This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Saturday 30 May 2020

The Secret Life of Pope Francis

With humble apologies to James Thurber.

Greta Thunberg stood up on the podium. "I present to you Pope Francis, three times winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on the Environment, twice winner of the Economics Prize for Vatican accounting, as well as the Nobel Theology Prize, the Nobel Prize for Literature, and the Nobel prize for Chemistry," she said.

"I now have pleasure in presenting him with the Greta Thunberg Medal for Saving the Planet. His pioneering work Laudato Si', which told us that plastic straws are melting the glaciers, cooking our food is killing the polar bears, and that our use of electric lights is causing the penguins to leave Greenland, contains all that we need to save the world."

Francis stood up and thanked Miss Thurnberg. "I am deeply humbled, as well as humble," he said. "As I have always preached, there is no problem with rioting, looting, and burning down shops, provided that you always plant a tree afterwards..."

Greta Thunberg

Cardinal Parolin nudged the Holy Father, who came out of his daydream. "Shall we give up this year of Laudato Si' celebrations, your saintliness?" he asked. "It was hard enough spinning it out to one week, but a whole year of it will bore the chasubles off people. Especially with everything else that's going on."

Francis started. "Oh no!" he said. "Not until I have done my world tour to reduce CO2 emissions..."

Air Ace "Red Baron" Bergoglio took his plane into a dive over Southampton. "Take that, British pigs!" he said. "Historically, the Isle of Wight has always been Argentinian!"

The war had continued for nearly forty years, but, thanks to the indomitable Bergoglio's Flying Circus, the British were now on the defensive. Malta had been conquered, and the evil dictator Matthew Festing sent to Boese Lager, a camp for dissidents. Now the war was in its final phase, and the Red Baron was ready to go in for the kill. PACHA-PACHA-MAMA-MAMA went his guns...

Pope in aeroplane

"We're coming into land, Holy Father," said glamorous air hostess Tina Beattie, giving the Pope a sudden nudge. "Could you return to your seat and fasten your seat belt please? The passengers are complaining that they've heard enough new doctrine for one day."

Pope Francis's reverie came to an end, and he returned to his seat, pushing past some journalists who were blocking his way.

"We now come to the main fight of the evening," came the announcement over the tannoy. "In the red corner, Jorge Bergoglio, the Terror of Buenos Aires, who worked his way up from being a humble nightclub bouncer. In the blue corner, Dr Wuhan Flu, known as the Chinese Pestilence, who has left a long trail of wounded. I want a clean fight, now, no gouging, spitting, kicking..."

The referee checked the contestants for concealed weapons, removed two small idols of Pachamama from Bergoglio's gloves, and started the fight. The Terror of Buenos Aires rushed out from his corner and - PACH! - he floored the poor Chinaman with a single blow..."

Pope slapping girl

"Oh Heck," said Archbishop Gänswein. "You didn't have to slap that poor Chinese girl so hard. Now we're going to have to find an excuse..."

Monday 25 May 2020

Church of England goes on strike

The background for those who don't know it: Dominic Cummings, an adviser to Boris Johnson, took his child to Durham during the lockdown. Depending on whom you listen to, his reward should either be a knighthood, or an execution on Tower Hill. All shades of opinion in between are possible.

David Walker tweet

"I thank God that I am not a sinner like Mr Cummings."

Led by Dr Worzel Gummidge, Bishop of Manchester, the Church of England bishops have finally agreed on an issue for the first time since 1558 - Dominic Cummings must go! And they're cross, they're very cross - unless he does go, they will refuse to cooperate with the government!

Apparently the decision was reached by a ZOO conference - this is a bit of software that allows you to see lots of little cages on your screen, each containing a bishop. The "Cummings out" doctrine has proved so popular that it is likely to become the 40th article of Faith, with a wording something like:

Article XL: That DOMINIC CUMMINGS is denounced as a wicked and vexatious person, who ran rings round us over Brexit. Accordingly we curse him, reject all his works, and condemn him as an evil spirit.

