This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Saturday 28 January 2017

Fake News from Rome

During the American presidential election, and since, various organizations such as CNN and the New York Times were revealed to be issuing fake news, mostly slanted towards the Democrats. Headlines such as HILLARY CURES BLIND BEGGAR and TRUMP KILLS TWENTY IN CHAINSAW MASSACRE were produced in order to sway public opinion.

Dolan, Clinton, Trump

"And then Pope Francis said, 'Dubia? Shmubia!'"

What is not generally known is that the Catholic press (such as Crux, EWTN, even the Catholic Herald) is guilty of similar "fake news" designed to show Pope Francis in a bad light. After all, we rely on these publications for most of our news.

Fake news: The Pope holds two Synods on the Family designed to decide whether Catholic teaching has "developed". Cardinal Baldisseri steals copies of the "Five cardinals" book that are being sent out to participants. After the Synod - or, in fact mostly before it - the Pope's ghostwriters produce a muddled document called Amoris Laetitia ("The Joy of Sex"), which is deliberately ambiguous and bears little relationship to what the Synod has decided.

True news: Cardinal Kasper goes to the Pope and says "Let's have a Synod to celebrate the joy of Christian marriage, as preached by the Church for the last 2000 years." This is arranged, and Cardinal Baldisseri hands out complimentary copies of the New Testament and Familiaris consortio to all participants. Later, the Pope himself writes a short statement in clear unambiguous language, called Nihil Mutat or "Nothing changes".

Baldisseri at piano

♫ "Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage." ♫

Fake news: Four cardinals, of which the most eminent is Raymond Burke, issue five "dubia" to try and ensure that interpretations of Amoris Laetitia do not contradict standard Catholic doctrine. The pope ignores them. In order to get his own back, he appoints a group of ridiculous but sycophantic idiots as cardinals. It would be rude and offensive to mention names, but, you know, C*p*ch and F*rr*ll... Meanwhile, some rogue bishops from Malta decide that, after all, Christ was talking through His crown, and they threaten any of their clergy who disagree.

True news: Some highly-regarded cardinals compliment Pope Francis on his wise teaching. He humbly brushes off this praise saying, "Oh, I'm just repeating what my predecessors said!" He also appoints some faithful bishops as cardinals, including Charles Chaput, Philip Egan and Salvatore Cordileone. Some Maltese bishops ask the Pope whether Church teaching could ever be watered down, and are promptly excommunicated.

Grech directing traffic

Bishop Grech takes up a new career directing traffic.

Fake News: The Pope decides to harass the Order of Malta: he appoints a committee to `investigate' it, which suspiciously produces a massive report within three days. This justifies the Pope in taking over the sovereign state, in clear violation of international law. He humiliates its Head of State, Fra' Matthew Festing, and appoints a puppet government, led by Fra' Pétain. To rub salt into the wound he illegally declares that all actions taken by Grand Master Festing and the Sovereign Council after December 6, 2016 are null and void, backdating his piracy by nearly two months.

True News: The Pope recognises the huge contribution afforded by the Order of Malta, which is in fact far better run than the Vatican. He leaves it in peace.

Vatican pirate flag

The new Vatican flag.

Fake News: Following a lot of whingeing by Jesuits, the Tablet and other organizations on the fringe of Catholicism, the Pope asks Arthur Roche to revise his translation of the Latin Mass, dumbing it down into a looser version that can more easily be perverted.

True News: The Pope compliments Arthur Roche on the faithfulness of his Mass translation, closes down the Jesuits ("they no longer serve any useful purpose") and requests that the Tablet remove all references to Catholicism from its pages.

Indeed, the true news is far more plausible.

Friday 27 January 2017

Reading Francis through Rex Mottram

In Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited the character Rex Mottram gives us a useful way to interpret Pope Francis.

'Supposing the Pope looked up and saw a cloud and said "It's going to rain," would that be bound to happen?'

'Oh, yes, Father.'

'But supposing it didn't?'

