This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Friday, 25 May 2018

The snakes return to Ireland

Well, St Patrick did his best. For many years Ireland was a Catholic country, and not just the "you wouldn't notice" sort that we see with Fr James Martin, Cardinal Marx, or Cardinal Nichols. The snakes had been driven out, and there was a general feeling that killing babies, the weak, the old, the disabled, someone whose face you don't like, or someone with a different political opinion, was an activity condemned by decent people.

But then things changed. It just took a few key words to brainwash people: "Magdalene Laundries", "Savita", "Tuam". None of these was really very relevant. Unlike "blood", "slaughter", "murder", "dismemberment", "pain", which would seem to be more linked to the abortion debate.

Leo Varadkar

A particularly venomous creature slithers into Ireland.

The Irish politicians seem to be mostly of the serpentine variety, but then so are the journalists, including such luminaries as Tintin O'Foole, whom I mention because I came across him for the first time today. With luck I won't have to come across this little snake again.

How about the Catholic Church? Well Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, known internationally for his spinelessness, did make some comment that could be interpreted as being pro-life, but as usual he did it very quietly, holding a handkerchief over his face so that nobody would know he'd said it.

Francis tweet

Pope Francis forgot...

Don't expect any laughs from this post, folks. I have nothing but contempt for those who are not pro-life, and they can rot in Hell. And probably will.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

"Go to a gay orgy!" says Pope Francis

In a surprise change to 2000 years of Church teaching, Pope Francis has declared that homosexuality is great, it's what God really prefers, and all gay people should get down to some serious bridge-buildingTM as soon as possible.

Admittedly, the comment was made in a private meeting with a homosexual man, the Chilean Juan Carlos Cruz, who may have made the whole thing up, rather than - as is usual for changes to Catholic doctrine - in an aeroplane speech. But Fr James Martin SJ, himself a notorious bridge-builder, has said that it's all true, so who are we to judge?

Juan Carlos Cruz

The new prophet Juan Carlos.

Apparently, Pope Francis explained that God is really fed up with heterosexuals, as they contribute to climate change by having babies. As Jesus said, "I suffer from little children who come unto me." Instead, the Holy Father encouraged Mr Cruz to take part in some serious gay orgies, suggesting that Cardinal Coccopalmerio might be able to give him more information.

Vatican creche

A gay orgy at the Vatican.

Rigid traditional parrot-faced Pharisee Catholics were today somewhat disconcerted by the Pope's latest teaching, which contradicts several books of the Bible, the Catechism, and numerous statements by Doctors of the Church, Popes, and other theologians over the centuries. But of course Pope Francis knows best.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

How to preach a Royal Wedding sermon

Some day you may be invited to preach the sermon at a royal wedding, at which some lesser piece of royalty is joined in holy matrimony with a celebrity. There are not many unattached princes of marriageable age around at present, but who knows, Prince Andrew may have hit it off with Oprah Winfrey. So be prepared!

Michael Curry preaching

Don't be discouraged if someone looks the other way and turns off his hearing aid.

"Why me?" you ask. "Why can't Welby do it himself? All right, he's a great bore. But how about Nurse Sarah Mullally, the bishopess of London? Ten minutes of politically correct waffle, that will go straight to the heart, won't it?"

No. For whatever reason, the lot has fallen on you. An estimated 2 billion people will be listening in, so you must DUMB DOWN. No learned discourse on the spirituality of the lesser kings of Judah, or the precise translation of some particular word in the synoptic gospels. No, they want SEX

I'm sorry. They want LOVE. Statistically, it has been shown that nearly 30% of people who get married are actually in love. Now, no C.S.-Lewisite subtleties about "Four loves" - Storge, Philia, Agape, Eros. Just bundle them all together and dig out some quotations about Love.

Obviously Jesus talked a lot about Love, and you can mention this. But don't forget to bring in some more important theologians such as Martin Luther King, and - if you like - Groucho Marx and Tommy Cooper ("Heard the one about two aerials meeting on a roof, falling in love, and getting married? The ceremony was rubbish but the reception was brilliant.")

Tommy Cooper

The ideal preacher, but sadly no longer with us.

