This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Saturday 29 December 2018

The BBC Murders

This Christmas has seen a television "adaptation" of an Agatha Christie novel, the ABC Murders, by one Sarah Phelps. Some would say that Sarah was an unlikely person to make the adaptation as she had never previously heard of Agatha Christie, and was very unsure who Hercule Poirot was ("He's the aristocratic one with the monocle, isn't he?"). Nonetheless, it doesn't really matter because she decided to rewrite the whole story, making it fit better with 2018 BBC values of political correctness, anti-Brexit, secularism, etc.

In this version Hercule Poirot's back-story has changed slightly, and he is an African cardinal with fairly traditional beliefs.

Cardinal Sarah

Hercule Poirot, with trademark deerstalker.

Poirot is summoned to investigate a series of deaths. The first is the German cardinal, His Eminence Joachim Meisner. Allegedly he was vacationing in Bad Füssing in Bavaria. Since he was an Archbishop, Poirot realises instantly that this begins with A, and is the first of a chain of murders.

But what could the connection be with the second victim, Carlo Caffarra? Allegedly, he had suffered a long illness, but could the arsenic and cyanide found in his coffee, along with the rope round his neck, the dagger in his back, the bullet-holes in his chest and the marks of lead piping on his crushed skull lead to suspicions of foul play?

Poirot evidently thought so, and making the usual references to "my little green cells" and "the game is afoot, Watson!" (Sarah Phelps really knows how to get "inside" a character), he saw that Caffarra was from Bologna - "that means 'B', old Parker-bird!") and that this must be the second in the chain.

Cardinal Burke

Could this be the next victim? C for Cardinal...

Now, it was entirely a red herring that Meisner and Caffarra were authors of the "Dubia" submitted to Pope Francis. Although Inspector Maigret wanted to give police protection to the remaining authors, Burke and Brandmüller, our hero, Poirot, saw further, and realised that the next victim would probably be called Viganò, because there was no connection with C at all!


I'm sorry, I seem to have got the wrong end of the stick here. The ABC murders actually refer to St Thomas Becket, ArchBishop of Canterbury, and Hercule Poirot is looking for four knights. It is believed that one may be Michael Palin.

Spanish Inquisition

Nobody expects Sir Michael Palin!

Friday 28 December 2018

It's a wonderful life

One of the most popular Christmas films ever is "It's a wonderful life" telling the story of George Bailoglio, of Buenos Aires Falls. After a long and complicated life he becomes Pope, but things go badly for him, and he is criticised on all sides. Should he end it all?

George Bailey and guardian angel

George Bailoglio with Ted McCarrick his guardian angel

His guardian angel persuades George to look back at all the lives he has affected, and to see how things would have turned out if he had not come to Popersville.

There's James Martin SJ, no longer an influential LGBT activist and part-time priest, but in a much lowlier job, acting and dancing.

There's Matthew Festing, no longer in retirement and relaxing over a glass of port, but the powerful Prince and Grandmaster of the Sovereign Order of Malta, forced to fight endless battles with Al Boeslager, the condom king.

Pope on a rope

No, don't hang yourself!

There's Austen Ivereigh, no longer a famous writer of toadying biographies and self-styled expert on the papacy, but simply a failed journalist sleeping in a cardboard box.

There are cardinals Cupich, Tobin, Farrell, Wuerl, Kasper, Marx, Coccopalmerio, Sch... (all right, thirty other names omitted), all demoted to the rank of acting subdeacon responsible for the boiler, on account of their heresies.

There's Professor Massimo Faggioli, no longer a highly-revered academic whose lectures attract sometimes more than three students, but simply a gelato salesman who harangues passers-by with his latest theories.

Marx brothers ice-cream

Professor Faggioli at work.

There's Henry Sire, no longer the multi-millionaire author of The Dictator Pope, soon to be a major movie starring Tom Hanks, but the unread author of The Pretty Good Pope Really, the story of Cardinal Sarah's pontificate.