He thought a moment and said, 'I suppose it would be sort of raining spiritually, only we were too sinful to see it.'

the Pope's empty chair

A simple exercise: can you see Francis sitting in this chair, or are you too sinful?

The above picture is a useful test: early in his reign, Pope Francis was reported to have stayed away from a Beethoven concert in his honour. Of course, that would have been simple rudeness: the fact is that he was there, but only very spiritual (saved) people could see him. The rest of you are simple sedevacantists.

We should take the words "Tu es Petrus" literally. Pope Francis is Peter. Send him off to sea in a boat (something that many Catholics have felt like doing recently), and he will come back with a catch of fish. Although you may be too sinful to see them, or even smell them.

the Pope and an invisible fish

"Look at the size of this fish!"

Likewise, when the four cardinals submitted five dubia to Pope Francis, checking that he wasn't attempting to "develop" Catholic teaching on marriage, the Holy Father responded by return of post, affirming that the answers were "No, yes, yes, yes, yes" (a cry often heard in Jesuit seminaries on a Saturday night). However Cardinal Burke and his colleagues were too sinful to realise this.

Order of Malta stamp

Pope Francis presents an ecstatic Cardinal Burke with a copy of Amoris Laetitia.

Which suggests that Bishops Scicluna and Grech, in thinking that doctrine had been changed developed, were grave sinners. But we knew that anyway.

This brings us to the latest crisis involving the Order of Malta. It has been claimed that Pope Francis has - like his compatriot General Galtieri - annexed another sovereign state and installed his own puppet government. After all, the order of Malta is/was an independent subject in international law, like the Vatican.

Pope and Putin

"Thanks for the advice, Vladimir!"

Of course Peter wouldn't do such a thing, and it is your sin that gives you this impression. There is no way you will see the Pope behind bars. Forget it.

Just visiting!

Wednesday 25 January 2017

Pope forces Dalai Lama to resign

After his brilliant triumph in bluffing Fra' Matthew Festing, the Grandmaster of the Knight of Malta, into resigning (in spite of the fact that he actually has no jurisdiction over the Order of Malta), Pope Francis has decided to "go nuclear" and force some further resignations.

(Incidentally, we can reveal exclusively that, seeing the clownish antics of Maltese Bishops Scicluna and Grech, one of the pope's advisers rushed in to see him, saying "The fools! They've given the game away!" Owing to a clerical error, Pope Francis got tough with the "wrong" Malta, and poor Fra' Festing was the unhappy victim.)

Pope Francis and Matthew Festing

In the end, the plan to settle things by Sumo wrestling came to nothing.

"So who else can we push over the edge?" asked Francis of his advisers. They soon came up with a list.

1. The Dalai Lama. It is very doubtful whether the pope has any authority in this case either, but the man is a definite rival. He really is humble and benevolent, and his platitudes are better than the pope's. Of course that would involve the appointment of a new Dalai Lama, but there is one obvious person, with a long experience of writing banalities: Bryony Gordon of the Dalai Telegraph!

2. Kim Jong-un must go. Francis has long pledged to reform the North Curia (memo, check spelling), and Kim is one of the few people who treats dissidents even more ruthlessly than Francis does. To take over this hereditary position, it was advisable to choose someone from the Kim family, so Kim Kar-dashian was the obvious choice.

Kim Kardashian

The new woman in North Curia.

3. "I'm the pope and everything Catholic is under my direct command," says Francis, and so all people running organizations described as "Catholic" are expecting a rude phone call at 4 a.m. This includes Catholic Voices, the Catholic Herald, CAFOD, and (the pope's strong Argentinian accent may be responsible for this last one). It does not include the National Catholic Reporter, where the "Catholic" is well known to be an honorific title unrelated to its real activities.

the two Ronnies

Austen Ivereigh (seen here with Fr Rosica), may get a new job making cattle grids.

