newspaper.

St Ubbs

Ian Ubbs, vicar of Roderick-under-Glossop

Father Ian Ubbs, the vicar of Roderick-under-Glossop, is one of the most original minds in the Anglican church. His basic philosophy on all matters religious is Christ was wrong.

"For too long the church of England has been treating Christ as if He were some sort of God," explains Father Ian. "In fact, he was a racist homophobic bigot who believed in outmoded ideas such as Good and Evil. Almost every time He opened His mouth he said something stupid."

Healing a blind man

Jesus heals a blind man. But what was His true agenda?

Our Indecent reporter was naturally delighted to find a priest prepared to deny almost the entirety of Christian teaching - after all, we wouldn't have interviewed him if he'd been willing to put forward a more traditionally orthodox line - and so we asked Father Ian to explain.

"Look at all this nonsense about forgiving sins," scoffs Father Ian. "Over the centuries the Anglican church has evolved into a position where we don't accept the idea of sin. Thus there are only two possibilities here: either Jesus was a complete idiot who was out of touch with reality - or He was pretending that sin exists, in order to deceive people."

Take up thy bed

"Take up thy bed and walk." Jesus shows His prejudices against disabled people.

"Remember the racist story of the Good Samaritan? Obviously it was designed to insult the Samaritans, by implying that there was only one good one. And the story is also homophobic - all this stuff about pouring oil and wine on the traveller's wounds is obviously a sneering reference to gay massage parlours."

Wedding at Cana

The Wedding at Cana. More homophobic bigotry.

"How about equality and diversity, Father Ian?"

"Well, as a committed Indecent reader, I see equality and diversity as the fundamental concepts in my faith; but Jesus never uses either word. That strongly suggests that we Anglicans have been encouraged to worship the wrong man."


Don't let Jesus see these girls - He was a known misogynist.

Our reporter then raised the issue of women priests, and gay weddings. Father Ian said "I rolled on the floor laughing hysterically when I first received communion from a woman. I shall similarly roll on the floor laughing the first time I officiate at the wedding of a gay couple, whether the Church sanctions it or not."

Although regarded as a conservative in the modern Anglican church, Father Ian is widely expected to be appointed as the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

Casting out demons

Casting out demons. Nowadays you would get an ASBO for that.

Bosco returns, and we sees King Lear

We left my bruvver Bosco hidin in an Ecuadorian souvenir shop "Llamas 'R' us," run by de mysteriuos Juliano Assangua. But you cannot keep a good man down for long, and it was no surprise when he turned up at Castle Thopmson in Notting Hell, where Anti Moly and me is stayin.

Apparently, Bosco has got a new obsessoin, and now he hates images of muvvers and babies, cos dey reminds him of de Madonna and Child.

Llama and child

Mother and baby. A symbol of Catholicism.

So he got cross when he saw de pitcher above, wot is a lama wiv her baby, and smashed it. After dat he had to leave "Llamas 'R' us," so he came to London to be wiv his nearest and dearest (me and Anti Moly).

Bosco was explanin to us dat pitchers of Mary and Jessus was reely based on de Babbleonions Semiramis and Tammuz - notice de grate cioncidence dat dey both features a muvver and a baby. You don't often see muvvers holdin babies, so dat proves it's de same poeple.

Semiramis and Tammuz

Semiramis and Tammuz. A symbol of Catholicism.

Anyway, to get to de main story, our host Damain Thopmson wrote annuver luvvly blogg, which started as follows:

I have just rediscovered a playwright who will probably be totally unfamiliar to most of my readers. He's called William Shakespeare, and he's definitely one to watch. When I was a child my teacher, Mr Pegnall, took me to see Hamlet, which is a jolly super play in which everyone gets killed. I had a whole bag of cupcakes, and was sick over Mr Pegnall. Soon I am going to see King Lear, which my friend Daniel Hannan says is a searing indictment of the European Union.

I have just built a "Gladys Chapel" in my home, Castle Thopmson, where I pray each day to St Gladys of Mills...

St Gladys

St Gladys of Mills.

Anyway, this explains why Damain, me, Bosco, and Anti Moly is sittin in de theatre, watchin a performance of King Lear. It's a rather complicated story about a king wot gives away his kingdom and goes mad, and I wonder if dat is an allegorry for what happened to Damain when he stopped bein a relligiuos blogger.

