This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Tuesday 26 March 2019

How to kiss the Pope's ring

Many distressed Catholics have written to me along the following lines:

I had an audience with the Pope last week, and I attempted to kiss his ring, to show my loyalty to the Magisterium, to the Church, and to the Seat of St Peter. However, Pope Francis snatched his hand away, muttering something like "He's not going to touch my Precioussss!" and forced me to kiss his other hand instead. What can I do?

Not kissing the ring

Missed the target area!

Well, the most charitable explanation is that the Pope is saying "Kissing the Pope's ring is an important ritual, but I don't want to make it too easy." Any claims that he really thinks "It's all about me!" would be most unfair (which is why we mention them).

We therefore recommend that you grab the Pope's right hand in yours, and drag it to your lips. (Perhaps saying "Pleased to meet you. Have you come far?" will distract him enough to make this possible.)

Remember, however, that Francis used to be a bouncer, and may attempt to throw you over his shoulder. Please do NOT take this as a challenge and throw the Pope over your own shoulder. Leaving the Pope sprawling on the ground is probably an excommunicable offence. Anyway, it's definitely the sort of thing that self-absorbed Promethean neo-Pelagians would do.

Another possible explanation is that Rome is full of pickpockets and other shifty characters, and the Pope is scared that the ring might be wrenched off his hand when he isn't looking. In that case the lucky thief might set himself up as Pope - and although he (or she) would probably do a better job, that is just not the accepted away of transferring papal power. Get yourself elected by a conclave, like the rest of us have to!

Pope with red nose

Kissing the Pope's red nose is also forbidden.

Sunday 24 March 2019

Cardinal Marx redefines sexual morality

Fresh from his silver-medal triumph at the World Cup of Bad Cardinals, Cardinal Reinhard Marx has announced a "binding synodal process" in the German Catholic Church to look at "questions of present-day sexual behaviour".

"The sort of thing I have in mind," he said, "is the case of a man who has six wives. He divorces the first (the Roman Catholic Church would not accept this, but the German Catholic Church is more broad-minded), and beheads the second. The third dies, probably of natural causes, although it may be a merciful release for her. He divorces the fourth, beheads the fifth, and settles down with a sixth, who is destined to survive him. Now, is there a problem with that?"

Henry VIII

Cardinal Marx (H/T an anonymous well-wisher).

"Well, clearly all his actions can be justified by a careful reading of Amoris Laetitia. He is only divorced and remarried twice, so there should be no objection to his receiving Holy Communion. The double beheadings may be harder to excuse, except by a process of accompaniment, discernment and possibly Ignatian yoga, but Pope Francis has not explicitly spoken out against this practice - and anyway, he is not the head of the German Catholic Church."

"We German bishops are struggling to make ends meet, in spite of the Church Tax, and so another process to be justified by synodal progress is a dissolution of our remaining monasteries. This will inject much-needed cash into our pockets."

Himmerod Abbey

Himmerod Abbey. Soon to be a centre for LGBT activities. Or maybe just a Disneyland.

It is true that many German bishops are known for their dissolution.

Marx continued: "Another idea that our synod is going to consider is the execution of heretics, by which we mean people who adhere to traditional Catholicism. I strongly advise Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Cardinals Brandmüller and Müller not to set foot in Germany again: they may end up at our German Education and Execution Centre in Teibürn... Walter Kasper has got an axe and he's not afraid to use it."

Saturday 23 March 2019

Brexodus 17 - Maysis loseth another vote - or doth she?

Continued from Chapter 16

1. After her splendid defeat in the first month of the year, where those who said "Nay" outnumbered those who said "Yeah" by two hundred and thirty, Maysis returned to the courts of Pharaoh Juncker to talk again.

2. But there was little on the table, apart from several bottles of the finest wine.

3. However, after many nights' drinking together, Maysis and the Pharaoh came up with a new deal.

4. "It is not right that the children of Bri-tain should each donate half a kilogram of flesh to EUgypt," said Maysis, "and I have persuaded the Pharaoh to change that to one pound of flesh."

Merchant of Venice

"Nor cut thou less nor more, But just a pound of flesh."

