This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

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.

The saint

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.

Synod and synodality

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."

Carry on Camping

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."

Bennet sisters

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.

Pope funeral homily

"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.

receiving on the hand

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.

Pope and Zen

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.

Hitler and Goebbels

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!

Francis and Benedict

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!

Max Beans