Worzel Gummidge

After 2 months of lockdown, Dr Gummidge could do with a haircut.

So, if Cummings isn't going(s), what will the strike mean? No more bishops lounging around in the House of Lords, no more writing stiff letters to the Guardian about how ghastly Boris is, no more invitations for cabinet ministers to attend agreeable sherry parties, no more praying. Well, praying has more-or-less stopped anyway, since the churches are closed, and the Anglican bishops are anxious not to reopen them for the forseeable future (unlike the Catholic bishops who consider the churches to be the House of God).

Vincent Nichols

Rare praise for Vincent Nichols!

In fact the only senior member of the Church of England administration who has ever been known to collaborate usefully with the government is the Supreme Governor herself, Queen Elizabeth, age 94. So far she has not told us whether she is also going on strike, but maybe Bishop Worzel knows.

Henry VIII

You never saw me going on strike!

Saturday 23 May 2020

World Cup of Liturgical Abuses - the runners

In the end we collected 45 liturgical abuses of one sort and another - if you don't think something is a LA, then you don't need to vote for it - and the World Cup of Liturgical Abuses will start on Twitter on Monday May 25th. Because of the awkward number of entrants, there will be some qualifying rounds to get through first (it will probably take me until Monday to work out how this is organized).

In the end, you may vote for LA you have witnessed, as well as ones you haven't. How can I stop you?

By the way, my score is now 20.

Altar servers in trainers and hoodies
Mass with sheep
Asperges guns
Audience responses in the homily
Bad cantors
Bad hymns
Bare feet
Blessings from EMHC
Changing words in the liturgy
Communion in the hand
Copies of Tablet in church
Dancing priests
Everyone sitting throughout
Extra prayers from congregation
Felt banners
Female altar-servers
Flash cards in the homily
"Good morning, Father"
guitar Mass
Guitars, etc.
Holding hands in the Our Father
Homily in the aisle
Homily given by laity
Introducing ourselves to our neighbours
LGBT glitter ash
LGBT glitter ash
Liturgical dancing
Non-Biblical readings, e.g. Vat II documents
Notices lasting too long
Orans position for the Our Father
Ordinary bread consecrated
Priest next to boyfriend during readings
Priest without vestments
Priest with coloured shirt
Rainbow flags
roller-skating angels
Roller-skating angels
Secular music
Sign of peace
Singing Happy Birthday
Standing for the consecration
Standing to end of Communion

May the worst abuse win!

For those who really want to know, this is the draw for the qualifying round. Two go through from each heat, which, with the 18 that were given a bye, makes 32 survivors for the main competition.

1 Guitars, etc.
1 Singing Happy Birthday
1 Dancing priests
1 Idols
2 Felt banners
2 Animals
2 Blessings from EMHC
2 Audience responses in the homily
3 Extra prayers from congregation
3 Everyone sitting throughout
3 Introducing ourselves to our neighbours
3 LGBT glitter ash
4 Altar servers in trainers and hoodies
4 Non-Biblical readings, e.g. Vat II documents
4 Copies of Tablet in church
4 Clapping
5 Notices lasting too long
5 Female altar-servers
5 Rainbow flags
5 Sign of peace
6 Clowns
6 Standing for the consecration
6 Orans position for the Our Father
6 Asperges guns
7 Standing to end of Communion
7 Priest with coloured shirt
7 Homily given by laity
Also, it came too late to be included, but an honourable mention for this video, sent in by Hilary White. "Commentators"!

Oh all right, put that into group 7, which is already one short.

Friday 22 May 2020

The Book of Covidicus, Chapter 4 - staying alert

Continued from Chapter 3.

1. Then Bosis ceased to harden his heart, and said "From now on a new commandment I give unto you: STAY ALERT. Also ye must CONTROL THE VIRUS and SAVE LIVES."

