This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Monday, 27 March 2023

AI-generated image of Pope Francis goes viral

The Internet went wild today (this is standard journalist-speak for a "a few people we know sent it to us along with some naughty pictures") over a strange image of Pope Francis, produced entirely by AI - or Austen Ivereigh to give it its full name.

Obviously a fake!

Whereas previous images of Pope Francis have portrayed him as a bully, a dictator, a heretic, and a protector of child abusers, this new artificially ivereighed image sees him as a humble, saintly man, who defends all traditional worship and would not be seen dead worshipping obscene idols.

To take a passage at random from the book produced by ChatGnome, we have a sonnet (with two extra lines as Austen was away the day they did counting at school):

Behold, Francis, a hero of great might,
A blend of Batman, Superman, and more,
A fighter for good, a defender of right,
He stands with justice, against the dark core.

Like Spock, he's logical, wise and sound,
With knowledge vast, and a keen intellect,
He cuts through chaos, on solid ground,
A stalwart protector, in his deflect.

With a light saber, he battles the foe,
Like Obi Wan, he strikes with skill and grace,
Through danger and peril, he'll always go,
With fearless heart and a steady pace.

And like D'Artagnan, he stands with his sword,
A true swashbuckler, fearless and bold,
The world will be safe, with him on guard,
Francis, the hero, strong and untold.
Clearly the Austen Ivereigh program needs a little fine tuning, although spending three years at a Synod on Synods of Synodic Synodalism will no doubt iron out any problems in the software.

Finally, here are a couple of recent pictures of Pope Francis (I could not find one in which he was dressed as Batman), taken from the AI book.

Pope Francis never tires!

Tuesday, 14 March 2023

2013 and all that (part 2)

Continued from Part 1.

The story so far: Pope Francis the humble has been in the chair of St Peter for two years, and he is just getting started.

Francis was now tiring of religious teaching, and so he turned his attention to the environment instead. It was time for a papal encyclopaedia, which he called Loudhailer Si' because he went around shouting about it. He had realised that many Catholics were going to end up in a hot place if they did not mend their ways - possibly at the North Pole, where there were now no penguins at all.

"Next time, we're all going by bicycle."

Francis was very keen on sinners, and so he organized a Second Sinner of the Family, which, like the first one, was instructed to think of new sins that could be tried out. We shall tell of the results later.

However, Francis had not forgotten the faithful Catholics who still believed in the Bible, and so he encouraged them with new cries of "rigid!" This was a Good Thing.

At the end of the year, there was a great celebration of Creation, and pictures of baboons and toads were projected onto the walls of St Peter's in Rome. At first, people assumed that they were images of Cardigan Marxist, Cardigan Dandruff, and similar Eminems (as cardigans are called). In the end, it was realised that they were simply creatures to be venerated, similar to the "rigid" saints that had previously been respected.

Which cardigan is this?

It was also the start of the Year of Murky, in which murkiness was to be celebrated throughout the Catholic world. Churches were asked to have special "Doors of Murky" by which the faithful could enter to show their devotion to murky. If no such door was available, the faithful were encouraged to climb in through a Window of Murky, or down a Chimney of Murky. These were called spiritual exercises.

The two-headed cyclops logo, designed by Marko Rupnik SJ, a great Catholic hero.

But it was not long before the Church forgot about being Murky, as after the Sinner of the Family Pope Francis released his magnum opus, which he called Amorous Letitia, in honour of a girl he had known in Argentina in the days before he became a priest. Latin scholars tell us that it also means "The Joy of Sex".

Not all Catholics understood Amorous Letitia. The bits where families were encouraged to spend time together, washing the cats, talking to the goldfish, or kissing the car goodnight, were clear enough, but there were doubts about whether adultery was now encouraged, and whether divorce was the answer if the wife snored.

The Spirit of Amorous Letitia.

So four cardigans bravely wrote to the pope asking if he could clarify Catholic teaching for them. To a Jesuit, being asked to clarify *anything* is a mortal insult, and in a spirit of Murky, Francis pretended that the letter (known as the five "Do-be-clears") had been lost in the post.

So we shall never know whether adultery is a sin, especially since two of the Do-be-clear cardigans died soon after impertinently asking for guidance.

In the next part, Pope Francis appoints some strange new cardigans, cuts a deal with President Xi-who-must-be-obeyed, and takes up the worship of Pachanonsense.

Friday, 3 March 2023

A guest post from ChatGPT

There's not much point in our blogging any more, is there? From what follows, it seems that artificial intelligence has won. We got ChatGPT to tell us about Uncle Arthur....

"I'm soooo... sad to hear about the unhappiness of the TLM worshippers."

Could you write a piece in the style of praising Cardinal Roche in a sarcastic way?

