This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Tuesday 31 March 2020

Lockdown Diary, Day 7313

March 31st 2040.

Well, here we are after 20 years of lockdown caused by the Coronavirus, which keeps mutating every so often into something even nastier. The present incarnation is called COVID-39.


The latest form of the Coronavirus.

We are still allowed out to go shopping, and for exercise, but the churches have now been closed for 20 years. It is hard to remember what it was like in the old days, when we went along to St Daryl the Apostate and received Communion on the tongue (to the great annoyance of one or two pearl-clutchers who didn't actually believe in the Real Presence), or, if we wanted, did the Sign of Peace and sang hymns such as Cumberland ("Someone's eating sausages, Lord, Cum-ber-land..."). I may have got the words wrong after all this time.

Nowadays the churches remain closed, and all Masses are live-streamed. Pope Francis II (alias "Chito" Tagle) takes a very relaxed view of these, and priests no longer have to wear vestments. Many of them stay at home and stream the Masses from their bedrooms, without even bothering to choose the liturgically-correct colour for their pyjamas.

Father Brown pyjamas

Father Brown dresses down for his livestream Mass.

Of course "Chito" takes seriously some aspects of worship, especially liturgical dancing (getting down wiv da yoof, as the 82-year-old teenager puts it) and the faithful are encouraged to skip around their houses during Mass. "Chito" claims to have arthritis and sciatica, so that kneeling is out of the question, but he can still dance the Funky Cardinal.

Late news: a new strain, the Coren virus, is infecting our brothers in the Anglican Church (having flipped between the Anglican Church, the Catholic Church, the Seventh-Day-Adventists, the Baptists, and the Pachamama Church several times during the last 20 years). It is particularly unpleasant.

Coren virus

The Coren virus.

Even later news: Eccles is still waiting for an answer to his "Dubia" - why was he excommunicated from Twitter?

Monday 30 March 2020

Eccles is excommunicated

As a faithful worshipper at the Church of Twitter (founder: Pope Jack), I take part in its services several times a day, offering the sign of peace (or, more usually, engaging in pointless bickering) with fellow-worshippers. Thus I was very distressed on Saturday to be told "Thine account is suspended, and thou mayst no longer share in our worship."

Fr Jack

Pope Jack.

Although I knew that I must be a great sinner, worse even than those who wish death on Coronavirus sufferers such as Boris Johnson, those who swear all the time, the promoters of abortion, or those with rainbow flags on their profile, I was not told which of the unwritten laws I had broken.

Yet, WE ARE ALL SINNERS. But is this not the age of mercy? After discernment and accompaniment, may I not be readmitted into full communion with Twitter? Isn't Cardinal Marx looking into my case?

Save Eccles

Can Eccles be saved?

Still, it would be good to know exactly what I did. Here are those I have offended most recently:

Bishops who tell people to stop fasting, 
Christopher Lambkin, 
The Washington Post,
Popes who accuse others of idolatory, 
The Diocese of Middlesbrough, 
Greater Manchester Police,
The chair of the University of Warwick Labour Society, 
Alexandria Occasional-Cortex, 
The president of the Austrian Caritas, 
Bishop Mario Grinch, 
St Greta of Thunderbird...
Lots of good smiting there, but was any of this wrong?

Meanwhile, I am appealing (but you knew that). While waiting for judgement, I can still dip into the spiritual nourishment that is Twitter, and it must be a bit like turning up to one's own funeral (with the Dies Irae bit omitted). Thanks to those who put in some kind words.

As Hilaire Belloc nearly put it:

"When I am dead, I hope it may be said, 'His sins were scarlet, but his tweets were read.'"

Saturday 28 March 2020

Bishops say "Stop praying!"

Several wise bishops have decided to allow the faithful to eat meat on Fridays in Lent, because apparently it is such a hardship in these plague-ridden times to survive 24 hours living only on fish, pasta, rice, pizza, vegetables, cheese, eggs, etc. It is well known that there are many starving people whose only source of food is the bacon, steak, and sausages in the fridge.

Now, in Stage 2, the bishops are encouraging their flocks to stop praying. "Many people find it very stressful to sit, kneel, or stand quietly for a minute or two, when they could be playing video games, watching television, or simply looking out of the window in the hope of seeing neighbours whom they could report to the police," explained the Bishop of Boston Teaparty. "We want to relieve them of this burden."

