This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Friday 31 January 2020

Church of England apologises for temporary lapse into Christianity

Yes, I thought of that title before Father Z did...

Following a special emergency meeting between the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, the Church of England has apologised for a statement made last week pointing out that for Christians the proper context for sexual activity is marriage between a man and a woman for life.

"It was a temporary lapse," explained their Graces. "We normally reject any teaching that originates earlier than the 16th century, when our blessed founder Henry VIII told us what to believe. But everyone was away that day, and the C of E was temporarily being directed by a teenage intern who somehow obtained access to a Bible."

"All we can say is that we experimented with Christianity, but now that the Guardian has complained, we are happy to back down. Our main activities continue to be investment in profitable companies and providing funfairs in our cathedrals. Oh, and nice cosy Evensongs."

Welby and Sentamu

"Giles Fraser is furious!"

The statement issued by Welby and Sentamu continued with the usual obligatory bishopese when moral issues need to be discussed: "...building bridges... difficult conversations... on the one hand... on the other hand... in a very real sense... two sides to every question... division and hurt... more tea, vicar?... we welcome all beliefs and none... a broad church... we don't want to preach at you... it is 2020 you know..."

Speculation is mounting that the intern's approval of the Ten Commandments may also have to be withdrawn. "If we have to stick to 'Thou shalt not steal' someone is going to ask us to hand all our charming churches back to the Catholics. If we are not allowed to bear false witness, then Justin's comments about 'a cloud hanging over the reputation of Bishop Bell' might need to be retracted."

Cardinal Marx

Support from an unexpected quarter...

For the Catholics, Cardinal Marx has rushed to confirm that the German Church (whatever that may be) has long since realised that Christian teaching is unsuitable for the modern era. "We are happy to bless all sexual relationships," he explained. "Different-sex, same-sex, those in which partners are non-binary, insects..."

Our reporter asked "Do you mean incest?"

"No, insects," explained the good cardinal. "A lot of German Catholics like to make love while self-identifying as giant insects. Who are we to judge, provided that they pay their church tax?"

giant wasp

A pious German Catholic.

Tuesday 28 January 2020

Pope Francis really does resign

Rumours circuating in the Vatican were confirmed today, when Pope Francis finally announced his resignation. "My work here is done," he said. "I have united the Catholic Church, sorted out China, put Catholic doctrine on a firm and unambiguous basis, cleared up all the questions of the Vatican finances, got rid of all the perverts and junkies, and in general ushered in a new era of Catholicism. In conclusion I would like to state infallibly and ex cathedra that... aaargh!"

The "aaargh" is not a new piece of doctrine, but was the result of a mass rush onto the dais when it was feared that the Holy Father might say something incredibly stupid ex cathedra, rather than, as is usual, ex aeroplana or ad Scalfarium.

Pope Francis

"It's been a lot of fun!"

So Francis fades into obscurity, having vowed to spend his declining years in (a) learning how to pray; (b) writing his memoirs to correct the errors of Austen Ivereigh; and (c) trying to chase up that Chinese pilgrim whom he impatiently slapped... "so that I can give her a real walloping". Now we have a Pope Emeritus Senior and a Pope Emeritus Junior, and the question is: who will be next?

Well, it can't be Cupich (too heretical), Marx (too fat for the chair of Peter), Tagle (too pathetic), Sarah (too African), or Burke (too American). So here is our hot tip:

Cardinal Saito has been hiding in the Burmese jungle since the 1960s, and has never heard of Vatican II. When he first went there as a young priest, all Masses were in the extraordinary form, clerical sex abuse hadn't been invented, men were real men, and popes were real popes (or at least as real as John XXIII). Owing to a clerical error, Saito was raised to the College of Cardinals by Pope John-Paul II, even though nobody had heard of him for 40 years.

Cato and Clouseau

The Cardinal who came in from the cold: Saito smites a heretic.

Support for Saito is gathering among all sections of the College of Cardinals, as someone who can start the Church off with a clean sheet, and who is totally uninfluenced by Freemasonry, Liberation Theology, Modernism, Feminism, Wokeness, etc. If elected, he will restore everything in the Church to how it was in 1960. Of course his habit of running around with a machete, shouting, "Kill the heretics" is not likely to endear him to everyone. Still, you heard it here first. Look out for Pope Goliath!

Monday 27 January 2020

Conversion of St Donald not universally popular

Syria, 35 AD.

Many Christians have welcomed the recent conversion of Donald of Tarsus, who recently "saw the light" on the Damascus March for Life. Not previously seen as a major religious figure, Donald is now expected to be a play a significant part in the development of the Church.

Man beating drum in Donald's face

"I heard a mighty beating drum, and knew that it was evil."

