This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Sunday 24 February 2013

Eccles in the desert

Since it is Lent, I aint been bloggin during de week, cos I went out into de dessert to meditate on wot it means to be saved, and only came back on Sunday to get some clean socks. Soon I is gonna go to Rome and attend de conclave of cradinals wot is votin for a new Pop: I gotta luvvly red hat so I shuold be able to sneak in OK.

Cardinal Eccles

Cradinal Eccles.

I was hopin to go into de dessert alone, but two famuous comic characters wot is reggulars on dis blogg decided to come along too. First dere was my dere Anti Moly, who came laden wiv a big rucksack. "Wot is you carryin, Anti dere?" I asked.

"Rocks," replied my dere relative.

"But dey got rocks in de dessert," I explaned pateintly. "Dey doesn't need any more."

"Not dis sort, you pathetic sockpoppet," she replied luvvingly.

Rocks gin

Anti Moly's Rocks.

De uvver one wot turned up was my freind Damain Thopmson, wot is called Holly Smock. I fink it was de word DESSERT wot attracted him, as he kept askin me strange questoins about whevver we would find lotsa custard out dere. I hope he aint gonna be disappointed. Anyways, it explanes why he aint written his usual blogg dis week.


We is on de right road!

Dere aint many desserts near Notting Hell, so we looked for a spiritaul wasteland instead, and ended up in Croydon. Dere I got tempted by de Devil, which is what normally happens to saved pussons. I aint gonna post a pitcher of the Devil, but he is a very charmin man wot is a Director of de Tablet.

Catherine Pepinster

De latest issue of de Tablet.

"OK, Eccles," said de Devil. "If you is saved, you gotta eat dem stones, as if dey was bread."

In fact dey was Anti Moly's rock cakes wot she had baked, in case she wanted some sollid food as well as de gin; but I was able to resist de temptatoin, havvin alreddy lost several teeth dat way in de past.

Molybdenite cake

One of my Anti's molybdenite cakes.

De second fing de Devil did was to take me to de top of a Cathlic church and told me to jump off. Dat's de sort of fing dat Anti Moly's been sayin to me for years, so I resisted dat temptatoin too, cos I know what happens next, you gets hurt.

Croydon church

De church wot I didn't jump off, in de spiritaul dessert.

In fact de third fing de Devil wanted me to do was to bow down and worship him, and dat's annuver fing I is used to bein asked, cos my freind Damain Thopmson is always beggin me to do dat. If I ever does it, he will let me write a blogg for de Telegraph, like his uvver acollytes. So I said no to the Devil, cos I doesnt want to write for de Tablet, either.

"Ho hum," said de Devil. "Eccles, you aint no fun. Perhaps you reely is a saved pusson after all."

After he'd gone, de rest of de week was pretty dull. My Anti Moly was naggin me day and night, sayin dat I gotta vote for Cradinal Pell in de conclave, as she was in luv wiv him about 50 years ago. Damain still aint given me any giudance on who to vote for, he says dat cradinals aint been no good since de days of his hero Cradinal Wolsey, wot could reely keep his bishops in order.

Cromwell, Henry VIII and Wolsey

Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII and Cradinal Wolsey.

Well, I'll report again when I gets to Rome. Singed, Eccles (saved).

Designer of the Dawkins dies

Former BBC designer Ray Cusick, who built Dr Who's most deadly enemy, the fearsome monsters known as the Dawkins, has died aged 84 after a short illness.

Dawkins invade London

The Dawkins invade London.

Although originally human, the Dawkins are vicious domineering monsters, incapable of feeling any normal emotions. Originally, they were humanoid creatures whose genes became unnaturally selfish; in their present form they were the creation of Dawkos, an evil genius confined to his own personal chair (the Simonyi chair for the Public Misunderstanding of Religion at Oxford).

The evil Dawkos

Dawkos, in his specially-constructed chair, gestures threateningly.

Terry Nation, the writer responsible for introducing the Dawkin monsters into the Dr Who stories, died in 1997. It was he who was responsible for the main characteristics of the Dawkins, their mesmerisingly robotic voices, and their repetitive catchphrases IN-TI-MI-DATE, PRE-VAR-I-CATE, and IN-DOC-TRIN-ATE.

Dawkin space ship

A Dawkin spaceship prepares to invade some harmless planet.

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the start of Dr Who, it has been confirmed that the Dawkins will re-appear as one of the Doctor's main opponents. Ray Cusick's heirs can be proud that his iconic design lives on after his death.


A young woman attempts to reason with the Dawkins.