4. Last, but not least, Donald Trump is under threat from the pope. Although the USA is not under papal jurisdiction, some of the pope's best friends, such as Fr James Martin SJ, are still in shock that dear Hillary Clinton was so rudely rejected by the electorate. The prospect of Fr Jim taking part in a Women's March in Rome, dressed as a lady's naughty bits, has so horrified the Holy Father that he will do almost anything to prevent this from happening.

BREAKING: a compromise has been found, whereby Fra' Matthew Festing will go quietly, but only if Pope Francis does too. Since neither of them has the right to sack the other, this seems to be the fairest solution.

Monday 23 January 2017

Sister Judy Piranha attends the Women's March

Coo-ee, everyone!!??!! It's Sister Judy Piranha of the Catholic Nuns for Naughtiness back once more!!??!! I'm a disciple of those spiritual GIANTS, Father James Martin SJ ("Hillary" to his closest friends) and Father Dan Horan OFM ("Michelle" to his closest friends), joint patrons of the Order of the 30 Pieces of Silver!!??!!

James Martin and a bald Cynthia Nixon

Two of the greatest thinkers of our times.

Anyway, little Judy was delighted to join her sisters (of both sexes!!??!!) at the March for Death on Saturday!!??!! If you haven't been following this, the problem is that Donald Trump is a DIRTY OLD MAN who says RUDE THINGS!!??!! He HATES women so much that he keeps MARRYING them!!??!! Not like NICE MR CLINTON who merely raped them and assaulted them - everyone knows that dear Bill knew how to give a lady a good time!!??!!

So what is a girl to do, when the American people vote for someone she doesn't like??!!?? Demonstrate!!??!! Stand up for the essential dignity of women by wearing a costume shaped like the naughty bits of a lady!!??!! You wouldn't call us dick-heads!!??!! Quite the opposite, really!!??!!

What other direct action can we take to show that we support democracy ONLY IF it gives the answer we want, sisters??!!?? Perhaps we might even go as far as throwing a traffic cone at a passing policeman!!??!! If we did that, then Trump would be obliged to resign, mark my words!!??!!

old ladies reeling

My sisters showing Trump what they're made of!!??!!

Some people have pointed out that the Women's March wasn't exactly pro-life, and in fact "pro-life" groups were banned!!??!! But "pro-life" means whatever Fr Jim and Fr Dan say it means!!??!! There's NOTHING WRONG with killing a baby, dismembering it, and selling the pieces PROVIDED THAT you do it in a "pro-life" way!!??!! By that, we mean that we respect the baby, whatever its race, colour, creed or sexual orientation may be!!??!!

Then we kill it!!??!!

Sister Fatima of the Middle Eastern branch of Nuns for Naughtiness was delighted to join us on the March!!??!! It's true that when she got home her husband unfortunately flogged her to death, but - hey!?! - the moral is that women have much better rights in the Middle East than we do, and they don't have to put up with BEASTS like Donald Trump!!??!!

Islamic women in chains

Sister Fatima and friends demonstrate against Donald Trump!!??!!

So I have one final message for you:

1. If you're a woman, then Byeeee, and keep the faith!!??!!

2. If you are inter-sex, trans-sex, a member of the order of the 30 pieces of silver, gender-queer, non-binary, duo-decimal or otherwise weird, then Hallelujah to you!!??!!

3. If you're a MAN then BOG OFF you nasty sexist pig!!??!!

man dressed as a nun

Judy Piranha!!??!!

Sunday 22 January 2017

Learning from the Anglicans

As a respite from all the excitement in the Catholic church, let's see what the Anglicans have done recently, and whether we can learn from them.

The Scottish Episcopal Church (which is like the Church of England, except that they play the bagpipes and throw cabers around the church) has got itself into trouble with a reading from the Koran at St Mary's Cathedral, Glasgow. The row escalated and one of the Queen's chaplains has resigned.

organ and bagpipes

"How am I supposed to play Bach fugues if you're doing Donald, where's yer troosers?"