We asked St Donald whether he would be expressing his teachings in a selection of epistles, which might later be collected for publication. Apparently, he tends to communicate in shorter theological documents called "tweets", and the plan is to number them and arrange them as verses. The first collection will be called the First Epistle to the Democratians.

Donald's previous life has of course not been irreproachable. There was a stoning incident, known as STEPHENGATE, in which he is said to have been involved - so much so that he was even impeached for this. Still, there is more joy in Heaven over one sinner that repenteth than in 99 Tablet readers who need no repentance, as someone once said.

A very senior churchman, St Philip, has welcomed Donald's participation in the March for Life, and this seems to be the officially correct attitude to take. However, Tina Beata, the Holy Land's expert on Human Flourishing, disagrees.

Tina rant

Oops! St Donald (also known as The President) made the mistake of not being female.

Monday 20 January 2020

The Prodigal Son

1. There was a man who had two sons, William and Harry.

2. The younger son said, "Father, give me my share of the estate. I wish to become independent.

3. For my wife Meghan hath had enough of opening abattoirs in Goole and recycling centres in Basingstoke.

4. She wisheth to return to the holy wood of her forefathers, wherein she may be a celebrity without any duties, save to speak voice-overs for him that is called Disney.

5. Although she hateth the orange man that is called Trump, and will for the time being retire to Canada, where the black-face man ruleth, he that is called Trudeau."

Charles and Harry

The father is grieved on hearing of his son's wish to depart.

6. And thus Harry and Meghan left the family that is known as royal, and began to squander their wealth in wild living.

7. Indeed, Harry forsook the title of "Your Prodigal Highness" and changed his name to "Mr Sussex".

8. They went into the market-place and tried to make their fortune by selling useful items, under the name of "Sussex Prodigal".

9. But, alas, nobody wanted to buy a carbon-neutral biodegradable gluten-free halal antiracist clockwork hedgehog that played "Shine, Jesus, Shine!" even if it did bear the label "Sussex Prodigal".

10. So after Harry had spent the fortune that his father had given him, he was sent into the fields to feed pigs.

11. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

Prodigal son with pigs

Mr Sussex feedeth the pigs.

12. Thus he came to his senses, and bade Meghan return with him to the house of his father.

13. He said to his father, "Father, I have sinned against Heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son."

14. And his father said, "Let us welcome back my son who was lost. Bring the fatted calf and kill it! After that he can rejoin the family.

15. There is a public convenience in Wolverhampton that he may go and open. Let him make a hard-hitting speech, explaining how much the world needs such conveniences."

16. But Meghan spake out, saying, "For shame! We will only eat a low-fat vegan calf. Thou art a racist and a sexist beast."

17. Thus Harry went back to the pig farm again.

18. And they all lived happily ever after.

Friday 17 January 2020


F, B, S and G are senior clergy of unimpeachable moral character.

However, G asserts that S lied when he denied that F said that B had claimed that S had contradicted G's testimony that B had admitted that F had told S that B had not said that G thought F had overheard G telling B that S was wrong to deny that B had told F that S had sworn that G had dismissed G's claim that F had reported that B had told S that F was proclaiming that G's account of the conversation between S and B was to be accepted... whom do we believe?

Answers on a postcard to Eugenio Scalfari.

Pope and Sarah

"But didn't G tell you that B had refused to comment?"

Wednesday 15 January 2020

Francis and Benedict agree a deal

The scene: Emeritus Pope Benedict's apartment. Benedict is sitting at a desk, putting his finishing touches to a new manuscript "From the depths of the Joy of Love", soon to appear as a collaborative venture with Cardinals Burke and Brandmüller (I wouldn't be so sure about that). Enter Archbishop Georg Gänswein, perturbed.

Benedict and Georg Gänswein

A crisis in the Vatican!

Gänswein: Holy Emeritus Father, we're in a mess here. The other Holy Father is seething with rage at your book with Cardinal Sarah. He's already slapped six pilgrims today, and he's wearing boxing gloves for his audience this morning. He says Pachamama is very angry!

Benedict: But what did we do? The book simply restates traditional Catholic teaching. Oh... I see the problem...

Gänswein: The attack poodles have been deployed. The big hitters such as Ivereigh, Beans (he's been tweeting non-stop for 48 hours, having injections of gelato to keep him going), Mickens, ... not to mention the small hitters such as Rich Raho the dunce of the class.


"Look, it's only Rosica who takes credit for other people's work."

Benedict: What does Sarah say?

Gänswein: What can he say? He wrote some of the book, you wrote some of the book. This is what we technically call a joint work. But the Fat Controller wants you to say that Sarah was the author, and all you did was wake up and nod occasionally as he read the book out.

Benedict: Ask the guys at Ignatius Press what really happened.

