This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Monday 31 October 2016

New faces at the Congregation for Divine Worship

Having sacked Cardinals Burke, Scola, Pell, Ouellet, Ranjith etc. from the Congregation for Divine Worship, Pope Francis has brought in some exciting new names, including a batch of Lay Cardinals, who truly reflect the progressive style of liturgy that the Holy Father wishes to see. It is said that Cardinal Sarah, who remains at the head of the CDW is "less than delighted", which is Vatican-speak for "is the pope out of his mind?"

Bosco the clown

Bosco the Clown.

Cardinal Bosco is not actually a Catholic - indeed he was brought up on the writings of Jack Chick - but hey, these days we need to be more ecumenical with the truth! This new appointment will certainly stress the important role that "clown masses" play in contemporary worship. As Latin is phased out and circus slang replaces it as the Church's official language, we expect Cardinal Bosco to be in the lead when it comes to dumbing down.


Cardinal Sir Paul Inwood.

Composer of the official Year of Mercy hymn In aeternum misericordia eius ch-ch, and its official arrangement for guitar, kazoo, Balinese nose-flute and a thousand press-ganged choristers, Cardinal Inwood is working on projects that are expected to startle the Catholic world. Out goes Gregorian Chant, and in come minimalist Taizé-style pastiches! When the current Year of Mercy ends and we move on to a Year of Chaos, Uncle Paul will be in the vanguard.

Piero Marini and Pope Benedict

Piero Marini doing the old custard-pie trick on Pope Benedict.

A disciple of Annibale Bugsbunni, the Freemason who brought so many new ideas into Catholic liturgy, Piero Marini is popularly supposed to have been appointed in mistake for Guido Marini, who is a thoroughly sensible person. His nomination has been universally greeted with cries of "Surely you're joking, Holy Father?"


Cardinal Pinocchio, master of ceremonies for puppet masses.

All right, Eccles, that's enough of that.

Thursday 27 October 2016

An interview with Cardinal Kasper

For many Catholics, Cardinal Walter Kasper, the Vatican's Prefect of the Congregation for Introducing New Heresies, is a Godlike figure. He must be, as otherwise how would he dare to contradict so much teaching from the Son of God Himself? We were determined to interview the man they call "St Wally the Absurd".

We made our way to his Vatican apartment "Dunprayin", and we were admitted by the butler, Tommy Rosica; in fact, Rosica initially tried to block our way, but a shrill cry of "All are welcome, Tommy! Give him Communion, whoever he is!" forced him to let us pass. We did not take Communion.

Kasper and Marx

A scary disguise for Hallowe'en. Heresy or treat?

"How nice to see you, Eccles," said Kasper, as Rosica retired in order to practise martial arts on his "Cardinal Burke" punchbag. "Excuse my lying on the floor - I'm trying to see things from the cat's point of view today. May I offer you a mouse?"

I hastily declined and asked him about his latest claims following the publication of Amoral Lay-Teaching (a blockbuster written by the Pope, with additional material by Cardinals Baldisseri, Cupich, Danneels, Marx, Kasper, Nichols, and Schönborn; also Fr Thomas Reese SJ, Fr James Martin SJ, Fr Tony Flannery, Dame Tina Beattie, Sister Margaret Farley, Mr Joe Biden, Mr Tim Kaine, Prof. Hans Küng, Mr Michael Coren, Mr Ed Stourton, the man at the off-licence, and a very nice devil-worshipper we met at the sauna baths).

Namely, Kasper had decreed that it was not only possible for the divorced and remarried to take communion, but actually a great scandal if they didn't. "That is what we decided at the Synod," he explained, "and it supersedes all the teaching of the last 2000 years.

"Surely the Synod actually refused to agree that?" I asked.

Martini and Baal

Baal The late Cardinal Martini, who taught Kasper all he knows about orthodoxy.

"Look, if the writers of Amoral Lay-Teaching deliberately put in a footnote saying 'Don't worry about all that SIN nonsense, ha ha ha!' then surely that proves you wrong, Eccles?"