Surely that's not a problem? I mean, the Koran reading said that Jesus was not the Son of God, but we have to be tolerant these days, and if that's what the Provost really believes, then there is room for dialogue on this question. Perhaps an Anglican synod will soon be voting for this proposition with a 2/3 majority, as they did a few years ago for the proposition that Jesus got it wrong on the issue of the ordination of women.

Welby and Muslim priest

"Father Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra will be preaching tonight on 'Why Mohammed is better than Jesus'."

As an extra piece of comedy, the notoriously bossy Glasgow police managed to get in on the act, as it was claimed that there was a "hate-crime" issue here, when people complained about the betrayal of Our Lord in a Christian church. Apparently, they should have done the "Glasgow kiss of peace" first, to make it a love-crime.

LATE NEWS: Glasgow Cathedral announces an ecumenical service with worshippers of the Tiger God. As the provost puts it: such events lead to deepening friendships locally, to greater awareness of the things we hold in common, and to dialogue about the ways in which we differ.

Tiger God

No bagpipes, as they'll upset the Tiger God.

The other spiritually nourishing thing to report from the Anglican church is a joint statement on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, issued by Archbishops Welby and Sentamu. They list some (rather vague) blessings that European Christians have received to which the Reformation directly contributed, although they forget to say anything about the destruction of churches and abbeys.

There is a mention of people being put to death, but you will agree that the following sentence justifies the Reformation in its entirety: Remembering the Reformation should bring us back to what the Reformers wanted to put at the centre of every person's life, which is a simple trust in Jesus Christ.

Henry VIII statue

Justice for Henry VIII at last (and yes, that is a chair-leg).

Readers of this blog are generally cultivated people, and will remember this passage from The Man from U.N.C.L.E. - I'm sorry, I mean A Man for all Seasons, in which Henry VIII tries to explain the Reformation to (not yet St) Thomas More.

Henry: Now, mark you, Thomas. does a man need a pope to tell him what to do? This one has sent me an insulting message, telling me that under no circumstances may I marry fair Anne.

Thomas: Indeed, your Majesty, I do not think any pope would dare say otherwise, at least not in our lifetimes.

Henry: Can he not hold a synod, and get his staff to write a document that allows me to marry as many times as I wish?

Thomas: No, I really don't think we'll get very far with that idea, Sire.

Thomas More

A self-absorbed Promethean neo-pelagian gets his come-uppance.

Henry: Thomas, I plan to put a simple trust in Jesus Christ at the centre of every person's life, as advised by Master Cranmer of Canterbury and Master Lee of York.

Thomas: Is that not going too far, your Grace?

Henry: No. So report to the Executioner in the morning, there's a good fellow.

Saturday 21 January 2017

Cardinal Dolan and the Inauguration

Should Cardinal Dolan have participated in the inauguration of the new leader of the free world? Let's look at the facts. ,

Dolan at Trump's inauguration

Cardinal Dolan. For once, not eating, not dancing, and not laughing crazily.

After a rather dodgy election, a man was chosen who was considered to be very divisive.

A man known for bad language, some of it foul-mouthed.

A man whose views on sex and marriage are repellent to many Catholics.

A man whose slogans "Make Amoris great again", "Drain the Tiber" and "Let's build a wall to keep the Trads our" are considered to be offensive.

Pope Francis and Dolan

Cardinal Dolan shares a joke with "The Jorge".

Yes, the world is terrified now that the Vatican's nuclear codes are in the hands of such a man. Still, we think that Dolan was right to participate back in 2013, for after all did our Lord not associate with Republicans and sinners?

And, all things considered, the pope's inauguration went very well. A few cars set on fire, and a few bricks thrown through the windows of Starbucks by supporters of rival cardinals, but - on the whole - a good time was had by all. Some pathetic celebrities refused to sing and dance at the party afterwards, but the Catholic Tabernacle Choir, the Rockettes, the Jesuit Female Impersonators and the winner of Vatican's Got Talent (Antonio Spadaro and his sockpuppet show) nobly stepped into the breach.