After about 5 minutes of LOVE we can move onto another theme. Two ideas in one sermon may seem a little excessive, but let's use FIRE as well. Without fire there would have been no industrial revolution. Without fire, there would have been no cars to bring you to church. Without fire the fire brigade would be unemployed. Keep going.

Somewhere about now you can throw in some Biblical reference. Maybe to Balm in Gilead (also taken up by Edgar Allan Poe in "The Raven"?). Of course this will be over the heads of the non-religious.

Austen Ivereigh goes balmy

When Mr Catholic Voices went a little balmy.

If you have any say in the wedding hymns, you can get them to sing that old Gospel Song "Stan Balmy", which seems to consist of this magic phrase repeated 946 times. This is what we call liturgical coherence.

Oh, slip in a reference to Teilhard de Chardin, even if you do call him "Tired Day Chardan". This will go down well with your celebrity audience, who will mostly think he's a fashion-designer.

Anyway, finish off now. Get back to LOVE, and hope that the happy couple haven't already got tired of each other. Money can't buy me love. Love is a many-splendoured thing. Thirty-love (one for Serena Williams there).... There is power in LOVE, which is why it is like FIRE.

Brighton pavilion

A new palace for the Duke of Sus-sus-sus-sex.

See, easy, wasn't it?

Friday, 18 May 2018

Did the Pope say "Yanny" or "Laurel"?

In the immortal words of the Daily Mail, the Internet was divided this week by a recording of Pope Francis finally answering the Dubia posed by Cardinal Burke and his colleagues. Did he say "Yanny" (an ecclesial term for "Yes") or "Laurel" ("No")?

This is not the first time that people have been divided over the Holy Father's words. Did he say "Divorced and remarried Catholics can receive Communion" or did he say "No, we're not changing Church teaching, you adulterous weasels"? Nobody can be sure.

Pope and Welby

Did Francis say "Get lost you heretic" or "We all believe the same thing really"?

Then again, did he say "It's open house in the Catholic Church: of course Protestants can receive Communion, even though they don't believe in it!" or did he say "Get those Lutheran frauds out of my Church and tell them not to come back until they've converted!"?

These are difficult issues, and the SPADARO WORMTONGUETM speaking device that the Pope was given to help him make public announcements does not seem to have simplified the issue.

This is not the first time that the Internet has been "hilariously divided" (a Daily Mail term meaning "we're going to show you more of the same boring old tosh"). Remember that dress?

Women bishops, ha ha

What colour dresses are these models wearing?

In the picture above some see a group of dignified and holy women dressed for a religious ceremony. Others see a bunch of clowns posing as bishops. Which is correct? We shall never know.

Friday, 11 May 2018

Catholic Church opens new college for lying politicians

Following the Government's decision to renege on its manifesto promise to lift the faith-based admissions cap on free schools, which has made it impossible for the Catholic Church to open new schools, it has been announced that the Church will nevertheless be opening a new college whose purpose is to to educate lying politicians in the difference between right and wrong.

"You may think it easy for a politician to know what is honest and decent conduct, and what is the self-serving action of a lying scumbag, as we bishops describe it," said Archbishop Malcolm McMahon, "but there is a clear need for education in this sector. If someone gets elected to public office having made certain promises, then he is certainly going to burn in Hell if he breaks the promises and attempts to remain in office. I am now going round to the Houses of Parliament to sing 'Liar, liar, pants on fire' to Damian Hinds, the Education Secretary, before formally excommunicating him and enrolling him in our new college."

Damian Hinds

Damian Hinds (loosely described as a "Catholic") on his way to the new college.

A special dispensation from Canon Law has been made allowing the new Damian Hinds College for Liars to open, so that more than 50% of the pupils can be non-Catholics. Since the first intake will consist entirely of MPs, there will be no shortage of eager pupils, both Catholic and non-Catholic, seeking instruction in the arcane skill known as "telling the truth for once".

As for Archbishop McMahon - since his pathetic performance over the Alfie Evans case, he has been taking iron tablets in the hope of growing a backbone. It seems that he may have taken too many.

Malcolm McMahon

Archbishop McMahon vows to "get smiting".

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Ernst Stavro Blofeld SJ - hero or villain?

A Damian Thompson special. Already Austen Ivereigh and Robert Mickens are rushing to Blofeld's defence, so it must be good.