Gänswein: We did. They used Ignatian discernment (following a spot of Ignatian yoga) to determine that you really are one of the authors.

Ignatian yoga

"The Ignatius Press is one of my favourite yoga positions," says papal aide-de-camp Fr Jim.

Benedict: Look, I don't care. I don't need the fame or the royalties. Imagine having to do a book tour like poor Ivereigh, where only two children and a dog turn up to each lecture, and the dog won't stop howling. I'll take my name off it, on one condition.

Gänswein: Anything...

Benedict: Tell Francis to take his name off Amoris Laetitia. It could be labelled, "By Lorenzo Baldisseri in discussion with Pope Francis."

Gänswein: That could be the deal we're looking for!

Monday 13 January 2020

Pope Benedict writes a book

Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI has written a new book in collaboration with Cardinal Sarah, and the reviews are already coming in from influential people who haven't read it.

Robert Mickens, once fired from the Tablet for being an utterly vile person:

"Why isn't the Rat dead yet? He's got no right to carry on living after he abdicated. I sent him a coffin for Christmas but he refuses to use it. Anyway, he seems to be totally gaga, and obviously didn't write the book."

Benedict-Sarah book

Causing a meltdown in liberal circles.

Massimo Faggioli, the thinking girl's sex symbol:

"The pope emeritus operates in the political-mediatic ecosystem with a freedom typical of the neo-liberal ideology: what the market can bear." (Yes, he really said that. It's a theology professor's way of saying "Shut up, Benedict, you're yesterday's man. When you became Emeritus they took away the keys to Heaven and you stopped being infallible. I'm allowed to express my views, but you are not. So shut your gob.")


"I only wanted a cup of coffee, but when I started to explain the multilayered crisis in the hermeneutics of her menu, the waitress ran away screaming."

Fr James Martin LGBTSJ, who needs no introduction:

"I am in two minds here - swinging both ways, you might say. Pope Benedict is a good man, but we can't have him setting up a parallel magisterium, following 2000 years' worth of dead popes, in conflict with Pope Francis's new magisterium. Besides, did you know that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene?"

Austen Ivereigh, Pope Francis's official attack poodle:

"I have it on good authority from Fr Nosuchperson that Benedict has been in a coma for the last seven years, and could not possibly express an opinion on anything. I blame that unscrupulous courtier Cardinal Sarah for making up the whole thing."

Benedict and beer

"Here's looking at you, Austen!

Sunday 12 January 2020

Ricky Gervais slams the Vatican

The host of this year's Holy-wood "Golden Globes" award ceremony, Fr Richard Gervais, best known for his comedy show "The Holy Office", was taking no prisoners this week.

It was clear that he did not like any of the films or actors winning awards, and he did not hesitate to say so, accusing most of them of blasphemy and hypocrisy.

Ricky Gervais

Fr Richard Gervais.

"Look at The Pachamama Synod," he said. "This has been nominated for numerous awards. The plot involves Catholics praising wooden idols, which are then thrown into the Tiber. But look at the wooden actors we had singing praises to the idols - not one of them would pass for a real Catholic. The producer missed a trick too - in real life it is the worshippers who would have been thrown into the river."

Pachamama synod

Wooden actors singing to a wooden idol.

"Another unbelievably bad film is The Two Popes," he added, "which stars old Joe Ratzinger and Jorge Bergoglio. We see this Benedict character voluntarily going into retirement, to spend his declining years in praying and drinking beer. Meanwhile, we are asked to believe that this implausible 'Francis' character is elected Pope and promptly proceeds to demolish the Ten Commandments, one by one. What a display of overacting from Jorge! No real pope has behaved like that in two thousand years!"

Two popes praying

The famous endurance scene - which pope will stand up first?

"I hope that no awards are given to The China Syndrome," continued Fr Richard. "This is a film in which control of the Catholic Church in China is given over to a murderous dictatorial regime. The Chinese lock up Catholic priests, appoint their own, and rewrite the Nicene Creed so that it is all about that arch-villain Chairman Mao. The scene in which Pietro Parolin rolls on the ground and lets the Chinese tickle his tummy is totally disgusting. Jorge Bergoglio's cameo role slapping a Chinese pilgrim was also a highly inappropriate bit of comedy in what is supposed to be a serious film."

Church in China

Spot the mistakes.

In the end it turned out that the only film that Fr Gervais has liked was The Fat Cardinals, in which two overweight prelates engage in Sumo wrestling. "Timmy Dolan and Rhino Marx were never very convincing when they were miscast in religious roles," he said. "Casting them as overweight lumps of lard was a stroke of genius."

Sumo wrestling

Dolan and Marx get to grips!

Fr Richard repeated his condemnation of the hypocrisy of the cardinals present, who he said had been totally neglecting their roles as shepherds of the sheep. It is not thought that he will be invited to next year's ceremony, and maybe someone less controversial such as Carlo Maria Viganò will host it instead.