Anti Moly said she liked de play very much. When Gluocester got his eyes guoged out, she shouted "Hooray!" and explaned dat dis was de way to treat traddy Cathlics. Then when Gluocester got to de edge of a cliff, she shuoted "Go on, jump!" but was disappointed dat he survived dat bit.

Lear and Bosco

King Lear and Bosco de fool.

Bosco made up his mind dat de main poeple in de play weren't saved, except for de fool, a pusson like Bosco wot seems to be totally mad. Unlike Bosco he is in fact very wise, and maybe even saved. Bosco said de best lines in de play was "There's hell, there's darkness, there's the sulphurous pit, Burning, scalding, stench, consumption; fie, fie, fie! pah, pah!" Dis is only what unsaved pussons can expect.

Damain was, as usaul, more interested in de pussonal quallities of de characters. He knew dat Edmund was a baddie cos he had got bad hair and was slightly overwieght. Dese are de sort of detales dat will only be noticed by a quallity juornalist and critick.

Well, now dat Bosco is in London, we expects him to make a tuor of Cathlic churches in order to save dem from dere sins. Lock up your iddles!


Soon you will no longer be able to worship dis iddle.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

St Mary leaves Twickenham

Following the resignation of Prof. Eamon Duffy from the position of honorary fellow of St Mary's University College, Twickenham, it now turns out that an even more eminent person, the Blessed Virgin Mary, has decided to end her association with the trouble-ridden college.


St Mary's Chapel - a fine example of 1960s "crematorium" architecture.

The resignation of St Mary came initially in a private revelation to Bishop Caterpillar, the chairman of the governors; it has now been confirmed by miraculous means, in that all documents and signs pertaining to the college now appear without the name of St Mary.

's University College

The college, as it now presents itself to the world.

The crisis is said to have originated with the proposed merger between the academically impressive School of Theology, Philosophy and Art, and the academically less impressive School of Juggling, Tap-Dancing and Fire-Walking. It came to a head when Dr Anthony Towie was escorted off the campus by security.

According to Dr Towie: "I was giving my usual lecture on the Continuing relevance of Dei Verbum as matrix of revelation for Catholic Theology, when I was interrupted by cries of 'Why aren't you tap-dancing?' It seems that these days the college is phasing out degrees in theology, which tend to lead to badly-paid jobs in religious institutions, in favour of more marketable skills such as juggling, which can lead to celebrity on television programmes. I argued in vain that one of our brightest alumni had once appeared on The Z-factor, a religious talent show hosted by the great Father Z."


An alternative to hermeneutics.

Bishop Caterpillar has defended the plan to merge STPA with SJTDFW, saying that Vatican II had explicitly authorized the use of jugglers, tap-dancers and fire-walkers in Novus Ordo Masses, and so such creative arts may be regarded as a paradigm for religious worship.

In the absence of St Mary, the college is now looking for a new sponsor. One saint long associated with dancing, who may be available, is St Vitus; thus we may soon be referring to St Vitus's University College.

St Vitus

The man who will save Twickenham?

Thursday, 20 September 2012

In secular seculorum

My Anti Moly, wot is an atheist, and not very saved, was sittin in an armchair last week, drinkin a "possum's spleen" cocktail - gin, tomato juice, custard, and a dead spider - when she said to me, "Eccles! De Natoinal Secular Society is gonna hold a Secular Europe Rally, and we is gonna go along. Dey has put an advert in de paper sayin, 'Because of equality and diversity regulatoins, we is now obliged to recruit some intelligent people as well,' so let's go along and see what it's like."

Fanatical loony

As you can see, fanatical loonies are still welcomed.

"But Anti," I explaned, "I is a saved pusson, and we doesn't do secularism in de Calumny Chappel." But she insisted.

Our host, Damain Thopmson, said he couldn't come, because he was goin to a meeting of de Pinkshorts - dat's a para-military group he has jioned, wot sits around all day eating cupcakes and waitin for de return of Gladys Mills, de once and future Queen. (When she turns up, dey will shout "Heil Gladys!") So Anti and me went on our own.

We was very pleased to see lots of celebrities marchin down de street saying "What does we want? Nuffink! When does we want it? Now!" For example, I saw Richard Dakwins carryin a banner, sayin, "Church of Dakwins. Please leave your brains outside" (dat's a joke I stole from de opera Oilanthe).

Tiny Betty

"I'm sure that Declan was only joking when he called me the Satanic Anti-Christ."