Ernst Stavro Blofeld SJ is a priest living in New York, who has cornered the market in heresy and world domination. As editor-at-large of the SPECTRE magazine, he is the most famous Jesuit in the United States; probably the most popular, too. And also the most disliked. Hated, even.


Fr Blofeld, author of The Jesuit Guide to World Domination.

What is there to dislike about this scrupulously polite Jesuit? Compared with the activist Fr Goldfinger ("You expect me to talk? No, Cardinal Bond, I expect you to die.") he is not particularly liberal. Yet, in middle age Fr Blofeld has moved to the left, and embraces the fashionable consensus on almost every issue that alienates conservative Catholics.

Although he does not have a good head of hair, I know that Fr Blofeld is fond of custard and the music of Gladys Mills, so... I'm sorry, I thought I was still writing for the Telegraph. This is the Catholic Herald, isn't it? Start again.

You only live twice

"You only live twice" - a typical heretical teaching from Fr Blofeld.

Blofeld's sex life (I thought that would get you reading again) is a mystery to all. When he joined the Jesuits he was asked whether he was a virgin and said no. However, he has not been known to sleep with members of either sex, although he has expressed himself anxious to build bridges with the LGBT community (this is an obscure Jesuit expression, and nobody would explain to us what it means).

The truth is that Fr Blofeld is, like many of us, a victim of the culture wars. His obsession with world domination has caused him to ally with the destructive side in every Catholic debate, alienating himself from Catholics who honestly disagree with his political opinions. This is not the true nature of Ignatian spirituality, which rarely concerns itself with firing nuclear missiles, destroying satellites, or holding the world to ransom.

Fr James Martin

"The name's Martin. James Martin." (You're getting confused, Damian.)

If the engaging Fr Blofeld really cannot see the problem, then perhaps he should be learning, rather than teaching, fearless methods of self-examination.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Met Gala's "Heavenly Bodies" offends the faithful

An "art" exhibition in New York, backed by His Eminence Cardinal Timothy Dolan, and described as the epitome of non-religious Catholicism, has caused almost universal disgust in the Catholic world. Models wearing costumes that show no taste or sensitivity have been on display.

On a blog such as this, intended for family reading, we do not normally show rude pictures, but on this occasion we shall make an exception. The real shocker was to see fancy dress such as the following, which can only be described as "blasphemous".

women bishops

Rihanna and friends dress up as bishops.

Contrast this with the quiet dignity shown by a senior Anglican bishop who put in an appearance.


Dame Sarah Mullally, Anglican Bishop of London.

However, the promoter of "Heavenly Bodies" had many other horrors up his sleeve.

Kate Bottley

Barbara Windsor from "Carry on Nurse", transformed into a mock-priest.

Still, it was not just the female models who caused offence. Jim Martin, a male model, writer of trashy books, and notorious bridge-builder, took part dressed as a Jesuit priest, and he even managed to fool some people into thinking he was the real thing.

James Martin

An obscene parody of a Catholic priest.

"How could the Vatican allow displays such as this?" you may ask - surely, one of the worst distortions of Catholicism since the bishops of England and Wales decided to speak out on the Alfie Evans case? Why, even Piers Morgan, not normally thought of as a strait-laced Catholic, was horrified. As with many things that emenate from the Vatican, the explanation is beyond us.

Tobin, Farrell, Cupich

Three extras from the new "Pope Francis" film turn up dressed as cardinals.

The actors in the above photo managed to gatecrash the event by persuading the organizers that they were real cardinals, but the mistake became obvious once they opened their mouths.

Fortunately, Cardinal Dolan was on hand, and he always knows how to maintain the dignity of a Prince of the Church.

Dolan, Rockettes

Liturgical dancing.

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Cardinal Marx bans the cross

On this, the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx, the founder of, er, Marxism, one of his illustrious descendants, Cardinal Reinhard "Rhino" Marx has taken the opportunity to explain that from now on the German Catholic Church will prohibit the use of the Cross.

prats at Karl Marx grave

You can fool some of the people all of the time.

It began with Rhino condemning the hanging of crosses in public buildings, which is only reasonable, for why should people be allowed to use the patented, trademarked, symbol of the Church without paying Royalties, like good Catholic Germans do with their Church Tax? But on further reflection, His Eminence has decided that the cross is a hated symbol of traditional Catholicism and needs to be exterminated completely.