Kasper now got up from the floor. Sticking straws in his hair, pouring custard down his trousers, and painting his nose red ("I've got to go to Mass soon, and need to be properly dressed"), he referred me to his fifteen books on theology and Christology. My German is not very good, but I promised to try and make my way through his magnum opus, Eine Nürnberger Wurst mit Kartoffelsalat, bitte! which, he said, encapsulated the essence of his thought.

So, receiving a friendly parting kick on the backside from Rosica, I said farewell to the greatest theologian of this era, or indeed of any era.

Monday 24 October 2016

Don't mention your faith!

Following Pope Francis's advice to a girl that she should avoid convincing people of her faith, the Holy Father has asked me to clarify this instruction.

Pope Francis himself has of course given strong leadership in this direction, by showing himself to be much happier in the company of Lutherans and Anglicans than with ordinary Catholics. Indeed, it seems that for some people the question "Is the Pope Catholic?" is no longer rhetorical. This is what we call ecumenism, and goes well with the Biblical instruction "Seek ye out a bushel, that ye may hide your light under it" (The Sermon in a cave under the Mount, Matthew 5, etc.)

Dolan, Clinton, Trump

"They say she's the anti-Christ, but, hey! That's just fine by me!"

Well, you see the problem above. If you tell people that you're a Catholic Cardinal - as so many of my readers are - then they're going to think that you're interested in God. And that will OFFEND people. It is a very grave sin to challenge other people's beliefs. Ask Pope Francis!

So the answer is to hide your light under a bushel. Pretend you're a Jesuit - nobody thinks of them as religious - or, in any case, keep quiet about your religious beliefs.

Vincent Nichols the Hindu

"You will forget that you were ever a Catholic..."

Of course the way of the truly ecumenical is not easy. When we come to celebrate the Reformation, you must forget everything you read about Thomas More, John Fisher, and other trouble-makers. Instead, wear a seraphic smile on your face, and say "We can all learn from other people's beliefs, man, but they mustn't learn from mine."

Ravasi tweet

Cardinal Ravasi leads the way in touchy-feelie hippyism. The answer is 42, by the way.

So, avoid people who preach controversial doctrines, such as Heaven, Hell, judgement, sin, and redemption. That dreadful man Cardinal Sarah, for example - he actually talks as if he believes in something! Far better to have a Kewpich-doll as as your spiritual adviser - there's no danger of any dogmatic teaching creeping in and causing upsets!

kewpie doll

Cardinal Blase Kewpie.

Sunday 16 October 2016

Martin Luther to be canonized

As part of the celebrations of the Reformation, and to mark his excellent relations with the Lutherans - "After all, they're far more Catholic than the German cardinals Kasper, Marx, and their cronies" - Pope Francis has agreed to canonize Martin Luther himself.

Pope Francis and chocolate Luther

The Choco-Luther (© Fr Ray Blake). Hard for some Catholics to swallow.

In addition to the Luther statue, which Pope Francis will put in a position of honour next to his personal statue of Hans Küng, the Holy Father has been given a copy of the 95 theses of Luther. Fortunately they do not criticise Amoris Laetitia directly - since to do that is nowadays the only sin recognized by the Vatican. They do claim that the Pope is the Anti-Christ, but then so do some traditional Catholic bloggers.

Pope and 95 theses

"These theses say that the pope is totally confused. How did they know?"

If the canonization of Luther turns out to be a popular move, then there is a queue of other great religious thinkers awaiting their haloes. This includes Buddha, Mohammed, Henry VIII, and Ian Paisley. For we must remember that all people are saved and Hell was closed down as part of the Vatican II reforms. However, the case of G.K. Chesterton will not be considered. Ever.

crackpot religion

Other churches have declared themselves open to dialogue with Pope Francis.

Thursday 13 October 2016

How we know we are living in the End Times

From the 3rd Letter of St Paul to the Jesuits.

1. Now, brothers, many of ye have asked me, "How shall we know that the Day of the Lord is nigh?"

2. Ye shall know that ye live in the End Times by means of various signs.

3. For lo! The world shall become very silly, and by this ye shall know that your time is nearly up.

4. First, clowns shall stalk the land, spreading terror to all who see them.

Pope and clowns

Pope Francis receiveth his new cardinals.