2. And the people were now allowed to leave their dwellings more than once a day, although they must remain at a distance of four cubits from one another.

Boris stays alert

Bosis and the three commandments.

3. But the Scottites and the Welshites mocked him, saying, "We cannot ask our people to stay alert, for they know not what this means. So we will ask them to stay at home, watching the box that is called Goggle and Magoggle."

4. And it was so.

5. However, the Scottites also told their people that they might go out if they played the bagpipes, thus encouraging their neighbours to stay at a distance of a thousand cubits from them.

6. Now, many years ago, the LORD had placed a rainbow in the sky, as a sign of His Covenant with Man, to show that never again would the world be drowned by waters, not even in the land of Manchester where it raineth every day.

7. But the dwellers in the Cities of the Plain, which are called Elbee and Geetee, had taken the rainbow unto themselves, saying that it was a sign that they would not be destroyed for their wickedness.

8. Then those who worshipped the doctors, the nurses, the hospital accountants and their equality and diversity officers said "Let us also use the rainbow, as a sign of God's favour to us."

Rainbow wars

This means war!

9. But the people of Elgee and Beetee waxed wroth, saying "The rainbow is sacred unto us, and cannot be stolen by the doctors."

10. "Moreover, ye have cancelled our parades, that are called Pride, in which we are joined by officers of the law, whereby we may explain to the children how wondrous is our lifestyle."

11. Hence the sufferings of the people of Elgee and Beetee were greater than any others known at this time.

12. Meanwhile, the people continued to argue about the meaning of the words "four cubits", and asked Bosis for guidance.

Take your bed

There came an answer.

13. So Bosis spake, saying, "Take up thy bed and walk, for thy bed is four cubits long, unless thou be Og of Bashan."

14. (For, as it is recorded, Og's bedstead was a bedstead of iron. Nine cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it.)

15. Bosis also suggested that a man might otherwise carry around three cabinets known as fridge, but in the end nobody was strong enough to do this.

16. Then there came a decree from Caesar Agatesus, that all the world should be vaxxed.

Caesar Agatesus, the most powerful man in the world.

17. This Agatesus was a wealthy potentate, who had obtained a vast fortune by selling unto the people windows that would not stay open.

18. And now he had found a strange vixen, with which he claimed to cure all the ills of the world.

19. So Bosis, and his servant Matthew, of the tribe of Hanoch, were deeply troubled, and they thought hard about whether the people of Bri-tain should receive the strange vixen of Agatesus.

Continued in Chapter 5.

Wednesday 20 May 2020

It's Laudato Si' mania!

What is the biggest event in the Catholic Church this week? Ascension Day? Oh no, you're so RIGID! The 100th birthday of the saintly Pope John-Paul II? Nearer, but still wrong. No, it's the 5th anniversary of Pope Francis's fantastic work of fiction, Laudato Si'!

Ascension hymn

But nobody noticed as they were all celebrating Laudato Si'.

There will be rejoicing throughout the Catholic world. Bonfires will be lit. Houses will be illuminated. The streets will be decorated with plastic straws. Pachamama idols will be brought out. There will be a performance of Paul Inwood's "Alleluia-puff-puff" by an orchestra of tuned air conditioners, boilers, revving car engines, etc. There will be jet fly-pasts. Clouds of dry ice will swirl everywhere.

This begins a WHOLE YEAR of Laudato Si' celebrations - the Jubilee Year of Laudato Si'. As for the Year of Mercy, there will be a specially-designed ugly logo, and each church will have an electric "Door of Laudato Si'" through which people can enter.

Greta logo

"How dare you?" The logo of the Year of Laudato Si'.

Pope Francis is naturally very pleased with Laudato Si' - it is nearly as ground-breaking as Amoris Laetita, but the year of AL won't begin until the 5th anniversary in March/April 2021. LS is described as the greatest work in theology since the book of Revelation, and burning copies have contributed more to the environment than for any other papal encyclical.