5. "Likewise, some of the other clauses in the deal were too strong, and I have persuaded the Pharaoh to change some full stops to colons, some colons to semi-colons, and some semi-colons to commas."

6. "However, the backstop remaineth a backstop, and not a back-colon."

7. So Maysis returned to the House of Common People and took another vote. And this time she was defeated by one hundred and forty-nine.

8. And Maysis rejoiced, saying, "Lo, I need only take three more votes on this matter, and the nay-sayers will have vanished like unto a thief in the night."

9. But Ber-cow, he who was the Squeaker in the House of Common People, said, "Nay, thou must try something else. For it would be a strange breach of precedent to vote again. In the House of Common People, only I am allowed strange breeches."

Bercow in robes

Ber-cow showeth his strange breeches.

10. And Maysis said, "We have booked a passage across the Red Sea for the twenty-ninth day of the third month. Seventy times seven times have I have said that we shall leave on that date. And so we shall. Or perhaps on another date."

11. And there was a great shout from the people, "We want the end of May!" For Maysis had lost the people's favour.

12. So Maysis returned once more to the courts of Juncker, to be told, "We want the end of May, too. But we may insist on April."

13. Thus the House of Common People prepared itself for yet more votes on how to proceed: they asked for a People's Vote, a Traitors' Vote, a Crooks' vote, a Maniacs' vote, a Liars' vote, a Lunatics' vote, and yet many more, so that all members of the House of Common People would be included.

14. And there arose a mighty petition, which attracted millions to sign it, including famous celebrities such as Brian Cox the actor, Jennifer Saunders the scientist, and Anthony Grayling the comedian.

15. And so popular was it that people from distant North Ko-rea and Af-ghani-stan rushed to sign it.

16. And finally there came a wave of bots to sign the petition, along with the puppets of Sock. Until finally the signatures outnumbered the people of Bri-tain one hundredfold.

Molesworth=Peason lines machine

Yet more signatures for the petition.

17. And all waited to see whether the House of Common People could agree on anything at all.

Continued in Chapter 18

Friday 22 March 2019

Catholics reported for mis-speciesing hate crimes

Trans-species activist Susie Buttercup has reported thousands of Catholics to the police for mis-speciesing hate crimes, after they described her as a "stupid cow".

It is alleged that Mrs Buttercup was born into the bovine community, but went to Thailand for a species change, and is now self-identifying as a human being. However, many Catholics refuse to recognise the possibility that a person can change their sex or species, quoting Jeremiah 13:23's Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?

Alf Garnett

"None of that 'Silly old moo' stuff!"

In general it is possible for a cow to lead an interesting life standing round doing nothing - after all, many bishops manage it - but some do feel unhappy in their skin. Although a diet of grass is totally vegan, and said to be very healthy, scientists claim that it causes emissions contributing to climate change. Also it is nearly as boring as tofu.

A DNA analysis of Mrs Buttercup would definitely indicate that she was a large domesticated ungulate, but she claims full human rights, including the right to bore people on Good Morning Britain, and the right to use ladies' toilets (rather than leaving cowpats in the street); also, she claims the right to pester our totally underworked police with frivolous complaints, although they appreciate these as being far less trouble than burglaries and stabbings.

cows on football pitch

Trans cows also claim the right to take part in women's sports.

Incidentally, a cow's preferred pronouns are Moo and Muh.

Saturday 16 March 2019

Hitler's Pap

You thought that John Cornwell - author of Forget Hitler - it was all Pius XII's fault - was totally discredited, and would retire from making a fool of himself in public, but no, the BBC has taken him out of storage and let him onto BBC Radio 4's "Sunday". This is described optimistically as a religious news and current affairs programme, and was presented this time by an atheist, William Crawley.

The problem is that the Vatican is opening up the Pius XII archives, which may in due course lead to the canonization of the great man (Pius, not Cornwell), and it is therefore the BBC's duty to put a spoke in the wheel by digging out the world's greatest anti-Pius troll.

This is not entirely bad: for the Vatican no longer employs a Devil's Advocate to scrutinise possible canonizations - which may explain some recent choices - so that talking to an amateur devil's advocate, however foolish, may be better than nothing.

