This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Sunday 26 February 2017

Giving up the Pope for Lent

1. There was a young man called Eccles, who was known for his rigid humility and mercy: so much so that everyone said that he must be saved.

2. This Eccles wrote a lovely blog, which provided spiritual nourishment to all who read it.

N.B. The above verses do not appear in all versions of the Bible.

3. Now, the time of Lent was fast approaching, in which men were encouraged to give up wordly things, and to engage in spiritual deeds.

R2D2 and C3PO in the desert

Into the wilderness for Lent.

4. "But what can I give up?" asked Eccles. "Shall it be chocolate? Or the strong drink that rageth? Or shall I stop sitting in my shed of an evening poking fun at Fr James Martin SJ?"

5. And there came a wise woman to Eccles who said to him, "Why not give up the Pope for Lent?"

6. This would indeed be a great sacrifice. For leading a life that ignored all the deeds of Pope Francis would cause all sorts of deprivation.

 Henry VIII statue

No longer shall we read of the Pope's attending Anglican services and genuflecting to Henry VIII.

7. "Where shall I be without a regular 'INSULT FOR THE DAY' arriving in my mailbox?" wondered Eccles.

8. "Can I possibly survive without knowing which Catholic doctrines have been made ambiguous, or without hearing the latest off-the-cuff pronouncements when the Holy Father rideth in his chariot of the air, that which is known as Pope Force 1?"

9. "Will it not grieve me to know not the latest indignities that have been heaped upon Cardinal Burke, who is fast becoming a rival to Job as a man of suffering?"

10. "It is true that I shall not miss the answers to the five dubia, for Pope Francis hath constructed a giant thinking machine called Deep Thought which will not report on this matter for another seven and a half million years."

Deep Thought

The priests await Deep Thought's answers to the dubia.

11. "In my Eccsit from papal news, I shall also be obliged to spend forty days and forty nights without hearing aught of Fr Antonio Spadaro, of Austen Ivereigh, of Cardinals Kasper, Marx, Cupich, Coccopalmiero and the rest. Will I be able to bear it?"

12. "It is true that I cannot totally forget Pope Francis - for he hath asked us all to pray for the people that hate us. Thus everyone who attendeth Mass is encouraged to pray for the Pope - for nobody's hatred for us is like unto his!"

13 "Still, he is not commonly mentioned elsewhere in the Mass, except perchance in the homilies of Fr Arthur, in which there is a great scowling and rolling of eyes whenever the catchphrase Amoris Laetitia is uttered."

14. Thus Eccles weighed up the matter in his heart, and decided that passing Lent in a Pope-free manner would be good for his soul and his blood pressure.

15. He would also have more time for spiritually nourishing reading, such as the words of Michael Coren, he who later decided to eat them.


Still, there are other possibilities.

16. And so it came to pass that the Pope cried in the wilderness and Eccles heard him not.

Friday 24 February 2017

St Ignatius Academy Old Boys' News

It's been another good year for Jesuits everywhere, and as usual our old boys have been sending us news of their achievements worldwide.

Arturo Sosa (Caracas House, Class of 1977) has been appointed Superior General, also known as the Black Pope, although he admits that he doesn't really like the colour black!

Sosa in a football shirt

The Blue and White Pope is anxious never to be recognised as a priest!

Arturo has been keeping up the finest Jesuit traditions of poking fun at Christian teaching. He tells us that he doesn't like Doctrine, and that's probably a good thing, as we recall that he got only 15% on his "New Testament Theology for Footballers" course!

We remember at the time that his excuse was that Jesus's words were only "relative" and "had to be discerned" according to the conscience of the individual. In those days, this excuse didn't serve him very well, and Mgr Chávez kept him in detention for 6 months on a bread and water diet. Nowadays we realise that this is the sort of attitude to Holy Scripture that makes him a fine Jesuit!

David Jason

Fr Sosa also starred in the crime drama A touch of Frost.