Pope Francis in 2013

It's time to party, folks!

Still, we are worried that Cardinal Dolan did not even once mention the Spirit of Vatican II in his Bible reading.

Friday 20 January 2017

How the Grech stole Christ

Dr Seuss's book How the Grech stole Christ is a children's story that tells of a funny creature called "Bishop" Grech who attemps to put an end to Christianity in Malta by issuing threats against his most orthodox priests.

Grech stole Christ

The cover of the book.

You may remember that the book starts with the following lyrics:

The faithful in Malta liked Christ quite a lot,
But the Grech, based in Gozo, no he really did NOT!
The Grech hated Christ, and he hated His teaching!
But please don't ask me to explain Grech's preaching.
It could be his head wasn't screwed on just right.
Maybe it was swollen, and his mitre was tight.
But I think that the most likely reason of all,
May have been that his conscience was two sizes too small.

I'll suspend all my priests! See if I don't!

Anyway, the Grech starts removing all traces of Christian teaching from Malta, in cahoots with another funny creature called "Archbishop" Sick Loony.

Actually, this story is a bit racy for kids, for, as explained by the brilliant Madeleine Teahan, There are some things which are impossible to avoid: death, taxation, PPI phone calls, and – according to Malta's bishops – sex. Let's not go there...

P.S. This story has a happy ending, as in the end the Grech so impresses the pope that he is made a cardinal, and... hang on, that can't be right, can it?

Thursday 19 January 2017

O worship the pope!

We strongly recommend this video by Emily Clarke, which has been produced in honour of Pope Francis, due to visit Ireland next year to see whether there are any Catholics left there. It shows the best of modern Catholicism, pushing aside Jesus Christ in favour of an unqualified adoration of the Holy Father.

According to the lyrics, "The Lord kept his promise to us and sent us a treasure to see us safely home." This treasure being, er, the pope.

Papa Francis 1

Shine, Francis, Shine!

Of course the pope, being a humble and modest man, has angrily written to sister Emily to tell her to delete her video, which anyone but the most arrogant of people would find rather embarrassing. Luckily, we still have some screen captures to see us safely home.

Papa Francis 2

A quick change of dress mid-song, and we pose in front of the Tabernacle.

Actually, dear Emily may not have changed her dress in the middle of the song; it may be a trick of the light, like that ambiguous dress which, according to the Daily Mail, has "divided the Internet" because nobody is sure what colour it really is. And nobody really cares.

Papa Francis 3

The first ascent of the north face without ropes. And another change of dress.

According to the song, the pope was chosen by God, as a leader for our times. Well, it was either God or the St Gallen Mafia, and we still haven't sorted out all the contradictions in the apostolic exhortation Austenis Iveria. But let's be charitable and suppose that the Holy Spirit spoke through Cormac Murphy-O'Connor when Francis was chosen.

Papa Francis 4

Very dignified. Very tasteful. Oh, and the dress - what there is of it - is red.

Well, thank you very much, Emily. We'll let you know.

For those whose collection of Pope St Francis memorabilia is still not complete, we have another exhibit.

Santo sùbito! A miraculous medal.

Well, that's enough papalistic adoration for now. In fact, the medal I was given says "Insult us" on the back, and that does seem to be a more likely prospect.

However, we can report that the crisis involving the Knights of Malta seems to have been resolved. You will recall that it had reached an impasse, with the conversation reduced to "You have no authority to judge us." "Oh, yes we have!" "Oh no, you haven't!" etc. Finally, following my personal intervention, we have a solution.

pope squares up to Fra' Matthew Festing

Pope Francis and Fra’ Matthew Festing decide to settle things by sumo wrestling.

