This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Monday 30 November 2015

Tiddles is saved

This is a guest post from Eccles's cat, Tiddles, who was shocked to read an article by Jonathan Langley entitled Ten reasons it's okay for Christians to hate cats



I could really have entitled this post "Seven reasons it's okay for cats to hate Christians", except that we cats are loving creatures, and do not bear grudges.

1. Cats get a bad deal in the Bible.

There is no Biblical mention of cats, in the sense of domestic animals, but lions and leopards are certainly there. Some impertinent chap called Isaiah says that the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid. I consulted a focus group of twenty leopards, and none of them thought this was very likely. And lions have their pride, you know.

Another cheeky chap called Peter says that your adversary the Devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. Well, I admit that we do like devouring things, but then so do humans. So why smear us cats?

Personally, I prefer Amos's "The lion hath roared, who will not fear?" or, in my case, "The cat hath miaowed, who will not fear?"

cat shooting ducks

Remember, cats are naturally great hunters.

2. Humans don't recognize cats' kindness to them.

Humans don't appreciate the gifts we leave them. I recently marked Eccles's birthday by leaving a dead vole on his pillow - well, half a dead vole, actually, I got a little hungry - but he refused to show any gratitude. Then, one evening, when I was at a loose end, I jumped off the cupboard onto Eccles's lap, with the idea of sharpening my claws on him. He gave out a yell and got up, sending me flying through the air. No love and affection there!

Tom and Jerry

Ailurophobic hate-crime.

3. Humans are insanitary.

I didn't want to mention this, but Jonathan Langley raised the matter. We cats do our little doings in a litter tray, or behind the sofa, or under the bed - somewhere nice and tidy. Humans send their waste products down a pipe, where they get processed into someone else's drinking water. Well, which do you prefer?

4. Human religion is daft.

The ancient Egyptians used to worship cats, but we don't see much of that these days. Oh no, it's "Tiddles, get back in the garden, you're not coming to Mass with me." Look at the word "Catholic" - it originally meant "addicted to cats", as with "alcoholic" or "chocaholic". But it is not reflected in their practices. When will cats be ordained to the priesthood? When will they even be allowed to take Communion? Has the Pope mentioned cats in his "Year of Mercy" speeches?

Even so-called "liberal" Catholics are anti-cat. Cardinal Kasper, a man who you would expect to be sensitive to feline issues, has refused to answer our e-mails or return our phone calls. Apparently, in the spirit of gradualism, he wants to ordain dogs first. Madness.


The good old days pre-Vatican II.

5. Humans are always fighting.

When female humans fight, they call it a "cat fight", probably because the combatants hiss at each other and scratch. Curiously, when male cats fight, we cats don't call it a "human fight", since head-butts, punches on the jaw and kicks in the sensitive parts are generally considered to be unsporting. You're more vicious than we are.

Saracen's Head

... and we don't have wars between cats of different beliefs.

6. Eternal life isn't a big deal.

The best religious deals on offer for humans seem to promise eternal life in some sort of paradise. We cats have nine lives, which makes us nine times more saved than humans. Do I need to say more?

7. Finally...

sweet cats

We are sweet.

Dawkins and chums

You are not sweet.

Thursday 26 November 2015

Religious satire is dead

Today we have three case studies proving that religious satire is dead.

The Archbishop of Greater London

Archbishop Jonathan Blake

See? I'm a real bishop. I've got my own mitre!

I am grateful to Archdruid Eileen for reminding me about the Most Reverend Jonathan Blake, Presiding Archbishop of the Open Episcopal Church (also indirectly to the Telegraph, which mentioned him in a rather dumb piece on the Lord's Prayer ban, and then heavily edited the piece when people started laughing). Most Rev. Blake was formerly an Anglican, but according to his website he decided to pioneer independent ministry, conducted a wedding underwater, published For God’s Sake Don’t Go To Church, nailed 95 Theses to Canterbury cathedral (what an original idea!), etc. etc.

He also sued Associate Newspapers for claiming that he was not a true bishop. You can read more about his history in an old piece by Damian Thompson (who he?)

rustic shed

Picture of his cathedral not available, so here's the next best thing.

The costumed holy man has written his own Lord's Prayer, as long as 3 years ago. Apparently, Christ's teaching is a bit old-fashioned now, and Greater London's finest mind was needed to express what He ought to have said.

By removing all references to God, ++GreaterLondon is surely onto a winner here, and I hope to hear his prayer performed in cinemas nationwide.