Britain's bishops lose their AAA credibility rating

The Catholic Church in the UK was in crisis today, as it was revealed that the Vatican had decided to downgrade its bishops' AAA credibility rating to a lowly CCC.


Bishop Tom Burns: sometimes a card, but never a cardinal.

Several factors had contributed to this lack of confidence in the British bishops, starting with some rebellious comments from Cormac Murphy-O'Connor and Kieran Conry, and culminating in a deranged outburst from Bishop Burns.

Kiero fiddles

Kiero fiddles while Tom Burns.

Indeed, Tommy Burns, of the People's Republic of Menevia - a socialist state that somehow escaped the collapse of communism in 1990 - courageously took the opportunity of the Pope's retirement to put forward his own views on Catholicism. Had he expressed such opinions in 2008, it would probably have prevented his promotion from Bishop of the Farces to Bishop of Menevia.

Bishop Burns told the Tablet, a well-known organ of Protestantism: "Conservatism has had its day. It doesn’t work. Despite all Benedict’s efforts, the Church is losing its place in society." Bishop Burns rightly considers that a "place in society" is very important, and he is definitely miffed because he misses out on so many social events.

garden party

A Royal Garden Party. Alas, no Tommy Burns!

In a moment of sudden self-awareness, Burns called for a "root and-branch review of the method of appointing bishops." It is thought that he was apprehensive that a lunatic with a totally absurd view of Catholicism might end up being appointed to a diocese such as Menevia.

Tina Beattie

Annoy the Pope and win an evening out with Tina Beattie.

As a side-effect of his meltdown, Tom Burns is now a hot favourite to win the Tablet's new prize competition, Annoy the Pope and win an evening out with Tina Beattie. However, expert opinion suggests that a whole evening with the biggest bore in modern British Catholicism may be more than even he can stomach.

Keith O'Brien and Flora McHaggis

Keith O'Brien dances with Flora McHaggis.

Meanwhile, in Scotland, another contestant for the Tablet's prize, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, has made it clear that he has "no plans to marry" Miss Flora McHaggis, a leading piper, even if a new Pope is elected who would permit him to do so. "But I'd like the option," he explained.

Pope Who?

In other news, speculation is growing as to which name the next Pope will take. According to a recent poll, the current front-runners are:

1. Cormac;
2. Kieran;
3. Tom;
Doubting Thomas

"Doubting" Tom calls for a root and-branch review of the method of appointing apostles.

4. Hans;
5. John-Paul, John, Paul, or Paul-John;
6. George-Ringo;
7. Damian;
Great Dame

St Damian cured this dog of a cupcake addiction.

8. Z;
9. Eccles (saved);
10. Ye.

Pope Ye: he (also) hath shown strength with his arm.

Sunday 17 February 2013

I've got a little list

With apologies to W.S. Gilbert.



As some day it will happen that the guilty must be found,
I've got a little list — I've got a little list
Of the Vatican's opponents, who might well be underground,
And who never would be missed — who never would be missed!
There are atheists like Dawkins who is nothing but a clown
For his books contain the biggest heap of garbage written down -
There's big fat oafish Stephen Fry, who jokes on child abuse,
There must be some point to the man, he doesn't seem much use -

The natural choice to play a pompous, vain, self-loving fool.

Giles Fraser's slightly Christian, but he's far more Socialist -
He never would be missed — he never would be missed!

He's got 'em on the list — he's got 'em on the list;
And they'll none of 'em be missed — they'll none of 'em be missed.


There are Catholic politicians, for whom party takes first place 
Like Iain Duncan Smith — I've got him on the list!
Then McLoughlin - known as Patrick - is another real disgrace -
He never would be missed — he never would be missed!
Paddy McLoughlin

Blah, blah, blah. Equal marriage. Blah blah blah.

Then the BBC's Ed Stourton speaks in sympathetic tone
Of all the little heresies and faiths except his own;
There's the lady from Roehampton, she who dresses like a guy,
She is sometimes banned from speaking, but she'd 
                                        'rather like to try';
And that singular anomaly, the lady Tabletist —
I don't think she'll be missed — I'm sure she'll not be missed!
Ma Pepinster

I don't think she'll be missed — I'm sure she'll not be missed!


He's got her on the list — he's got her on the list;
And I don't think she'll be missed — I'm sure she'll not be missed!


There are all those suspect clergy, who attack Pope Benedict,
The obsessive modernist — I've got him on the list!
Some gloomy deacons, comic priests and bishops (badly picked) —
They'd none of 'em be missed — they'd none of 'em be missed.
There's the German Prof. who wishes he could sit on Peter's throne,
So modest that he's got a six-foot statue of his own -
Hans Kung

O worship the Küng...

