This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Friday 31 December 2021

King Herod calls a Synod

Judea, about 2 BC.

King Herod is talking to his advisers about the possibility of murdering young children in Bethlehem.

Grech waffle

Herod: Thank you all for coming to my meeting. I hope for the maturation of a true synodal journey.

Youngest adviser: You what?

Herod: Let me explain. Traditional teaching says "Thou shalt do no murder", but I think we may agree that, in the light of accompaniment and discernment, we may re-interpret this as "Thou mayst do murder."

Marin de San Martin waffle

Muttering amongst the advisers, and then the senior one speaks out: "On the synodal journey the most important thing is the process, because it is already the result."

Herod: I couldn't have put it better myself. So, it's agreed then, we kill all the young kids in Bethlehem?

Hollerich waffle

Omnes: Yes, of course. After all, the High Priest has called us on the synodal journey, this is the journey that we must do together, and it is also the occasion for a new beginning.

Herod: Exactly. We can make up doctrine as we go along. Nobody ever called me rigid!

Monday 27 December 2021

The 2021 Advent Calendar

Well, there were a few changes from last year's Advent Calendar (all that's best in contemporary Catholicism).

Advent Calendar

We opened the windows and we found:
  1. Jolly Uncle Arthur Roche.
  2. Prof. Faggioli's book on two entirely unrelated subjects - Joe Biden and Catholicism.
  3. The historic meeting between Little Amal (L) and Big Vin (R) in Westminster Cathedral.
  4. Wilton Gregory, keen Democrat activist and now a cardinal.
  5. The modern socially-distanced way of spraying holy water - with a water-pistol.
  6. We address the deep theological question: "Mary, did you know?" Sing along with me, please.
  7. Cardinal Becciu is here to give you advice on your investments.
  8. Ask any Catholic and he will tell you that the biggest problem in the world is the lack of synods. This is now being rectified!
  9. It's Thomas "Don't let young people attend the Latin Mass" Reese. SJ of course.
  10. We honour the police who have so often prevented us from celebrating Mass.
  11. Bishop Barron is here to reassure us that we shall all be playing guitars in Heaven.
  12. We celebrate the wedding of Boris Johnson, who after 56 years suddenly realised that he was a Catholic.
  13. A German "earth altar". Nobody knows why.
  14. This happy couple needs no introduction!
  15. Another iconic couple greets us. It's LGBTQ-activist Fr James Martin SJ and his friend David Haas, a top composer of liturgical music!
  16. I don't know whether to catalogue this book as "horror" or "comic".
  17. We are greeted by two of New York's finest Catholics.
  18. We offer some essential supplies to help us restore the "sign of peace" as soon as possible. These may be a bit difficult to read. They say:
    • Green: Okay with hugs and high-fives.
    • Orange: Okay with talking but not touching.
    • Red: Hi! I'm keeping my distance. [Personally, I always go for the red option.]
  19. We see this year's Vatican nativity scene. No spacemen, unfortunately, but we do have a visitor from the Amazon at the manger.
  20. It's Austen Ivereigh! He knows if you've been bad or good, and will tell your bishop if he thinks you're bad!
  21. Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia of the Pontifical Academy for Life is your man, whether you want homoerotic murals or a tolerant attitude to abortion!
  22. Our celebrations would not be complete without Pachamama, seen here just before she went for a swim in the Tiber.
  23. We said farewell to Hans Küng this year.
  24. Sister Jeannine Gramick LGBT of New Ways Ministry. Condemned by the CDF but (mercifully) praised by Pope Francis.
  25. This last scene may bring you joy.
A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all readers!

Wednesday 22 December 2021

I don't know anyone who cares about the TLM

Reprinted from America Rag with some edits.

By Kevin Clarke

I do not miss the Traditional Latin Mass. I have never been to one, I do not know anyone who has, and I am not even very sure what it is. From my Big Boy's Book of the Roman Empire, I'm guessing that it is some evil ritual involving human sacrifices, possibly throwing people to the lions, with everyone wearing togas while reciting "Hic haec hoc". But frankly I can't be bothered to find out, and after all this is an America Rag article, and so facts would be a little out of place anyway!