Angelus painting

Stop that at once!

"Besides, God - if you believe in him, which of course good Catholics no longer need to - is rather overwhelmed with prayers at present, and we can save on bandwidth by leaving prayer in the hands of the professionals," continued the Bishop of Brooklyn Beckham.

"Many churches are live-streaming Masses," agreed the Bishop of Humor-Thibo-dodo. "These should satisfy all the spiritual needs of 'God addicts', and they have the advantage that you can watch them while wearing tatty old clothes, or even in your pyjamas if you wish. However, we urge you not to pray, as this only leads to rigidity, neo-Pelagianism, and other bad habits."

"However, don't forget to turn off your lights for Earth Hour tonight," stressed the Bishop of Muddlehead. "With this dangerous Carbonara Virus going around, it is more important then ever to do some virtue-signalling. Greta knows best."

white smoke

A notorious polluter in Rome.

Earlier in the week Pope Francis condemned worship in his own way, saying (and this bit is true):

What are my idols? Everyone has their own. What are my idols? Where do I hide them? May the Lord not find us at the end of our life, and say: "You are perverted. You have strayed from my path. You prostrated yourself before an idol."

Pope Francis and idols

They're behind you!

Wednesday 25 March 2020

Mother Nature throws a tantrum

Some readers may have heard of a nasty virus that is going the rounds at present, and wondered why this has been sent to us. Is it a punishment for eating too many bats? Is it the result of a biological experiment that went wrong? Perhaps God has decided to smite us for worshipping Pachamama, organizing LGBT "retreats", or simply trying to change the words of the Lord's Prayer?

No, you're all wrong. According to a well-known Catholic, Pope Francis, it is Mother Nature throwing a tantrum.


Mother Nature throws a tantrum.

This all seems so dreadfully unfair. We have all bowed down to Mother Nature. Why we even had a special synod at which idols of Pachamama (identified by some as a symbol of the Nature, and by others (Austen Ivereigh) as the Virgin Mary) were treated with great respect.

We have canonized her prophet, St Greta the Absurd, who has shown her holy nature by contracting the Coronavirus and recovering from it in 50 minutes.

Greta miracle

The Miracle of St Greta the Absurd.

No, but you know who is to blame for the pandemic. It was Baron Alexander von Tschugguel zu Tramin, the human fiend who gave the Pachamama idols an early bath. (He was punished for his blasphemy by catching the illness himself, but now seems to be on the mend.)

Austen slanders

St Austen the even more absurd weighs in.

Anyway, you have been warned. Do not offend Mother Nature. Remember that, apart from Amoris Laetitia, the sacred encyclical Laudato Si' is the greatest work of Catholic theology to be written since Vatican II told us to throw away our Latin texts and take up liturgical dancing.

Forget the Annunciation: there's a new Mother on the block!


It's no coincidence that Pope Francis dresses like a druid.

UPDATE: Mother Nature has been sent to her room, without any dinner. Any more human race-destroying tantrums and we'll tell her to tidy up the Earth!

Saturday 21 March 2020

Covidicus 1 - There cometh a plague

Continued from the Book of Brexodus.

1. So Bosis and the children of Bri-tain camped in the desert just outside EU-gypt.

tents in desert

The children of Bri-tain begin their journey.

2. And there came a great plague from the East. It spared nobody, neither the children of Bri-tain, nor the land of EU-gypt.

3. So the LORD spake unto Bosis, saying, "Let each of you hang a toilet roll outside his tent, and this shall be a sign, whereby ye are not to be struck down by the pestilence."

4. And the children of Bri-tain fought amongst each other, that they might each have seventy times seven toilet rolls, just in case.

5. But the LORD caused toilet rolls to be dropped from Heaven, that all might be relieved.

toilet roll

And the people worshipped strange idols of Pachamama.

6. However, in the land of EUgypt, the plague spared nobody, and the people were told to go to their houses and hide in a closet for seven years, that they be not slain by the guards. And it was so.

7. Still, even for the children of Bri-tain the situation was grave, and all sports were forbidden, such as the cricket that chirped and the ball that was called foot.