JImmy Martin (Manhattan House, Class of 1999) continues his career in comedy. Last year he told us all about his stage act with Stephen Colbert, where he tells people that the Holy Spirit is female, and that God could learn a lot from human beings! That course on "The Laurel and Hardy approach to Bible Study" paid off, Jim!

This year, the LBGTSJ community in which he performs is very keen on "Trans" rights, and thinks it's a great idea to have men in dresses wandering round the girls' rest rooms! It seems that Jimmy has been very unhappy this year, since his idol Hillary Clinton didn't get a job she had applied for, and he himself seems to have been getting a lot of criticism from serious Catholics. If we Jesuits were into praying, I'd say we should pray for him - after all, God probably isn't aware of his plight!

Laurel and Hardy

Jimmy Martin and Tom Rosica (St Basil's School) wander into the Ladies' Rest Room by mistake!

Jorge Bergoglio (Buenos Aires House, Class of 1969) continues to hold down an administrative job in Rome, and says he has no plans to retire. He tells us that his favourite Person of the Trinity is the Holy Spirit - who chose him for his present job because he was obviously the best person to occupy the Chair of St Peter! Also, unlike God and Jesus, nobody actually knows what the Holy Spirit thinks on any matter, so in best Jesuit tradition we can make up our own answers!

Pope Francis at the circus

Jorge (R) watches a non-rigid interpretation of Amoris Laetitia

We remember Jorge's time with us with affection, although he was severely punished by Fr Galtieri the day he handed in a blank test paper, saying that he couldn't give binary answers to abstract questions! Nowadays, of course, this is in the best spirit of Jesuit Confusion! We wish him well in his campaign to drive all the non-heretics out of Rome!

Thursday 16 February 2017

The Apprentice

Welcome to The Apprentice, with me your host, Pope Francis. As you know, previous hosts, such as Donald Trump (USA) and Alan Sugar (UK), were considered to be too charming, meek, mild, and conciliatory, but nobody has ever claimed that of me!

Pope Francis angry

"You're fired!"

So our four contestants are Cardinal Burke, Cardinal Coccopalmerio, Cardinal Napier and Cardinal Schönborn. Your task was to sell the new wonder cleaner Amoris Laetitia. Trials in Argentina, Malta and Germany suggested that it could remove all feelings of guilt by converting those nasty lurking sins into something sweet-smelling. Now, you four contestants, you actually didn't manage to sell the product at all, so what are your explanations?

Burke. I'm afraid I had some reservations about this product, and I even sent you some questions about it. However, you never answered, and so I couldn't find any convincing reasons for people to adopt AL.

Francis. We ask the questions! You're fired! Go to Guam, wherever that may be.


"In order to avoid committing adultery, it is sometimes necessary to commit adultery. But AL will remove the guilt."

Coccopalmerio. Well I wrote an advertising pamphlet for AL, with the slogan. If you can't help having sex, then protect yourself with Amoris Laetitia. This didn't seem to work, and anyway I forgot to turn up for the press conference.

Francis.You're fired, too! Buzz off, you stupidly-named idiot!

Napier. My marketing strategy was to Tweet a blizzard of quotations from AL, in the hope of making people feel good about it.
If you're in a loving relationship, then remember that candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker! (AL 1043).
In a marriage, two's company, but three's a crowd. However, after a period of discernment, you may discover that three is also company. (AL 6666).
Roses are red, violets are blue. The Pope is infallible, unlike you. (AL 9745832).

Francis. A good try, but no good. You're fired too.

Schonborn balloon mass

"Receive a free balloon with every can of AL!"

Schönbörn. I went for the slogan. Swallow Amoris Laetitia! It's Magisterial! You told me that this would work. But it didn't.

Francis. Remember, that if things are successful, I take the credit, and if they're not, you take the blame!

Well, it seems that YOU'RE ALL FIRED. I'd better start appointing some more cardinals.