So, let's assume, as is reasonable, that nobody actually goes to a TLM, and that it is just a code phrase for "We hate Pope Francis", which is what social media seem to be full of these days. Admittedly, there were people who went to primitive masses in the Dark Ages before the 1960s, when everyone lived in mud huts, and there were no intelligent people like me around. Some of them are still alive, deaf, blind, and insane, pretending that they know what odd code phrases like "Gloria's Excellent, Dear" and "Agnes Day" mean.


Wait until Herr Austen Ivereigh finds out where you are, Agnes Day!

No, anyone who uses the phrase "Traditional Latin Mass" is using an anti-Francis code phrase, just as "Let's Go, Brandon" is a way of persecuting that devout Catholic Joe Biden - another hero to all America Rag readers. You see these loathsome phrases all over Twitter, and even on church websites.

I have never experienced the dread "clown Mass," so often reported in stories of the "Novus Ordo," and I cannot imagine what they are referring to. It's true that I put on a red nose, fright wig, and oversize trousers when I attend Mass - oh, and I fill the trousers with custard, as recommended in Pope Francis's "Trousers Custardes" (I am told) - but that doesn't make it a clown mass! And I NEVER do liturgical dances when my trousers are full of custard. Well, hardly ever. So you can be sure that the masses I attend are reverent and dignified, and much better than anything there was before.


"Kevin, can you give us a few paragraphs about the TLM?"

As my hero Michael Sean Winters, a columnist for the National Devout Catholic Fishwrap, has already pointed out, the attacks on Pope Francis from proponents of the Latin Mass are evidence that all people who like the old rite are thugs - and therefore it was time to close it down. After all, we must Build Back Better, and that means rejecting the old ways. If it makes a few old dinosaurs unhappy, then that's all to the good, surely?

Apparently, some people find the old rite spiritually nurturing, or do I mean nourishing? Nutritious, maybe? Well, REALLY! Do people go to church for spiritual nourishment? Good grief, next you'll be letting people kneel in prayer, to remain silent, or to be reverent. Surely, it's just an excuse for feeling superior over the rest of us, who go to church to chatter with friends, slouch around in the pews, and listen to sermons telling us how good we are?

Anyway, if you see someone claiming to like the TLM, they are probably just an illusion and you should seek medical help. They don't exist!

Sunday 19 December 2021

How to write your own Dubia

This is the latest in our "How to be a good Pope" series, principally intended for those of our readers who one day will get a nudge in the ribs and a cheerful cry of "You did it, Mussolini! Go out and dictate!" Yes, apparently friends call you Mussolini, but you have never understood why.

The story so far: after eight years, you have decided to kick your predecessor Pope Benedictus in the teeth by scribbling off an apostolic letter "Trads are Cussed" which will severely restrict the out-of-date rigid Latin Mass on the grounds that it is divisive because it doesn't stop every ten minutes to say how wonderful Vatican II was. In fact most of the bishops ignored TC, probably because they knew you had made up the results of the questionnaire on which you based it.

Nevertheless, a lot of people are very cross about "Trads Cussed", and even your attack poodles such as top biographer Jane Austen Ivereigh (author of "Pride and Prejudice - a biography of Pope Fred") aren't managing to win the argument. What is to be done?

Cardinal Sally has left the Congregation of Divine Worship, and, using a theological principle known as "Buggins's Turn", you have given the job to Uncle Arthur Roach, his former deputy, even though he's obviously a complete goon. But how to proceed? You can't just write a sequel - Trads Cussed 2 - as people will just think you were too feeble to get it right first time.

Pope and Roche

"Shall I send a DVD to all TLM parishes?" asks Uncle Arthur. "That's what we did in Leeds."

But then you have an idea! About five years ago, four cardinals sent you a list of five "Dubia" with the idea of clarifying your previous apostolic exhortation "Amorous Letitia", all about the life and times of a woman of easy virtue who sorted out her problems by "discernment" and "accompaniment". Of course you never got round to answering them, because the St Wormwood Mafia who appointed you said it was better not to.

