This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Wednesday 26 May 2021

How to get rid of the Latin Mass

It's time for another in our long-running series on "How to be a good pope," which is proving unmissable reading for those cardinals itching to sit on the throne of St Peter.

The story so far: your predecessor, Pope Benedictus, who lives entirely on German beer and is therefore still alive at the age of 103, wrote a Motor Propeller, Summa Holiday (memo: check title) permitting the wider use of the traditional Latin Mass.

Molesworth translator

Translating some updates to the liturgy into Latin.

Now you always hated Latin at school, ever since Mr Pacelli gave you six of the best for mistranslating the Lord's Prayer. And there is evidence of widespread support for your views - why only yesterday you got a letter on the subject which said "old, unpopular, incomprehensible, really rather pointless, better alternatives available." Admittedly they were talking about you, but it's the thought that counts.

So the time has come to repeal Summa Holiday. You were waiting for Benedictus to die, but you saw him out jogging this morning, and you are wondering whether he might even outlive you. So you have written your own Motor Propeller. In Italian of course, as it would be shooting yourself in the foot if you used Latin. Anyway, your F- grade in Latin is still a sore point.

Still, to make it look official, you have given it a Latin title.

Romanes Eunt Domus

The cover page of your Motor Propeller.

Romanes Eunt Domus is - your advisers assure you - an idiomatic way of saying "No more Latin", and will make the public realise you are serious.

The first thing to do is to give a press conference to which none of the press is invited, just a bunch of chatty Italian bishops. That way, your plans can leak out unofficially (as your mate Arthur Sousa points out, "If it ain't on a tape-recorder, it never happened, and that goes for the New Testament too.")

Now ask a few dead-beat journalists to make up reasons why the Traditional Latin Mass needs suppressing. They will say it is:
* fascist, alt-right, Trumpist, racist;
* homophobic, transphobic, claustrophobic;
* expected to cause climate change: it has already killed off 
all Rome's polar bears;
* beloved of Burke, Sarah, Müller, Pell, and  all the other 
loonies who used to be your friends;
and so on. Then you can go ahead with it. One top tip is to replace Cardinal Sarah at the Congregation of Divine Worship with his deputy, bluff Yorkshireman Friar (Arthur) Tuck. You've never been able to understand a word he says, but you're fairly sure that he hates Latin ("ee, tha's a poncey southern language!") so he will help you implement Romanes Eunt Domus, and take the blame if it all goes wrong. Make him a cardinal so that you can keep an eye on him.

Sarah and Roche

When I become Pope, my first encyclical will be called On Ilkla Moor Baht' at.

Quod erat demonstrandum!

Addendum, one day later. Uncle Arthur got the job, and here he is beginning his revision of the liturgy.

Herbert Lom

Monday 24 May 2021

The Book of St Richard, Chapter 29

Continued from Chapter 28.

1. One day, Richard looked at himself in the glass and said "Am I not a perfect being?"

2. "I am the brainiest zoologist in Oxford, I am so handsome that I have had three or four wives (I forget exactly how many), and my genes are tighter than anyone else's."

3. "What a shame that there are people in the world less worthy to live than I am."

4. "For the butcher is spotty, the baker knoweth no theology, and the candle-stick maker hath arthritis."

5. So Richard spake out to a man known as Brendan the radio host, who made a living by listening to the wise words of sages and prophets, or at least the vain boastings of celebrities.

Dawkins in silly teeshirt

"We've invited an African as part of our diversity programme."

6. Now Brendan had a daughter who was blessed with the mark of Down. And he loved her dearly.

7. So Richard, whose studies had made him an expert on moral issues, as well as tact and politeness, said to Brendan "Why didst thou not slay thy daughter? It would be moral, nay, wise and sensible so to do."

8. So Brendan asked Richard whom else he would slay.

9. And Richard spake out, saying "Let us slay the deaf and blind. For this would increase the amount of happiness in the world. Besides, they never buy my books, my CDs, my videos, or my tee-shirts."

10. And on further reflection Richard was willing to slay those who broke a leg, or suffered from a hangover. For what use were they to the world?