May Love be revered
May Unity come
Good will be done
That earth may evolve into heaven
May we work hard today for our daily bread
And may our sins be forgiven
As we forgive those
Who have sinned against us
And may we not fall into temptation
But be delivered from evil
For we believe in justice, truth and peace
For ever and ever
Actually, that reference to "heaven" is a bit jarring, and could be offensive. Any chance of a rewrite there, your Grace?

The Briery Retreat Centre

Briery Centre

For all your sacred circle-dancing needs.

This retreat centre is in Ilkley, the place with the moor, and is apparently a Catholic place, run by the Sisters of the Cross and the Passion. However, they do offer themed retreats, which may be of interest to others, such as pagans.

I was particularly taken by this:

Enneagrem Weekend

Friday evening until Sunday after lunch for those with no previous knowledge of the Enneagram. On this course, the nine spaces will be explored through a variety of ways. By the end of the weekend, people will have gained sufficient understanding to choose which personality type they belong to.

I'd love to know which personality type I belong to. It's like those quizzes you get on Zimbio. You know, "Which Star Wars Character / Doctor Who Monster / German Cardinal / Nasty Disease are you?" (I'm Count Dooku, the Yeti, Cardinal Marx, and Malaria, as it happens.)


Spiritual nourishment from an enneagram.

So, after being blessed by the good Archbishop, I am planning to make my way to Ilkley and embark on a Catholic voyage of self-discovery. I may also extend my self-knowledge by finding out which nasty-thing-that-people-tread-in I am.

The Diocese of Salford

Can there really be a diocese based in Salford, a suburb of Manchester? Apparently, there is, and it includes the parish of St Mary in Eccles, which is well-known to be a place for very saved people to worship.

But then we see this news item: Bishop John Arnold (possibly a real bishop) wants to halve the number of parishes. +Arnold forgot to mention that the downgrading of Salford will also result in his own downgrading from Bishop - say, to the rank of Pawn.

But, if Salford really exists, and if Eccles is really part of it, and if there is really a possibility that +Arnold is putting in a bid for the Arthur Roche church-closing award, then all we can say is:

Eccles church

Save Eccles!

Monday 23 November 2015

Archbishop suddenly discovers sin

It's not been a good weekend for the Archbishop of Canterbury. Not only has his video nasty "The Lord's Prayer" been banned in cinemas, as already recorded, but he has suddenly been introduced to the notion of sin.

Specifically, he said that the recent terrorist murders in Paris led him to ask God where He was.

three wise monkeys

The three wise primates - see no evil, etc.

It is unusual for a man to reach the rank of archbishop without knowing that there is an inexhaustible well of evil in the world, but it can happen. As His Grace explains, "In the oil industry, where I began my career, there were very few acts of violence, unless you count the great Esso-Shell-Texaco gang warfare of the 1980s. The Church of England, where I am now, is full of people who believe themselves to be totally without sin, and they're probably right. Admittedly, we have this thing called 'General Confession', but it's so vague as to be meaningless. 'Erred and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep'? Doesn't sound too bad, does it?"


More tea, Justin? Eccles educates an archbishop.

We pointed out to Archbishop Welby that people had been murdering each other ever since the days of Cain and Abel, not to mention the great massacres of the Reformation, and a few (alleged) sinners in the 20th century such as Hitler, Stalin and Mao. "Oh, they must have slipped my mind," he admitted.

We then pointed out that one of the reasons that Jesus came into the world, apart from amusing Himself by turning water into wine and making large quantities of fish sandwiches, was to bear the sins of the world. This struck the archbishop as a brilliantly original theory: "You mean that my whole job is based on the fact that there is evil in the world?" he asked. "Well, well, I never thought of that one. You've really taught me a thing or two, Eccles!"

Tony Rezk icon

The Archbishop was startled when we told him that Christians were being martyred in the Middle East.

We planned to conclude our little chat with a prayer together, namely, "Our Father", which also mentions sins, but, out of consideration for the feelings of the National Secular Society, we decided not to do anything so controversial.

Sunday 22 November 2015

Why we find the Lord's prayer offensive

Father Phil, from the liberal church of St Daryl the Apostate, writes.

At St Daryl's we have long recognised that the Lord's prayer is offensive - not to Muslims and Jews since it doesn't actually mention Christ, not to atheists as they don't care how we waste our time (in their words), but offensive to liberal Christians such as ourselves. No wonder that this Anglican video has been banned in cinemas.