8. Yeah, and all manner of entertainment was forbidden, even unto the alternative comics of the Beebee Sea. Which cheered the people greatly.

9. Now, in more distant lands there were dwelling those known as "celebrities"; that is, people unable to do useful work.

10. And they praised the LORD with a song called "Imagine", telling how wondrous it would be if HE did not exist. And the LORD was greatly amused at their folly.


"Imagine no hairdressers."

11. So the world went steadily insane. The children of Bri-tain sat alone in their tents, keeping in social isolation, waiting to see what would happen next.

12. And suddenly, everyone had forgotten EU-gypt, Greta that is called Thunderbird, and even the worship of the goddess Pachamama.

Madonna singing

A poor mad woman screameth at her hairbrush.

Continued in Chapter 2.

Thursday 19 March 2020

Why Eccles will tell no more jokes

Eccles's new law states that it is impossible to tell any joke without someone being offended.

Take for example the Tommy Cooper joke: "I bought some pork chops and told the butcher to make them lean. He said, 'Which way?'"

With this joke the late Mr Cooper (99 today) has managed to offend Jews and Muslims (mentioning pork), fat people (mentioning "lean") and people with one leg shorter than the other (the other meaning of "lean"). So watch out for Mohammed Ben Fatwa, the overweight Muslim with a limp!


One man's comedy is another man's tragedy.

The same law has applied to me recently, and here are three examples.

Case 1. Someone on Twitter asks what she should do during the present crisis, if it is impossible to get to Confession.

Witty Eccles reply: Stop sinning.

Audience reaction: Let's be more charitable here, please. Accusing S. of being unable to stop sinning is the height of rudeness.


Well, that went down well!

Case 2. We have the usual St Patrick's Day dispute about whether St Patrick was English, Scottish, Welsh, or something else. Someone says that he was Scottish.

Witty Eccles reply: You're thinking of St Andrew.

Audience reaction: (patiently). No, no, he's the Patron Saint of Scotland. If he was Scottish, his brother Peter would also have been Scottish.

St Andrew relaxes after a hard day's apostling.

Case 3. An American priest (who claims to have a sense of "humor", whatever that may be) tells us that he tried to give up chocolates for Lent, and failed.

Witty Eccles reply. "This is the face of true evil."

Audience reaction (and this, if anything, proves that British irony doesn't travel well): I hope you didn’t give up "calling priests evil" or "exaggerating" or "joking not joking" or what New Yorkers called "joking on a square" for Lent.

Francis and choco-Luther

Pope Francis will not eat his choco-Luther until Lent is over.

O.K. from now on I will stop telling jokes. Here instead is a purely factual piece of spiritual nourishment.

New Catholic helpline.
Worried about / whom to consult.

Climate change - Pope Francis.
Coronavirus - Cardinal Nichols.
Sexual problems - Cardinal Marx.
Sin, redemption, etc. - Er, position still vacant.

To which someone added: Liturgical Dancing / Cardinal Tagle. See? People are starting to appreciate my serious comments.

Tagle prancing

Pope Francis II?

Wednesday 11 March 2020

How to cancel the Sign of Peace

There is a fine video going the rounds of a deacon saying "Let's offer each other a sign of peace" (presumably at the standard point in a Mass) and Cardinal Dolan, the celebrant, responding "Let's not!"

This happened not because the good cardinal is Eirenephobic (or whatever the word is for a fear of peace), but because he was worried about viruses.

Dolan at Mass

"Let's not!"

Now, although I approve of anything that can stop the Sign of Peace, the words "Let's not" are not in the Novus Ordo liturgy (and "Nolite!" isn't needed in the Extraordinary Form). Besides, the words would come better as a roar from from the congregation than the celebrant.

So we propose a new made-up liturgy (or as we used to call it, "A new Vatican-II inspired translation of the traditional liturgy into the vernacular"), as follows:

Deacon: Let us offer each other a sign of peace.
Congregation: Let's not!

Here the Deacon may shrug his shoulders ruefully, or wave his arms triumphantly, according to choice.