11. So it came to pass, when all men had heard the wise words of Richard, that he got up to leave the studio.

statue of Darwin

And now cometh the Nemesis of Richard.

12. And Brendan cried "Look where thou art going, professor: art thou blind?" For Richard had crashed into a statue of Darwin which had been brought into the room to make him feel at home.

13. But Richard, being aged four score years, heard not the warning, neither saw he the statue.

14. And as he lay on the floor, with a broken leg, he said bashfully, "I am sorry, Brendan, I have drunk of the wine that is red, and it hath given me a headache."

15. So Brendan reflected that it might not be difficult to find someone who was deaf, blind, blessed with a broken leg, or suffering from a hangover. Especially one who brought no happiness into the world.

Dawkins, wounded

A perfect being.

Continued in Chapter 30.

Sunday 23 May 2021

Nul points for the UK bishops

Eurovision song contest news.

Well, it was "nul points" for the bishops of England, Scotland, and Wales this week, as their pastoral letter "Down with carbon", sung by Mad John Arnold and the Stooges, failed to convince anyone in this Pentecost-themed Eurovision Song Contest. Its strident chorus, "Build back better! Build back better!" wasn't the hit they had expected, and nobody could find anything much about Pentecost in the lyrics apart from a bit about how the Holy Spirit was backing mighty rushing wind power rather than tongues of fire.

Eurovision table

Bad news for the bishops!

Why, even the Germans, with their fetching rainbow vestments and their song "We'll bless anything", sung by the heavyweight team of Cardinal Marx and the Schismatics, managed to get three points. Still no mention of Pentecost, however.

No entry from the Vatican, whose "Pachamama Blues" would have been a certainty for the 2020 competition; apparently the money reserved for preparing an entry is now resting in someone's bank account. However, they may take some credit for Italy's winning entry of "Tutti Fratelli ice-cream", sung by Massimo and the Beans.

Bishops singing

"They're starting to throw rotten tomatoes, lads. Sing louder!"

Tonight their disgruntled manager Vincent Nichols complained, "We did our best to write a modernist song, throwing away all that old-fashioned stuff about the Holy Spirit leading us to truth, let alone St Paul's irrational prejudices against fornication, gross indecency, sexual irresponsibility, idolatory and sorcery. We concentrated on the message of St Greta of Thunberg, the Venerable Biden, and Boris the Green (formerly 'that fascist Boris Johnson')."

Well, we already knew that the days of Vincent Nichols, were numbered, as the Vatican struggles to find a worthy successor, but this fiasco can only hasten his downfall.

Saturday 22 May 2021

The very first synod

Scene: the Garden of Eden, c. 4004 B.C. Present: Adam, Eve, Serpent, all naked.*

*An old custom for synods revived in Germany in 2025.

Serpent: Now, Adam and Eve, welcome to the Garden of Eden Synod. As the only talking creatures in this area, God has asked us to hold this meeting. Apparently He likes synods.

Adam: I don't remember Him mentioning this to us.

Serpent: He said it to me when you were down the garden. Trust me, I'm a Jesuit. Why, in six thousand years from now a pope will call a three-year synod about synods in order to discuss synods about synods. So they must be what God wants.

Adam, Eve, Serpent

Dialogue is a GOOD THING.

Eve: What's a pope?

Serpent: Never mind that for now. Let's get started. Now I think we all know each other, so let's have item 1 on the agenda. Should we eat the apples on the tree in the middle of the garden?

Adam: No, God said we should not. [Opens copy of THE GENESIS HERALD.] Yes, here it is, just before the bit about summer fashions made of figleaves.

Serpent: Ah, but we may find we disagree. Would it not be a cruel persecution of the LGBA (Loves Great Big Apples) community?

Adam: How about a period of discernment to help us decide on this one?

Eve: Good idea. [Discerns for ten seconds.] Let's do it.

Serpent: Excellent. Apple pie for tea, then.

[All applaud the success of the Synod.]

Adam and Eve leaving Eden

Spoiler: it turns out badly.