And apologetic bishops of a compromising kind,
Such as — Cormac... Whatsit, Kieran... Thingie, 
                                   and Crispian... Never-mind.
There are many who spout utter rot and blame it on Vat II -
The task of finding extra names I'd rather leave to you.
But it really doesn't matter whom you put upon the list,
For they'd none of 'em be missed — they'd none of 'em be missed!


You may put 'em on the list — you may put 'em on the list;
And they'll none of 'em be missed — they'll none of 'em be missed!

Kieran Corny abducted by aliens

Bob the Builder

Bob the Builder - note the striking resemblance to Kieran Corny.

The Catholic Church has finally come clean and admitted that Kieran Corny, the much-loved bishop of Arundel and Brighton, was abducted by aliens a few years ago, and replaced by a lookalike, Bob the Builder. Many will know Bob from his catchphrase Can we fix it? to which the reply is Yes, but we're not going to bother.

Some of Kieran's conduct over the last few years has been so absurd that many Catholics have exclaimed in disbelief "Is this man really a bishop?" Now, at last, their worse fears are confirmed, as it is revealed that an impostor was in place all along.

I love Kieran Corny

In happier times, Kieran Corny had a big following.

Most recently, Kieran launched an ill-judged personal attack on the outgoing pope, Benedict XVI. Said a critic, "He seemed to be totally unaware of a bishop's duty of loyalty and obedience. He was acting in the egotistical way that one might associate with Ed Stourton, Tina Beattie, or any of the other people linked with that rag, the Tablet."

Lord Bannside

Ian Paisley (Lord Bannside). "I find the Tablet too harsh in its criticisms of the Pope."

Bob, the Kieran Corny lookalike, has set himself up as the Antipope of the South Coast in recent years. One of his main criticisms has been that decisions concerning the worldwide Catholic church have been taken centrally in Rome, rather than being left to local potentates to decide for themselves. "What's the point of being a bishop if you can't define Catholicism to suit yourself?" he is supposed to have said. However, the Vatican is still refusing to recognise the SSPB (Society of Sussex Pope-Bashers).

Kieran Corny

A recent portrait of Kieran Corny.

Whether explaining how the Pope should have run the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, attacking Cardinal O'Brien on the issue of same-sex marriage, or simply moaning about Archbishop Roche's new translation of the liturgy ("In Sussex we don't say 'consubstantial' - we say 'being of one thingie, whatever'"), Bob Corny has a track record of ticking off his superiors.


"It's all Greek to me," says Bob.

So it was with a brilliant sense of irony that Corny was appointed head of the Magic Circle's department for Evangelisation and Catechesis - after all, the Catholic church is bound to evangelise much better if it is known to be full of dissenting bishops, and of course these are just the sort of people one would want to be catechised by.


Bob Corny is also Brighton and Hove Albion's star left-winger.

Still the truth is now out: the holy and learned Kieran Corny has been abducted to the planet Tharg, and meanwhile Bob the lookalike has been bumbling around Arundel and Brighton. We should have realised sooner.

The prophecies of St Malarkey

The 16th century (or possibly 12th century) prophecies of St Malarkey are attracting great interest at present, as they seem to make predictions about the next Pope to be elected, suggesting that he will be the last.

St Malarkey

St Malarkey.

Certainly, St Malarkey has had a sensational track record of identifying the popes elected in the last few hundred years. Here are some examples of his brilliant predictions.

Man with glasses

"Man with glasses" - an unerring identification of Pope John-Paul I.

In 1978, the College of Cardinals must have had St Malarkey's prophecies in mind when they unfailingly elected a man with glasses as the new pope (John-Paul I), in succession to Pope Paul VI.

Pope and goldfinch

"Goldfinger" - well, nearly right, it was a goldfinch on a finger.

Likewise, after Pope Pius XII's election in 1939, the mysteriously prophetic word "Goldfinger" was seen to be right on target, for the Holy Father successfully balanced a goldfinch on his finger.

More recently, St Malarkey's prediction of Pope Benedict XVI's election was couched in the word "Koala," which led many to think that Cardinal Pell would be elected. But the good saint had seen further than everyone else, and he knew that the scene below would surely come to pass.

Pope and koala

Pope Benedict XVI - fated to meet a koala.