Scene from 'Scarlet and Black'

"The hills are alive with the Sound of Music"* - Pope Pius XII plotting with Nazis.

*Fr Hunwicke doesn't have a monopoly on obscure jokes.

Unfortunately, the BBC was unable to provide a balanced debate, owing to its strict policy of pushing its own beliefs (we are not sure, but it is probable that Cornwell is also a Brexit Remainer, keen on immigration, "trans" rights, etc.)

Anyway, we shall know more when the archives are opened, but our mole in the Vatican has taken a sneak preview, and sends us something that is surely very incriminating:

Hitler wine

Is this in the Pius XII archives? Is it still drinkable?

Thursday 14 March 2019

How to praise a bad cardinal

This is number 491 (approx.) in our long-running series on how to be a good pope, especially written for those who feel that a hairy hand may descend on their neck one day, and a strangely familiar voice intone the holy word "Gotcha", which is the customary way of telling a victim that he's going to be the man in the hot seat from now on.

One day it may happen that an elderly cardinal, let's call him Cardinal Dandruff, drops dead. That's odd, as he was only three years older than you, and he wasn't on the list of V.I.A. targets (which is headed by Viganò but may also include Burke, Brandmüller, Festing, Sire, Sarah, Müller, etc.) So he probably died of natural causes. Indeed, this may be through despair at being humiliated by Blase Cupich in the quarter-finals of the World Cup of Bad Cardinals.

Pope Francis and Danneels

We did it!

Dandruff was one of the St Gallstone Mafia, without whom you would never have come to power, and would still be an obscure South American bishop - rather than one who, in the words of your friend St Rosie the Copier, "breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants" (i.e., on a daily basis).

So you want to praise him, while skating over the various scandals with which he was associated. Try the formula "zealous pastor" who "served the Church with dedication". This is harmless enough, and could be applied to any priest who turned up to Mass once in a while and did not actually convert to Islam.

You might also mention that Dandruff participated in a number of synods. Admittedly, the synods were a waste of time, and the conclusions were rigged and distorted (thanks, Baldisseri!), but he did turn up and glare at people, especially the ones you don't like.

Finally, it's always a good move to say that someone Catholic has been "called to God". So much more tactful than mentioning purgatory, or (worse) the Fire that Never Shall Be Quenched and the Worm that Dieth Not. No chance of "Dies Irae" at the Requiem Mass for Cardinal Dandruff, simply "Jesus wants me for a sunbeam"!

The Al Capone Mafia will decide who the next pope will be.

Now, what are you going to say when McCarrick goes to that great beach house in the sky?

Saturday 9 March 2019

Bishop Schneider and the "Diversity of Popes"

The bishops of Kazakhstan and Central Asia recently paid an ad limina visit to Rome, and Bishop Athanasius Schneider took the opportunity to explain to Pope Francis that God only permits, rather than positively wills, a diversity of popes.

These ad limina visits are generally seen as an opportunity for the pope to find out what is going on in the Catholic Church (he certainly won't find out by reading La Civiltà Cattolica) as well as to brush up his theology by talking to people who actually know something about it.

Pope Francis and Bishop Schneider

"Athanasius"? I don't believe it!

As the bishop explained, it is God's permissive will that the Chair of St Peter can be occupied by complete rogues as well as truly saintly men (and also some who have been given the title of "saint" because they were around at the time of Vatican II). Consider for example, the Borgia Pope Alexander VI: although, mysteriously, he was described by his successors Sixtus V and Urban VIII as one of the most outstanding popes since Saint Peter. (Spadaro! We told you to stop editing Wikipedia!) Or even Urban VI ("He lacked Christian gentleness and charity. He was naturally arbitrary and extremely violent and imprudent, and when he came to deal with the burning ecclesiastical question of the day, that of reform, the consequences were disastrous." No, that doesn't remind me of anyone. Honest.)

"There's a more modern pope who was surely elected in opposition to the Holy Spirit," continued Schneider. "I won't mention any names, but he is a Peronist dictator, pushed into office by the efforts of St Gallen, many of whose public writings and statements contradict those of his predecessors. Father Rosica - although he may have got it from someone else - says that he breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants because he is free from disordered attachments."