But you get the idea? Let's make up some Dubia and answers, which do not actually clarify "Trads Cussed" but turn the screw a few more notches. Uncle Arthur, although a jolly chap especially when he's full of cake, doesn't quite understand the idea, and his first few suggestions were:

Dubium: Are we pleased that Cardinal Burke is well again? NEGATIVE.
Dubium: Should Uncle Arthur be made a cardinal? AFFIRMATIVE.
Dubium: More tea, Fred? NEGATIVE.

Dubia Roach

Amazingly, there really is a Dubia Roach. See Wikipedia.

Actually, life is a bit embarrassing for you at the moment, as you accidentally praised the New Ways Ministry, which has already been condemned by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. You are expecting Ladaria's Spanish Inquisition to drop in any minute.

Luis Ladara

"Oh, hello. My main weapon is fear. Fear and surprise. Two main weapons."

Also, people started laughing at you when you came up with the slogan "No more Mr Nice Guy!". Still, when it's translated into Latin it will replace your papal motto "Miserando atque eligendo" ("lowly but chosen") as a more accurate description of your rule.

So you knuckle down and make up some more Dubia. Things like "Should Catholics be excommunicated if they tell others that a TLM is going on? YES - KILL KILL KILL - I'm sorry, I mean - AFFIRMATIVE." Or "Are priests allowed to use the same missal twice in one day? NO - SERVE THE BLIGHTERS RIGHT - I mean - NEGATIVE." It doesn't matter how silly the questions are (none that a real Catholic would ask, although maybe your ultramontanist friends at the "Where Pacha Is" blog would be crazy enough), the answers should sting. Never mind that last time "Trads Cussed" was criticised by Kim Jong-un for going too far - it's time to go further!

And if anyone mentions Dubia, you don't need to change the subject any longer.

Wednesday 15 December 2021

The Book of Covidicus 22: passports, please!

Continued from Chapter 21.

1. It came to pass that Carrie, the wife of Bo-sis, gave birth to a daughter, the sister of Wil-fred.

2. Thus fulfilling the words of the Lord unto Boris: I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore.

3. For the offspring of Bo-sis were now so numerous that he was no longer able to count them; although, according to the beautiful models of Neil, son of Fergus, he now had approximately twenty thousand children.

4. And Bo-sis called his daughter Romy, or Rho for short, as this was the name of the next variant of the plague to be expected.

5. But then there came a scandal that rocked Bri-tain to its foundations.

Boris and football

Bo-sis playeth a party game.

6. For it was revealed that one year earlier Bo-sis had spent the holy season in wild partying, while the rest of the country was reduced to tiers.

7. For it was written "In the lands of Tier 3, the people must not carouse. Indeed, they should not enjoy themselves at all."

8. So Bo-sis removed the paper hat from his head, the balloon tied to his suit, and the party whistle that shooteth out into the face of his neighbour, and said "I have never been to a party." But nobody believed him.

9. Thus he turned his attention to the great plague of Omicron, which slayeth not.

silly graph

The Omicron plague refuseth to slay the people.

10. And there came unto him a messenger saying "Good news! A man hath died of Omicron! Well, in fact he was eaten by a camel, but he was heard to sneeze only ten days previously. The plague is now deadly."

11. So Bo-sis put down his cake, his party popper, and his party bag called "goodie", and spake out, saying "Time for Plan B".

12. And the people also spake out saying, "This meaneth the passports of vixen, which Bo-sis promised never to introduce! Can it be that our mighty leader hath been telling the pies that are porky?"

Note to foreign readers: Cockney Rhyming Slang - pork pies = lies. And now back to the story.

13. So Bo-sis held a mighty vote in the House of Common People, which was keenly fought.


Sajidiah the Bald backeth Bo-sis.

14. For Keir, Chief of the Labourites, spake out, saying "I am the leader of the Opposition, and therefore I support Bo-sis completely. Er, am I doing this right?"

15. But there came a great opposition to Plan B from Bo-sis's own tribe of Conservatites, even unto one hundred fold.

16. But still Plan B was passed, and the children of Bri-tain were told to be vaxed, to be tested, or to die from the deadly plague of camels Omicron.

Continued in Chapter 23.