Tuesday 18 May 2021

Cure found for Dawkins Syndrome

Many parents are worried that their babies may be born with Dawkins Syndrome, especially when a pre-natal scan shows a scowling baby with a head full of porridge.

Such a child can indeed be difficult to bring up - he often shows cruelty, no sense of morals, arrogance, selfishness, and stupidity. Still, people with this condition can often live full and rewarding lives, for example by taking unskilled employment as professors of zoology.

Dawkins and rabbit

The patient sometimes believes that he is a rabbit.

In old age, however, we often see the worst psychological problems develop: an obsessive desire for publicity, including the habit of saying nasty things in order to be noticed; a conviction that one is always right, even when the facts have shown that this is not the case; the habit of making gaffes ("unless you are a vegan (most Pro-'Lifers' are not) you are in no position to object to abortion"); and a total insensitiveness to the feelings of other people ("it would have been wise and sensible to abort your Downs baby"). It is tempting, if you think you may have a Dawkins baby, to kill your child and "try again", but we cannot recommend that course of action.

However, recent scientific research has produced a new wonder-drug ECCLESINETM, which is guaranteed to reverse the condition. All the patient needs is two vaccinations, with regular boosters every few days, and there is no need for hospital treatment. Here is the case history of a sufferer from Dawkins syndrome, whom we shall call "Richard" to protect his anonymity.

Day 1. Patient is screaming incoherently, but we get him strapped down and vaxxed, after which he calms down and goes off to his laboratory to torture chickens.

Day 2. The patient is still hard to control, he keeps crying out for the honey that "Bin Laden stole from me", and asking to try human flesh.

Lalla Ward

The patient's estranged wife explains the symptoms to a specialist.

Day 3. We decide to hurry up the treatment, and give him the second vaccination. He's still phoning up random strangers to ask them "Why didn't you abort your baby, she's not as clever as I am," but his heart no longer seems to be in it.

Day 4. Definitely he is much calmer, and just sits around reading books on zoology. He does occasionally bite the carpet, but only out of a sense of duty. We introduce a Bible into his room, and instead of screaming, he just looks at it sadly as if to say, "If only they knew..."

Day 5. We give him a third vaccination. This may have been a miscalculation, as he breaks out into hymns (causing the neighbours to phone the police in the belief that someone is being murdered), and tears up copies of his best-selling books, including "Why I am much cleverer than God", "The blind watchman" and "The self is gin." He decides to write a book explaining the philosophy of Aquinas ("Don't worry, I'll make it up myself, as usual").

Dawkins in hideous shirt

Symptoms of Dawkins syndrome include losing your sense of taste. These can be treated by burning the patient's shirts.

So, as you can see, Ecclesine may be the wonder drug that allows Dawkins sufferers to lead a full and active life. Can I have my Nobel prize, please?

Saturday 15 May 2021

The Roman Church breaks away

A guest post from the German bishops, with additional material from Fr James Martin LGBTSJ, Cardinal Cupich, etc.

We are deeply sorry that a small Roman sect has decided to split off from the universal German Catholic Church by refusing to bless same-sex relationships, to ordain women, or to support abortion. From now on we can only regard Pope Francis, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and those backing them as schismatics, Protestants, and general Schweinehunden. In the words of St John of Lennon's Hymn "Imagine", which we sang when we blessed some happy couples this week:
Imagine there's no Heaven:
It's easy if you try.
Hell sounds much nicer:
We're off there when we die.
Biden doing a mock marriage

Fr Joe of the German Catholic Church says "I now pronounce you Thing and Thing."

In the middle ages, the Spanish Inquisition was a byword for brutality, but you ain't seen nothing yet, Francis! The German Inquisition will be much more savage. Already our top agent, Cardinal Kasper, is in Rome and preparing to act. Admittedly he is 96 and talks to trees, but that doesn't stop him striking terror into the hearts of Roman schismatics!