Pope and Ivereigh

"It's very good, but I really can't accept a copy," says top Catholic Austen Ivereigh.

So what are the theological lessons that we can learn from Laudato Si' (now a best-selling novel, soon to be a major television series, an opera, a ballet, and a series of three long movies by Sir Peter Jackson)? Well, let Pope Francis himself show us some of the main hazards to the environment.

papal triptych

Don't use aeroplanes! Don't use plastic! And don't pollute the atmosphere!

Let joy be unconfined!

Sunday 17 May 2020

How should women dress in church?

It's the perennial debate - should women dress how they like in church, or should they dress in a restrained way, in order to avoid stimulating the lusts of lecherous men? Should men avert their eyes, or is that impossible?

priest in blindfold

Men: if embarrassed by improperly-dressed women, blindfold yourself!

Let's look at a few case studies, and see what the answer is.

liturgical dancing

RIGHT! These costumes show dignity, modesty, and above all practicality. If you're in the habit of shaking a leg in church during Mass, then we can recommend nothing better.


WRONG! A lot of men are stimulated by the sight of women in uniform, and so seeing nuns in full regalia is often more than the soul can bear. Why can't these ladies dress like those wonderful "nuns on the bus", who, by clothing and teaching, are totally unrecognisable as nuns?

Ignatian yoga

RIGHT! When I first saw the references to "yoga pants" I kept asking myself "Who is Yoga and why is he panting?" wondering whether this was something to do with Star Wars. However, these appear to be the sort of garment worn by ladies practising yoga. Now, Ignatian yoga is recommended by Fr James Martin LGBTSJ, and what else can you wear for this except Ignatian yoga pants?

mantilla brigade

WRONG! Mantillas merely stress the femininity of the wearer, as men would not be seen dead in them. Until we develop a new unisex mantilla that can be worn by men and women alike, we must not allow women to emphasise their fleecy assets! Also, they are RIGID.

Lizzie Reezay

RIGHT! I got this from someone called @LizziesaAnswers, a recent convert, who with only a year's experience of Catholicism is already able to answer questions on any subject under the sun, including those that have baffled Augustine, Aquinas and Pope Francis! So she obviously knows how to dress.

Saturday 16 May 2020

The World Cup of Liturgical Abuses

Inspired by an offering from Patrick Coffin, I want to run a World Cup of Liturgical Abuses (either by the priest or the people). To make it interesting I only want people to vote for abuses that they have actually experienced (e.g. most of us have led sheltered lives, and missed out on clown masses), although it will be a lucky reader who has not come across any of the ones in my list.

So far we have the following contestants, but nominations of others are invited in the next week, either via the comments below or replying to @bruveccles on Twitter.

liturgical dancing


Liturgical dancing

Female altar-servers

Communion in the hand



Sign of peace
Dolan rejecting sign of peace

"Let's not!"

Holding hands in the Our Father

Orans position for the Our Father

Standing for the consecration

Bad hymns (Schutte, Haugen etc.)

Introducing ourselves to our neighbours
Brentwood idols



Reading out Vatican II documents

Changing words in the liturgy



Of course, you may actually like some/all of these, but that is not my problem.

The voting on Twitter will begin on Monday 25th May, once next week's exciting Laudato Si' celebrations (to be the subject of a future post?) have died down and everyone has sobered up again.

Incidentally, I think I have seen eight of the above. Can anyone beat that?

Friday 15 May 2020

Nobody expects the Congregation for Divine Worship!

The scene: the bishop's palace in Knoxville, Tennessee. Bishop Richard Stika is admiring himself in the mirror.

The door bursts open, and Cardinal Robert Sarah, Archbishop Arthur Roche, and Fr Corrado Maggioni enter.


Roche: And Cinnabons.

Sarah: All right, Silence and Cinnabons. Two main weapons. Corrado, read out the charges.

