This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Sunday 24 December 2023

The 2023 Catholic Advent Calendar

Here it is then, your handy cut-out-and-throw-away guide to this year's Advent Calendar.

Behind the windows we find:

1. Slightly early, we start this year's Catholic Advent Calendar in the only way possible - by being synodal.

2. It's a new boy on the block, Cardinal "Tucho" Fernández, whose job is to keep us on the straight and narrow. No sniggering at the back, please.

3. Behind today's window of the calendar we find a packet of Uncle Ted (McCarrick)'s rice. Delicious!

4. An old friend - the Mercy logo, designed by the merciful Pope's favourite artist, Marko Rupnik.

5. Who is that grumpy character hiding behind the next window of the calendar? Why it's Austen Ivereigh, official spin-doctor and synod "expert"!

6. Today's star of the calendar has chosen to offer Mass while dressed as Tarzan in leopard-skin vestments. This is what being Church is all about!

7. The Catholic Advent Calendar displays a Christmas stamp, based on some of the finest artwork available in the Vatican collection.

8. Blushing modestly, Sister Natalie Becquart emerges from behind today's window. Natalie is a synod mother, but in her spare time she is interested in religion.

9. All the holy people we have seen so far on the Catholic Advent Calendar need sacred spaces for their worship, and the Bristol airport multi-faith bus shelter is one of the most sacred.

10. Behind today's door there's Father Brown, a Catholic priest who wears a maniple round his neck. Watch out - your priest may be doing the same!

11. Michael Voris comes out of the Vortex to appear on our calendar. In disgrace with Church Militant, but he should easily find a job in an institution without a morality clause, such as the Vatican.

12. A very popular cardinal, Wilton Gregory, pops his head out of today's window. Uncle Wilt is very fond of traditional worship - some of it dating as far back as the 1960s.

13. We see "the grammar of synodality on display" (to quote the Vatican) - lots of people with nothing better to do sitting round tables and chatting.

14. Oh look, we see Uncle Arthur Roche, cake-eater and TLM blocker extraordinaire, modelling one of those trendy blue "I'm really a layman" shirts.

15. You may have been expecting the traditional photo of Fr James Martin LGBTSJ, but instead it's his book "Come forth", all about how Lazarus was the disciple Jesus loved and a pioneer of homosexual rights. Top theology!

16. We open the next window to reveal Fr Guilherme, the DJ priest!

17. Now we see financial wizard Giovanni Becciu, who, we hear, is now moving to a new address!

18. We see the best of contemporary worship in today's picture, as a priest demonstrates the use of an inflatable altar.

19. Cardinal Marx enjoying an LGBT Mass. Big Rhino is expected to welcome the new Church teaching on blessings (whatever it is).

20. "BE SYNODAL" screams a synod expert. We must, since of course a kenotic de-centering is a new way of being Church!

21. Time to relax with some beautiful architecture as today we see the famous "multi-storey car park" church in Madrid, which I visited a few weeks ago.

22. It's Cardinal Cupich taking part in a pagan ceremony involving a dragon. We don't know whether FFS permits him to bless the creature, but he does anyway.

23. That fat man whom nobody believes in has dropped in from the North Pole to do some popesplaining. Yes, it's Mike Lewis of "Where Potato Is"!

24. We end as we began - synodally. This is now a listening Church and Pope Francis is always willing to listen to what the faithful have to say. (Offer does not apply to Africa, Poland, and a few other rigid places.)

And a merry and blessed Christmas to all readers!

Thursday 21 December 2023

Fr James Martin turned into pillar of salt

We regret that Fr James Martin LGBTSJ, the well-known activist and alleged Jesuit priest, suffered an incident today in which he was turned into a pillar of salt.

Martin blessing homosexuals

A photo taken just before the incident.

Father Martin was going about his normal clerical business, blessing a "gay couple" in accordance with his intepretation of the latest papal document "Fiducia supplicans" (we don't use Latin much these days, but it apparently means "Fiddled the accounts", and was written as an homage to Cardinal Becciu). Eye-witnesses of what happened after that are a little confused, but we do have a photo of the scene shortly afterwards.

Lot's wife

Spot the difference!

At this point a witty pun, something like "That's your Lot, Jimmy," would be appropriate, but it would be in bad taste at a time when we are mourning one of the great men of our age. (Actually, Jimbo is said to be still alive, but his activities will henceforth be very limited by his saline nature.)

Tuesday 19 December 2023

How to confuse the Catholic Church

Yes, another instalment of our long-running series on "How to be a good pope", designed for those readers who, by kenotic de-centering, respecting the protagonism of the Spirit, and finding a new way of being Church, have managed to make it to the top job in the new listening Church!