There's the Vatican staff, employing ten times as many people as before, all fielding questions of the form "Did the Pope really say that?" and "Did the Pope really do that?" So many would otherwise be unemployed.

Anyway, in the end George Bailoglio realises what a great influence has had on people's lives, and decides not to end it all. "If Benedict can live into his 90s then so can I!"

Francis and Benedict

A happy ending for everyone.

Wednesday 26 December 2018

Did Jesus come to save reindeer?

Since it is Christmas, we asked some of our favourite Catholics to tell us which Christmas carols they would be singing at Mass this year. Of course, we got many of the old spiritually-nourishing favourites: Cardinal Napier would be singing "Jingle Bells" and "Oh what fun it is to ride with Pope Francis all the way," since the Holy Father was so much like Jesus; Massimo Faggioli went for "We wish you a merry Christmas," having confessed that he had a weakness for figgy pudding as well as gelato; Austen Ivereigh admitted that he always felt a thrill of excitement when he heard "Santa Claus is coming to town;" and so on.

It was Fr James Martin LGBTSJ who gave us a fuller explanation of the meaning of Christmas.

Fr James Martin burbles again

St James the Jesuit explains the Incarnation.

"My favourite Christmas carol is 'Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer," Fr James explained. "Rudolph suffers homophobic abuse from the reindeer pack, simply because he has a very shiny - no doubt rainbow-patterned - nose. They refuse to build bridges to him, and they won't admit that, whatever his alternative lifestyle may be (perhaps there's a Francesco Reindeer lodging in his stable?) it's all perfectly all right with God.

Two reindeer

"Are you saved, brother?"

But Fr James went further, interpreting St John's "The Word Became Flesh" as indicating that God loves all flesh, and Jesus came to save reindeer as well as humans. Who could doubt that at one time He became incarnate as a reindeer? "Moreover," Fr James continued, "because God loves flesh, it is meaningless to talk about sins of the flesh, isn't it?"

So now we know.

Sunday 23 December 2018


The great Cardinal Dolan has been inviting questions on Twitter with the hashtag #AskCardinalDolan. We are pleased to present some edited highlights.

#AskCardinalDolan When are you going to stop Fr James Martin from preaching heresy, leading people into the ways of evil, and generally boring everyone to death with his homosexual obsessions?

Er... nothing to do with me... Jesuits... ask Sosa... ask the Pope... everyone is welcome... build bridges... strong ones for me please... next question please!

Dolan, McCarrick, Wuerl

#AskCardinalDolan What was there to laugh about?


#AskCardinalDolan What is your favourite meal?

Well, advent is a time for restraint, some would say fasting, so this morning my breakfast consisted of a simple lobster thermidor aux crevettes with a Mornay sauce, garnished with truffle pâté, brandy and a fried egg on top, and spam. With that inside me, I won't need to eat again until 11 o'clock. Moreover, Humble Pope Francis is encouraging us to share our meals with the homeless, so for lunch we'll be giving the scruffy lot a plate of Massimo Faggioli (beans) and a Coccopalmerio tart.

Dolan feasting

Lost in amazement.

#AskCardinalDolan Why don't you release the body of Fulton Sheen, so that canonization can proceed?

Well, it is a great money-spinner for St Patrick's cathedral to have our own celebrity in the crypt, you know. Also, we're not sure that Sheen is really the sort of saint that we want in the Nu-Francis Church. People like Sheen and Mother Angelica are the sort of dogmatic "We know the answers because Christ told us" people that simply don't fit in nowadays.

We prefer a charismatic gasbag like Bishop Robert Barron, who at least - if he can't remember the answer to a question - makes one up that he thinks people would like to hear. Apparently, everyone is saved, you know.

#AskCardinalDolan The Rockettes look very tasty. How do I get to dance with them?

Well, first go to seminary, and after a while they'll make you a cardinal, and you can then do whatever you like (except criticise the Pope of course!) Didn't John the Baptist dance with Salome? You can do likewise - but don't lose your head!