Sarah and Roche

The Guinea Inquisition.

Maggioni: Bishop Richard Stika, alias Sticky Ricky, you are charged with defying the CDW by insisting that people receive Communion in the hand, and stating that you will ban anyone who insists on receiving on the tongue.

Roche: Even though we have already stated that everyone has the right to receive on the tongue. Bites into a cinnabon.

Maggioni: You also published the following ludicrous instructions:

Before leaving your pew you will put on full protective gear, such as a suit of armour, a diver's suit, or a cyberman costume. You will walk at exactly 3.10686 m.p.h., maintaining a distance of 6 feet 7.402 inches, no more, no less, from your neighbour. Once at the distribution point, you will remove all your clothes, and shower for twenty minutes in an alcohol-based shower.


Maintain social distancing!

Standing on the floor at the point marked X (or kneeling if you really insist), you will extend your arms and hands toward the priest or deacon, with the palm of your non-writing hand facing up and completely flat, supported by your writing hand. Those who are ambidextrous should use their feet.

After receiving, you will jump into the bath of boiling custard provided, and then, screaming in agony, put on your protective clothes and return to your seat.

How do you plead?

The door bursts open, and Cardinal Luis Ladaria Ferrer, Archbishop Giacomo Morandi, and Archbishop Charles Scicluna of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith burst in.


Spanish Inquisition

Ladaria is on the case!

Roche: Hey, we were here first!

Ladaria: But we want to nail him for heresy. "Mass is not the worship of Jesus. We adore Jesus, but we worship the Father," for example.

Stika: You've all got it in for me. I blame Church Militant. They've been telling everyone what I said. Sobs.

Wednesday 13 May 2020

Believers of every religion unite!

Pope Francis: I would like to remind you that on 14 May, believers of every religion are invited to unite themselves spiritually in a day of prayer, fasting and works of charity, to implore God to help humanity overcome the coronavirus pandemic.

And what a response we're seeing. Not many Catholics, admittedly, as when Pope Francis asks them to do something, they will usually do the opposite. So it's a holiday from prayer, a time to feast like Cardinal Dolan, and we shall see no works of charity - the sick, the poor, and those in trouble can jolly well take care of themselves for a day.

But other religions are not so stubborn.

Prince Philip cult

May Prince Philip save us from the virus!

Jim, of the Yaohnanen tribe of Vanuatu (formerly New Scunthorpe) is in no doubt that his God Prince Philip, although not recognised by the Catholic Church, will come to his aid and drive his mighty four-wheeled chariot over the demon Flu Manchu. Eccles: They're not cannibals, are they? Editor: No, although they sometimes have their relations for dinner. Jim is very impressed by Pope Francis's ecumenical outreach, although obviously for him there is no god but Philip.

Aztec sacrifice

And now hymn number 44, "Give me your heart tonight."

Massimo, a leading Aztec theologian, is also very enthusiastic about the Pope's call to prayer, and he has sharpened his knife specially for the occasion. "Now is a time for all believers to come together," he says. "There are only minor theological differences between us, and these should not stop us from seeing the common ground. After all, even the Anglicans are also taking part, and they don't believe anything at all."


May Pachamama protect us.

Lastly, we spoke to Shaman Austen of the cult of Pachamama. "If the Pope were not a Catholic, then I am sure that he would enter into full membership of our church," he explained. "Like him, we are South American in origin, sceptical about some of the claims of Christianity, and fascinated by the way that Mother Earth is suffering from carbon footprints, plastic straws, and the eternally youthful Greta Garbage of Sweden."

So there we have it. Get praying - it doesn't matter which God you choose, so why not try a different one just for a change? All praise be to ... please fill in as necessary!

Late news: Brentwood leads the way. What a fine collection of idols!

Brentwood tweet

Where's Alexander Tschugguel when you need him?

