This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Friday 12 January 2018

Sherlock Holmes and the Dictator Pope

Not many of my readers will know that my friend Sherlock Holmes was a faithful Catholic: it is true that, having been brought up by Jesuits, he neither attended church nor obeyed Catholic moral teaching, but this should not be held against him.

Many will remember his epigram about "The curious incident of the cardinal in the night - the cardinal did nothing in the night, that was the curious incident," referring to the Archbishop of Westminster's failure to give any kind of a moral lead on Catholic teaching. As a result of this, and similar cases, Holmes was often consulted on delicate Catholic matters.

Thus, one morning, we were sitting in Baker Street discussing the new Encyclical Humanae Mortis, which had driven Holmes to inject himself with a seven percent solution of "coke" - the scientific name is "Coccopalmerio" - when our servant Mrs Beattie opened the door to admit a man dressed inconspicuously as a South American general.

General Galtieri

Our illustrious client.

"Mr Holmes, I need your help," said our client. "A book has been written about, er, a friend of mine, and we need to trace the author in order to, um, pay him homage. The Swiss Guards are already standing by with torture implements."

"I am at your service, Holy Father," replied Holmes (to my gasps of "amazing, Holmes, how did you penetrate his disguise?") "Shall we go to Rome, and make enquiries?"

We took Pope Francis's private jet to Rome, and the flight passed quickly, since our client remained standing throughout the journey, developing new Catholic doctrines "off the cuff": these will one day astound and delight the world. That evening, Holmes and I settled into an apartment in the Vatican. Holmes took out his violin as an aid to concentration and played a haunting arrangement of Stephen Walford's renowned concerto for piano and Balinese nose-flute (with its famous marking "Play whatever the Pope wants").

After two or three minutes the door opened and an African cardinal strode in. "SILENCE!" he bellowed angrily, and threw a book at my companion's head, stunning him slightly.

The Power of Silence

"... so many noisy popes..." (paragraph 40)

Once I had bandaged his head, Holmes and I made a tour of the building. We were standing outside Cardinal Coccopalmerio's apartment when we heard impassioned cries of "No! Yes! YES! YES! YES!"

"I see that they are working on an answer to the Dubia," I remarked to Holmes. He gave me a funny look that I did not understand, and began to analyse the mystery we were trying to solve.

"Watson, my theory is that the book The Dictator Pope was not written by the real Marcantonio Colonna, as he has been dead since 1584. More likely, it was written by a liberal Catholic, tired of trying to defend the Pope's obvious failings."

Marcantonio Colonna

"I have an alibi. I am dead."

"Amazing, Holmes. Could it be Spadaro? Ivereigh (no, it's too well-written)? Massimo Faggioli? James Martin (no, there's no obsession with homosexuality)? Rosica?"

"These are deep matters, Watson, and perhaps I am wrong. But the case presents interesting features. For example, why is the book produced only electronically, and not on paper? Did Cardinal Baldisseri steal all the printed copies?"

Putting on his liturgical deer-stalker, Holmes led me into Mass, where Cardinal Paradigm was going to preach about Parolin Shifts in Amoris Laetitia. To me it sounded like complete heresy, but then Homes explained that this sort of nonsense was necessary if a cardinal wished to be considered papabile, and Cardinal Paradigm probably didn't believe half of what he was saying.

Parolin dressed in white

"We have found the man who stole the Pope's vestments" announced Holmes.

To be continued?


  1. Back at 221B Baker Street, Holmes and Watson review the evidence. Means, motive, opportunity…..

    Mrs Beattie sweeps in. “Gawd blimey and luvvaduck, Mister ‘Olmes. Just been dahn the apples and pears, and looked aht… it’s a regular pea-souper on the river tonight, and no mistake”.

    “In English, please, Mrs Beattie”.

    “It’s rather foggy this evening”.

    “Thank you for that insight, Mrs B… Watson, having played Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” repetitively on the violin for several hours and popped a few tabs of “E”, I can confirm that the case is solved”.

    “Astonishing! What gave the blighter away?”

    “We’re looking for a man with a motive. A man who has been demoted, sidelined, and humiliated. A man with dissident views on this papacy… a man so well-connected at the Vatican that he would have access to damaging material…. and he had the means - who would suspect someone as obvious as…. Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke? Plus, he even looks menacing in a Homburg. Jeez, how obvious did he have to make it.”