The story so far. After ten years, you sense that your days of Peronist dictatorship are coming to an end. All that remains is to nominate your successor - Touchy-Feely, Fat Arthur, or perhaps Pa-Oh Lin, the inscrutable Chinaman - and you can expire peacefully to cries of "Make him a saint!"

Pope and halo

Santo Subito!

But all is not well. Obviously little Ivory, C.N.N. Lambchop and "Where Potato Is" Mike are too polite to mention it, but there is some unrest among the faithful. What can you have done that could possibly upset Catholics? Was it your naughty story Amorous Letitia? Could it be your devotion to Pachamama? Surely not your treatment of the Church in China? Or was it Trads Cussed (memo: get Arthur out of the cake shop and send him off to close down more TLMs)? Or is it your protection of dirty old Rapenik? Then again, surely nobody could object to your attempts to starve a certain American cardinal into submission?

It's all a big mystery, but you know your conscience is clear. So how can we confuse the Church today?

Pope and Tucho

"I do wish he wouldn't stand so close."

In walks Cardinal Touchy-Feely, blows you a kiss (this time you have taken care to keep behind a solid table), and makes a suggestion. "Tell them that priests can bless burglars," he suggests, "but only if they leave their masks, striped pullovers and bags marked SWAG at the door of the church. The burglars, I mean, not the priests."

"They already can," you reply, puzzled. "What difference will it make?"


"I've come for a blessing, Father. Because I've got another job planned."


Of course! Nobody is going to talk about anything else from now on. As you draft your new letter "Fiddling the Supplies" (an homage to Cardinal Becciu), you reflect that Touchy-Feely will make a great Pope Fred II.

Friday 1 December 2023

Burkegate - What Pope Francis really said

A special article by Austen "Spindoctor" Ivereigh for the Where Pachamama is blog.

The Pope is an astonishly patient man, and will sink his enemies even if it takes him ten years to do it. Seeing all the bad publicity he was getting for his merciful and patient attacks on Cardinal Burke, he summoned me to Rome as a matter of urgency so that I could explain to the world what he was up to. Did I mention that I am an expert on papal matters?

I flew to Rome from Bristol airport, stopping on the way at the Multifaith Bus Shelter for a spot of Pachamama devotion, also in order to pin up a mural by my favourite artist Marko Rupnik. The place was deserted apart from an Incan sacrifice taking place at the same time.

multifaith centre

A sacred place!

Patient merciful Pope Francis the Humble was not in good health - a sprained wrist through slapping too many Chinese girls - but he explained to me that he loved Cardinal Burke - after all, we are commanded to love our enemies, and Burke was one of his worst enemies. With their Dubia, Burke and his fellow-conspirators had asked Pope Francis to explain some aspects of Amoris Laetitia several years ago, knowing perfectly well that clear and unambiguous teaching is against the rules of the Jesuit order.

Burke had also dared to criticise the Synod on Synodal Synodality of Synodhood, arguably the most important Catholic event since Pentecost, saying that it was a complete waste of time. Having myself attended as an expert, I know that getting barmy old ladies sitting round tables and moaning is the true future of the Church!

Synod wimmin

We must all be Synod!

At this point in our discussion, Francis found his patience tried beyond all limits, and he humbly kicked Rupnik, the Vatican cat, through the window. "Don't worry," he said. "Pick up the body and give it to Mike Lewis. He'll eat anything."

Instead of living in a broom cupboard, as the humble Holy Father does, Cardinal Burke has a much larger apartment, and this is now required by other cardinals who wish to hold "get-togethers" there. I know that Cardinal Coccopalmerio has already put in a bid.

Cocco and his shadow

Who is this shadowy figure?

Of course Burke is still a member of two dicasteries, and of the Apostolic Signatura, but as Pope Francis explained, he should regard these positions as honours, and not expect to be paid.

So what message am I to take away from my meeting with the Humble Father? First, although in our conversation he described Burke as his enemy, he has now sent me a note saying "I never used the word 'enemy' nor the pronoun 'my'." Obviously we all misheard - it's easily done. Also he certainly never said "We hates him we hates him, nasty Burkies, we hates him, my precious, and we is going to throw him out on the streets!"

I hope I have made it clear, and let me repeat this: Pope Francis is patient, kind and merciful, and Cardinal Burke is a meanie. Strickland has fallen! Burke has fallen! Who will be next? Aha!

Great stuff, Austen. And the cat pie was delicious! Mike.


Mike Lewis!