Saturday 4 January 2020

The ancient art of Papa-Slappa

As a public service to our readers, we shall explain the art of Papa-Slappa. This is the traditional Catholic form of self-defence, analogous to the Buddhists' Shaolin Kung-Fu, the Muslims' Allahu-Akbar, and the Anglicans' Wishee-Washee.

Pope slap 1

A Papa-Slappa white-belt master prepares to strike.

In the modern Catholic Church, all weapons are condemned, and so Jesu-i masters have developed techniques of self-defence known only to those Jesu-i knights who have reached the highest level. Rather than hitting each other with light sabers, the Jesu-is use Papa-Slappa to subdue their adversaries.

The basic technique is to lure the victim into a false sense of security, so that they believe they will receive a blessing, or at least that their petitions will be heard. Then WHOP! and they are left reeling.

Massimo in the desert

A scene from Return of the Jesu-i featuring the robot MA55-1MO.

Traditionally the Swiss Guard have been armed with light sabers and other offensive weapons, but under the guidance of Jesu-i master O-be-goglio they have been asked to abandon these arms and train in the skills of Papa-Slappa instead. As we said at the Amazon synod, when worshipping wooden statues, "May the farce be with you!"

Pope slap 2

Another demonstration of Papa-Slappa is about to take place.

WARNING: Papa-Slappa is NOT a game. It is a martial art that requires years of practice and can cause serious injury (the Chinese lady in our first picture is currently convalescing in the St Nicholas home for wounded Catholics). Initiates should begin by practising with less aggressive martial arts, such as the Kissa-Peace, before attempting Papa-Slappa.

Friday 3 January 2020

Judas Iscariot SJ - a new biography

St Jon M. Sweeney has written a biography of Judas Iscariot SJ, the misunderstood disciple, LGBT pioneer, and top theologian; it is called Judas Iscariot: In the Company of Jesus, and is published today!

Going to Amazon (in a non-synodal capacity), we found three very enthusiastic reviews of this new book.

James Martin biography

Already nominated Book of the Year!

"Here's what I can't help but love about Judas Iscariot: his refreshing new teachings, so different from listening to what Christ had to say, so honest, so alive and unfurling. Father Judas's love for money (30 pieces of silver for each book published) impels him to talk nonstop about the virtues of an LGBTQ lifestyle. Courage, Judas. I've been wibbling on about the death penalty for 90-plus years (oh, nobody cares about you, Sister Bluejean). When you love talking, you stay in dialogue."

Sister Swinging Bluejean, CSJ, Author of lots of stuff about people being executed.

Swinging Blue Jeans

A relic from the swinging 60s.

"St Jon M. Sweeney has composed a detailed, fascinating portrait of one of our great spiritual leaders, Judas Iscariot. From a not very religious family and after a stint on the Galilee Stock Exchange, Martin heard the unlikely call to the 12 Disciples. This led to his blossoming into a best-selling author and a controversial spokesperson for welcoming LGBTQI+ persons to the Church. It’s a gift to nonbelievers who want to stay that way, as well as helping devout Catholics who are planning to lapse."

Mary Karraphas, poet and memoirist, author of various books that we've never heard of.

"[Fill in name here] is one of the most important voices in Christian spirituality today and [Fill in name here]'s story of his life and his work will, I promise, make you want to be a [better/worse] person. We need to define what Christian discipleship means in the present moment. This book will help you do that."

Ronald Hellraiser, author of far too much already.

Ronald Rolheiser

Fr Ron demonstrates the new Vatican-approved way of fighting off unwanted pilgrims.

Wednesday 1 January 2020

Pope Francis slaps an unwanted fan

It is reported that Pope Francis has slapped a strange Chinese person, I-va Ree, who grabbed the papal hand and refused to let go.

The event took place in St Peter's Square, where the Pope had been greeting pilgrims. Seeing I-va Ree, he turned away hastily, but the indomitable Chinaman insisted on holding his hand and shouting a slogan, which our experts insist was "Read my book!"

Pope and Ivereigh

The moment when Pope Francis realized that he would have to slap I-va Ree.

Our theological correspondent Benny Dictus writes:

Violence is a well-established procedure in the Catholic Church, dating back to the time when Jesus slapped the sick woman who clutched his coat. Then, St Nicholas is celebrated for punching Arius, saying "I don't like your face, chummy! Ho ho ho!"

Nowadays, in a Novus Ordo Mass, anyone who attempts to continue the Sign of Peace too long - e.g. when the Agnus Dei has started - is liable to a good sloshing as well. So there is nothing unusual here.

Pope slapping girl

The Sign of Peace, as performed by a Karate Master.