    “This will go viral on the internet, Holmes.”

    “This is 1880, Watson.”

    “Good point”.

  2. Since one is making reference to Cardinals who did not, nor do, apparently bark in the night, may we assume the second episode of this superb narrative will likely be explicitly linked to Doyle's "Silver Blaze"?

    However, to protect the names of so many of P. Bergoglio's patently "innocent" clerical friends, it may need to be entitled "Silver Blades..."

  3. "The Power of Silence" truly is a masterpiece.

  4. Instead of play whatever the Pope wants, I would have simply had molto rubato a la papa

  5. Thanks for this! We laughed until we cried! And with the article's content there was the real possibility of just crying! Look forward to the next installment!

  6. "the real Marcantonio Colonna.......has been dead since 1584"

    Eccles.....How is it that everybody is scratching their heads and running around looking for Marcantonio Colonna? It's crystal CLEAR where he is - he is a man called Marcantonio Colonna living in Rome near the Pope.

    No, I'm not insane - according to WIKI the original Marcantonio Colonna has a modern day descendant who is "Marcantonio Colonna VIII" incredibly - not ONE single person suspects him to be the writer!

    From Wiki.....

    "The main 'Colonna di Paliano' family is represented today by Prince Marcantonio Colonna di Paliano, Prince and Duke of Paliano (b. 1948),"

    See also....

    Isn't HE likely to have written it? Is it too obvious? If he hasn't - why doesn't he sue the person who is using his name on the book?

    As Wiki states - the descendants of Marcantonio Colonna hold a hereditary title "The Princes Assistant to the Pontifical Throne " .

    This whole farce reminds me of a Goons show episode "The Dreaded Batter Pudding Hurler of Bexhill on Sea. " The "Dreaded Batter Pudding Hurler" was on the loose throwing freshly browning batter puddings at everyone - and Seagoon was trying to discover his identity.

    Here's a segment -
    Pardon me, my friend.

    I turned to see the speaker. He was a tall man wearing sensible feet, and a head to match. He was dressed in the full white outfit of a Savoy chef. Around his waist were tied several thousand cooking instruments. And behind him he pulled a portable gas stove from which issued forth the smell of batter pudding.

    Could I borrow a match? You see my gas has gone out and my batter pudding was just about to start browning.

    Certainly, here... No, no, no... Keep the whole box, I have another match at home.

    So rich! Well, thank you m'sieur, you have saved my batter pudding from getting cold. As you'll agree there's nothing quite so bad as being struck down with a cold batter pudding.

    Oh yes?

    Of course. Well, good night m'sieur.

    I watched the strange man as he pulled his gas stove away into the darkness. But I couldn't waste time watching him, my job was to find the Dreaded Batter Pudding Hurler!

    That quote from the GOONS represents US- without a shadow of a doubt......US -Not only for our not being able to see for looking concerning the identity of the writer of that book, but, on a more serious note it is similar to ourselves regarding our attitude towards this Marxist Pope.
    There he is, (all still calling him "Pope" ) though how he can be considered to be so is beyond me. He casts far worse things than batter puddings at everybody on a daily basis, appearing on TV uttering PUBLIC Blasphemy, Heresy etc.... yet we somehow say "It's not possible to call him a "Heretic" unless he actually writes his heresy down!

    It's ludicrous! Someone needs to Revise the law! A Pope who writes fewer times than he uses TV, has far more chance of indoctrinating the entire Church in Heresy via TV than for him to write formal heresy - as he jots down a few none Catholic heresies via a document! Until that law is revised - he can't lose! Today, when 98% of all Papal Communications (and Heretical annoucements) are spoken verbally - the Church must be able to issue a charge of "Formal Heresy"for what our "Pope" SAYS during a public TV slot - rather than just waiting there like idiots for him to put it in print as we tended to do prior to the days of TV and the modern age mass media coverage.

    Thanks for your blog - By the way - have you heard this? Lawrence England's new song "I'm Colonna"

    1. Yes, Lawrence writes some excellent stuff.

  7. Hope you had a Merry Christms
    and a happy new year.
    God Bless!

  8. Well Holmes, getting the fellow's (or woman's??) name is 90% of the solution. The other half will be finding him.
    J.M., essjay.