Also de famuous Cathlic Professor Tiny Betty was dere, de one wot has been so creully banned from a 20-mile radius of Clifton Catheddral. I used to fink dat Cathlics cuoldnt be secularists, but luvvly Tiny tells me dat on matter such as divorce and gay marriage she is much closer to de secularists dan to de Pop. "Is you gonna swim back over de Tiber?" I asked her. "Swim, Eccles? I finks I can walk on it!" she replied.


"Between the two of us we should be able to keep Professor Beattie out."

Well, de highlight of de secularist rally was a speech from Terry Sanderson, pointin to de acheivements of secularism in history. I can quote it in full. "Er, um, well, yes, we've all done very well." I like a speech like dat wot gives me plenty to fink about. I weren't so sure when he came to talk about what a grate fing it is to abort babies if dey is gonna be ugly like my bruvver Bosco, to have sex wiv poeple of de same sex, and to get put to death when you ain't feelin' too well. My Anti Moly ran away at dat point sayin "I aint ready to die yet, it was just a bad spider I ate."

I fink Terry must also be quite keen on slavery too: apparently dere was a chap called Wilbur Force who stopped it, and I fink he was gonna point out dat it's just anuvver example of how relligoin prevents us all from havvin fun.

Wilbur Force

Wilbur Force - a typically interfering Christian.

I gotta chance to talk to dis Terry pusson afterwards, and I fink his probblem is dat he got very bored by relligoin in school, and so decided dat de experts had got it wrong. He told me dat he also got bored by mathemmatics, so next week he is organizing an Innumerate Europe Rally, wiv de following powerful sloggan:

Don't accept that 2 + 2 = 4.

2 + 2 = 5 is your right.

Well, we all had a good time bein secular. But when I left, and I said "God bless you, Mr Sanderson, you is a slightly saved pusson," he bit me in de leg. I fink I might have rabbis now - being ecumenical aint as easy as it seems.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Was Jesus married?

Prof. Karen King of Harvard University claims to have discovered a 4th century fragment of papyrus proving (as the great theologian Dan Brown claimed a few years ago) that Jesus was definitely married.


An exciting piece of papyrus.

Prof. King's translation of the papyrus is as follows:

And Jesus's mother-in-law scolded Him, saying, "It'll be a miracle if Thou ever makest anything of Thy life, and what's more Thou does not give my daughter enough housekeeping, Thou mayst think two sparrows are sold for a farthing, but in fact good quality sparrows can be as much as a penny each these days, what's more the donkey needs feeding, and Thou hast promised to remove that dried-up fig tree in the garden..."

St Leslie

St Leslie of Dawson.

This is not the first piece of papyrus that refers to Jesus having a wife. For example, there is the fragmentary "Gospel of St Leslie." This contains the famous "Sermon in the pub" in which Jesus is alleged to say "I can always tell when the mother-in-law's coming to stay; the pigs run into the sea." Another saying that Jesus is claimed to have uttered is: "I wouldn't say that my wife was fat but it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for her to enter the Kingdom of Heaven."

Most scholars think that the "Gospel of St Leslie" is a forgery. However, our Lord is not the only religious figure who may have had trouble with scolding relatives. For example, it is now generally accepted that Mrs Buddha used to scold her husband for sitting under a Bodhi tree all day long when there was work to be done.

Buddha, skiving off work

Buddha! We're out of candles. Do something - we need enlightenment.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

New readers start here

Who is Eccles? Who is Bosco? What is this blog all about?

Once upon a time there was a Telegraph blogger called Damian Thompson, who wrote mainly on religious subjects from the perspective of a traditional Catholic. His blog was referred to as "Holy Smoke", and attracted a variety of commentators. Damian discussed vital issues of interest to Catholics, such as, who would be the next Archbishop of Westminster, was Bishop Arthur Roche eating too many cinnabons, and was Mgr Andrew Summersgill capable of organizing a papal drinks party in a brewery?

Damian and Pope

Damian Thompson in Westminster Cathedral, angry at having been "cut" by the Pope.

Thompson's blog also attracted a number of anti-Catholic trolls. First, there were the atheists, those who thought that Richard Dawkins was some sort of theological giant, and whose rhetoric mainly consisted of references to sky-fairies, bronze-age goat-herds and child abuse. Oh, they found child abuse fascinating.