Certainly, here is my attempt:

Oh, how lucky we are to have Cardinal Roche in our midst! His presence brings a ray of sunshine to our cloudy and dreary world. His impeccable taste and style are second to none. It's no wonder that he has been dubbed the "Prada Cardinal" by those in the know.

His liturgical expertise is truly awe-inspiring. Who else could come up with such brilliant ideas as the "Table Mass," where the priest faces the people and the altar is replaced with a simple table? It's so much more intimate and modern than the old-fashioned way of doing things.

And let's not forget his groundbreaking work in the area of translations. He's made it his mission to make sure that the language of the liturgy is accessible to everyone, even if it means sacrificing accuracy and theological clarity. Who needs those things anyway when you have inclusive language and catchy slogans?

Some might criticize Cardinal Roche for his apparent disregard for tradition and his willingness to pander to the whims of the modern world. But we know better. We understand that he is simply ahead of his time, a visionary who is pushing the Church into the 21st century whether we like it or not.

So let us raise a glass to Cardinal Roche, the Prada-wearing, table-loving, slogan-spouting liturgical genius. May his influence continue to shape the Church for generations to come!

Soon it will be able to post photos as well.

I guess that ChatGPT has already been contributing to Where Pacha Is...

Still human intervention can add something. I asked ChatGPT to mention cake as well...

Of course, Cardinal Roche's love of cake is also well known. Some might question the wisdom of indulging in such sweet treats, but we know that he does it for the sake of the Church. After all, what better way to build community than by sharing a slice of cake with your fellow parishioners?

I promise I'll stop soon, but...

Please write me a short hymn containing the lines "Oh, we are saved" and "Everyone is good".

Oh, we are saved, by grace divine,
Redeemed from darkness, we now shine,
Our hearts ablaze with love and light,
Guided by faith, through darkest night.

Everyone is good, in God's pure sight,
Beneath the surface, we're all alike,
No one is perfect, but all can be,
Saved by His grace, forever free.

So let us sing with voices strong,
Praising His name, all day long,
For we are saved, and everyone is good,
By His mercy, we've been understood.

"I'll have to look to my laurels!" says Marty Haugen.

Sunday, 12 February 2023

Design your own God!

As a service to my friend "Archbishop" Justin Welby (He/Him on the one hand, She/Her on the other hand, and also Bleep/Bloop in a very real sense) we are providing some useful advice to the Church of England as it decides to reject Christianity and go its own way (no longer following the 1st Century Heiliger Geist but the 21st century Zeitgeist).

The statue of Christ the King is attacked by a Welby-CottrellTM Death Ray.

From now on all religious documents, Bibles, hymn books, prayer books, etc. will need to be pulped and replaced by new "Woke" editions. OUT GO God the Father, Our Father who art in Heaven, Lord Jesus Christ, etc. and IN COME God the parent, Our parent who art - somewhere or other, but it may be downstairs rather than upstairs - and Christ the Aristocrat.

Fr James Martin LGBTSJ (slightly Catholic) has already decreed that the Holy Spirit is feminine.

"Isn't this going to cost a lot of money?" you may be asking. Well, it should be possible to divert all that cash we're giving to earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria into more worthy causes, such as making sure that nobody is upset by God's choosing a gender that they find offensive (this is far worse than being trapped under a collapsed building!) In Phase 2 we'll be sending the Muslim world new non-binary Korans, anyway.

Still, while we're updating all the Church of England books, please note that we have been asked by our Supreme Governor, King Charles III, or at least by some of his menials (M.P.s) to allow blessings of sin.

We're starting slowly with same-sex relationships (or "marriages" as they are laughingly called). A suitable liturgy is being drafted, but since this is the C of E you are of course allowed to make up your own words and nobody will complain.

Next month we shall be dismantling the ten commandments: adulterers, thieves and murderers are already queuing up for blessings.

"O God (He/She/They), who gave us Henry VIII (He/Him) as a model for our church, and thus inspired us to follow his path of adultery, theft and murder, we ask you now to bless "Casanova" John, "Fingers" Irene, and "Slasher" Maurice as they pursue their spiritual paths of lechery, shoplifting and throat-cutting."

LATE NEWS: God is apparently not amused by the Church of England's activities, and the end of the world has accordingly been advanced. Well, you can't say that we didn't all deserve a bit of smiting...

God decides to fix climate change.

Monday, 23 January 2023

World cup of uncrowned saints - nominations please

As a distraction from all the bad news that's coming out at present, let's have another World Cup - this time one of people who should be saints but aren't yet.

Please only nominate dead people that we can easily locate on the Internet (not "my mother"), but you don't have to write a long essay explaining why they should be saints. The nominees don't have to be Catholics, but I expect that the vast majority will be. You can nominate either by replying to the Tweet advertising this, or by commenting below.