Some of St Malarkey's predictions referred to popes who are now almost forgotten. His enigmatic phrase "short fat hairy legs," for example, led the college of cardinals into a frantic examination of the legs of all those cardinals who were papabile, before they finally elected Pope Ernie the Wise.

Pope Ernie

"Short fat hairy legs" - Pope Ernie the Wise (R), with an unknown nun.

So what does St Malarkey have to say about the next pope, who will be elected within the next month or so? Simply the word "Comic." Well, our experts have looked around to see who could be meant, and below we reveal the saint's final tip for the throne of St Peter.

Shifty bishops

"Comic" Murphy-O'Connor (R), with shifty-looking sidekick.

If this election comes to pass, then the end of the world will surely be near at hand.

Tuesday 12 February 2013

Bad Hymns 17

The judges of the Eccles Bad Hymn Award have received a nomination for the hymn which starts "How lovely on the mountains are the feet of Him," and today we welcome its author, Le­o­nard E. Smith, who will explain it to us.

lovely foot

A lovely foot.

Eccles: Leonard, thank you for coming along to talk to us. Now what's all this about lovely feet?

Leonard: It's from Isaiah 52, Eccles. I opened my Bible at random, found those words and noticed that nobody had thought of using them before. So I grabbed them for my hymn.

E: Brilliant idea, Leonard. Let me try doing that (opens Bible). Ah yes, Isaiah 27. And luckily nobody has used these words either!

In that day the Lord with his great and strong sword
Shall punish Leviathan, Leviathan!
The piercing serpent, yes, the crooked serpent -
In the sea! In the sea!


CHORUS: In the sea! In the sea! In the se-e-e-ea! In the sea!

E (doubtfully): But what does it mean?

L: Who cares? It looks like you've got a certain hit there, Eccles.

E: Still, let's discuss your hymn. What's this chorus of yours? It sounds like "I got drains," sung in an American accent. Ah got drains!


CHORUS: I got drains! I got drains! I got dra-a-a-ains! I got drains!

L: If you look at the actual words, Eccles, it's "Our God reigns," and...

E: Our God? Is there more than one, then? No, do go on.

L: We sing those three simple words a total of 24 times in the hymn. Can I claim the record?

E: Possibly, Leonard, I don't remember offhand. But would it be fair to say that, all things considered, reading between the lines, and so on, that you are trying to convey the secret message Our God reigns?

L: Drat, you guessed it. It was suppose to be a subliminal idea concealed in the hymn.

E: Oh, by now I'm quite good at picking these up.

L: Well, shall I write you another hymn before I go? (Opens Bible). Aha! Isaiah 37.

Because thy rage against me, and thy tumult,
Came to mine ears, mine ears,
Therefore will I put my hook into thy nose -
In thy nose, In thy nose!

CHORUS: In thy nose! In thy nose! In thy no-o-o-ose! In thy nose!

E: Magnificent! Le­o­nard E. Smith, thank you very much.

Previous entries for the Eccles Bad Hynm Award:

Lord of the Dance.    Shine, Jesus, shine.    Enemy of apathy.    Walk in the Light.
Kum Ba Yah.    Follow me.    God's Spirit is in my heart.    Imagine.    Alleluia Ch-ch.
It ain't necessarily so.    I, the Lord of sea and sky.    Colours of day.    The red flag.
Go, the Mass is ended.    I watch the sunrise.    Bind us together, Lord.

BBC interviews the Pope's enemies

BBC presenter: After the sudden announcement of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation, we shall be talking to a balanced selection of people who have good reason to hate him. Let's start with you, Justin Welby. Your predecessor, Archbishop Cranmer, was martyred by the Catholics in 1556, so naturally you detest Pope Benedict.

Thomas Cranmer

Thomas Cranmer - did Benedict XVI ever apologise for his death?

JW: Er, no, actually, I think Benedict has shown great dignity, insight, and courage. All in all, rather a good Pope, really. And I think it's an excellent thing when a major religious leader steps aside, in order to allow a younger man to take over.

BBC: Oh, you're no fun at all. Over to Richard Dawkins now, who can always be relied on to say something anti-Catholic.

RD: Sex. That's the main thing in life. And the Pope hasn't had any. What a waste. Look at me, I'm the man they call "Dr Sexy" in Oxford. Nearly 72 years old, and I'm still regarded as an Oxford Don Juan (geddit?)

Dr Sexy

An erotic DVD starring Dr Sexy. Not suitable for children.

BBC: Thank you, Professor Dawkins, for making that deep point of theology. Well, we at the BBC are nothing if not balanced in our coverage, so we also invited in a Catholic who hates the Pope. Catherine Pepinster is busy insulting the Pope on Channel 4, but instead we have managed to get hold of Lavinia Byrne, a former nun.