5. Then in England, a land flowing with Marmite, shall men complain that this wondrous foodstuff is no more.

6. The great wells of Marmite shall dry up, and the pipeline that bringeth Marmite from the distant East shall run dry.

7. Even the mighty jars of Dawkins, that once ran with milk, honey, and Marmite, shall be empty. And the professors of Oxford shall starve.

Dawkins tweet

And men shall say that Bin Laden hath won.

8. And there shall be other signs of silliness.

9. For a singer of popular ballads shall win a mighty prize for literature.

10. Thus shall he spoken of as the equal of Kipling, Yeats, Mann, Eliot, and Camus.


And Dylan shall ask "How many roads must a man walk down?"

11. Finally, and silliest of all, the sound of the Trump and the sound of the Clinton shall be heard in the land of America.

12. For the people shall be asked to choose between a complete slob and a woman of infinite evil.

Trump and Clinton

No, this is beyond a joke.

13. And at that point the LORD shall say, "Enough! This is too silly!" and the world shall end.

Monday 10 October 2016

Pope Francis makes a cardinal error

The Catholic Church was reeling in shock and dismay today, as it was announced that Pope Francis had decided to appoint Archbishop Blase Cupich - a man so liberal that he makes Vincent Nichols look like a reincarnation of Pope Pius V - as a cardinal.

"Sorry, folks, I seem to have made a boo-boo there," laughed the Holy Father. "My friend Thomas Rosica played a little joke on me, by crossing off the name of Archbishop Chaput from the list I had originally prepared and writing in 'Cupich'. Since I didn't have my glasses on, I never even noticed! The names were so much alike!"

Cupich and Pope Francis

"Cupich? I asked for Chaput!"

Cupich, of course, is known for his very weak pro-life credentials - it is said that Hillary Clinton wanted him as her vice-president - and indeed he discouraged his priests from participating in demonstrations against Planned Parenthood (now renamed "Baby Parts 'R' us"), or from supporting 40 Days for Life.

Some of the Holy Father's other appointments are equally bizarre, notably Archbishop Farrell, who was awarded his red hat for extreme sycophancy.

Bishop Farrell tweets

Kevin Farrell - the only man who is not confused by Pope Francis.

Still, it is said that Caligula made his horse Incitatus a consul, David Cameron scrounged an O.B.E. for Isabel Spearman, his wife's hair stylist, and Harold Wilson obtained a peerage for his secretary Marcia Williams, so there are definitely precedents for this unusual appointment. The pope's dentist will have to wait until next time.

The list of new cardinals contains several who are from the third world, including the splendidly-named Dieudonné Nzapalainga of Bangui, Central African Republic. It is believed he was included in the hope that his arrival would cause Cardinal Kasper to have an apoplectic fit. However, this has not yet happened.

Dieudonné Nzapalainga

Dieudonné Nzapalainga - looking forward to a punch-up with Walter Kasper.

Sunday 9 October 2016

The religion that threatens Christianity

Am I going to attack Islam again? Am I going to have another kick at secular humanism (atheism)? No, there is a worse threat to church-goers. Every Sunday morning one of our great cities is blocked by some "half-marathon" running event (today it was Oxford): the streets are closed, and Christian worshippers cannot get to church. The event could just as easily - and less disruptively - take place on Sunday afternoon, but no, it has to take place at the worst possible time for Christians.

fancy dress Marathon

Bad vestments worthy of Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori!

I admit that in my childhood my religious education, although mostly Christian, did include heretical elements such as cross-country and road-running. Every Tuesday we did a 4-mile run, and woe betide you if you did not complete the course in 30 minutes. Being supremely fit I clocked in at 26 minutes, every time. However, being sent on runs could also be used as a punishment, which is why so many "baptised" runners later lapse and follow other forms of worship.

London Marathon

World "Yoof" Day. A huge congregation turns out for a London Marathon Service.