This is what a saint looks like.

When I think we have enough I will arrange the usual sequence of Twitter polls.

Here are a few to get us started (found after 5 minutes of diligent research). Some are already Blessed, but I don't think any of them are saints.

G.K. Chesterton
Karl of Austria
Louis XVI of France
Marie Antoinette of France
Pius XI
Pius XII
Fulton Sheen
Over to you!

Addendum: The 64 in the competition are:
Anna Maria Taigi
Anne Catherine Emmerich
Bartolo Longo
Benedict XVI
C.S. Lewis
Catherine Jarrige of Mauriac
Catherine of Aragon
Ceslaus of Poland
Claudio Giovanni Antonio Monteverdi
Cristóbal de Morales
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Dominic Barberi
Élisabeth Arrighi Leseur
Elizabetta Canori Mora
Franz Jagerstätter
Franz Joseph Haydn
Frederick William Faber
Frère Roger of Taizé
Fulton Sheen
G.K. Chesterton
George Neumayr
George Pell
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
Girolamo Savonarola
Henry Edward Manning 
Hilaire Belloc
Isabella I of Castile
J.R.R. Tolkien
Jeremy Ponsonby Meredyth Davies
Juan de Padilla
Julian of Norwich
Karl Leisner
Karl of Austria
Louis XVI of France
Marcel Lefebvre
Marco d'Aviano
Margaret Anne Sinclair
Mariana de Jesus Torres
Marie Antoinette of France
Mary Elias of the Blessed Sacrament
Mary of Jesus of Ágreda
Matt Talbot
Mother Angelica
Nelson Baker.
Nguyễn Văn Thuận
Nicholas II of Russia
Paul Comtois
Pius IX
Pius VII
Pius XI
Pius XII
Prosper Louis Pascal Guéranger
Rafael Merry del Val
Ronald Knox
Simon of Cyrene
Solanus Casey
Sophie Scholl
Thomas à Kempis
Tomás de Torquemada
Tomás Luis de Victoria
Urban II
Vincent Robert Capodanno Jr.
Willie Doyle

Sunday, 15 January 2023

Synod and Synodality, by Jane Austen Ivereigh

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good job in Rome, must be in want of a synod.

You thought I made up the title, didn't you?

"My dear Mr. Bennet," said his lady to him one day, "have you heard that Vatican Towers is let at last?"

Mr. Bennet replied that he had not.

"Do you not want to know who has taken it?” cried his wife, impatiently.

"You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it."

"It is the patron of our foolish cousin, the Reverend Cupich. It is the famous Lord Francis de Bourgholio! What a fine thing for our girls!"

"How so? How can it affect them?"

"My dear Mr. Bennet," replied his wife, "how can you be so tiresome? You must know that I am thinking of his inviting one of them to a synod.”

Mr Bennet returned to his newspaper.

"I see here that Bishop Pell has died," he said, "shortly after writing an article denouncing synods. He was not impressed by the new 'Enlarge the space of your tent' philosophy."

Lord Francis de Bourgholio and Mr Cupich prepare to enlarge their tent.

Turning to his favourite daughter, Mr Bennet continued, "“An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not attend a synod, and I will never see you again if you do."

The two youngest of the family, Catherine and Lydia, were particularly anxious to attend Lord Francis's synod: their minds were more vacant than their sisters', and when nothing better was offered, a camping trip was certain to amuse them.

After listening to their effusions on this subject, Mr. Bennet coolly observed:

"From all that I can collect by your manner of talking, you must be two of the silliest girls in the country. I have suspected it some time, but I am now convinced."

To synod, or not to synod?

His daughter Elizabeth frowned.

"Lizzy, you look as if you did not enjoy seeing the folly of your sisters. For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?"

Will Catherine and Lydia attend the Synod? Why is Major Hollerich so interested in camping? What plans does the wicked Captain Roche have?

Not to be continued. I hope.

Saturday, 7 January 2023

How to conduct a papal funeral

Today we have another instalment in our long-running series "How to be a good pope", providing useful advice to those readers (Hi, Blase! Hi, Arthur! Hi, Luis!) who have already booked a fitting with Gammarelli ("Pope Suits For All Sizes").

The story so far: your predecessor, Pope Benjamin, took the advice of the St Gallbladder Mafia, and resigned his office (for after Cardinal Comic Murphy-O'Blimey put a horse's head in his bed, and Cardinal Godless Dandruff enquired about fitting him for concrete boots, he felt it was time to call it a day).

Of course, some argue that he had resigned the Munus but not the Ministerium because he said the wrong words for resignation: these traddy Latin terms mean that he could still be pope. Of course you don't accept this, especially since the St Gallbladder chaps have given up trying to threaten him and gone back to money-laundering financial speculation instead. Now he is believed to have died - but maybe his last words were invalid and he is not really dead? What a mess.