Wednesday 15 February 2017

Why didn't Pope Francis stick to Chemistry?

Buenos Aires, late 1950s.

So, how's your new chemical technician getting on?

Bunsen and Beaker

A young Jorge Bergoglio makes coffee for Hans Küng (nothing but repeats on this blog...)

You mean Bergoglio? Yes, there are one or two problems, especially when his experiments don't work out the way he expected them to.

Distant cries of "You pickled pepper-faced alkali!" followed by the crash of a flask being thrown against the wall.

I see. How did he get on with analysing that sample I sent you? Does it contain any latent arsenic?

He won't tell me, says it's a binary question. He's written an impenetrable report Análisis Latentia, but you're a better man than I am if you can understand what his conclusions are.

I gather he's published a research paper all about chemicals loosening bonds and recombining with other chemicals?

Yes, it contradicts all previous theories on the subject, and says that recombining is perfectly possible if "discernment" is applied first. Apparently the laws of physics are just there to be broken.

toxic chemical

Coccopalmerite - an elusive chemical, sometimes hard to locate.

Distant cries of "You rigid watered-down sloth-diseased ascetic acid!" as a beaker crashes through the window hitting little Agustin Iverio on the head.

He'll have to go, you know. I see that the Jesuit Seminary is advertising a scholarship that might suit him. That would get him off your hands.

But he's never expressed any interest in religion. Oh, I see, you said "Jesuit". Silly me...

The rest is history.

Sunday 12 February 2017

New edition of the Bible announced

Pope Francis has announced that a new edition of the Bible is to be released, removing some of the more "rigid" books (e.g. the four gospels) and adding a few new ones. After all, the Bible was put together about 1500 years ago. It was reaffirmed by the Council of Trent in 1546, although at the time some liberals imbued with the "Spirit of Trent" tried to slip in a few extras that took their fancy. In any case, it isn't modern and up to date!

Pope and Bible

The New Non-Rigid Bible will have a loose-leaf format so that pages can be added and removed as doctrine develops.

Of course the Protestant denominations have their own versions of the canon: for example, the Church of England's attendance is usually much higher on days when the (very salacious) Memoirs of Henry VIII are used for the Gospel reading.

It is expected that Amoris Laetitia will be added as a book of the Non-Rigid Bible as part of the "Very New Testament" - and possibly renamed the Book of Francis - but since it does not claim to date from 1st Century times, Mgr Antonio Spadaro is cobbling together the less rigid bits of Matthew/Mark/Luke/John into a new Gospel according to St Eric (the little-known 5th evangelist who left the group before they became famous). Any claims that "St Eric" is merely a Spadarine sockpuppet will be angrily disputed.


An artist's impression of St Eric the Evangelist.

St Eric does give an account of some of Christ's teaching, but, as today's Gospel (Matthew 5:17-37) shows, there are "problem" parts where Christ was either misquoted or - according to Jesuit theology - simply got it wrong.

Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets.

We need to add a few sentences here to explain that, although the Law is still in existence, it is to be superseded by Mercy, Discernment, and generally feeling At Peace With God. So in practice it is like the law against cycling on the pavement, and hardly ever obeyed.

If a man calls [his brother] "Renegade" he will answer for it with hell fire..

We need to rewrite this section to give a list of permitted insults, as used by the Holy Father. So you are allowed to call your brother a "Self-absorbed, Promethean neo-Pelagian" or a "Museum Mummy" or a "Pickled pepper-faced Christian" without feeling bad about it.

Teaching on adultery has always been a bit complicated.

Anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

There's a lot more on this subject that we really can't accept these days. Pope Francis didn't hold two Synods on the Family, and write a confused exhortation loosely based on what he would have liked them to agree on, just so that we would end up following St Matthew's Gospel! I think we just have to assume that Christ was misheard at this point, and actually said "No one" rather than "Anyone". Spadaro, fix this please!