St Gallen

St Gallen. Is he to blame?

So, just as the diversity of religions is "willed" by God in the sense that He simply does an almighty facepalm when he sees the wickedness of the Quakers, followers of Jedi-ism, druids (insert your own favourite bad religion here) - leaving the smiting to another occasion - so also the diversity of popes must be accepted in the same spirit.

Quaker oats

Return of the oat-fuelled fiends, by kind permission of God.

Thursday 7 March 2019

Celebrate Lent the Jesuit way!

As compiled by some of our favourite Jesuits, including Superior General Arturo Sosa, Fr James Martin, and of course Pope Francis.

Soon to be plagiarised as "Celebrate Lent the Basilian way" by Fr Thomas Rosica.

1. Give up sin.

give up sin

This novel idea seems to originate from the Canadian bishops.

Giving up sin is probably not something that occurred to you before, but it's very easy: most things that we used to think of as "sin" turn out to be simply "alternative lifestyles". Still, there may be some bad habits that you really ought to drop, at least for the 40 days of Lent - speaking Latin, pushing old ladies under buses, hard drugs such as coccopalmerio, etc.

Every time you are tempted to sin, write the sin down on a piece of paper, and save it for later. That way you can have a really Happy Easter when you let it all go!

2. Build bridges.

Are you doing enough for the LGBTQSJ community in Lent? It is not necessary for you to "come out" in Lent, and certainly God is not (yet) asking you to "change gender", but you should certainly try and build bridges with your LGBTQSJ neighbours. Why not ask your parish priest if he is thinking of changing sex? This is guaranteed to put you in a good light, as a loving caring person. Tell him that whatever lifestyle he chooses to adopt, you are not going to judge him, and you think he is doing a fine job.

3. Take up Ignatian Yoga.

James Martin's yoga

Fr Martin's classes start soon. Bring your rainbow leotard!

This discipline is good for your bodily health, as well as your spiritual development. Originating with the Buddhists, Hindus, and Jains, it has not been seen as a part of Catholic teaching until now. However, it is now generally recognised that sitting around cross-legged and intoning the sacred words So Sa, Mah Teen, Reese, Bah Go Lee Oh and "letting it all hang out" is the best way to get on the path of enlightenment.

There will soon be a new book out, "How to twist things," in which Fr Martin will explain how a flexible approach is always the best.

4. Spiritual reading.

Lent is a good time for avoiding the Bible, because, as General Sosa says, "It ain't necessarily so," since there were no tape-recorders available when it was written. Instead, go for the works of deep thinkers such as Leonardo Boff, Hans Küng, Tony Flannery, etc., or sit on a bus reading out passages from the the Tablet to your ecstatic neighbours.

Boff book

As recommended by Pope Francis. Try screaming on the bus to show your support!

5. Respect the environment.

This really follows from (4), as your spiritual reading should include Laudato Si'. Think of new ways of saving the planet! Old polythene bags can be sewn together to make wonderful vestments for your priest - don't worry if his chasuble bears the mysterious word "Tesco", for it is all part of celebrating God's creation. Plastic straws can be stuck in your hair, and these will add a little colour to your liturgical dancing.

6. Stop gossiping.

Pope Francis SJ has asked us to include this discipline in our list. Gossiping includes trying to find out what is going on in the Vatican, asking Dubia of the Pope, issuing filial corrections, and indeed any embarrassing Church news. In the words of Jesus, when He went into the wilderness: "Give us a break, guys!"

Remember that the Vatican is getting tough on abuse these days. We had a wonderful summit on the subject, in which we agreed that everything is more-or-less fine really, and we can't see what all the fuss is about. So woe on ye if ye say otherwise!

Have a fun Lent!

Tuesday 5 March 2019

2013 and all that (part 2)

Continued from Part 1.

In the third year of his reign, Pope Francis the Humble produced a papal encyclopedia, called Laudato Si'. Since they did not speak Italian, most people thought that this was a new type of pasta, and were very disappointed when it turned out to be something totally indigestible.

alphabet pasta

Re-arrange these letters into something spiritually nourishing.