Dolan and Rockettes

Dance, then, wherever you may be!

I must say this question-and-answer session is going very well. Maybe we have time for one final question for your "good shepherd" (me!)

#AskCardinalDolan Why are you always laughing like an idiot?

I find joy in everything - funerals, Church scandals, Lent, even Pope Francis's writhing on the hook on which Viganò caught him. But I always try to keep a solemn demeanour, as befits a prince of the Church.

Dolan laughing

That's all, folks!

Saturday 15 December 2018

Brexodus 15: Maysis winneth a vote

Continued from Chapter 14.

1. So Jacob Gogg-Magogg sought eight and forty men who would write letters against Maysis, the leader of the Con-serva-tites.

2. However, at first eight and forty men such men did not come forward, and Maysis returned to the courts of Juncker to arrange the terms under which the children of Bri-tain were to leave EU-gypt.

Rees-Mogg in top hat

Jacob Gogg-Magogg prepareth to go into the wilderness.

3. However, there had arisen a grievous problem known as the Backstab, or, the Irish Question version 94, wherein the trade in milk and honey with the Irishites was to be governed.

4. And Maysis and Bar-nier (he who spake for Juncker when the Pharaoh had drunk too much of the wine that is called Sci-atica) differed over the conditions under which the Backstab might be used.

5. And being a skilled and experienced negotiator, Maysis agreed to everything that Bar-nier wished.

6. So it was clear that the Con-serva-tites had no chance of persuading the children of Bri-tain to accept the Backstab, especially as the Dup-ites of Arlene swore to fight against it.

7. And Jacob Gogg-Magogg cried out once more "Are there not eight and forty men who will write letters asking for Maysis to go?"

8. And this time there came many letters, although how many, and from whom, no man may know except the chairman of the mighty council that is called 1922.

Postman Pat

Jacob delivereth many letters.

9. Thus the Con-serva-tites held a vote, under which there were two alternatives: that Maysis should remain, or that Maysis should leave.

10. And this time those that said "Remain" won the vote. So Maysis continued to lead the Con-serva-tites.

11. And Jacob Gogg-Magogg said privily, "Perhaps we should hold this vote again, for it is only by a People's Vote that Maysis may be deposed. For perchance many of the people who voted for her were not people."

12. It would be a grievous insult for any man to name names here, but many doubts had been expressed about Haman the money-changer, and Amber the worker and pensioner.

13. So Maysis returned to the courts of Juncker yet again, and spake also with the great leaders such as Mac-ron the yellow-shirted and Mer-kel of the Germanites.

May and Juncker

"If thou rufflest my hair, I shall smite thee, O Pharaoh."

14. But their nay was nay, and no new agreement was reached.

15. Worse than this, the Pharaoh Juncker put down his bottle of Sci-atica and insulted Maysis, likening her unto Nebuchadnezzar; although he only managed to utter "Nebulous".


The world becometh Nebulous for Juncker.

16. And Maysis was wrathful with Juncker, and it seemed an agreement was further away than ever.

Continued in Chapter 16.

Monday 10 December 2018

Cardinal Napier "less Catholic than Ian Paisley"

Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier OFM was once a reasonably orthodox Catholic, but his history may be regarded as the Rake's Progress in 3 parts.

Napier, glum

Warning - this is going to end badly.

Part I - the Smiter of Heresy.

tweet about James Martin

Fighting talk, your Eminence!

Clearly this is a man who will stand no nonsense. Indeed, in the 2015 Synod on the Family, he expressed disquiet at the way it was being gerrymandered. Now he's stomping on Fr James Martin LGBTSJ, who deserves stomping on if anyone does. What can possibly go wrong?

Part II - the Pope-worshipper.

tweet about Pope's wonders

Oh dear - he's been got at.