Second, there were Christians of a distinctly non-Catholic flavour. Chief among them was one who posted with a clown avatar as "stbosco", a man greatly influenced by the ideas of Jack Chick. Whatever the subject of discussion - and Damian was gradually moving away from Catholic topics onto general politics and gossip - Bosco (as we shall call him) would post twenty-line diatribes copied and pasted from virulently anti-Catholic sites, or sometimes written by himself in his own illiterate style. Bosco has his own blog, which no decent person would ever wish to read, but, if you are feeling indecent, you can probably find it quickly by Googling "bosco blog bite me".

St Peter or Jupiter?

One of the few images on Bosco's blog that does not have an obscene or disgusting caption.

Most of Bosco's blog is to do with accusations against Catholics of homosexual practices, child abuse and idolatory. It is also highly scatological. You really don't need to read it.

Anyway, early in 2011, a new poster (or possibly an old one, rebranded) turned up on Damian's blog, calling himself "Eccles", in honour of the famous Goon Show character, and claiming to be the younger, even less intelligent, brother of Bosco. Like Bosco, Eccles believed he was automatically "saved", which meant that like Bosco he could tell lies, insult people, and be generally rude, safe in the knowledge that his golden crown was already waiting for him, together with a seat at God's right hand. The Eccles comments were ridiculous parodies of Bosco's.

Eccles cultivated a style of illiterate writing similar to Bosco's, but worse, which was stolen from the Molesworth books ("Down with Skool!" etc.) which allowed a talented writer to indulge in sub-Joycean wordplay.

Bosco furiously denied that Eccles was his brother. Well he would, wouldn't he? The moderators on Damian's blog soon got into the habit of deleting roughly 50% of Bosco's posts and Eccles's too.

The Mad Moderator

A typical Telegraph "muddlerator".

So Eccles decided to write his own blog, and just link to it. The links were often "muddlerated" away, but the blog survived as an account of the life of Eccles and Bosco. The first story to appear on this blog was a charming little fable about Bosco attending a Bible class. It concluded:

In our last lesson, Bosco got very cross wiv de Cathlic preist, Fr X. Pell de Mons, cos in his room he had a children's book wiv a pitcher of a pengiun on de cover. Bosco fought it was a nunn and went bersek. Here is Polly de Nunn, she aint so dangrous, is she?

Polly de Nunn

Polly de Nunn.

As time went on, other trolls from Damian's blog found themselves appearing in Eccles's blog. Chief of those was "Anti Moly", loosely based on an atheist commentator from Adelaide with a reputation for obsessiveness, insults, bad temper, and bullying. She turned up as the great-aunt of Eccles and Bosco, who was definitely "unsaved", was addicted to drinking gin (or hair-restorer, if necessary), and liked to stay up all night screaming at the Internet.

Another comic character who appeared for a while was Fr Arthur, a very liberal "priest in good standing", who was very fond of accusing his brothers in Christ of all manner of sins. When people went to Confession with him, they found that they did not need to say what they'd done wrong, as he would tell them (and told them that they should not expect forgiveness). Oh, there was also a comic character called Damian Thompson, who lived in a palatial mansion in Notting Hill, with a variety of domestic servants who coincidentally shared the names of Telegraph bloggers.

Bosco himself eventually disappeared from Damian's blog early in 2012 having been finally banned. Eccles himself began to change the direction of his blog somewhat, especially when he realised that Damian Thompson was no longer writing about religion (apart from settling scores, e.g., by claiming that Archbishop Tartaglia had a weight problem).

Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins, looking more credible than usual.

The everyday stories of life with Bosco and Moly gradually began to give way to vicious and unfunny satirical attacks, now written in reasonably literate English. For example, there are the "Eccles Bad Hynm Award", where our hero interviews the writers of such masterpieces as "Shine, Jesus, Shine", a "Book of St Richard", where the life of the blessed Richard Dawkins is related, and a variety of brutally cruel pastiches of contemporary religious attitudes.

Eccles himself continues to be a "saved pusson", and you may regard some of the more literate writings as being by his assistants, Ecclesiastes, Ecclesiam and E. Cake, if you don't think he wrote it all himself.


Eccles's secretary, Ecclesiastes.

Who Eccles is not: He's not Damian Thompson. He's not a priest, he's not a professional journalist, he's not anyone at all well known.

Who Eccles is: Well he claims to be a saved pusson. If you have read this far, then you is slightly saved too.