These days I do occasionally run for a bus, but of course this is actually a breach of the 1st Commandment, and needs to be confessed and forgiven. Pope Francis has suggested that we "walk with" people who have dabbled with running. It is true that if a person with running tendencies is truly seeking God, then who are we to judge?

Running is an ancient heresy. The Church of Half-Marathon was founded by the (false) prophet Pheidippides in 490 BC (which is somewhere between Zechariah and Esther in Old Testament terms), and there are references to this religion throughout history.

Peter and John run to the tomb

Peter and John running to the empty tomb. But they were forgiven.

Some runners have become radicalized. Whereas "moderate" runners will dash past you on the pavement with an apologetic "Excuse me", the militant ones shout "Get out of the way!" and are prepared to knock over those who do not follow their faith.

Nowadays, running is the major religion in the Western World. The Islamic countries are less troubled by it - it's too hot - and it is good to see that older people run far less than the youngsters, putting away such childish things as they prepare for the after-life.

As all religions spawn heretical sects, a modernist religion has arisen that also causes great inconvenience to Christian worship - cycling. There are Le Tour de France, Le Tour De Yorkshire, La Tour de Babel, ... all events designed to take over the streets for several days and make it impossible for people of other religions to worship.

cycle lane

Cyclists have special places where they can carry out their disgusting rituals.

Still, all is not gloomy. Pope Francis is expecting to meet the Chief Cyclist soon, and to pray with him as an ecumenical gesture. In these days, we have to live with our neighbour, even if we are shocked by his beliefs.

Saturday 8 October 2016


It's time for another instalment of the Eccles Bible project, in which we explain the books of the Bible to atheists, Jesuits, and others who haven't really grasped the point. Good to see you again, Richard Dawkins, Stephen Fry, Fr Thomas Rees, Fr James Martin, Tim Kaine, Donald Trump and of course dear Hillary.

Our star pupil has a thirst after righteousness.

Well, there's not much of a "plot" to the book of Proverbs: it consists of various wise sayings. Indeed, wisdom is the main theme. Rather than making a pointless analysis, I'll just give five quotations from Proverbs, interspersed with wise remarks from other sources. See if you can identify them.

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

If my good friend says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch in the nose.

Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.

It is never difficult to distinguish between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine.

A ray of sunshine.

Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging.

How often do you ask for the help of the Holy Spirit, the breath, the "ruah" of God? Call on her in time of need. Count on her help.

The wicked flee where no man pursues; but the righteous are as bold as a lion.

I think on the whole mumps are better than measles.

As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.

Virtue is better than no bread. Whom the gods love, butter no parsnips.

Buttered parsnips. Possibly a source of spiritual nourishment.

Right. The five non-Biblical quotes are from a computer, Pope Francis, James Martin S.J., Nigel Molesworth, and P.G. Wodehouse, in some order. They are not as full of wisdom as the authentic quotations from Proverbs, are they?

DONALD! Put that woman down! Who do you think you are, Bill Clinton? Go and sit on the naughty step!

Anyway, the next book we'll study is Ecclesiastes, commonly known as Eccles and thus universally admired.

Friday 7 October 2016

Anglicans and Catholics agree to unite

Following very friendly discussions between Pope Francis and Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, it has been decided that the time has come for the Anglicans and Catholics to recognise that there are no real differences between them, and so to re-unite.

Pope and Welby

"That's agreed then. You take Tina Beattie off our hands, and we'll take Giles Fraser."

Initially, the joint statement from the pope and archbishop was going to be an admission of defeat, namely:

1. We promise to stop burning and beheading each other 
from now on.
2. We shall carry on disagreeing about almost everything.
3. Er...
4. That's it. How about a cup of tea?

An early attempt at Catholic-Protestant dialogue.

However, a deeper search for possible common ground revealed the following points of agreement:

1. Some Catholics think women should be ordained. 
So do some Anglicans.

2. Some Catholics are happy with same-sex marriage, 
including for priests. So are some Anglicans.

3. Some Catholics are atheists. So are some Anglicans.

4. Some Catholics are fine with abortion. 
So are some Anglicans.

5. Some Catholics are demented lunatics with no 
moral principles whatsoever. So are some Anglicans.
Pope and Welby

"So you'll wear the white vestments this week, and then next week it's my turn."