Time for some more "Imagine":
Imagine sin's abolished,
It isn't hard to do:
Nothing to repent of
And no redemption too.
You Roman Catholics may be proud of your Marty Haugens, Dan Schuttes, and Graham Kendricks, but we have John Lennon on our side, so be very afraid!
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can.
Of course we need our Church Tax
So keep on paying, man!
Pope Francis and President of Argentina

A worried Pope Francis gets advice on Peronist dictatorship from the President of Argentina (or vice versa).

The Book of Covidicus 15: a new threat

Continued from Chapter 14.

1. So the weeks rolled on, and the children of Bri-tain received the magic vixen that promised immortality.

2. And they continued to wear masks, even when walking in the wilderness miles from any other life save the locusts, quails, and wild beasts.

3. Now Bo-sis consulted with a team of wise men known as SAGEs: these included experts in astrology, decolonized poetry, necromancy, non-binary algebra, voodoo, post-feminist transgender studies, civilised engineering, anti-racist sackbut-playing, wizardry, and comedy.

4. The last of these was Neil, son of Fergus, who had surrounded himself with beautiful models, all of which gave wrong answers when questioned.

I'm sorry I haven't a clue

The sages tell Bo-sis how to deal with the plague.

5. So, as the sages continued to deliberate, Bo-sis remembered his solemn promise to the children of Bri-tain, that he would not require them to carry papers, known as passports, to prove that they had received the vixen.

6. Thus he spake out one day, saying, "I have had a jolly good wheeze, chaps! Let us require you to carry papers, known as passports, to prove that you have received the vixen!"

7. But before any serious decision could be taken, Bo-sis was forced to launch an assault on the pool known as Hartley, which had been possessed by the Starmerites as long as anyone could remember. For this was the time known as by-election.

Keir Starmer

The famous Statue of Liberty at Hartley's Pool.

8. It came to pass that Hartley's pool fell to Bo-sis, and he rejoiced greatly. And the Starmerites wept, saying, "The workers of Hartley's pool are indeed different from our own people of Islington: for they are hewers of timber, and drawers of water, and they hardly ever kneel down in memory of the blessed Floyd."

9. However, the people of Islington rejoiced, for Genghis, known as Khan, was reappointed as supreme leader of the Londonites, following a massive support from the criminal community.

10. Now, the time was fast approaching when the third step of Bo-sis's road map should be reached. Thus, the children of Bri-tain could visit each other's dwellings once more.

11. Also, gatherings outside were permitted, with no more than thirty people allowed, unless they had come to tear down statues, loot the shops, or attack the guards known as policemen.

12. And the SAGEs issued instructions, explaining how the children of Bri-tain should hug each other: for it was so long since people had been permitted so to do that they had completely forgotten.

Monty Python handshake

Two members of SAGE demonstrate the Sign of Peace.

13. But there now came a new threat from far India: for the plague had mutated into a new more fearsome disease, known as Vindaloo, which caused a fever, a burning of the tongue, and an acidic stomach. The only known remedy for this illness was to drink of the mighty potion known as lager.

14. And the children of Bri-tain were severely perturbed, as this was likely to delay the promised return to normal living, which was due a month thence: thus they would be unable to finish the Book of Covidicus and move on to the book of Numbskulls.

Continued in Chapter 16.

Saturday 8 May 2021

Pope Francis to collaborate with Harry and Meghan

Having sent a nessage to Vax Live, "the concert to reunite the world", chaired by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (hereafter, Harry and Meghan) - who are having enough trouble reuniting their own family - Pope Francis is anxious to exploit his friendship with the future king of the UK and president of the USA (unconfirmed).

Although Pope Francis himself admits that he is "an old man, who does not dance or sing like you", he has also sent along Cardinal "Chito" Tagle, the world's oldest teenager, who has promised to dance, sing, and burst into tears wherever appropriate.

Tagle and Pope dancing

The present and future popes? Cardinal Tagle shows off his dancing skills.

In return, Harry and Meghan have agreed to write some passages for Ecclesia Woka Sit ("Let the Church be woke"), the Pope's next encyclical. They will also persuade some of their friends to contribute: these include Chelsea Clinton (already a participant in an online Vatican conference on health), Greta Thunberg, professor of climatology at the university of Truanzee, Deacon-in-training Joseph Biden of the Devout Catholic Church of Washington, and of course Bill and Melinda Gates from the charitable foundation known as Help the Rich Get Even Richer.