Rhino Marx

"I used to wear a cross, but it's a hammer and sickle from now on!"

German Catholics are being told to abandon the "sign of the cross" and from now on will be making the "sign of the hammer and sickle": this is definitely more complicated, and osteopaths will be on hand to help anyone who gets into difficulties. The change from "Cross" to "Hammer and Sickle" is expected to be approved at the highest level in the Church - as with the Protestant heresy, the Germans lead the way - and Pope Francis, advised by top theologian Cardinal Walter Kasper, has agreed that it is a better symbol of modern Catholic belief.

Pope and hammer/sickle

Vorsprung durch Ketzerei.

Meanwhile, the German bishops - who sometimes make even the English bishops look orthodox - are debating whether a Protestant married to a Catholic should be allowed to receive Communion. That is, a Communion in which he (or she) doesn't believe. My distant kinsman Fr Bob Eccles has written some absurd letters in the Catholic Herald on this subject - apparently it isn't about what you believe, or what Christ taught, but more about what makes people happy (I paraphrase).

But the German bishops are divided, and they asked the Pope to rule on this matter. Do we go along with all the Catholic teachings of the last 2000 years, or do we have a free-for-all, in which the Host may be consumed by Protestants, Muslims, Atheists, and even British High Court Judges?

Pope and Katy Perry

The Pope asks his new best friend, Katy Perry, for advice.

We don't know what advice Pope Francis received from his new theological adviser, but in the end he decided to play safe and treat the German bishops' enquiry as a Dubium. This means it was filed in a shoe-box labelled "Questions I am never going to answer".

So the ball is back with Rhino and his chums. The good Cardinal is said to be very hammer-and-sickle about the whole affair.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Eccles explains it to the bishops

All right, in you come. Nichols and McMahon at the front please, you've been getting very bad marks lately. Your auxiliaries next to you. The rest anywhere. Moth! Keep away from that candle flame, you'll burn yourself. No laughing, Stock. Egan, you're a bright lad, but try and sit away from the bad bishops, as they're only trying to lead you astray.

Bash Street Kids

The bishops are ready to learn.

Now, Pope Francis has asked me to explain some Catholic doctrine about children, the family, euthanasia, and so on. He was horrified that you seem to be so weak on Catholic teaching. Even Parolin was shocked.

Now, boys, what do we do when a child is seriously ill? Starve him to death, take him somewhere where he can be looked after, go to law to stop the parents having a say in what happens to him, ignore him completely? Any suggestions?

Smith, don't do that! Burns, stop scratching. Arnold, put that away!

All right, here's an easier one. Who is most likely to give love and care to a sick child? His parents, a judge with a strong anti-Catholic prejudice, a doctor who wants to withdraw food and drink?

Yes, these are difficult ethical issues, at least for a bishop with the intelligence of a goldfish.


Very offended at being mistaken for a Catholic bishop.

All right, Nichols, I know what you're going to say. The Holy Father is trying to seek political capital - pushing pro-life and family concerns onto the agenda - rather than curling up on the floor and letting Alder Hey tickle his tummy. Well, take it up with him.

Friday, 27 April 2018

The Gospel according to St Malcolm

1. And they brought unto Jesus a sick baby, saying "Master, wilt thou heal this child, or at least take him to Rome, where he may be cared for?"

2. But Jesus said, "Nay, I will not fight against the doctors, who say that he is better off dead.

3. For I say unto you, the weak and helpless ye will always have with you.

4. But do not give unto them food and drink, for it will make you unpopular with the judges, the soldiers, and indeed the doctors."

5. And His disciples marvelled, and said "It is true. For we have heard the story of the Good Shepherd.

6. Who when one of his sheep is in danger, kicketh it into the ditch and goeth off to look after the ones who are healthy."

sheep in ditch

"Watch out, here comes the Good Shepherd!"

7. So the disciples issued a statement, explaining that they had full confidence in the doctors, and especially their wish to take away from the baby his food, his drink, the air he breathed, and - if possible - his parents.

8. "The professionalism of those who have decided that the child must die quickly is recognised and affirmed," they said.