Of course, this business of the congregation refusing to obey can be taken further. "We pray for the personal intentions of Pope Francis" may be blocked by a loud "No, we don't!" if the congregation has any doubts as to what those intentions really are.

cartoon vestments

How should we respond to this?

Finally, if the clergy are wearing cartoon vestments (as above), then "Thanks be to God" is clearly inappropriate as a reply to "The Mass is ended: go in peace", and the Warner Brothers* have determined that only one liturgically appropriate response is possible.

* A religious order unknown to me.

That's all, folks!

Illud omnia est, Homines!

Sunday 8 March 2020

Catholic Herald to merge with Hello!

Following the departure of the Catholic Herald's UK editor, Luke Coppen, to pastures new, and the collapse of the magazine's US edition - allegedly because the editorial board wanted the magazine to be cosy and uncontroversial, while the staff wanted to smite the unsaved - it has been announced that the CH will be merging with Hello!

In the first issue of the new soaraway Catholic Hello! we shall see:

McCarrick and friends

* Top Catholic Ted McCarrick shows us round his delightful beach house.

* Vatican expert Cardinal Coccopalmerio advises us on the best way to get "high".

* Cardinal Kasper tells us of six new heresies that he thought of before breakfast.

Pope Francis masked

Pope Francis advises us on protective masks against the Corona virus.

* Father James Martin SJ demonstrates some of the main postures used in Ignatian Yoga, and invites us to a Catholic LGBT retreat in San Francisco.

* Top dictator Xi Jinping explains how Chinese Catholics can be "good citizens" (© Pope Francis), and shows us round the charming labour camps where the less good citizens are being made comfortable.

Bishop Barron

"I was only a 7-stone weaking until I discovered Catholicism."

* England's worst bishop, John Arnold, asks "Is Greta Thunberg the new St Bernadette?"

* Celebrity biographer Austen Ivereigh guides us round his extensive collection of Pachamama idols.

* Finally, we ask, how will top Catholic sex symbols Joe Biden and Massimo Faggioli be celebrating Amoris Laetitia week (formerly called Holy Week)?

Friday 6 March 2020

How to be a hermit

In these days of plague, many people are being recommended to become hermits (the term is "self-isolation"). These include anyone who has come into contact with the coronavirus, visited the same country as an infected person, seen anything about it on television, or even read Camus's La Peste. So that's all of us.

Terry Jones as a hermit

You can wear a smart suit, or dress like this if you prefer.

Being a hermit is not always easy. There is the true, spiritually nourishing, story of St Honoratus, who went to the Îles de Lérins off Cannes to seek seclusion as a hermit. However, he was too good at it, and soon lots of disciples turned up to see how he did it. As he sat in his cell, he was constantly interrupted by cries of "How's the hermit life going?" "Are you doing it now?" "What happens next?" "Peace and quiet are wonderful, aren't they? I said PEACE AND QUIET ARE WONDERFUL, AREN'T THEY?" And so on.

So if celebrating Mass as we recommended doesn't seem to be working, and you do decide to self-isolate, here are some useful tips.

An axe. In case anyone comes visiting. A sign saying "UNCLEAN!" should keep most people away (it certainly works for us in Mass), but there will always be Mr Nosey from church who insists on doing the Sign of Peace with poor unsuspecting hermits. That was one of the famous sufferings of St Honoratus.

Food. Get stuff that lasts a long time. Eccles cakes are like Tolkien's dwarf bread, and will keep for months. Meat doesn't really last: you may have thought of buying a hippopotamus and cutting a piece off every day, but we really wouldn't advise it. And nor would the hippopotamus.

hippo chasing man

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Toilet paper. 20 rolls per day should be sufficient. Or use the collected works of Richard Dawkins (which is better than they deserve).

Hand wash or soap. Well, if you're on your own, there's really no need to wash at all, and nobody will notice that you smell like a [offensive stereotype deleted]. Still, do scrape off a layer of dirt every month or so.

Spiritually nourishing reading. From the depths of our hearts by Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Sarah, is a good choice, because it winds up so many people. Wounded Shepherd, by Austen Ivereigh, one of the people wound up by our first choice, is probably a waste of time, and should join the Dawkins books (see above). The Bible's quite a cracker too - plenty of sex and violence, some jolly psalms for you to sing while washing your hands (if you're fed up with singing "Happy Birthday to you"), and a truly apocalyptic ending, where St John goes to Patmos and unmasks the criminal.