For a long time we have omitted the Lord's prayer entirely, using the space provided for a suitable anthem, such as Paul Inwood's Pearls before the Dean and Chapter, which goes "PAH-PAH-PAH-PAH PAH-PAH-PAH-PAH-PAH-PAH PRAY!!!" (Not that we do pray, but it's the thought that counts,)

Justin Welby

Hate speech: Justin Welby says "Our Father" (without moving his lips).

The Lord's prayer starts badly. "Our Father in Heaven"? In this day and age, when God may be male, female, or anything else? What will our transgendered brothers and sisters sisters and brothers siblings make of THAT? "Our Parent 1 in Heaven" is the usual form these days.

"Hallowed be your name. Thy kingdom come". I LIKE THAT. A good mix of ancient and modern liturgies, guaranteed to annoy people with any taste. No complaints there.

Waiter! Where's the bread?

Give us this day our daily bread.

At first sight "daily bread" isn't offensive - if we'd said "daily sausages" you can imagine that the Muslims and Jews would have complained. However, it is insensitive to people with gluten intolerance, so perhaps after "daily bread" we could add "or other food suitable to our dietary requirements"?


"Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that sin against us."

Again, a great mixture of translations here, trespass played off against sin, but the prayer is missing the whole point of modern Christianity, which is:




crowd of people in robes

"Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." Come on, GET A GRIP!

Yes, the next bit, about temptation and evil, is also meaningless to modern worshippers. We don't want people to have guilt complexes, do we?


See? The cinemas were quite right to ban the Lord's prayer advert.

Love, mercy and cuddly thoughts to you all,

P.S. We're very broad-minded. If any Muslims would like to shout their prayer "Allahu Akbar", we promise not to be offended.

Saturday 21 November 2015

"Christmas? Bah, humbug!" says Pope Francis

For Catholics at least, Christmas is cancelled this year, after Pope Francis declared that "Christmas is approaching: there will be lights, parties, Christmas trees and nativity scenes… it's all a charade. The world continues to go to war.

Pope scowling

Bah! Humbug!"

Of course the Holy Father has a point. This is the first time in 2015 (or so) years that the world has not enjoyed peace on earth at the end of the year. Remembering that God sent a Saviour to the world is a bit traddy really, and we should regard Christ as an irrelevance, and worry more about climate change and terrorism.

Pope Francis - always one to practise what he preaches - has decided to omit the usual Christmas Day Mass and Ubi et Orbi blessings. Given that he dislikes so many people he is finding it increasingly hard to issue blessings, anyway. Instead he intends to go into a dark room and sulk meditate - his meditations will later be published as a new encyclical Nolite Laetare or "Stop enjoying yourselves!"

Vatican tree

"And you can take away that stupid tree, as well."

Catholics involved in nativity plays over the festive season are asked to rewrite them to avoid all mention of Jesus, but instead to populate with them with earnest left-wing intellectuals making gloomy speeches about war, violence, and bloodshed.

Cardinal Marx

"Ho, ho, ho!" But the jolly white-bearded man dressed in red is not welcome this year!

Christmas carols will naturally be rewritten to make them as gloomy as possible, so we expect to hear songs such as: "Ding! Dong! Gloomily on high", "Get lost, all ye faithful", "Aaaaaghhh! The Herald angels sing" and "A plague on merry gentlemen".

So, following Pope Francis, we wish you all a really miserable and gloomy Christmas, and a disastrously painful new year. And take that smile off your faces.

Pope grinning

Only joking, folks!"

We Christians are all guilty

We invited some distinguished guest columnists to explain how the terrorist murders in Paris should be laid directly at the door of Christians.

Julia Hartley-Brewer

Juliet Carpet-Chewer of the once great Telegraph.

Surprising as it may seem, I can reveal that the Islamic terrorists who killed so many people in Paris were in fact Muslims. It's very confusing to have two different names for the same thing, but half an hour's research with Wikipedia put me straight on that! What's more, their "holy book" is called the Koran, but also called the Qur'an - it took me several days to work out that these were the same thing, really. Sheesh!

But then I came across a book called "Why Catholics are right" by Michael Coren (alias, Koran or Qu'ran), and I realized that in fact "Muslim" is just another word for "Christian". And, when you look at the two religions, they're identical. The Coren tells me that "Mohammed" is just the Arab word for "Christ", and - as we know from the New Testament - Christ told his followers to go out into the world and spread violence, hatred and terror.

