This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Wednesday 26 February 2020

What are you giving up for Lent?

As seen in the Catholic Herald.

We asked some friends of this blog to tell us what they were giving up for Lent this year.

Chico and Groucho

Prof. Massimo Faggioli.

When you live entirely on ice-cream, as I do, there is no food that you can reasonably give up. Likewise, my every waking moment is spent in explaining theology to less intelligent mortals by means of insights so profound that even I don't understand them; so it would be dangerous to make any changes, since civilisation would collapse without my brilliant epigrams.

Pope Francis.

Being the humblest pope who ever lived, I have no luxuries in life that I can give up. Likewise, I have no vices worth speaking of, Eccles. How dare you ask such an impertinent question! SLAP!


Cardinal Dolan.

It is important to show self-discipline during Lent, and so I am giving up health food - salads, spinach, fruit, etc. - and sticking to a diet of giant steaks, suet, and sticky toffee pudding. It will be hard for me, but I know that this penitential regime will do me good.

Prof. Tina Beattie.

What a sexist question! By asking me that, you're implying that women are inferior to men, aren't you? Just you wait until I get ordained and you want ashes on your forehead... they'll be so hot that you'll end up with scar tissue, you pig!


Fr James Martin SJ.

I shall give up reading the Bible in Lent - I disagree with most of it, anyway. Still, I shall miss the absorbing tale of how it took a humble carpenter's son 30 years before He was able to do miracles successfully, and even then everyone misunderstood His teachings until I came along.

Dr Austen Ivereigh.

People have asked me to give up my worship of Pachamama, my idolatory of Pope Francis, and my "brain-rotting" writing. But I thank God that I am unlike other men, and have no vices worth speaking of.

Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI.

I am giving up tea for Lent, and indeed I am handing over my stock of Yorkshire tea to this new chap. I much prefer beer, anyway.

Prof. Richard Dawkins.

Well of course we have all outgrown the idea of Lent, as something that only religious extremists celebrate. So when I mention that, following an outcry, I have decided not to eat any human flesh from now on, this is not to be interpreted as a foolish religious fetish, but merely the wise decision of a venerable professor who is fed up with having bricks thrown through his window.

giant spider

Fr Antonio Spadaro.

If 2+2 can equal 5, then the 40 days of Lent can equal 32. Thus, for the first week it isn't Lent at all, so why bother?

Saturday 22 February 2020

Pope Francis slaps down Fr James Martin LGBTSJ

No, he probably didn't. Conservative and liberal Catholics united today to explain that reports that Pope Francis SJ had criticised his faithful adviser Jimbo Martin SJ were incorrect.

Pope and Martin

"This handshake is not to be interpreted as meaning that I like you."

For the conservatives, the case is clear. Jimbo is Francis's blue-eyed boy. He may spend his time pushing anti-Catholic teaching, but doesn't the Holy Father do that all the time? Why, if Francis wasn't 83 years old and suffering from sciatica, he'd be rolling along to one of Jim's Ignatian yoga classes and sticking his legs behind his neck like the rest of them.

For the liberals the case is clear. Fr James Martin is one of the Catholic Church's greatest scholars, teachers, sages, a living saint, and great fun at LGBT retreats. How could he possibly be criticised by Pope Francis, who is one of the Catholic Church's greatest scholars, teachers, sages, a living saint, and great fun at synod parties? There, there, Massimo, calm down and put some ice cubes on your head - your mighty brain is overheating. And Jon Sweeney-Todd, biographer (ha ha!) of Sunny Jim, do stop screaming at people.

Anyway, Archbishop Wester says that during the time he was actually awake, he didn't hear any comments that could definitely be referring to Sunny Jim in a way that might have suggested or implied that he was in any way less than perfect. So QED.

Dumb tweet from Jimbo

"Today it takes Jesus two tries before he can heal a blind man in Bethsaida."

Following on from this, we are fortunate to be able to publish an exclusive statement from Fr James Martin on "Things God couldn't quite manage."

* God needed six days to create the Universe because He couldn't do it any faster.

* Noah's flood was caused by God accidentally leaving a tap running in Heaven.

* Jesus turned water into wine as He didn't know how to do whisky.

Water into wine

"A gin and orange, a lemon squash, and a scotch and water! Please!"

* When Jesus asked "Whose head is on that coin?" it was because He really didn't know.

* Likewise, "Who do people say that I am?" was an attempt to catch up on the gossip.

* Walking on the water was really accidental, it can easily happen if you don't look where you're going.

* Finally, our Lord rose on the third day as the first two attempts failed.

Thank you, Fr Jim! It all goes to show how things can go wrong if you don't have a Canaanite woman to advise you!

Sunday 16 February 2020

The Book of St Richard, Chapter 27

Continued from Chapter 26.

1. So Richard continued to grow in years, if not in wisdom.

2. And he spake out, saying, "Let us consider eugenics, dearly beloved. It worketh for cows, horses, pigs, dogs and roses. Would it not work for humans?"