Bill Gates a la Warhol

A harmless side-effect of the Gates vaccine - you turn into a geek.

There are many important issues to be addressed in Ecclesia Woka Sit. A change in the liturgy is planned, in which the priest and congregation will "take a knee" at the start of Mass, in honour of Black Lives Matter*; they will also tear down the statues of any saints who may have links with slavery - for example, by having ancestors or descendants who once wore cotton.

*At least they matter unless they are babies. (Thanks, Chelsea!)

After the recent meddling with the Lord's Prayer ("how foolish of Jesus to get it wrong" as a Pope Francis ally explained to us), more changes are planned, introducing themes such as climate change and transgender awareness and removing the embarrassing bits about forgiveness, temptation, and evil.


Oh praise ye the Floyd!

Priests are also being encouraged to display their pronouns - preferably they/them rather than he/him, although she/her will also be accepted - on sign boards, in church newsletters, and in emails, etc. At the start of Mass, they recommend a form of words such as "Hi, guys, gals and people of all other genders and none, I am Parent James Martin LGBTSJ (they/them), and we're going to have a really swell time today!"

Preparations for the new encyclical are said to be going well, although apparently Meghan has already fallen out with her collaborators. Pope Francis has accused her of bullying, and she has accused the entire Ecclesia Woka Sit team of racism. So it's business as usual.

Harry, Meghan, Oprah

"It was terrible, Oprah. I called Cardinal Sarah a racist, and he simply laughed at me."

Monday 3 May 2021

Massimo Faggioli, ambassador to the Holy See

Following the departure of Callista Gingrich from the post of US ambassador to the Holy See, relations between God and Mammon were left in the hands of a mere chargé d'affaires, Patrick Connell, until President "devout Catholic" Biden could get round to appointing a new ambassador.

It is the great privilege of this blog to be able to report that the new ambassador will be Prof. Massimo "Beans" Faggioli of Villanova University.

Faggioli book

Beans won the "write a book about two totally unrelated topics" prize.

Prof. Beans came to Biden's notice for his persistent defence of Joe's "devout Catholic" label. The other slightly-Catholic Democrat cheerleaders, Cupich, Gregory, Martin, etc., were mostly in holy orders, and Massimo was considered a more suitable person to represent Biden to the Holy Father.

Some alt-right hateful hardline alt-trad far-right Catholics have pointed out that Biden's new "kill a baby and win $5000" legislation might be considered to contradict Christian teaching, but, after all, following the lead of King Herod is Biblical, isn't it?

It has also been pointed out that forbidding Joe Biden from receiving Communion would have no perceptible effect, as the old man has usually dozed off before "The Thing" takes place, and never actually receives. Thus there is no point in the US bishops ganging up on the old chap.

Faggioli and Spadaro

Fr Spadaro tells Ambassador Faggioli his "2+2=5" joke.

So what will be the duties of Ambassador Beans? Well, Callista Gingrich spent four years exercising her diplomatic skills to the utmost. For, although Pope Francis hates Donald Trump like nobody else on Earth (see the encyclical Vir Luteus malus*), Her Excellency managed to prevent the Vatican from declaring outright war on the United States.

* Orange man bad.

Under the Biden-Kamala presidency, there is likely to be less diplomacy required, and His Excellency Ambassador Faggioli will have plenty of time for writing yet more books (the next one will be called "Is Joe Biden the New Messiah?"), and may even have time to attend Church occasionally.

The real danger is that the UK may one day follow suit, and, if a Labour government takes power, it could appoint Prof. Austen Ivereigh, another sycophantic scribbler known for his tact and diplomacy, as ambassador to the Holy See. Austen is already said to have the Pope's ear* and would no doubt get on very well with Francis.

*He keeps it in the freezer.

Keir Starmer genuflects

Keir Stermer rebrands himself as a "devout Catholic".