Sunday 10 May 2020

Catholics encouraged to celebrate Ramadan

Imam Al-Nichols, also known to Catholics as Vincent, Cardinal Nichols, explained today that he was celebrating Ramadan at home since "What are Muslims but Catholics with a bit more money?"

Vincent Nichols

Al-Nichols recycles his Father Christmas beard so as to be more ecumenical.

Daily life in the Nichols home is now a very Spartan affair, similar to that of a devout Muslim. A huge plate of bacon and eggs just before dawn, and then it's only fast food during the daytime (jumbo offalburgers, fish and chips, Westminster fried chicken). Then at sunset he is able to recover with a huge tankard of Medina beer ("the drink of the prophet").

"'Ramadan' is the Arabic word for 'Lent'," explains al-Nichols. "Some of my critics have pointed out that Catholics are still celebrating Easter, but how can that possibly be more important?"

Medina beer

Yes, there really is a Medina beer.

Being a "Mecca II" Muslim, al-Nichols is more liberal than most. He reads the Koran every day, but it is a "Message Koran". This omits the bits about slaying the infidel, replacing them by advice to write a stern letter to the Tablet acknowledging that all shades of opinion are equally valid. Also, the Imam-Cardinal does not believe in "ad Meccam" prayer, preferring to show his back to the Holy City.

When it comes to morals, al-Nichols continues to take a liberal attitude. Having in the past shown favour to "gay Masses", he is very keen to see similar events including Muslims, but "this is a long-term project".

When critics point out that Mohammed does not have such an impressive CV as Jesus Christ, the Son of God, al-Nichols has an answer for them. "It's an ecumenical matter," he explains. "Anglicans worship Henry VIII, don't they, and he was an even more bloodthirsty chap! Justin Welby and I are one on this matter."

Westminster Cathedral

Westminster Mosque.

It is not clear how many Muslims have been drawn into the Catholic Church by al-Nichols's initiative, or whether there has been any great movement in the other direction. The Catholic bishops are still keeping all the churches closed, and nobody knows what is going on inside at present. However, bearing in mind that al-Nichols is a keen football fan ("soccer" if you are American), we do note that there are 22 dioceses in England and Wales, and 22 men in a football match (plus the Nuncio acting as a referee). We leave readers to draw their own conclusions about the cries of "Over here, John!" "Good shot, Richard!" "You dirty fouler, John!" "You're offside, Malcolm!" "Where's your glasses, Nuncio?" "Dive, Bernard!" and "Goal!" which many have heard on walking past the theoretically-empty cathedral.

Nichols the Hindu

Now, about Hinduism...

Wednesday 6 May 2020

The Book of Covidicus, Chapter 3

Continued from Chapter 2.

1. So the children of Bri-tain continued to be locked down, and unable to worship the Lord.

2. Although there were some priests who disguised themselves as merchants, such as Monsignor Tesco, the Bishop of Asda, Father Sainsbury, and Cardinal Waitrose.

3. These holy men sold foodstuffs to the people, and, when nobody was looking, they provided spiritual nourishment behind the shelves of beans.

4. But many people continued to worship by watching the stream that is called live.

5. Although some decided to wait for the set that is boxed, or the disc that is called video, that they might also be able to see the bloopers and outtakes as well.

6. And many priests who used the stream that is live deliberately misspoke, or tripped over, or dropped the sacred artifacts, that their bonus disc might be a worthy offering.

Guido Marini

Guido Marini catcheth the falling cross.

7. And the people of Bri-tain were told, "Stay ye away from the doctors, for we must protect the Service of Health."

8. Thus those who suffered from sore boils, and paralysis, and leprosy were cast forth from the hospitals, that there might be room for those suffering from the plague.

9. But those who had other sicknesses claimed that they also had the plague, that they might be healed too.

man in plaster

The doctor healeth a man suffering from the plague.