Eccles: get on with the advice. We haven't got all day. Pietro.

"All-purpose funeral homily. Do not read this bit out. Oops!"

Well, one thing you have to do at Pope Benjamin's funeral is to preach a homily. Now, this will be difficult, as your usual homilies consist of a stream of insults. Not today, please! Avoid words like "rigid" and "backwardist", whatever you thought of your predecessor - in any case, you have spent the last ten years reversing all the changes he made. So keep your homily totally bland, the sort that can be given for anyone who dies - you're not very good at profound theological statements, anyway. At the end you may end with "And so we say farewell to [fill in name here]" and everyone will be pleased.

Here comes trouble...

Later in the service, the faithful will wish to receive Communion. Some rigid troublemakers will want to receive on the tongue while kneeling, but this will not go down well with all the priests present. The solution is to provide a range of priests etc. of different flavours - some rigid priests, some less traditional ones, some dressed as clowns, some holding balloons, and of course a few extraordinary ministers (they don't have to be very extraordinary, the usual vestments of tee-shirts, jeans and trainers will be fine). Then the congregation can make its own choices.

Finally, one disadvantage of a papal funeral is that you cannot exclude cardinals, even the ones you are avoiding. The last time that Cardinal Tao of China turned up you managed to avoid him by hiding in a broom cupboard, and so he couldn't complain to you about China's policy of rebranding members of the secret police as Catholic bishops. This time it's not going to be so easy. Cardinal Tao has been taking lessons in the game of hide-and-seek, and will certainly find you if you hide under the bed or in a cupboard. Does the Vatican have a "Pope's Hole" where persecuted popes can hide? If not, you'll have to meet him.

Now, gentlemen, I want a clean fight.

Or you could release some photoshopped pictures to make it look as though you met him? No, people will see through that. Make it a short meeting, in a sacred place, so that he cannot practise the ancient martial arts of Chop Suey or Foo Yung on you. Your own Papa-Slappa may be good for enough for young female pilgrims, but will never defeat a cardinal with a black belt!

As for what you say to him... keep it short. Pretend you have an urgent appointment with two cardinals who want to ask you a few Dubia. This may even be true, but if it is, I can't help you.

Sunday, 1 January 2023

Tributes to Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI

As the Catholic world (and many others) mourns the death of the Emeritus Pope, we found a variety of alternative tributes.

Kevin McGhoul of the Daily Moron.

So that's got rid of Benedict then! Did you know that he was Hitler's right-hand man and founded the Hitler Youth? I can reveal that is true name wasn't Benedict, but Joseph Goebbels. After the war ended he changed his name to Ratzinger, then a bit later he hid himself away in Rome to avoid the Nazi-hunters. I know all about these things.

Who would have thought that this man would end up as Pope?

You know that Jimmy Saville was a Catholic? Well, doesn't that prove that Benedict covered up child abuse? Also he was transphobic, homophobic, claustrophobic, and [I'll think of some more phobias later]. Our ace correspondent Greta Thunberg tells me that his carbon footprint was enough to kill three polar bears every week!

Fr Tommy Rot SJ.

I forgive Benedict for his many faults - mainly sacking me from Amerika magazine because he realised that I was a useless toad. During his papacy and that of Pope John-Paul II - come to think of it, during all papacies except the present one - free debate was suppressed and only people who actually believed all that Catholic stuff were allowed to guide the Church.

Benedict described homosexuality as "intrinsically disordered" - an accusation which has set the Jesuit movement back many years. No, the big mistake the electors made in 2005 was in choosing someone who was wise and intelligent - they certainly avoided that error when it came to the 2013 conclave!

Instead of listening to other opinions, Benedict insisted on Catholic teaching! You wouldn't catch Pope Francis telling people what to do, or what to believe! He listens to everyone, from Pachamama downwards!

Professor Doctor Max Beans.

As you can read in the 25 articles I have written since I heard about Pope Benedict's demise yesterday morning (Boston Globule, Commonwart Magazine, Les Crocks, The Beano, Huffington Puffington, Gelato Weekly, ...) the reign of Pope Benedict was a disaster. He may have been the greatest theologian in the world (after myself, that is!) but he was responsible for a revival of traditional Latin Masses, the Ordinariate, and a legacy that Pope Francis is finding it hard to destroy. Hermeneutic of Continuity! I tell you, if Francis knew what it meant, he would be cancelling it!

Benedict made many Catholics feel orphaned, and not only those who were complete bastards already. If only he had been more progressive!

Will that do, Eccles? I have to write ten more hit pieces before lunchtime. The Babble-on Bean blog is getting impatient!