3. For Richard was dreaming of a Master Race of biologists, wise in the ways of the selfish gene.

4. Such people would naturally become experts in religion without needing to study it.

5. They would know how to deal with mighty theocracies by sending them lewd images, such as are known as the no-graphy of the poor.

6. They would be as fertile as the cow, as swift as the horse, as plump as the pig, as fearsome as the dog, and as fragrant as the rose.

Dawkins and honey

"The Master Race shall feed on the finest honey if they can't get human flesh."

7. However, the people mocked him, saying, "Richard, by thy wibblings thou hast done wondrous things for the cause of the Lord God, but thy praise for eugenics shows thee to be as mad as the hatters of Wonderland."

8. However, Richard was undismayed, for he had recently written another book, designed for young people, and entitled "Outgrowing God."

9. For the publishers had said, "The children have had their brains washed with the word of the Lord, and it time for us to wash their brains with the word of the prophet Richard."

10. However, the children were unconvinced by the word of Richard, saying "Look, we may be only four years old, but even we can see that the ontological hypotheses underlying his Kantian rejection of the Almighty do not hold water."

kids reading

"Hey! The God Delusion is even sillier!

11. However, Richard was undismayed, for the book was a bestseller, being Number Twelve Score and Five in the Times List of Barking Mad Books by Dotty Professors.

12. And so the long spiritual journey of Richard continued towards its very distant end.

Continued in Chapter 28

Wednesday 12 February 2020

Corrida Amazonia - papal bullfight disappoints the fans

In a breach with (post 2013) tradition, the new papal bullfight, Corrida Amazonia, contains nothing obviously identifiable as heresy, no ambiguous footnotes, and really nothing to get excited about.

South American dancer

However, the use of "song, dance, rituals, gestures and symbols" is encouraged.

The Vatican is now knee-deep in water following floods of tears from Austen Ivereigh and Christopher Lamb. Back in Roehampton, Dame Tina Beattie is screaming at the inherent sexism of the whole apostolic exhortation - no prospect of women priests, or even male priests doing what their wives tell them, for the foreseeable future.

Cardinal Marx has jumped off a cliff (according to my contact in Rome), seeing that his plans have been thwarted, and has decided to hand over the German Bishops' Conference to someone else (there's this old man called Ratzinger who doesn't have much to do these days...)


This is where Cardinal Marx landed.

Already cries for Pope Francis's resignation are coming from the liberal wing of the Catholic Church. "I'll give him Wounded Shepherd," said an angry Austen Ivereigh. "By the time I've finished with him the title won't be metaphorical."

Meanwhile, Emeritus Pope Benedict and Future Pope Sarah have been seen stocking up on champagne, as they work on their next book, provisionally entitled We told you so.

Still, at this time we should spare some thoughts for Pachamama. With the words "it is possible to take up an indigenous symbol in some way, without necessarily considering it as idolatry", the Pope has affirmed that those ugly bits of wood still have a role to play in the Catholic Church. So, no papal knighthood for Alexander Tschuggel for the time being?


Querida Pachamama!

Meanwhile the St Gallen Mafia is desperately looking for a Pope Francis 2.0. Cupich? Tagle? Marx?

Sunday 9 February 2020

Time to cough up your Eccles pence

Well, if Fr Z can put this worthy cause on his blog, then maybe I can too.

The story so far: Mac McLernon, a.k.a. Mulier Fortis, a.k.a. saved traddy blogger of Margate, a.k.a. Crazy Cat Woman, is about to get her car repossessed by the Pound of Flesh Finance Company. Since she is disabled, this would make life very difficult for her.

Fr Ted car

Not actually Mac's car.

So, rather than give your Peter's Pence to that man in Rome who will misspend it on making pornographic films about Elton John (actually, it would be difficult to make a film about Mr Dwight that was suitable for family entertainment...) or supporting very dodgy left-wing political causes; etc., give it to Mac!

(BREAKING: Pope's tax return published:
1) Things that are Caesar's: rendered.
2) Things that are not Caesar's: squandered.)

Cardinal Furretti

The late Cardinal Furretti.

Anyway, if you can give, go HERE. At the time of writing she needs another £1,200 or so, but of course massive donations are also welcome:

£1,000,000 buys you an evening out with her crazy cat.

£10,000,000 buys you an evening out with Cardinal Burke, Fr James Martin SJ, or Austen Ivereigh (you choose)*.

£100,000,000 sponsors another (saved) cat for Mac, which will be named after you.

Give generously. Yes, I mean it.

ADDENDUM: the "save Mac's car" target has been reached and we are now on to the "make Mac an extremely rich woman" fund. Well, not really.

ugly child

... and a certain poor widow offered her mite.

Thursday 6 February 2020

The mysteries of the Vatican

The Eccles Detective Agency always tries to maintain the confidentiality of its clients, so that we are unable to reveal the identity of the elderly man who summoned us this week, asking us to solve certain mysteries that were bothering him.

Benedict and cat

Our unknown client "B".