Thursday 9 December 2021

Who would call the pope a heretic?

With apologies to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

"But, Holmes, why should anyone shout 'Pope, you are a heretic!' at Pope Francis?" I asked the great detective.

"A very good question, Watson" replied my friend, strumming a few bars of "Mary, did you know?" on his Becciu fiddle ("it prefers used notes").

Orthodox priest

"Πάπα, είσαι αιρετικός."

I refer, of course, to the scandalous events of December xxxx, when Pope Francis made a journey to Greece. Initially the Athenians were very disappointed, complaining "The Thessalonians and Corinthians got St Paul, but all we get is Pope Francis." Still, his minders assured the Greeks that soon Francis would be a saint, and probably regarded even more highly than Paul, since he spent so much time correcting him.

"It could, of course, be that old chestnut about Filioque" I suggested. "But surely nobody really gets excited about this nowadays? We're all expecting Francis to rewrite the creed soon, anyway, to include something about Mohammed, Luther, Henry VIII, and the Spirit of Vatican II."

"No, Watson," replied my friend. "But have you thought that the very hairy man could be a Catholic in disguise? Alexander Tschugguel, maybe? Or Father Z? Perhaps Dr Joseph Shaw? Even Cardinal Burke?"

I stared at the photograph of the generously-bearded man, but could not recognise anyone I knew. I also had other doubts.

Pope at Lesbos

Pope Francis will write an epistle to the Lesbians, on the advice of Fr James Martin SJ.

"But why would a Catholic want to call the pope a heretic?" I demanded. "Francis leads a very 'orthodox' life, as far as I know. His Amoris Laetitia is admired worldwide as a totally new approach to morality; his collection of Pachamama idols has enriched Catholic worship immeasurably; his changes to the Lord's Prayer have made it much more friendly."

"It is strange, indeed," agreed Holmes. "Indeed his Traditionis Custodes has brought joy to so many people - or at least to the ones who really matter. One might say that he is the most popular pope since the Borgialios, er, Borgias."

"Could the bearded man be Austen Ivereigh?" I suggested. "Trying to get some more material for his nineteenth book about Pope Francis? Since everyone in the Catholic Church - even the bishops - has now decided to ignore everything Francis says, the little scribbler must be running out of exciting material."

Holmes looked at me with amazement. "Watson, my friend!" he exclaimed. "Sometimes you surprise me!"

Not to be continued.

Saturday 4 December 2021

The Book of Covidicus 21: the Omicron cometh

Continued from Chapter 20.

1. It came to pass that Bo-sis lost confidence in his advisers, be they the wise Sages, Neil, son of Ferguson, or even Sajidiah the bald.

2. Thus he went to visit the wise woman Pepperoni, blessed with a face like a hairdryer, who, as many cruel men said, came from a tribe of swine.

Peppa Pig

The wise woman Pepperoni.

3. And Bo-sis came back in great excitement, telling all the world that Pepperoni was most wondrous wise, and that he had learned a lot from her.

4. But what he had learned no man shall never know, for soon afterwards there came another deadly form of the plague.

5. This one was named Omicron although it should have more properly have been named after Xi-who-must-be-obeyed, the Emperor of China.

Xi Jinping

Xi-who-must-be-obeyed (pronouns Xi/Xer).

6. And this plague was the most deadly of all, as it had no effects whatsoever.

7. So Bo-sis spake out, saying, "If thou feelest healthy, then most probably thou hast caught the new plague, and should retire to thy bed for a month."

8. "For otherwise thou mayst infect thy neighbour, and he too will feel healthy."

9. And the people replied, "Now, that is the kind of plague that I like!"

10. Still, to be on the safe side, Bo-sis decreed that all men should once more cover their faces in the markets and also in the chariots known as public transport.

Baby Boris

Bo-sis discovereth a strange side-effect of the latest vixen.

11. However, for the moment, he did not insist that all the world should be vaxed.

12. For in foreign countries, such as the southern land known as Australis where men tied down kangaroos for sport, those who refused the seventh vixen were cast into the camps of concentration and left to starve.

13. Thus proving that the death rate among the unvaxed could be very high.

Continued in Chapter 22.