All you need say is "Yes" if you mean yes, "No" if you mean no; anything more than this comes from the evil one.

Well, it was all right for Jesus. He didn't have the benefits of a Jesuit upbringing, and was quite used to answering binary questions without feeling obliged to obfuscate matters. Still, we can get round this one. The passage doesn't say you actually have to answer a question: so, if some rude people submit "dubia" to you, it is perfectly in order to pretend they never reached you, even if people plaster posters round your house and print fake newspapers on the subject. Just stick your fingers in your ears and say "La la la, I can't hear you!"

Of course fake newspapers (such as the Washington Post) should really be used for character assassinations of "rigid" cardinals.

This New Non-Rigid Bible still requires a lot of work, but should be in the shops for Christmas. Updates to its Catholic teaching will be provided every time Pope Francis takes an aeroplane trip.

Thursday 9 February 2017

Whom do we obey, the bishop or the pope?

Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth, generally agreed to be one of the truly saved English bishops, has raised an interesting question, the title of this post.

Egan tweet

The bishop's dilemma.

For Catholics at least, the generally recognised hierarchy is


"God" here means the Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit, with an optional Spirit of Vatican II joining Them - and "Pope" here is also a trinity (jolly Frank, grumpy Bergoglio, and the rarely-observed wise Francis). Moreover, for some people, POPE = GOD.

Now comes the dilemma: for the people of Portsmouth we may fairly say that the Bishop is the chap to obey, more than the Pope is. For the people of Malta, the bishops are... well, never mind, but nobody in their right mind should listen to them.

Poster from Rome

Not everyone is satisfied with the Pope.

The poster above shows that even obeying the Pope can be problematical. Our Italian is not good, but it seems to say "You is not saved, only we is saved." This is of course the recognised way of submitting complaints (Latin, "Dubia") to the Pope.

If thy priest offend thee, then of course thou shouldst stick posters of him all round the town.

Bad priest


Finally, some people will take complaints to the highest level...



Wednesday 8 February 2017

Cries of "loony" show Austen Ivereigh is making progress

A special article for Cranx written by Pope Francis.

Austen Ivereigh's misrepresentation of my Order of Malta Anschluss has allowed his critics a potent new line of attack. Traditionalists have already mocked him for his ambivalent comments about Castro, his insistence that Amoris Laetitia should be taken seriously as part of the Magisterium, and his dismissal of everyone who wants clarity in Catholic teaching as some kind of "dissenter".

"Austen, where are your wits?" the posters that appeared in Rome last weekend sarcastically asked.

"I think I've found a working brain cell!"

Now the real irony here is that Austen Ivereigh in fact possesses one of the finest minds of this era, or indeed of any era. All right, they call him mad, but didn't they call George III mad? As one Catholic Voices official I spoke to last week put it, "We are here to serve Austen Ivereigh, and not to question any of his comments. The doctrine of Iverical Infallibility is one of the cornerstones of the Catholic Voices Faith, and we remain loyal to the last."

Don Quixote

Don Bergoglio and Anto-Spadza sally forth to attack wind-Müllers.

Actually, I don't know why Austen used a cartoon of Don Quixote to illustrate his article about me - presumably he never read the book - but the quotation he uses ("The dogs are barking, Sancho, it's a sign we're advancing") applies equally to my distinguished biographer. The more jokes people make about his startling resemblance to Ronnie Corbett, the more they laugh at his articles, the more we see this as a sign that this "knight of the woeful countenance" is really on the ball.


John Allen Jr attempts to see things the Ivereigh way.

Anyway, I hope I have now made my point in as confusing a way as possible - if I start being too clear they'll throw me out of the Jesuits - so now I really must get down to a day's work - perhaps taking over another Sovereign Order, perhaps inventing new insults, perhaps sacking some more people, and perhaps simply thinking of new ways of not answering those Dubia!

Pope Francis writing

A pope's work is never done.