"Eccles," said our client. "I have always relied on your advice. So can you tell me, where's Gänswein? Usually he comes to see me every day, but recently he's disappeared without trace. Also, I've received an anonymous note saying 'If you want to see Georg alive, then stop insisting that you were an author of From the Depths of Our Hearts.' Clearly, they are trying to silence Georg. Can you find him for me?"

"I'll do my best, Holy Father, er, I mean B." I said. Curiously, in passing through the Vatican dungeons earlier, I had seen someone who looked strangely like the missing archbishop. Could it be he?

torture chamber

See if you can spot Gänswein, Viganò, Tschugguel...

"Also, see what you can find out about the mysterious Chinese woman who was slapped by Pope Francis. Someone looking a bit like her has just turned up (with her bodyguard this time) to be reconciled with the Holy Father. Is it the same lady? If so, why has she aged 10 years? What did she want to talk to him about? Could she perhaps be a secret agent in the pay of the New Chinese Communist Catholic Church?"

Chinese lady and Pope

"Could you answer some Dubia for me, please?"

That was going to be a difficult task. The only Chinaman I had ever seen in the Vatican was dear little I-va Ree, the court jester. But I promised to do what I could. There came one final question.

B showed me a particularly ugly-looking postage stamp that he had been given. "And what in Heaven's name is this? Is it a rejected sketch from the British graffiti-artist Banksy? The Vatican is full of beautiful works of art dating back hundreds of years, so why do they put this ugly thing on a stamp? Who is it supposed to be, and why does he have the words "JUST USE IT" on his robe?"

I could see that to solve this mystery I would need to call on my knowledge of morbid psychology, as much as anything else. It did remind me of the first time that the British Christmas stamps had been designed by unskilled children, rather than anyone who knew the first thing about art. Could there be an explanation here?

ugly stamps

Don't give the Vatican ideas!

The investigations continue.

Monday 3 February 2020

Useful Latin phrases for Candlemas

Tempus fugit candelae exstinguendae.
You should have put those candles out ten minutes ago.

Capilla ardentia.
Your hair is on fire.

Nescivi mantillas combustibiles esse.
I didn't know that mantillas were inflammable.


Infans cines.
I told you not to give a candle to your child.

Iacite aquam sanctam!
Throw some holy water over him.

Novem novem novem.
Fire brigade? We have a problem.

Fireman Sam

"Must be Candlemas again."

Saturday 1 February 2020

Brexodus 21 - Bosis departeth from EUgypt

Continued from Chapter 20.

1. In the last month of the fourth year, Bosis returned as leader of the children of Bri-tain.

Boris and Ursula

Bosis meeth the new Pharaoh, Ursula of Lebanon.

2. So he went back to the House of common people, whence the Squeaker known as Ber-cow had departed, and a new Squeaker, Linus the Holy, ruled in his place.

3. And now by virtue of his superior forces Bosis was able to obtain an agreement from the House of common people.

4. Thus the people of Bri-tain girded up their loins and packed up their tents, ready to leave, as they had done at least twice before.

5. And the Lord decreed that those who wished to remain in EUgypt could no longer force the people to ungird their loins and unpack their tents.

6. For there was a man named Jolyon Mammon, whose parents had named him after a place in which strangers might drink tea.

Jolyon shop

Mrs Mammon chooseth a name for her baby boy.

7. Jolyon had spent much gold in trying to stop the children of Bri-tain from leaving EUgypt.

8. But on the day of boxing the Lord spake unto him in a dream, saying "Dress in thy wife's garments, grab thy mighty club, and slay the fox that dwelleth in the garden." And Jolyon obeyed.

9. After this, he spent no more time in the courts of law, trying to hinder Bosis.

10. Meanwhile, the new Pharaoh, Ursula of Lebanon, was being plagued by Farogs and Widdy Spiders from the party of Brexodus.

11. Her uncle, the Pharaoh Juncker, had also seen them, but believed them to be a dream caused by looking too much on the wine when it was red. Although in truth, merely looking was not his real problem.

12. But Ursula of Lebanon knew that the Farog and Widdy Spider were real, and agreed finally to let the people depart.

Farage and Widdecombe

A plague of Farogs and Widdy Spiders.

13. Thus all was ready for the people to depart on the last day of the month. But those who wished to remain tried once more to stop them.

14. For they cried in a loud voice "The Leavites are Gammons! Racists! Stupid people! We shall die in the wilderness when we can no longer feast on the leg of the frog and the very agreeable kraut that is sour."

15. And Bosis commanded the bells of Benjamin the Big to ring out in triumph on the day of departure. But it was not so, as they were being mended.

16. Nevertheless, at the eleventh hour of the last day of the first month, the children of Bri-tain marched to the banks of the Red Sea.

17. Then Bosis called for his staff (Dominic the Coming) and used it to part the waters of the Red Sea. And the children of Bri-tain crossed the sea on dry ground.

Bosis, horribly aged by the stresses of the last few months.

Continued in the Book of Covidicus.