9. For they spake always in that fashion.

10. Then Jesus gave them a parable, telling of the man who was attacked and robbed on the road to Damascus.

11. And there came by a Samaritan, who seeing that the man was injured and near to death, took him to an inn and starved him.

12. "I tell you, the Samaritan was a neighbour to the man attacked by robbers. Go and do thou likewise."

Good Samaritan

"See that he doesn't get any food or drink."

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Career options in the modern world

As regular readers of this blog will know, I am a particularly nasty piece of work. My way of relaxing in the evening is to pull the wings off butterflies or to torture sweet little kittens. So, watching the way poor Alfie Evans has been treated, I was pleased to see lots of possible new career openings.

hanging judge


It's a pity they abolished hanging. Unlike Peter Cook, I do have enough Latin to be a judge, and I would have loved to be able to sentence some screaming villain - or preferably someone totally innocent - to death by hanging. I look really nice in a black cap. Also, a judge is the boss in his own court (sorry, no inclusive language on this blog). Fawning barristers address him as "My Lord".

And in this modern era, judges can sentence people to death once more. Oh, not terrorists who kill hundreds of people, there's no fun in that. Still, they can sentence helpless children to death, by removal of water, nutrition, even air, if some doctors say it is the right thing to do. Then they watch the parents suffer! But they won't let judges wear a black cap.

Doc Morrissey


I wouldn't be a very good doctor. A priest came to see me complaining of clergyman's knee (this was one of those rigid priests who still thought that kneeling was an appropriate activity). I helped him by taking out his appendix out with a carving knife: the operation was a success but the patient died.

In the bad old days doctors had the Hippocratic oath, so abortion was out, and euthanasia was also forbidden. Especially the unwanted euthanasia of a child, where the parents were fighting for his life. Not any more! No matter if the whole world is shocked - the Pope, the Italian ambassador, the President of Poland, sundry other Americans, etc. Even Kim Jong-un said "Crikey! I wish I'd thought of that!"

laughing policeman


Hello, hello, hello! I want to join the police force to maintain law and order, to serve the causes of justice, and to help the public. So I could spend the night standing outside a child's hospital room, making sure that nobody came in and interfered with him by giving him oxygen or water! Ho ho ho ho ho ho ho!

Monty Python bishop


SITUATIONS VACANT. ARCHBISHOP OF KNOTTY ASH. Would suit someone who is vaguely interested in Catholicism (no previous experience necessary). Warning - if you're the sort who likes to give a moral lead on subjects such as putting children to death, then this job is not for you. No, we're looking for someone who will network well with non-Christians, and definitely won't rock the boat.

And don't even think about becoming Cardinal Archbishop of Elephant and Castle, as you have to have your spine removed as part of the terms and conditions of employment.

As Jesus said, "Well you *could* stick up for the weak and helpless, but I don't advise it as it might make you unpopular."

Queen opens Alder Hey

"I now declare this death camp open."

Friday, 20 April 2018

English bishops to be replaced by jelly-babies

Following a report describing the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales as a "spineless bunch of jellies", Pope Francis has decided to dismiss all the bishops and replace them with jelly-babies. "They may be a little rigid," he admitted, "but they're a lot cheaper to maintain, and most people will notice very little difference."

jelly babies

Your new-look bishops. Cardinals in red, of course.

Although individually some of the bishops (Egan, Davies, ...) do regularly show signs of non-gelatinous behaviour, it has been noticed that, when they gather together, their collective decisions are a disaster. It is best to clean out the fridge entirely, and start again.

This week, the bishops had a four-day party in Hinsley Hall, Leeds, and were fortified by a massive supply of cinnabons left over from Arthur Roche's days and some vintage Nuits Saint Geoffrey Boycott (Yorkshire Burgundy).

The bishops must have considered making a joint statement on the decision of Ealing Council to promote the culture of death (abortuaries), block free speech, and ban vigils. This would have offended the pressure groups 40 Days for Death and Bad Counsel Network, of course, and made the Catholic Church do something that Jesus never intended - shine a light into the darkness of secular death-culture. Bishop Egan, to his credit, had already spoken out, but we have failed to locate any statement from the Cardinal Archjelly of Westminster.


The CBCEW pose for a group photo.