Our hero descends into a slavish adoration of Pope Francis and his dreadful Amoris Laetita (the Pope's little joke on the Church). I can't pinpoint any wonders achieved by Pope Francis, but I am sure that if we get a Pope Francis II (say, Cupich, Wuerl, or Tobin), then lots of dodgy miracles will be attributed to Francis I, and he'll be canonized before you can say "McCarrick!"

Part III - a place is reserved in Bedlam.

tweet about Ian Paisley

The final descent into madness.

Right, that's clear. Anyone who criticises Pope Francis is literally Hitler Ian Paisley, the loud-mouthed Protestant politician from Northern Ireland who shouted "Anti-Christ!" at Pope John-Paul II. Poor old Ian was actually very sound on issues like abortion and homosexuality, but he really didn't like Catholics. Now, it's hard to know whether Raymond Arroyo has shouted "Anti-Christ!" at Pope Francis. It's said that a lot of people mutter that phrase under their breath whenever the Holy Father goes on the rampage. Burke, Festing, Sarah, Sire, ...?

But poor old Arroyo is one of the mildest of chaps.

Part 4 (a bonus) - we ask the people to decide.

Twitter poll

Oh dear, this is most embarrassing. Not only did Cardinal Napier lose out badly to Raymond Arroyo in a Twitter poll, but he even lost out to Ian Paisley. I'm sorry, Wilf, I'm so very very sorry...

"And that Amoris Laetitia is rubbish as well!"

Sunday 2 December 2018

2013 and all that (part 1)

With apologies to W.C. Sellar and R.J. Yeatman.

Pope Francis, a humble pope.

In 2013 Pope Benedict surprised everyone by resigning as pope and forgetting to die. Thus he was still allowed to wear his white coat, and did not have to be put in a tomb. The cardigans gave him the job of Emergency Pope, and met to choose a successor.

Pope and balloon hat

A humble pope, wearing the papal tiara.

Having had a saintly pope (John-Paul II) and a learned pope (Benedict), the cardigans decided try something completely different and choose their pope from Argentina, a man known as General Belgrano. He was strongly supported by the St Gay Mafia, which included Cardigan Dandruff, Cardigan Casper the unfriendly ghost, and Cardigan Comic Mercy-O'Conman.

General Belgrano was known to be a humble man, and indeed his papal motto was NON ESTIS HUMILES, EGO SOLUS HUMILIS, which means "You are not humble, only I am humble." He chose the name Francis in honour of Francis Ford Coppola, the producer of the Holy Father films.

Marlon Brando

The Holy Father.

One of the first actions of the new pope was to attack the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, who had been behaving too immaculately. Fr Fidelio Volpone was appointed to help them become less immaculate, so he helped them by dismantling the order. When he had done as much damage as possible, Fr Volpone decided that he had achieved his life's ambition, and died.

In the second year of his humble reign, Pope Francis held the first of two Sinners of the Family, which were meetings of bishops who wanted to try out new sins. A very powerful cardigan called Baldacchino was appointed to run these Sinners, and to tell the bishops which new sins they would be encouraged to commit.

Being a humble pope, Francis then decided that it was time to give an equal opportunity of humility to Cardigan Burke: it is said that he was jealous of him because he was an intelligent man who had read the Bible. Cardigan Burke had been a member of the Congratulation for Bishops, which chooses new bishops, but this was too important a post for a humble man, so the Pope told him to look after the Order of Malta instead. As we shall see, this was all part of a devious plan to cause more humiliation for Burke, although this took two more years.

Order of Malta

How do you make a Maltese cross? A problem that Pope Francis solved two years later.

Finally, at about this time Francis realised that he had been elected to sort out the problems of the Roman Curious, who were the people who did all the hard work in the Catholic Church. Being a humble pope he identified fifteen disorders from which they suffered, including Spiritual Alzheimer's, Numinous Measles, amd Gnostic Arthritis. However, apart from insulting them as part of his Christmas greetings, he took no further action at that time.

In the next part we meet Loudhailer Si', the 2nd Sinner of the Family, and the Year of Murky.

Arms of the Pope

The arms of a humble pope.