LB: Drone drone drone, women priests, contraception, Spanish Inquisition trying to bully me, Pope Benedict ate my hamster, ... (continues until she has a fit).

Nuns on the run

Panic-stricken nuns flee the bullying of the Catholic Church.

BBC: Thank you so much, Lavinia Byrne, for putting the Catholic point of view. We'll continue this debate on BBC Radio 5 Live, where Austen Ivereigh is being mauled by a specially-selected group of Leeds United supporters, but here is a final proof that God Himself (if he exists) hates the current set-up at the Vatican.


"GIVE ME HANS KÜNG !!!" says God.

Monday 11 February 2013

Shock resignation

Giles Fraser

Giles Fraser's shock resignation has stunned the world.

The world is shocked to learn that Giles Fraser has resigned from his position as comedy columnist on the Church Times. The reasons for his resignation are not entirely clear, but it seems that his onerous duties in the Chair of St Palmer, combined with the additional strain of writing for the Guardian and working for the BBC, have proved too much for the holy father. His 39 articles, to which all Anglican priests are supposed to subscribe (although they can also download them for nothing) have taken a severe toll on his energies. Perhaps he will now have more time for other duties, maybe even some of a parochial nature.

Comedy Vicar

George Pitcher, Religious Correspondent of Viz magazine.

There will be a formal conclave to elect a successor to Giles Fraser, but the hot favourite is surely Jolly George Pitcher of St Bride's, Fleet Street, who writes the prestigious Georgie Pitcher - there's no-one richer column for Viz magazine. Like Father Giles, Jolly George can be guaranteed to concentrate on left-wing issues without pushing too much religion down people's throats.


Laurie Penny, the thinking man's George Pitcher.

Another candidate has already thrown her hat into the ring, namely, Laurie Penny of that famous unread magazine The New Statesman (average subscription 27). With views almost identical to those of Giles Fraser, except perhaps that she possesses a certain spirituality which Giles does not, she could easily take over his job.

Pope and dove

Pope Benedict XVI demonstrates a conjuring trick with a dove.

Finally, in a spirit of ecumenism, a surprise candidate has emerged. Pope Benedict XVI, a leading Catholic, has resigned his position in Rome and expressed interest in Giles Fraser's job. "It will give me a stepping-stone into show business," he is thought to have said.

Saturday 9 February 2013

"Cameron's Pope" exonerated

Cameron and Pope

David Cameron and Pope Benedict XVI. Were they really friends?

The Guardian, February 9th 2113.

The author of a new book, The Pope's Catholics, has found evidence that Pope Benedict XVI, long vilified as "Cameron's Pope," was in fact a good friend of those who were persecuted by the evil dictator during his rule between 2010 and 2015.

In his new book, Gordon Thomas explains that during the persecution of the Catholic church in the early part of the 21st century, Benedict XVI did not stand idly by, but actually attempted to defend Catholic doctrine.

Many Christians, and Catholics in particular, were dismayed when in 2014 Cameron brought in an "Equal Marriage" law, reducing the age of consent to 6, and allowing marital unions to involve all organisms, regardless of sex and species, provided that at least one human was involved. Although he had earlier given an assurance that this was not his intention, "the world had moved on," and earlier promises were no longer valid.

Bridal goat

A happy bride, "hoping to have kids."

For Anglicans and Catholics, Cameron had given an "octuple lock" guarantee that they would not be forced to conduct such wedding ceremonies in church. This of course meant that it very soon became obligatory. When the "Bigotry Act" of 2014 was introduced, many priests were forced to go into hiding.

Of course, some quasi-religious people were delighted: Giles Fraser, the journalist and part-time vicar, had said "I am prepared to be boiled in oil, and have my toenails pulled out, but it won't stop me marrying three men and an elephant, if I am asked to."

Elephant wedding

A wedding party, on its way to St Mary's, Newington.

But what was Pope Benedict XVI doing while all these changes were being made? Well, unlike some of his bishops and clergy, and totally unlike some nominally-Catholic MPs, he did in fact speak up in defence of traditional marriage; indeed, he provided shelter for many persecuted priests who rebelled against the new laws. In particular Benedict promoted to cardinal the man who later became his own successor on the throne of St Peter, preferring him to the obvious candidate ("Vin Rouge" or "Red Vin"), whose moral leadership he considered to be very weak.

Pope Pius XIII

Philip Egan (later, Pope Pius XIII).