More bizarrely, the jellies issued a statement on the Alfie Evans case, in which the State is trying to enforce euthanasia on a child whose illness has not been properly diagnosed, going against the wishes of the parents to seek treatment away from Alder Hey hospital. Apparently, it is in the "best interests" of the child that he be bumped off (and sadly, we think this will ultimately happen); if you have any comments suggesting the removal of life-support facilities (such as food and drink) from brain-dead members of the judiciary, you should probably keep them to yourself.

It's nice, once in a while, to see something good in Pope Francis.

What the bishops didn't notice, in their cinnabon-induced stupor, is that Pope Francis is sticking up for Alfie. Said a spokesman for the Liverpool Archdiocese, "We didn't even realise that Alfie was a Catholic. Next you'll be telling us that Archbishop McMahon is a Catholic, ha ha ha." So that puts paid to Vincent Nichols's dreams of being Pope Francis II, and we'll probably end up with Tobin instead. Nighty-night, Catholic Church, we did love you, Baby.

LATE NEWS: Cardinal Vincent Nichols has issued an angry statement on the Pope's decision to replace him. "Wobble, wobble, blobble, globble, wobble!" he says. That's telling him!

Sunday, 15 April 2018

The "Pope Francis is wonderful" conference

After a rather grim week caused by news of Ealing, Alfie Evans, Syria, etc. it was a great pleasure to be invited to the "Pope Francis is wonderful, humble, merciful, loving, handsome, brilliant and holy" conference at Villanova.

With Registration priced at $225, the same amount that Jesus charged people to listen to the Sermon on the Mount, and the Conference Banquet at $75, the figure He charged the 5,000 for their sushi con ciabatta banquet, it was a bargain within reach of the poorest in our society.

Mr Bean

Massimo "Beans" Faggioli welcomes you to a feast of spiritual nourishment.

Some of the highlights were:

* Cardinal Tobin wishing everyone "Nighty-night baby!"
* Fr Antonio Spadaro doing tricks of arithmetic to prove that 2+2=5.
* Cardinal Maradiaga explaining that the money was just resting in his account.
* Faggioli himself telling us that the promoters of the Old Mass have theological views that are not Catholic any more.

Spadaro on holiness

Spadaro explains that when we say "His Holiness" we don't mean that he is holy.

The highlight of the conference was surely the speech of Fr Spadaro, for a blizzard of soundbites from it was tweeted by Ivereigh and Faggioli, to the delight of everyone with a sense of humour. Before drowning the reader in spiritual nourishment, let's have another photo.

The two Ronnies as clowns

After-dinner Cabaret. Austen Ivereigh and Joe Tobin entertain us.

Fr Spadaro is known worldwide as a brilliant mathematician, and this has helped him to master physics as well. So we were treated to the following words of wisdom.

Spadaro on science

Who says that Catholics don't have a grasp of science?

Personally, I was surprised not to see a few rigid Catholics there. Where were Sarah and Burke? No Zuhlsdorf? Fra' Matthew Festing? How about Marcantonio Colonna? Surely he is now rich enough to afford the $225? But no, they all stayed away. It's almost as if they didn't want to celebrate the fact that Pope Francis is wonderful, humble, merciful, loving, handsome, brilliant and holy.

Plenary speakers at Villanova

Non-rigid modernist Catholics (could that be Joe Tobin's much-loved sister?)

Anyway, this blog is for spiritual nourishment, not for photos of celebrities, so let us have one final piece of wisdom from Spadaro, who - it must be remembered - is not only an expert on science, but also a deeply spiritual figure.

Spadaro on spirits

Translation: "Why does everyone think my Gaudete et Exsultate is a turkey?"

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Ealing Council wins prestigious Heinrich Himmler award

Following its decision to impose a "safe" zone round its flagship baby-slaughtering facility, Ealing Council has been enthusiastically awarded the prestigious Heinrich Himmler award by the Himmler Foundation for Mass Murder, Genocide and Holocausts. Previous winners have included Amnesty International, Planned Parenthood and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service.


Sorry, today's news is not a subject for laughs.

Apparently some good and honourable Ealing Councillors felt it very important to prevent desperate pregnant women from receiving any help, for they considered that they had a quota of little corpses to fulfil if they were to keep up their reputation as the most Sadistic Bastards in London. Doubtless, some troubled ladies were feeling harassed by aggressive cries of "Can we help you?" and "Don't worry, dear," not to mention being deafened by silent prayer.

Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan, Mayor of London (or is it George Galloway?)

Mayor Genghis Khan, rumoured to be a descendant of the great Mongol Emperor Sadiq Khan, sent his congratulations to Ealing. "This is the way London is going," he said, "and I hope that this will bring me lots of invitations from such wonderful people as Justin Trudeau and Leo Varadkar. Anything to get away from this poxy city, which is so violent that I have banned lethal weapons such as spoons and egg-cups, not to mention dangerous acids such as lemon juice and vinegar. And don't get me started on the subject of foreign immigrants!" Other felicitations came in from Ripper Jaq, the local MP, who has been campaigning for "safe" spaces around death zones for some time.

It is now expected that Ealing's triumph will be recognised worldwide, and that luminaries from ISIS and North Korea will be hoping to arrange visits "to see how killing can be made safe, efficient, and above all uninterrupted, so that a good time can be had by all."

"We soon got rid of prayer vigils outside Auschwitz, I can tell you!"

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Gaudete et Exsultate - Goad and Insult

This is the latest instalment in our "How to be a good Pope" series, and explains how you can issue a Call to Holiness, while at the same time settling a few scores.

Five years into your reign, things may not be going too well. Your great work Appassionata Erotica was not received as enthusiastically as you had hoped, and you have a pile of unanswered dubia, filial corrections, letters, e-mails, etc. to deal with. Why, they've even organized a conference in Rome with the theme: "Is Pope Fred bonkers, or simply thick?" This is supposed to deal with some doctrinal questions in as tactful a way as possible.

Amoris Laetitia conference

Trying to understand Appassionata Erotica.

Also, some cheeky blighter has written a book called The Megalomaniac Pope. You don't intend to read it, but you have a feeling that those skilled in textual analysis may detect traces of criticism in it.

Pausing only to phone up Booze-lager, your man in the Order of Malta, asking him to put a live scorpion in a certain author's bed, you rush off to write your exhortation "Goad and Insult". This contains:

1. Some recycled stuff from previous speeches, homilies, rants, interviews with Scalfari, etc.

2. Some attacks on straw men, which your spin-doctor Fr Spidero will interpret as referring to Burke, Sarah, Pope Benedict XVI, St Paul, Jesus, and various other people who have offended you.

3. A huge dossier contributed by Spidero, which proves that you are holy and nobody else is.


As a scarecrow, I wish to complain about these papal attacks on straw men.

Now, the two heresies you are most found of mentioning - a complete mystery to 99% of Catholics including yourself - are Gnosticism and Pelagianism. So mutter in dark tones that some people are guilty of these ancient heresies. It's far more serious than abortion (and anyway, your friend Emma Banana has asked you to go easy on that one from now on).

Perhaps for a change you could accuse your critics of Triclavianism. This is a medieval heresy that three, rather than four, nails were used to crucify Christ and that a Roman soldier pierced Him with a spear on the left, rather than right side (unless someone on Wikipedia has been having a little joke).

Cardinal Sarah's book

You've disagreed with your predecessors. Next, disagree with your successors.

Now, the biggest thorn in your side at present is probably that African chap with the girl's name. Let's call him Cardinal Sally. He's very fond of Silence, and has written a whole book about it. This goes against everything you stand for - why, you can't keep silent for more than 30 seconds at a time - so attack Silence. Who are silent? Nuns. Right, let's take a kick at the nuns. You might even start a new order, the Pope Fred Order of Screaming Nuns, who are forbidden ever to remain silent.

You might also want to take a kick at the Vatican librarian, who shushed Spadaro when he started singing Italian drinking songs in the Sex-and-Shopping section. That'll teach her!

Anyway, you get the idea. Offend as many faithful Catholics as you can - call them obsessive, absorbed and punctilious if they try to keep the commandments - while pointing out that you alone are truly holy. As long as James Martin, Massimo Faggioli, and Austen Ivereigh praise you, nobody else matters!

curate's egg

"I'm afraid you've got a bad Apostolic Exhortation, Fr Jones."
"Oh no, Holy Father, parts of it are excellent."