Sunday 15 January 2017

Defending an unpopular pope

Most of my readers have never been pope, and probably only one or two ever will be, so you don't realise how difficult the job of a pope is. You probably think that it just involves sitting around in Rome eating pasta, going to Mass, and occasionally saying something about Catholic doctrine. And the latter ought to be easy enough, as just about every issue under the sun has been discussed by previous popes, so you don't have to say anything original, although you can of course rephrase things in your own words. On no account try to change any of the doctrine - only a complete fool would do that, eh?

Pope John XXII

A pope.

However, popes do occasionally get accused of heresy. Let's look at the case of Pope John XXII, who has been in the news a lot lately, as he was accused of heresy. It all began when an old warlock called Kasperus Insanus persuaded him to hold a General Synod on the subject of Death.

The burning question of the early 14th century was whether those who died in the faith saw the presence of God before the Last Judgement. The traddies said "yes, of course", and the liberals "no". After a heated synod, the pope produced an Apostolic Exhortation A Morte Laetitia ("Happiness from Death"), which ignored the decisions of the synod and expressed his own view ("no") although it was subtly buried in a footnote that could be interpreted in several different ways.

Cardinal Farrell (blind)

Cardinal Caffara said that only a blind person could fail to find A Morte Laetitia confusing.

Of course, there were cardinals who did not like the idea that Church doctrine was being fudged, so they issued some dubia - questions to the pope along the lines of "Did you really mean to say that?" - "Would you like to try again with that one?" - and "Are you out of your mind?"

For many years the pope refused to answer these questions, responding only in insults and threats. He had many allies, for, on realising that the wise and good had refused to come to his A Morte Laetitia party, he followed the advice of Matthew 22, and went out into the streets and invited the weak, the feeble-minded and the crazy, instead. And he made them all cardinals.

Charles Scicluna

Archbishop Charles Scicluna jumps into the debate.

And some particularly foolish bishops in Malta, hoping that they too might become cardinals, rushed to teach the new doctrine; indeed they went further and said that everyone who felt at peace with God was saved - no matter what sins they had committed or intended to commit in future.

In addition, the pope relied on his servants Spadaro the Wormtongue, Austen the Catholic Vicious, and Rosica the Blockhead to insult those who questioned his heresy, to accuse them of dissent, and of course to fawn over him and lick his boots. However, the war was not one-sided. Learned scribes with Latin names such as Mundabor, Rorate Caeli, and Vox Cantoris waded into the attack. They were joined by an army of canon lawyers and even ordinary Catholics who asked "Well? When do we get to see the presence of God?"

Of course, in the end, the pope backed down and admitted that he was wrong on the issue of admission of the saved to the Divine Presence.

They all lived happily ever after

And so...

However, I still have to tell you why we should have warm feelings towards Pope John XXII. All right, he was arrogant, bad-tempered, fond of insulting the Curia, priests, deacons, parish secretaries, and even ordinary faithful Catholics. His discussion of coprophagy would make a nun blush. Still, he is said to have written the prayer Anima Christi, which is said on many occasions, and can even be used as a hymn if you get fed up with "Bind us together" and "Our God reigns" and want something intelligent instead. It begins:

Soul of my Saviour sanctify my breast, 
Body of Christ, be thou my saving guest, 
Blood of my Saviour, bathe me in thy tide, 
Wash me with waters gushing from thy side.
So three cheers for the pope!

Wednesday 11 January 2017

Anti-religious extremism among tsars

The government has announced an enquiry into anti-religious extremism among tsars (or should that be "czars"?) These are people with no particular qualities - although often they seem to have had peerages thrown at them - appointed to look into matters of concern to the prime minister and her (or his) cronies.

Tsar Nicholas II

A traditional tsar - not radicalised.

Thus we had Alan Sugar (for American readers, think of Donald Trump, only without the charm and diplomatic skills) as Enterprise Tsar, Mary Portas (the "queen of shops") as High-street Tsar, and so on. However, many people are worried about the radicalisation and anti-religious extremism shown by Louise Casey, the Integration Tsar.

Louise Casey

A modern tsar - is the chamber-pot on her head a symbol of radicalism?

