This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Saturday 19 November 2016

How to be a Good Pope 5

Continued from Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. and Part 4.

The story so far: you have issued a spicy exhortation Appassionata Erotica, in which you and your ghost-writers put forward several controversial opinions. It is deliberately confusing, and, whatever it is you're trying to say, it's certainly not what was agreed at the Synod you held last year.

Pope John XXII

Pope John XXII - also knew a thing or two about inventing new doctrines.

Feeling unloved, you have also decided to create some new cardinals, for which the main criterion you use is not "Is he a good Catholic?" but "Is he a yes-man?" Accordingly some very strange people, including Cardinals Farrago, Kewpie, and Toblerone, are now ready to become princes of the Church, as you approach the end of the Jubilee Year of Hospitality.

However, all is not well. A few months ago, some of your most respected cardinals wrote to you, asking whether you were still a Catholic. Apparently they had come to the conclusion that some of the opinions stated in Appassionata Erotica, if interpreted by a sufficiently mischievous person - say, a Jesuit - were quite possibly heretical. So they posed a few test questions to give you a chance to clear your name. Such questions are called "dubia", and any truly conscientious pope is expected to respond to them.

Pope John-Paul II and George W. Bush

Pope St John-Paul II replies to dubia.

However, you are now in a real dilemma. Your own Jesuit training has taught you never to give a straight answer to a straight question. At Jesuit seminary it was: "Do you renounce evil, Fr Antonio?" "Well, I'd like to answer that question in two ways: first, by calling you names, and secondly, by running away."

So, as a good pope, you ignore the cardinals' letter - pretend, perhaps that it was lost in the post. Anyway, you have far more important duties as pope: there are still several groups of Catholics that you never got round to insulting, so, as a distraction, you call young devotees of the Latin Mass "rigid", and question the mental health of anyone who dares to ask you for clarification on any matter at all.

Meanwhile, your cronies will be describing Appassionata Erotica as "magisterial" and "part of the depoisit of faith", even "necessary for salvation", in spite of the fact that it is not even an encyclical like your famous Phew Wottascorcha on the environment, but merely an apostolic exhortation loosely based on what you wish the Synod had actually agreed.

Meanwhile, your attack dogs are slavering at the mouth...

Spadaro's witless worm tweet

Your pet pooch, Fr Wormtongue, attacks the cardinals who wrote to you.

Now, there is a real problem here, as you need to hold a consistory, before which you would meet your cardinals. They are getting increasingly disrespectful, and you expect embarrassing questions like "Did you get our letter, chum?" and "Haven't you resigned yet?"

The answer is simple - cancel the pre-consistory meeting!

However, if the cardinals responsible for the dubia are really serious about upholding the Catholic faith (sheesh! we thought that this sort of thing ended with Vatican II) then they may even go so far as to issue a formal "act of correction". So you'd better stuff some copies of Appassionata Erotica down the back of your cassock, Holy Father, in case someone comes round with a big stick!

nun with stick

Where's that naughty pope got to?

More wise advice in due course, no doubt.


  1. That was really funny but true. I especially liked the last part

  2. Can I have a placard saying 'We love Eccles' which I can wave arround while banging my tamborine and singing some banal words to the tune of 'The carnival is over' at the next NO Mass I go to?

  3. Apassionata Erotica, I love it haha! I also love that fabulous nun at the end there. W should send her round the Vatican, she'd soon get things sorted out.

  4. It's it time for a nice female. Perhaps Cardinale Hilarious of Chappa-quod

  5. That nun used to teach me Her name was Mother Bede.Definitely a no nonsense person.Priests fled as she thundered her way across the quadrangle. She would never have tolerated appassionata anything at all...not even the sonata unless the name was blanked out at the top of the page.She said that the Virgin Mary blushed every time she heard a Catholic girl whistle.So none of us from that era can whistle .I don't think Mother Bede will be canonised any time soon...which is a pity!

  6. I have always referred to 'Appassionata Erotica' by its French title as 'Plaisir d'Amour' - despite the fact that I know of a postulant in Canadian monastery who got thrown out for strumming that on his guitar (the irate French-speaking Superior not realizing that the heretical English had translated the words to 'My God Loves Me'.

  7. With five bairns, I've tried to be a good Pop.