Pilate washing hands

Pontius Pilate sings "Happy Birthday to you".

Happy hermitting!

Tuesday 3 March 2020

Joe Biden gets top Vatican job

Joe Biden, the CATHOLIC contender for the Presidency of the United States, has been honoured by Pope Francis for the clarity of his theological thought by an appointment to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.

Biden (a CATHOLIC) recently produced a statement of Catholic doctrine - his SUMMA MY THEOLOGY - that makes all other recent attempts look silly. His immortal words were:

We hold these truths to be self-evident. All men and women created by the you know, you know the Thing.

Biden abd Pope

Francis and Biden celebrate the appointment.

Describing God as the Thing, although it would normally be considered blasphemous, is a vast improvement on other fashionable attempts to describe Him - such as the Mother Earth Goddess, Pachamama, God the Mother, or Obama. It will in due course lead to a rewrite of the Nicene Creed, as about the only piece of Catholic teaching that has not yet been mutilated by the Holy Father.

Although, like Sanders, Warren, Bloomberg, etc. Cardinal Biden is a ghoul who sees no problem with the killing of babies, and thinks marriage can be between a man and another man (or one woman and seven dwarves for that matter), he is of course a CATHOLIC IN GOOD STANDING, and that's all that matters.

Snow White and 6 dwarfs

"Where's Ivereigh?" Mrs S. White and six of her husbands pose for a photo.

There seems to be no obstacle preventing Cardinal Biden from becoming President of the United States as well as a member of the CDF - he is guaranteed the CATHOLIC vote by virtue of his piety and saintliness - and he tells us he is looking forward to jumping out of cupboards saying "NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH THING!"

We did not dare point out that his boss Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer SJ is notoriously bad at this, and, being a Jesuit, would not know a heretical thought if you brought it to him on a plate adorned with a sprig of water-cress.

"You weren't expecting me, were you?"

Still, we shall watch the career of this good CATHOLIC with great interest.

Sunday 1 March 2020

How to have a good Mass in Time of Plague

Whether or not he is one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Plague, in the form of the Coronavirus, is making a severe nuisance of Himself, and it is important to know how we should take precautions against him when attending Mass.

Four horsemen

"When's Climate Change turning up?"

Celebrate ad orientem. Celebrating versus populum obviously increases the risk that the priest may catch something from the coughing congregation, and should be suspended.

Use only Latin. Try saying something liturgical in Latin, and then try saying the same thing in Vernacular. You will see that when speaking Latin your mouth does not open so widely, and thus the risk of transmitting and receiving germs is reduced. Those traditionalists knew a thing or two!

Holding hands

99% of doctors say NO to holding hands for the "Our Father".

Avoid bad hymns. Scientific studies have shown that singing "Gather us in," "Lord of the Dance," "Kumbayah," or "Shine, Jesus, Shine" puts a strain on the vocal muscles, as well as the brain, and makes one more susceptible to viruses. Safest of all is Gregorian chant, which can mostly be sung with the mouth closed.

No more sign of peace. I was lucky this morning, in that the choir belted into the Agnus Dei very quickly, and only two people had a chance to share their germs with me (three more were left fuming, as I switched off my friendly expression and tried looking pious instead). In general, a simple handshake can transmit 100000000000000000000000 bugs, so be warned. Grinning distantly is safest, but kicking your opponent neighbour will also work if he insists on physical contact.

James Bond kicking a baddie

"Peace be with you."

Wear earmuffs. This will protect you against bad doctrine in the homily far better than handwash and a face mask would.

Remove all pests from the church. Traditionally, illnesses have been transmitted by pests. So clear your church of all rats, spiders, Jesuits, and anything else that may carry disease.

Ban dancing. Bad news for Tagle, the Dancing Cardinal, but it's obvious that prancing around like a teenager in a disco is going to spread germs widely. So stop!

Spot the ninny. (Hint: they are all ninnies.)

Stay at home and watch it on television. Yes but, as I have explained before, this will only allow you to watch Heaven on television, rather than attend in person. So don't do it for very long.