As for the liturgical differences that some commentators thought an insuperable barrier to union... well, clown masses, bad vestments, puppets, skateboards, communion in plastic cups, hymns that sound like bad pop songs, children sitting on the altar, balloons, masses where pets are invited, and fancy dress... are all welcome in any church. Or so it seems.

balloon mass

"Just remind me. Am I a Catholic, a Protestant, or a family entertainer?

So that's all right, then.

Thursday 6 October 2016

A world without abortionists?

This is Frankenstein, my son. When we were expecting him, the doctors warned us that he would probably be an abortionist (there is now a non-invasive test that can tell you with 99% reliability if your unborn child is going to have this condition). But we decided to go ahead and let him live, because, after all, we are pro-life.

young Frankenstein

Dear Frankenstein.

It was not easy having an abortionist son, but we loved him. As a child, he was almost the same as other boys, except that of course he liked pulling the wings off butterflies, kicking cats in the head, and, on special occasions, dropping bricks out of the window on babies in pushchairs. When, at the age of 16, it became clear that his condition was incurable, we decided to help him all we could, by sending him to the Norman Bates Psycho School for people with Special Needs (in his case, blood, guts, and vital organs).

Cecile Richards

Cecile Richards of Planned Slaughterhood. A normal healthy adult.

My friend Doris has a different story. She was not able to cope with the idea of giving birth to an abortionist, but, on the other hand, she was a devout Catholic and did not believe in asking for a "termination". In the end she took the only reasonable course of action and gave birth to her child. Luckily, there had been a misdiagnosis and her daughter was merely a psychopathic serial killer, and not an abortionist after all. A lucky escape indeed!


You wanted a termination?

Imagine a world without abortionists! A whole section of our population ruthlessly eliminated! Sounds great, doesn't it? Has anyone got any ideas how we can achieve it?

With apologies to the wonderful Sally Phillips.

Wednesday 5 October 2016

How to be a devoid Catholic

The story so far: you are Citizen Kane, who was brought up by Jesuits and thus never had the benefit of any moral guidance. Nonetheless, when they kicked you out into the big world, they slapped a label on your forehead saying "Catholic", and you find it useful to describe yourself as a "devoid Catholic", saying "devoid" quickly so that it sounds like "devout".

Tim Kaine praying

"Let us pray. Only joking, folks, ha ha ha!"

Imagine your joy when Hillary Klingon - a woman known to be suffering from a thousand illnesses - asks you to be her running-mate as she stands as the Demonic candidate for President of the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave! There's just one condition necessary: you must sell your soul to the Devil.


"Whatever you say, Hillary."

Being Jesuit-educated, you didn't even know you had a soul, but it turns out that you do. Now, what are good causes for a devoid Catholic to support? Catholics for Slavery? Catholics for Torture? Catholics for Rape? Excellent... but Catholics for Choice is even better! Ripping babies to pieces in the womb... um, sounds a bit grim, doesn't it, but Hillary's all for it, so you must be too!

By all means describe yourself as "personally" a decent human being who only wants love, peace, mercy and fluffy kittens. Provided that "politically" you go for violence, cruelty, bullying and squashed fluffy kittens, like Auntie Hillary and Uncle Bill do.


"I don't like the sound of this Klingon woman."

Oh, but there's one problem. The LOTFATHOTB is full of Catholic bishops. People such as the mighty Dolan, Wuerl, and Cupich. Stout defenders of the faith. Single-minded champions of the weak. Moral giants. These people aren't going to stand any nonsense from people in public life who claim to be Catholics and then spit on the Church's teaching. You'll be excommunicated in no time.

Only joking, Tim! First they didn't come for Ted Kennedy, then they didn't come for Joe Biden, then they didn't come for Nancy Pelosi.... You're perfectly safe. Moreover, if Hillary gets in, then in six months time she'll be carted off to the funny farm, and we'll see President Kane!