A Catholic mosque.

I'll bet that if you asked Ayatollah Francis in Rome, he'd say that the two religions basically preach the same things. Look, I'm a reasonable woman, and I understand that there is a small minority of Christians who do not go out committing acts of terrorism on a daily basis. However, in the interests of security, we need to round up all Christians and shoot them. Don't you agree?

Brilliant article, Julia! I'm so glad we got rid of Damian Thompson. Love, Chris Evans (Telegraph Editor).

Colbert and Rosica

Comedy gold - Colbert and Rosica!

Fr Thomas Rosica writes: "The cry "Allahu akbar” was never a call to violence and destruction - it's what Muslims scream when they call people to prayer. Just as I scream "You're blocked!" or "Where's my lawyer?" when people attempt to dialogue with me. Once you realise that the armed gunmen in the Bataclan Theatre were simply trying to persuade people to pray, you understand what deeply religious people they were. We Basilians recognise holiness when we see it.

Of course, the gunmen were misunderstood, and things may have got slightly out of hand. Which of us has not had to face such a problem? It's important that Christians understand that we are all to blame. We need to dialogue more, walk with people, and show them mercy. Unless they're traditional Catholics. The Jihadi Jesuits, as usual, are leading the way.

Bishop David Walker and a camel

"Adopt a Syrian - or at least a camel" says Anglican bishop.

David Walker, Bishop of Manchester, explains: "There's only one answer to all this. It's important that we move the entire population of Syria to England, and welcome them into our homes. Refugees, migrants, terrorists, all are worthy of our love."

"Unfortunately I am unable to take a Syrian family - even a Christian one - into my humble six-bedroom 'pad' . They wouldn't feel at home, and I fear that the constant prayer, hymn-singing and other religious devotions would cause annoyance - although I suppose I might get used to this. However, in the interests of peace, I have agreed to take a camel to live at Bishopscourt, and I urge you all to do likewise."

Tuesday 17 November 2015

Spiritual nourishment from Cardinal Dolan

This blog has occasionally been criticised for posting doctored photos of great spiritual giants of our time in unlikely situations (Vincent Nichols fighting the Weeping Angels, Fr John Zuhlsdorf in a mitre, Richard Dawkins made up as a clown, Fr Thomas Rosica praying), so it is with great pleasure that we present some completely genuine photos of one of our favourite cardinals, Timothy Dolan of New York. We do this since we feel that it is important for "bishop-bashers" to appreciate the onerous responsibilities that fall on our religious leaders.

Dolan, Rockettes, sheep, camels

A shepherd, smelling of the sheep (and camels).

Pope Francis wants his cardinals to be shepherds smelling of the sheep: he himself led the way by being photographed with a rather unhappy-looking lamb wrapped round his neck. Some leading churchmen have taken this further, and nowadays the presence of sheep and camels in religious services is becoming the norm.

Dolan, Rockettes

Explaining Laudato Si' to a group of nuns.

In the Church of today, the important thing is dialogue, getting out to meet people where they are, and discussing new ideas for Catholic dogma with them. The nuns in the picture above are so worried about climate change that they have opted for much cooler habits. However, Cardinal Dolan shows himself to be a traditionalist in his choice of vestments.

Dolan, Rockettes, dancing

Taking lessons in liturgical dancing.

In modern Masses, we have moved on from old-fashioned ideas such as Bible readings and hymns. The Spirit of Vatican II prefers us to worship Her by means of liturgical dance. But what is a cardinal to do if he is unable to do more than a liturgical waddle? Well, the answer is to lose weight, and take dancing lessons! Bravo to Cardinal Dolan for leading the way!

Monday 16 November 2015

Pope admits: "I don't really like Catholics"

After a very successful meeting with Rome's Lutheran church, Pope Francis has finally said what many people suspected all along, namely, "I don't really like Catholics."

Diet of Worms

The Diet of Worms. On behalf of all Catholics, an apology for "judging" Martin Luther.

"Of course, I'm not referring to people like my great friend, the intellectual giant, Walter Kasper," he added, "nor to people like Fr Tommy Rosica and Fr Jimmy Martin S.J. Some people don't really think of these as Catholics, anyway. But as for the rest..."