10. Next, it came to pass that Bosis's handmaiden, Carrie, was with child.

11. For the Lord had spoken unto Bosis, saying "I will multiply thy seed like the stars of Heaven," and the prophets had foretold that he should one day have twelve children, who would found the twelve tribes of Bri-tain.

12. So Bosis called his son "Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas", for he greatly revered a saintly Northumbrian bishop of that name.

13. Now there was a mighty counsellor, called Neil, son of Fergus, who was a great lover of models.

14. And his models told him that everyone would die of the plague unless they stayed locked in their houses, and probably even then.

15. For in the past his models had prophesied unto the world many times, saying that all men should die of fowl pest, or it might be ingrowing toenails, or then again it could be the knee of the housemaid.


The models of Neil prophesy DOOM.

16. So the people listened to the prophecies of Neil, and remained in their houses, hiding under the bed, or in some cases in the deepest dungeons.

17. But then it came to pass that Neil called unto his home another man's wife, and lay with her, although only at a distance of four cubits. For such was the law of the prophets.

18. And the people said, "We have had enough of this man and his models. Let us live dangerously, and open the window."

Continued in Chapter 4.

Saturday 2 May 2020

Cardinal Sarah - Dontchahatehim?

Exclusive revelations from Christopher Lambchop of the Tablet.

Tablet readers all know that the Leader of the Opposition to Pope Francis is Cardinal Sarah. In this hatchet job in-depth analysis, I can exclusively reveal some of the things he has been trying to keep secret.

Shari Lewis and Lambchop

Tina Beattie and Lambchop at a Tablet party.

First, did you know that, despite being called Sarah, he is in fact a MAN? This sexual ambivalence could be the reason why he wants to persecute women by not letting them become priests. What do you think?

I can also reveal that he is BLACK; in fact he comes from the African country of New Guinea (memo: check this). His long opposition to dictators, notably Sékou Touré, has no doubt prepared him well for his current role as leader of the opposition to Pope Francis. He opposes him in "Yes, Minister" style by supporting Pope Francis while secretly undermining him - in fact so secretly that nobody except me even guessed that he has a passionate hatred for the Pope!

Yes, Minister

"Yes, Holy Father." Sarah undermines Pope Francis's work.

Sarah's connections are sinister in the extreme. The Knights of Columbus bought copies of his book! Gosh, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that other extremists have got copies too - we have had no denials from Damian Thompson, Father Zuhlsdorf, Pope Benedict XVI, Boris Johnson, or Donald Trump, have we? His connections in Africa are also very dubious - could he secretly be a Lefebvrist - perhaps even too extreme for the SSPX? Seems likely, eh?

He's certainly an intelligent man - he studied Scripture in Rome and (unlike Pope Francis) has learned how to read without moving his lips! Too clever for his own good, eh? Francis, being merciful and saintly, refused to exile him to a war zone such as Syria, although he richly deserves that!

Sarah remains extremely loyal to Benedict XVI, unlike most reasonable people, who hated him from the start. Controversy arose in January, when he even dared to co-author a book with him, disregarding Pope Francis's apostolic exhortation Senex Maledictus ("Curse the old man!")

He has this obsession with traditional Catholic teaching - he was the one who put a stop to Pope Francis's attempts to make a "filial correction" of Jesus Christ. He even likes celebrating communion ad orientem (an African term meaning "refusing to grin at the congregation"!)

Friar Tuck

Arthur Roche wonders how to take advantage when his boss turns his back on him.

Well, Sarah himself is nearly 75 now, and Pope Francis, who works mainly with the cardinal's faithful second-in-command, the bluff no-nonsense Yorkshire test-cricketer Arthur Roche, will want to kick him out of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. For he has noticed that Sarah spends much of his time talking about worship and sacraments - which Francis doesn't understand - rather than climate change and migration - which he does.

Good riddance, I say! Clear off, Sally, and take your parallel magisterium with you!

Adapted from The Outsider - another hagiography of Pope Francis, published by Austen and Ivereigh (20p at your nearest jumble sale).