Thus the government is expected to appoint a new Integration Tsar, whose job it will be to help the old one adapt to life in modern Britain, where a significant number of people are religious and do not want bossy time-servers telling them what they are allowed to believe.

For example, Tsarina Casey decided that (in her opinion) Catholic schools should not be allowed to teach that same-sex marriage is wrong - well, the party line is that it is not so much wrong, as impossible. Try telling Churchill, Thatcher or even Theresa May (a few years ago) that a man wanted to "marry" another man, and the jaw would drop, a "you're joking" would form on the lips, and - in the case of the first two - a strict memo would be issued asking that all nutters be henceforth sent packing by the doorman.

We don't have a lot of time for Mr Mohammed on this blog, but we understand that his views on same-sex "marriage" were similar to those of Christ's - only with added torture and mutilation. Well, we have to accept these different nuances in the interests of equality and diversity.

ecumenical matter

An all-purpose attempt to find common ground between religions.

The new Integration Tsarina will not be expected to wear a chamber-pot on her head, but she will be charged with investigating organizations that have a problem accepting Christian teaching. These may include the National Secular Society (approx. 5 members), the British Humanist Association (3 members, or 4 if you count the hamster), the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Ranting and Screaming (oh, at least 2), the Tony Flannery Support Group (1 member), the Friends of Tina Beattie (500 online members, of which 495 are traddy sockpuppets) and the Jesuits (far too many). We wish the new tsarina well.

Tsarina Alexandra

The new Integration Tsarina.

Tuesday 10 January 2017

World leaders come to the aid of the Vatican

Mahmoud Abbas of Palestine and Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel have led the world in offering a reassuring hand to the Vatican, as the storm-clouds of war gather over it. A climate of fear threatens Rome, but the politicians' joint message to Pope Francis is the need for the Catholic Church to make peace in this time of turbulence.

Apologies for the clichéd prose style - I'm hoping for a job with Crux.

Reports have come in that other world leaders hoping for Nobel Peace Prizes - Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-un, Bashar al-Assad - even Meryl Streep - are also offering to intervene before the pope "goes nuclear".

Cardinal Müller on a horse

Cardinal Müller (R) - found his horse's head in his bed.

Latest reports indicate that Cardinal Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has been made an offer he couldn't refuse. After originally offering to help the pope with those five terribly difficult dubia questions, he has now done what is known in theological circles as a "reverse ferret" and claimed that Amoris Laetitia is “very clear” in its teaching, everyone understands what it means, no need to ask the pope any questions, move along there please, ...

Said Syria's Bashar al-Assad, "Our intelligence reports indicated that Pope Francis has been stockpiling Sarin nerve gas, and is prepared to use it on the four cardinals (and indeed their numerous supporters). As a humanitarian I want to make sure we never get to that stage."

Pope and aeroplane

Wacko, chaps! Off to blitz the jolly old dissidents!

Vladimir Putin added, "Owing to a misunderstanding of how the Order of Malta functions, it appears that the Vatican is planning a major invasion of Malta, led by Generalissimo Spadaro of the pope's own Wormtongue Division (the 'old innumerates'). We want to bring the parties involved back to the conference table, to see whether the 'von Boeselager affair' can be settled without bloodshed."


The Vatican's Doomsday Clock approaches midnight.

Monday 9 January 2017

Do students of Christianity need a trigger warning?

The normally rather saved Professor Stephen Bullivant has written that students of Christianity need a trigger warning, because they may see distressing images. We asked a few students for their opinions.

girl facepalm

Bernadette Snowflake, studying Christianity, Human Flourishing and Liberation Theology, University of Roehampton.

Oh definitely. Although, I'm not too bothered about images of crucifixion, torture, decapitation, rape, and martyrdom: after all, I can see these things on the BBC children's programmes every day. Did you watch their latest dramatisation of Pride and Prejudice? I thought the bit where Mr Collins was eaten by a crocodile was really meaningful and relevant - all right, it was only implied in Jane Austen's novel, but seeing the animal chewing his vital organs one by one was really artistically necessary. And my baby brother liked it too.