Pouring out his woes to a sympathetic audience of Lutherans, the pope went on to say that practically all Catholics were airport gnostics, leprous neo-Pelagians, existential parrot-Christians, Renaissance functionaries and pepper-faced tourists. "Thank God for Martin Luther," he added. "He certainly put Catholics in their place."

Pope and child

"You little promoter of the poison of immanence!"

"Wait until the Year of Mercy starts," he added. "Those Catholics won't know what hit them! Then, when it ends, we'll be just in time to celebrate the Reformation!"

It is felt that Pope Francis may be disgruntled by the outcome of the recent synod, when he was severely embarrassed by constant references to scripture and tradition. However, as pope, he gets the final word, and is said to be ready to take the Catholic church in new directions, following the lead of the great Martin Luther.

Luther at church door

Pope Francis nails his 95 theses to the door of St Peter's.

Sunday 15 November 2015

If it wasn't the Muslims, who was it?

The recent murders in Paris have brought out accusations and counter-accusations from the Left and Right: apparently it's the Right's fault for being fascist imperialists in the Middle East, while it's also the Left's fault for flooding Europe with bogus "refugees". And the Jews are probably to blame as well, because they always are.

One thing we can all agree on, is that it's nothing to do with Islam. Certainly not the late Jihad John, who has an alibi, taking swimming lessons in the Lake of Fire with Mohammed while the attacks were taking place.

JIhad John, or possible a woman in a burka.

Certainly, most Muslims are peace-loving people, who hold to the Koran's teachings of "Love thy neighbour", "Blessed are the peacemakers" and "Any infidel dog who denies the Name of the Prophet must be made to suffer, and it is the will of Allah that ye cut his head off seven times wherever ye find him" "Judge not, that ye be not judged". Indeed, most of their priests are members of the Society of Mohammed (the Mohammeduits), which basically means threatening the infidel with Mercy until they run away screaming (© Fr James Martin SJ). The fact that the attackers cried out "Ali Baba!" - which is Arabic for "God is great" - is purely a coincidence.

So, if it wasn't the Muslims, who was it?

The Mothers' Union?

Known to be an organization that welcomes aggressive old ladies, the Mothers' Union would have no difficulty in mounting a terrorist attack. A few years ago, they gave Tony Blair a rough ride, and he's the man who brought peace to the Middle East. I'll leave you to join the dots on this one...

As seen in the current James Bond film, the sinister organization SPECTATRE is another possible suspect. Its religious correspondent Damian Thompson has been talking in inflammatory terms of a Catholic civil war, blaming it on the bizarre actions of Pope Francis. The film SPECTATRE even features a sinister meeting in Rome, which is surely a reference to a certain recent synod. Hmm...

The Inland Revenue

Although well known in the UK as an organization that extorts money from hard-working people who wish to have nothing to do with it (cf. the Mafia in Italy), and indeed the prime suspect in several murder cases, the Inland Revenue does not normally engage in terrorist acts overseas. So for the moment we have to be open-minded about their involvement.

Look, I told you it was nothing to do with Muslims...

Sunday 8 November 2015

Vincent Nichols turns 70

It's Remembrance Day, November 8th 2015. Also the 70th birthday of Vincent Gerard Nichols, Cardinal-Priest* of the Church of St. Alphonsus Liguori, Rome.

*Non-experts may not have realised that cardinals come in three flavours. The six cardinal-bishops have titular dioceses, the 200-odd cardinal-priests have titular churches, and the handful of cardinal-deacons make do with titular sheds. But we digress.

At 11 a.m. today people fell silent all round the country, as they remembered some of the achievements of Vincent Nichols; many were wearing little red flowers in honour of the cardinal. To celebrate his anniversary we re-post some pictures celebrating his finest moments.

Vincent Nichols and football shirt

Vincent Nichols finally gets the coveted "red shirt" of a cardinal.

It is a little-known fact that Vincent Nichols was the 13th incarnation of Doctor Who. Here he is shown confronting the forces of darkness, in the form of the Weeping Angels.

Nichols and weeping angels

Not on the side of the angels. Not this time.

The cardinal tells us that he is very interested in "accompaniment", "walking with", "reverential listening" and "discernment". Here we see him explaining these concepts to a young admirer.

"Now, Damian, let me teach you about discernment."

But the life of a cardinal is not all a matter of rewriting Catholic teaching to suit the mood of the Tablet. There's fun and games too! Here we see our hero doing a rather inept "rabbit ears" on Archbishop Rowan Williams.

Nichols and Rowan Williams


And it's not only Anglicans who receive spiritual nourishment at the hands of the cardinal...