Laudato Si' was all about the environment, and the Pope humbly explained that flying in aeroplanes and giving press conferences was bad for Mother Earth; indeed, every time a journalist asked a question, a polar bear burst into flames. Also, he explained that biodiversity was more important than anything else, even religion. This led to a great increase in the number of pandas, blue whales, and Sumatran tigers adopted by Catholics.

Pope and tiger

Pope Francis adopts a rare tiger.

It was also time for the second Sinner of the Family, so that lots of bishops could come to Rome and see which sins they most enjoyed. The bishops voted for their favourite sins, and in the end Cardigan Baldacchino told them they had got it all wrong, and that Pope Francis would have to write a humble Apostolic Expiration called Amorous Letitia, to tell them what they should have said.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis, being a merciful as well as a humble pope, decided that the Church should have a Year of Mercy. This was to be the first of a series of years celebrating the things Pope Francis held sacred, and future ones would be called the Year of Pizza, Year of Football, and Year of Tango.

tango in church

Auditions for the Year of Tango.

In the Year of Mercy, all churches had to have a door called the Door of Mercy for people to enter by if they were feeling merciful. Those who did not feel merciful were allowed to enter by the Window of Cruelty instead.

Pope Francis's reign was known for the custom of using silly logos for all events, because all the sensible logos had already been used. One of his advisers said "Let's use a logo of a two-headed Cyclops on skis - we haven't had that one before, have we?" After checking the records of all Catholic logos used, all the way back to the 1st Century, it was confirmed that nobody had thought of that logo before, not even St John when he wrote his Logos Doctrine. So the logo was adopted, and the Catholic faithful were briefly united in crying for mercy whenever they saw it.

Year of Mercy logo

Mercy! Mercy!

In the next part, we meet Amorous Letitia; also Burke is Dubious, and Fra' Matthew stops Feasting.

Friday 1 March 2019

The case against Cardinal Pell

We are delighted to include an exclusive interview with Billy Bong, one of the jury who recently convicted Cardinal Pell of sex offences.

Eccles: Now, Billy, how did you get to be on the jury?

Billy Bong

Billy Bong.

Billy: Well, I answered an advert, which said "Jury members wanted for high-profile trial. The successful candidates will have an IQ of 80 or less, be virulently anti-Catholic (if possible, freemasons), and to have had their consciences surgically removed." Unfortunately, I had already missed out on an earlier advert.

Eccles: What was the earlier advert?

Billy: "Story-writing competition. Make up a tale involving Cardinal Pell committing sex abuse. 200 dollars paid for the best fantasy."

Eccles: I see. Now, the original trial resulted in a hung verdict, 10-2 in favour of Pell. Why did things swing round so far for the second trial?

Billy: Well, we knew he must have done something, even if we weren't sure of the details. Think how many comedians use "Catholic = child abuse" as a very very funny joke, even better than the old racial jokes about aboriginals and sheep that we used to love. So what could we do but find him guilty?

Pope and Pell

A sign of bad character: Cardinal Pell argues with the umpire.

Eccles; What about the evidence that he was actually outside the cathedral chatting to the congregation at the time he was supposed to be in the sacristy?

Billy: Look, Catholics believe in miracles, don't they? So it must have been possible.

Eccles: And exposing himself while wearing alb, stole, chasuble, etc. over his trousers?

Billy: This was the prosecution's point entirely. Under his clothes he was completely naked!

Eccles: And the witness not being cross-examined?

Billy: They didn't want to upset him by pointing out that he was either a liar or a lunatic. (They'd had so much trouble with other witness, a junkie who kept changing his mind.) Inspector Plod of the anti-Catholic Task Force ("Flying Plod of the Yard") went to great trouble to write his testimony in green ink, and he didn't want to rewrite it.

Eccles: How about "Thou shalt not bear false witness"?

Billy: Oh yes, oh yes. They warned us that the Catholics would try to confuse things by digging up out-of-date theological arguments.

Aaaarggh!!! Can we stop now??? My brain is giving off steam!!!

Eccles: Mr Bong, thank you very much.

Picnic at Hanging Rock

Picnic at Hanging Rock. Police claim that Cardinal Pell abducted these girls in 1900.