Sunday 5 February 2017

The writing on the wall

The people of Rome woke up yesterday to find the walls of their streets plastered with mysterious notices critical of Pope Francis. This is really most surprising, as everyone thought that he was doing so well, as a fair and just upholder of clear Catholic teaching, a humble man of mercy, and a just Duce of the Sovereign Order of Malta (now a Vatican colony).

writing on the wall

One of those scurrilous anti-Francis signs.

For those who find ancient Aramaic as clear as the teaching in Amoris Laetitia, we should explain that the signs say "Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin" which, roughly speaking, means "Dear Holy Father, would it be possible for you to reconsider one or two of your recent decisions? Thank you so much."

Mussolini poster

Antonio Spadaro has produced alternative posters showing the Pope in a better light.

Meanwhile, the Italian police are putting their best detectives onto the case of the mysterious signs, and they believe that the "Signor Grande" (Mr Big) may be a traditionally-minded Cardinal with Maltese connections, possibly wearing a Cappa Magna and speaking with an American accent. Do not approach this man - he may be dangerous.

Spiritually nourishing educational note: expert theologians tell us that the phrase "Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin" is in fact Biblical and, comes from the story of TimDolan's Feast.

Dolan eating as much as he can

You have been weighed in the balance - but it broke.

Thursday 2 February 2017

We hacked the Pope's e-mail account

Well, you'd have thought that the Pope would have chosen a more subtle password than "misericordia", wouldn't you? But we've managed to hack our way into his e-mail account, and we can now reveal some of his correspondence via Eccileaks.


Dear Customer, we are pleased to inform you that the Napoleon costume you ordered is now available, so please make an appointment with us for a fitting. As you know, we normally sell only clerical vestments, but we were happy to make an exception in your case, Holy Father, given your take-over of the formerly Sovereign Order of Malta. However, we suggest you only wear the uniform on private occasions.


Pope Francis displays his new vestments.


Cripes! Haven't you gone a bit far, old bean, taking over another sovereign state? Blimey, I know you Argies like to play silly whatsits once in a while, but this is a bit thick, what! If I hadn't got my hands full with Brenda, I mean Brexit, I'd probably have to consult old "wiggy" Trumpers about an airstrike or something. Do be careful, you silly nincom-pope! Pip-pip! Boris.

book: the taking of Malta

Pope Francis is given a book - by the author!


You dirty rotten swine! The deal was that I would resign if you did: after all we were both rulers of independent sovereign states. How long are you going to keep me under house arrest, with that maniac Kasper making faces through the bars? Matt.

Blake's Seven (Gold)

Fra' Matthew Festing is encouraged to resign as Grandmaster of the Knights of Malta.


Frankie, sweetie, I've managed to get hold of three more horses' heads. What do you say to putting them in the beds of Müller, Burke and Sarah? See you later, Catholic-hater, as we said at Jesuit seminary (in a while, Lutherophile!)


Coo-eee, Holy Father!!??!! Don't worry if all the world hates you - I'll never desert you!!??!! The naughty nuns of Norwich are backing you to the hilt!!??!! Kiss kiss!!??!!

Sor Lucia Caram

Judy Piranha - more catapult than the Pope.


Dear Holy Father, I tried to run the "Communion for everyone!" option past my fellow-bishops as you requested, but some of them seem to be Catholics - I blame that man Mennini - and so they dug in their heels. Anyway, since you're probably going to be retiring to Dunpopin' before long, I think I need to maintain healthy relations with whoever comes next. Cormac tells me that the St Gallen Mafia hasn't yet chosen your successor, but they're not likely to give us a Pope Francis II, more likely a Pius XIII. I can't imagine why - things are going so well, aren't they? Ram Ram (as we ecumenicals say!) Vin.


Oops, I seem to have given some sort of answers to the dubia. How are we going to dig ourselves out of this hole? We need to talk. Gerhard.