Hindu or Sikh or one of those things

"Reverential listening..."

Moreover, as we approach the year of Mercy, we should not forget Vin's welcome to all, in particular his persistent encouragement of "gay masses".

gay mass

"Walking with..."

So let the celebrations begin! Tomorrow, to mark the 70th birthday of Cardinal Nichols, the Bank of England will issue a "Vin" £5-note.

Nichols banknote

As Americans know, there are 20 Nichols to the dollar.

So Happy Birthday to the man of whom people are already speaking in hushed tones as the future Pope Francis II. Unfortunately, this is not a joke.

Saturday 7 November 2015

Letters to the Catholic Herald


I was horrified by the rude and offensive article from Damian Thompson, entitled "Can Bad Catholic Music be stopped?" I have always regarded Damian as a very meek and mild writer, without a harsh word to say about anyone; hence, this sudden meltdown came as a shock to me, and, may I add, to my fellow-members of the Royal Association of Bad Catholic Musicians. In particular it caused distress to Bernadette Farrell (lovely lady, she rehearses all her hymns with the aid of a kazoo before releasing them to a delighted public), and of course The Master of the Queen's Bad Music, Sir Paul Inwood C.H. C.H.


Rehearsing a new hymn "Lord, aren't we jolly super, pip-pip".

Damian Thompson's views have obviously been formed by too much listening to classical music (he mentions Haydn, Parry and Vaughan Williams, which are names totally unknown to me and my fellow bad composers). Damian doesn't appreciate that the youth of today want religious services in which the music is produced by guitars - electric, of course - the hymns are all about what a wonderful time we're having, and there is the opportunity to do the kiss and cuddle of peace after a spell of liturgical dancing and a sermon about how God likes football.

Get lost, Damo!
Yours in The Light of the Lord,
Doris Muzak (Ms)

Bad Catholic Music cartoon

Damian Thompson and Paul Inwood do a "gig" together.


I'm puzzled that an eminent Catholic historian, Tim Stanley, doesn't seem to understand the role of historical drama. In his review of Downton Abbey, he complains about the historical accuracy of some of the scenes. For example, he thought that the episode where an army of Daleks broke in and exterminated Lady Mary was unrealistic, as there are no recorded accounts of Dalek-extermination among the upper classes in the 1920s. He has obviously forgotten the 1922 Dalek Invasion of Hull, where the whole town was reduced to a wasteland (not very different from today's Hull), including - and this is the key fact - the Duke of Prescott's ancestral home, "Puddings".

Maggie Smith

Davros returns as a woman - note the unconvincing rubber mask.

Academic historians - especially Cambridge ones - should be aware that nobody cares about history. If Julian Fellowes chooses to invoke the atmosphere of the 1920s by writing dialogue such as "I wear a fez now. Fezzes are cool!" or "EX-TER-MIN-ATE", then we should accept his Tolstoyan skills for what they are, rather than heckling from the sidelines.

Dr William Misery-Guts.

Tim Stanley and Daleks

Tim Stanley comments on the latest episode of Downton Abbey.


Your correspondent is critical of ACTA's role in influencing the bishops of England and Wales before the recent Synod, apparently sharing the view of many traditional Catholics that ACTA is a quasi-Masonic organization with aprons, rolled-up trouser legs and funny handshakes. Whether or not it is (and I have promised not to divulge ACTA's secrets on pain of having my heart torn out by giant vultures), I am anxious to make it clear that we do not dance naked at the full moon - well, not all of us - we do not sacrifice babies to the god Pan, and we certainly do not stick pins into wax dummies of Cardinal Burke.

It may help your readers to understand us if I mention that we do not attend church and we do not believe any of the standard Catholic teaching. So in that respect we are exactly the same as any other Tablet-reading Catholic.

Andrew Bowman
Lead author of the ACTA report "The smell of the donkeys".

Pope and donkeys

"You fool, I ordered sheep! How will I get a donkey round my neck?"


As a very well-known bishop, I am getting increasingly embarrassed by your page of "Bishops' Engagements". My Dean has remarked to me that, whereas some bishops are able to record "Pilgrimage to Lourdes", "Blessing of the camels at the zoo", "Mass in memory of St Tharg", etc., all that I can find to list is "Watching television", "Going to a football match" and "Pub crawl". It would be best if you could omit this feature altogether.

+Paresseux, Bishop of... well, never mind.