This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Tuesday 29 September 2020

Zen and the art of being a good pope

Yes, this is another in our series "How to be a good pope," designed to provide useful advice to any of our readers who might suddenly be told "You've just been elected to the Chair of St Peter. Put on this white coat, get out on the balcony, and smile as if you really meant it."

Now sometimes you get pestered by unwanted visitors. Obviously, there are visitors that you welcome with open arms, such as little gnomes writing biographies of you, or LGBT Jesuits wanting to build bridges. But there are others that you definitely mustn't see.

Cardinal Zen

Hide and seek in the Vatican.

One such is Cardinal Tao, the 94-year-old Chinese cardinal, who has walked all the way from Hong Kong to discuss with you the appointment of bishops in his own country. You thought you had it all sewn up: President Xi Jinandtonic was to send you lots of money, and you would let him chooses his pet thugs as bishops. After all, what's wrong with having thugs as bishops, or even cardinals? In the United States it is quite normal.

But Tao refuses to be silent. Luckily he is only going to be around for four days and you have many places you can hide: behind the sofa, under the bed, in the cupboard under the stairs, in the toilet. As Baroness Orczy put it:
They seek him here, they seek him there. 
Those Chinese seek him everywhere. 
Is he in Heaven or is he in Hell? 
That demned elusive Popernel.

Scarlet pimpernel

The scarlet Popernel.

You could even try removing your papal robes, dressing as a gardener, and slipping out unnoticed. A much more important Man than you was once mistaken for a gardener!

But there is another cloud on the horizon. Cardinal Billabong from Australia has escaped from prison, and he's come to check your tax returns! Unlike Tao, he has very good eyesight, and you won't be able to elude him so easily.

Hmm... this one could be tricky. If I get any good ideas I'll let you know.


  1. In the cupboard under the stairs, just like Harry Poper!

  2. "...what's wrong with having thugs as bishops, or even cardinals? In the United States it is quite normal."

    Indeed! How unlike our own dear England and Wales!

  3. Think of all the people in the world who would just love to meet up with Cardinal Zen, even if for only a few moments! Especially if he had been granted 120 hours of freedom by the CCP. Maybe the CCP called the Scarlet Popernel and told him that he would lose his 2 billion euros if he so much as looked at Cardinal Zen out the window - not that he'd recognise him, of course, - everyone looks the same in a muzzle.
    Thanks Eccles - you get better and better...

    1. Anyone know how much has passed into holy hands to keep them off China?
      'I think we should be told'.

  4. Yes, and we recall what happened shortly afterwards to the One who did that!
    Pray for Cardinal Pell that 'they' don't get him too.

  5. Not so easy to get rid of Cardinal with a slap I suppose?

  6. I wish people in the know would make more comments. It seems there are so many who know what is going on 'behind the scenes'. It shouldn't be so difficult to find someone who knows a little something or other...
    I suppose it will all show up at some point.

    1. Graft and bribes keeps the mouths shut.

      I want to hear a recording of one of his hissy fits!