This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Friday, 31 May 2013

The Boat of Fools visits a Catholic school

This week our Mystery Worshipper visited a Catholic School in the south of England, where the chaplain was conducting a multi-faith service.

mystery worshipper

Our mystery worshipper passed undetected as a pupil of St Ali's Catholic School.

What was the name of the service?
Special ecumenical service.

Did anyone welcome you personally?
Yes, the chaplain shook me warmly by the neck before telling me how much he hated me.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Very chatty. Becky, the Year 5 representative of A Call To Outright Rebellion (ACTOR) explained how Vatican II had explicitly demanded that the Catholic church should henceforth get away from old-fashioned ideas such as God and Jesus, becoming more open to other faiths, such as the tree-worshipping community.

What were the exact opening words of the service?
Welcome to our special ecumenical service. Today we have present a variety of alternative faiths, including representatives of ACTOR, those who bow down to tree-spirits, and worshippers of the gods Thor, Dawkins, and Sun Myung Moon.


The sun shall not burn thee by day: nor the moon by night. Psalm 120:6

What books did the congregation use during the service?
Books sacred to the faiths of those present, including Tina Beattie's Why did the Virgin Mary never have children?, Richard Dawkins's The Reality of Magic, and Prince Charles's classic I talk to the trees.

I talk to the trees

The defender of all faiths meets a representative of the arboreal community.

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
More a sort of unhappy-clappy, as the worshippers were clearly very angry about something (the Catholic church, at a guess).

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
The chaplain explained that it was important to break with tradition. One example he gave (so good that he repeated it) was about sticking children up chimneys. I couldn't work out whether he was for or against that one.

chaplain sweeping a chimney

If you want to be a chaplain like me, you need to be able to handle chimneys.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
When the chaplain led us in a hymn to Thor:

When Thor had a hammer,
He'd hammer in the morning,
He'd hammer in the evening,
All over this land...
Rubbish words, but a great tune.


I hit my finger with the hammer and now I'm a little Thor.

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
Well, most of it really.

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
The chaplain told me to scram. He's known for his inter-personal skills.

How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
0. No, please, no!

Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
Yes, but I felt terribly out of place.

Smiffy with umbrella

These "Thor" services are fine, but I always take an umbrella in case of a storm.


  1. Darling eccles, a new type of worship - unhappy-slappy. It will catch on in parts of Greater Manchester and Vauxhall xx Jess

  2. Eccles

    Although neither Ms O'Teefe or myself are humourless harridans who have dug our way so far into the recesses of the Catholic education quangocracy that even Mr Weedon couldn't reach us, we must protest that we are not members of ACTOR, (A Call to Outright Rebellion) which is an American group full of rood and norty heretics - but of the wonderful and not at all heretical AACTOR (An Anti Catholic Trotskyite Outre Rebellion).

    Polly Bellbotham

    Course Facilitator
    Saul Alinsky School of Sociological Theology and Jihadi Studies
    (Formerly Digby Stuart Department of Catechist Training)

    1. Well, you would say THAT, wouldn't you, Polly !!!

      But you're all of you dues-paid members of the international Anti-Catholic Trolls Association, aren't you ??!?

  3. This is a specail "nice" version of a previuosly deleted post, and it aint gonna offend anyone.

  4. The above report, in the typically sexist fashion of the traditional blogosphere ignores the much more significant and forward thinking "break out" services that take place in the vestry.

    As the Wiccan chaplainess at St Ali's I have long been permitted - even encouraged - by the comedy deacon to hold skyclad meetings of my 6th Form coven therein. Indeed, he has often defended this on the more uncharitable blogs such as "Protect the Hedgerows" by pointing out that we might get ridiculed, or even suffer from frostbite if we continued to hold our ceremonies behind the bikesheds.

    Unfortunately we have to timeshare the vestry with the Yorubans, Obiahans and other animists, after complaints from the cleaners about the need to "keep all the animal blood in one place, and not to frighten the Year 7s".

    1. Speaking as Head Cleaner and Animal Equality Awareness Co-ordinator here at St Alis, I must protest at the viscera left lying about on the floor of the vestry. I haven't seen anythink like it since I was in a workshop the other week at Hinsley Hall with Telly Weedy and Maura Potty , Annie Lardass and Friar Tucker deciding whether LGTBIQ parish leaders should have extra votes in electing the Popess. I was waving my arms about so much I nearly dislocated my shoulder. Who can I sue?

  5. Dear Sir,

    I would like to complain about your blog articlein the strongest possible terms. To suggest that ACTOR (A Call to Outright Rebellion) is demanding a new deviation from orthodox Catholicism is a gross calumny! It is simply continuing the same Marxist deviation introduced under the name of liberation theology quite a long time ago. So stick that up your hermeneutic of continuity.

    Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells
    (Chairperson of the south Tunbridge ACTOR steering committee and candidate for Kent and Surrey Antipope.)

  6. This is reminiscent of The Bard’s: “The Seven Ages of ..ah…er…um…Person”.

    But it appears to have suffered arrested development, stalling at the first age – with a lot of “mewling and puking” going on.

    Next stage: whining.

  7. Dear Eccles, old chap, it's offended me. I've been rolling on the floor drumming my fists and uncontrollably, hysterically laughing.
    You are clearly in breach of diocesan health and safety codes.
    Please cut it out (as the Imam said).