Bible bashing

Totally irrelevant picture to finish off.

Monday, 17 September 2012

The worst Church buzzwords

In response to Fr Lucie-Smith's Catholic Herald article listing ten words and phrases that should be banned from religious life (e.g. "elephant in the room," "outreach" and "guideline"), we have asked a more liberal "Doctor of Immoral Theology" to provide a list of buzzwords that annoy him.

Traddy priest in biretta

A traddy priest aggressively wearing a biretta

biretta: in the modern church there is no place for old-fashioned vestments (terms like "chasuble" and "maniple" are equally verboten). It is best if a priest shows that he is no different from other people, so saying Mass in jeans and tee-shirt is recommended. Perhaps a discreet clip-on dog-collar if you want to show you're "staff."

hermeneutic: anyone using this obscure piece of jargon (and that includes Popes who should know better!) marks himself out as someone who is not fully committed to the ideals of Vatican II. If the church is to proceed to ordain women as priests, to endorse abortion and euthanasia, and to allow gays to marry in church - all explicitly recommended by Vatican II - then we need to crush rebels who stand in our way.

kneeling: a most unhealthy custom, leading to arthritis and lumbago. Churches should withdraw all kneeling facilities, and allow the customers to sit down throughout the Mass (perhaps standing for hymns, to allow self-expression by waving arms and doing the occasional jig).

Last Supper

The Last Supper. Only one traddy apostle is kneeling!

Latin: Do we need to say more? The language of Satan. Banned by Vatican II. Who wants to hear a Mass in which abominations such as de gustibus non est disputandum or caveat emptor can be found? Or even veni, vidi, vici?

novena: not a decent English word, is it? All to do with praying on nine consecutive days - if that's not a sign of obsessiveness, we don't know what is!

Gregorian chant: Largely done away with, and replaced by the pioneering work of the blessed Paul Inwood, but it still survives in some pockets of resistance. Ugh. Moreover, Graham Kendrick tells us that he feels insulted that people are attempting to introduce Fulge, Jesu, Fulge as a Gregorian chant.

Pope Gregory acting suspiciously

Pope Gregory I - you can see that he's up to no good

consubstantial: A word re-introduced into the new English translation of the liturgy. Not a word you'll hear in the street! "I hear you're feeling a little consubstantial, Mrs Peppermint! Aren't the tablets working?" What nonsense!

fasting: These days we don't fast, or eat fish on Fridays, or regard Lent as a special period of abstinence. It smacks of an eating disorder if you don't tuck into a healthy Jumbo Offalburger on Fridays (unless, of course, you are a vegetarian, in which case we truly respect your sincere beliefs, but do make sure you get enough calories). Lent's a period for stuffing ourselves with Easter eggs - why do you suppose they are in the shops at that time?

Pope: A chauvinist old fogey in Rome too full of his own distasteful ideas. Don't mention him in polite circles! The word "Vatican" is equally taboo, unless followed by "II."

God: Too controversial a figure in the modern Catholic church. If we are to be able to dialogue with atheists and Anglicans, we must not insist on this. If we must refer to a possibly nonexistent supernatural creator, then the term "sky-fairy" is recommended. We don't want Diarmaid McCulloch or Stephen Fry to laugh at us!


Not a necessary part of modern Catholic theology

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Justice for Tina!

Reprinted from the Tablet.

Tina Beattie

(Tina) Beattie - a martyr for our times

Over the years, many people have suffered martyrdom at the hands of the Catholic church: one thinks of Galileo, cruelly persecuted for claiming that it got dark at night, and Cranmer, burnt at the stake for writing a blog critical of Queen Mary. But surely the case of Professor Tina Beattie is a new low in the history of the Catholic church - a pernicious institution that the Tablet has consistently opposed.

Justice for Tina

The news of Tina's persecution has led to riots worldwide.

Tina Beattie, an illustrious advocate of same-sex partnerships, was invited to give a lecture at Clifton Cathedral in Bristol, her subject being "What happens if we pour phosphorus down our trousers - Luminous Genitals." However, the invitation was subsequently withdrawn by the bishop, Declan Lang, after complaints to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, who reportedly said "Are you sure she's one of our lot?"

The Tablet is shocked that a Catholic bishop should personally intervene to decide what goes on in his own cathedral, and particularly when he is seen to be taking advice from Rome, almost as if the Pope were there to be obeyed, rather than insulted.