Pride and Prejudice

The Bennet sisters cheering on the crocodile.

No, what triggers me is the general homophobia, transphobia, femininophobia, and brutality in the New Testament. Who does this character Christ think he is, choosing male disciples? Also, my friend Rebecca is vegan and has a gluten allergy, so she literally threw up when she read about 5,000 wicked people gorging themselves on bread and fish.

Lastly, someone mentioned Heaven and Hell. I've been to Luton, so the idea of Hell doesn't frighten me, but some of my friends found the whole idea very unpleasant. And, anyway, I'm sure Pope Francis has told us that Hell doesn't exist.

I wish I'd taken a less stressful degree course, now. Perhaps Professor Spadaro's Advanced Logic Course?

man facepalm

Austen Allegro, studying Church History and Marxist Studies, Jesuit University of Little Snoring.

Church History is a fascinating subject, and largely consists of people shouting "heretic" at each other, after which the winner gets to burn, decapitate, or torture the loser. But this is perfectly normal human behaviour, and in my family we had no scruples about feeding Auntie Alice to the dogs when we caught her wearing a mantilla at Mass.

However, things have definitely turned nasty these days. I need a trigger warning when I see the name of Cardinal Burke - a man whose actions are more shocking than those of all the Tudor monarchs combined. The way he and his accomplices asked the pope "What rules are we playing by these days, Holy Father?" reminds me of the worst excesses of Hitler. Or Donald Trump. Or Nigel Farage.

I want my Mummy!

Saturday 7 January 2017

Synod to decide what 2+2 is

Following a violent disagreement in the Vatican about what exactly 2+2 adds up to, Pope Francis has decided to call an Extraordinary Synod to help define (or more probably, "develop") Catholic doctrine on the subject.

Spadaro 2+2 tweet

#Father #Spadaro makes #a #hash of his #arithmetic. Now, about that expenses claim, Father...

Of course, this is not a new question. The famous "Kasper proposal" was that 1+1+1 should equal 2, at least in the context of marriage, provided the numbers had been properly accompanied and allowed to discern that their consciences were really telling them to do whatever they pleased.

Four (or was it five?) cardinals, including Raymond Burke, have already entered the debate, proposing five or six dubia for the Pope to answer:

1. What is 2+2? Is the doctrine expressed in Pope Henry IV part 2's encyclical Numerorum Morsus ("Number crunching") that 2+2 equals 4 still valid?

underground sign

A subtle attempt to persuade the faithful of Westminster.

2. If a hen and a half lays an egg and a half in a day and a half, how long would it take a hen to lay ten and a half eggs?

3. How many beans make five?

4. Antonio Spadaro can dig a pit in six hours, Blase Cupich takes twelve, and Joe Tobin takes eighteen. How long would it take them together to dig a pit large enough to bury them all? Can we try it?

5. What is 10+10? Is it 100 or 101? (Sorry, the pope doesn't answer binary questions.)

6. How long, O Lord, how long?

Spadaro and 4 fingers

"How many fingers am I holding up? Yes, five."

Pope Francis has reacted furiously, and is said to be boiling with rage and questioning the mental health of anyone who asks for clarification about the new Catholic arithmetic. Having failed with his recent attempt to invade Malta in order to get his own back at Cardinal Burke obtain justice for the sacked health minister Albrecht von Lagerlout, the pope is seriously considering a nuclear strike on the USA, in the hope of annoying both Trump and Burke.

Meanwhile, here is the EcclespollTM prediction of the result of the Synod on 2+2.

60%: the answer is 5 (merciful, liberated Catholics).
20%: the answer is anything you want it to be (Jesuits).
19%: the answer is 4 (nasty, rigid, traditional Satanically-inspired Catholics).
1%: DRINK!

Fr Jack

Probably the only reasonable reaction to Fr Spadaro.