Lang and Pope

An incriminating picture, showing that Declan Lang is on good terms with the Pope

The Tablet will not cease to campaign for Justice for Tina. In this week's prize competition, you are invited to complete the following in not more than ten words:

I think Declan Lang should be.....

The prize on offer for the most painful suggestion is a copy of Sister Margaret Farley's latest book: What fun can a monk have? Nun! (Saucy stories from the convent).

Meanwhile, Prof. Beattie is taking the news of her rejection very stoically, and the students at Roehampton are eagerly anticipating her forthcoming lecture courses:

Catholic bullying - from St Paul to Declan Lang, and

Catholics and voodoo - can we pin down the Pope?

A topless photo of the Duchess of Cambridge has come into our possession. Since we do not see anything very shocking in the content, we have decided to post it below.

Topless photo of Princess Kate

A topless photo of the Duchess of Cambridge

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Dr Eccles's casebook

We are pleased to be able to publish some of the casenotes of the learned psycho-analyst, Dr Eccles. Some of the names have been disguised in order to maintain patient confidentiality.

Stephen Fry

Stephen F.

Patient S is an alleged intellectual giant, although it is hard to determine a precise area of knowledge on which he is a world authority. In a St Trinians film, playing the part of a quizmaster, he managed to get wrong the formula for the volume of a sphere, so he is clearly not a scientist. Still, I went along with his belief that he is an intellectual, as he will run away to Belgium in a huff if he doesn't get his own way.

S came to see me because he had developed a compulsion for giggling at inappropriate things. He showed me a joke about child abuse (basically a picture of the Pope with a lewd caption added); he had tweeted this to his millions of adoring fans and spambots, simply in order to get a cheap laugh at the expense of the Catholic church.


Now add a clever-clever caption about child abuse.

I am exploring S's other mental deficiencies - for example, he thinks the word "bottoms" is hilariously funny - and trying to work out whether there is a common pattern. Meanwhile, I am advising him to avoid funerals, memorial services, mosques, churches and Liberal Democrat conferences, where unseemly sniggering may get him into trouble.

Doctor's note - do not let this patient pay by credit card.

Beautiful Tina

Tina B.

Patient T is a real intellectual giant, being a professor, no less, at Roehampton University (formerly the Oona Stannard School of Liturgical Dancing for Young Ladies). She tells me she is a Professor of Catholic Studies, but her enemies say that she is a Catholic in the same way that the Professor of Animal Behaviour is a Cat.

T came to me in a very distressed state, saying that she was now a laughing stock in the Catholic world, because her very exciting lecture on Lumen Gentium - why the Virgin Mary teaches us that gay relationships are the best was cancelled by the Diocese of Clifton for no obvious reason. What is more, her Beattie-platitudes or "Beattietudes" (e.g. Blessed are ye if ye preach against the Pope, because Tina will love you) were not regarded as highly as the original teaching in the Sermon on the Mount.

Doctor's note - needs to cut down on the Tablets.


Will 'the smirk' come to haunt Thompson?

Patient D writes a universally-despised blog for a national newspaper, together with a dumbed-down Saturday column in which he strings together lots of trivial ideas. Currently he is editing the writings of the late Gladys Mills, which will appear next year as The Fit or The Gladys Mills fitness programme.

Gladys Mills

The quiet dignity of Mrs Mills, one of the greats of piano-playing

D has been mocked many times because of the ancient picture at the head of his blog. It shows a middle-aged character, wearing his old school blazer, whose expression has been variously described as "sneering" or "smirking." This grinning picture is used even on the rare occasions when D decides to treat a serious subject such as terrorism. Although not a compulsive sniggerer like S (q.v.) the patient D lacks that sense of self-awareness which should make him avoid such blunders.

Doctor's note - don't mention religion, it only upsets him.

Clegg and mad bird

This patient believes he is being attacked by a giant bird

Lastly, N came to see me. Claims to be some sort of politician. He is worried that everyone who disagrees with him on any subject at all may be a bigot.

I mentioned Gladstone, Asquith and Lloyd George. He had not heard of them, but I told him that they were leaders of the party that he now serves. In order to stop him from biting my carpet, I persuaded him that they were all pioneers in the "gay marriage" movement.

Diagnosis: I believe the patient may have Brown's Syndrome, under which a person gets hysterical if they are disagreed with.

Doctor's note - that's odd, someone seems to have thrown my laser-printer out of the window.