This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

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.

jelly

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.

black

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.

scarecrow

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."

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Father Jekyll and Pope Hyde

One of the classics of Gothic horror is the story of Father Jekoglio, the humble Argentine priest, who became interested in chemical research. He discovered a mysterious potion - Amorisine - which transformed him from a normally-benevolent cleric, anxious always to love his fellow men and teach true Catholic doctrine, into a raging tyrant who, under the name of Pope Hyde, left a trail of destruction behind him.

Bunsen Honeydew

Father Jekoglio demonstrates his potion to Hans Küng.

To begin with, everyone believed that Jekoglio and Hyde were two different people. One dark night the police found the corpse of Fra' Matthew Festing, beaten to death with a boeselager (a blunt instrument), and the witnesses claimed that a sinister man in a white coat was responsible. Others pointed to the mysterious fate of four cardinals who had been asking too many questions - two dying suddenly, the others fleeing into hiding. Surely Pope Hyde knew something about this? But then the next day Father Jekoglio appeared in public, smiling, and preaching about mercy and free love (or in Latin, Amoris Libertas).

Pope poster

"Wanted" posters appear in the streets of Rome.

However, something linked the two men. Jekoglio and Hyde lived at the same address - "Humility Towers", Vatican City. Was Jekoglio sheltering the infamous Hyde? Or was there a more sinister explanation?

Hyde continued to rampage through the streets of Rome. His closest associates were some of the riff-raff of the city: Emma Bonino, the "pump murderer"; Eugenio Scalfari, the 107-year-old journalist who made up his own stories; Antonio Spadaro, the mathematical genius who was also a master of invective; Walter Kasper, the escaped lunatic. Stories continued to mount of the infamous deeds of the mysterious Hyde. Had he really denied the existence of Hell? Was he really overturning Catholic teaching on marriage? What did he really know about the Vatican Bank Robbery?

Pope smiling

Jolly Father Jekoglio.

At first, Jekoglio could control his transformations into the infamous Hyde. But then they began to occur involuntarily - often on aeroplane journeys he would begin to utter unntelligible nonsense, and give the appearance of a soul in torment. The word "synod" also acted as a trigger, and whenever he heard it he had an uncontrollable urge to invite innocent people to meetings and make up accounts of what they had said.

In the end Jekoglio resolved to cease becoming Hyde. Perhaps there would be room for him in the Benedict XVI home for retired popes? He had a serum - Magisterine - that could reverse the transformation, but it required larger and larger doses to bring him back to his orthodox Jekoglio personality. Eventually, he had gone too far, and he knew that the transformation was irreversible. He would always be Pope Hyde. And, at the end, his soul would simply disappear.

Friday, 30 March 2018

Pope Francis admits that Hell exists

We have been lucky enough to be granted an interview with Pope Francis (yes, that Pope Francis). In fact we never actually met him, or spoke to him, but this is not considered necessary these days, and we have decided to make the whole thing up. Take it away, Francis!

"Yes, I know I allowed Scalfari to interview me - a 93-year-old lunatic who switches off his hearing aid when he interviews, doesn't take notes, and makes up his own account of what happened. And I know I've been fooled by him 489 times before. But we were told to forgive people 70 times 7 times, and this is the last," explained the Holy Father.

"And yes, Eccles, I do believe in Hell. Look, can you imagine something nastier than this?"

Francis and Rosica

Being tormented by an evil spirit in the guise of a fat clown with a stupid magazine to sell.

"Unless it's this. Can you imagine being eternally haunted by a little imp who wants you to read his boring book?"

Francis and Ivereigh

"In the words of Pope Benedict: 'This is the most fantastic book that I have no intention of reading.'"

Francis gulped, and made one final comment. "Actually, joking aside, I have had a strange vision of Hell, in which Jesuit priests writhe in torment while trying unsuccessfully to build bridges with Satan. It can't happen, can it?"

James Martin fooling around

What Hell is really like.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

The crimes of Cardinal Pell

A transcript of a confidential telephone conversation between Mgr Embezzla of the Vatican Bank and Superintendent Didgeridoo of the Australian Police.

E: Well that didn't go to well, did it? We asked you to frame Cardinal Pell for child abuse, so that he would stop his investigation into our financial - ahem - irregularities, and you've been found out!

D: We did our best, cobber. We wanted to nail him too, you know, for his opposition to same-sex marriage, and to the other plans we've got. We've had a crack team working on the case.

Pell and police

"We heard he possessed a beretta, so we sent 10 officers to arrest him."

E: Yes, and it turns out that all the dates and times are wrong. Even Pope Francis can give him an alibi.

D: Don't worry about him. He won't give a definite answer to any questions that Pell's counsel puts to him. Even cardinals can't get a straight answer from the Pope.

E: Yes, but the 200 witnesses who were present when he offered Mass?

D: We think he bribed them all with promises of eternal life.

E: Well, never mind that. Can you trump up any other charges?

D: Yes, we think he may be the infamous swagman who was part of the Waltzing Matilda gang.

Waltzing Matlida

Could this be Cardinal Pell?

E: Sounds good. Get him for jumbuck-rustling! Will Matilda give evidence?

D: No, she died about 100 years ago. Although we might try forging some emails from Banjo Paterson. Or his descendant, the liberal Catholic, Guitar Paterson.

E: It all sounds a bit flimsy to me.

D: All right, one final idea. He's fond of cricket, isn't he?

E: Yes...

Pell, Pope, cricket bat

Cardinal Pell explains how he helped Australia win the Ashes.

D: Then he's obviously the mastermind behind the new Aussie ball-tampering scandal. He brings shame on an entire nation. If that doesn't put him behind bars, nothing will.

E: Look for traces of incense on the cricket ball. If you can't find any, we can supply some.

D: It's great to work with you.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Who wrote that book about the Pope?

At last the secret is out, and we can reveal who wrote that notorious book about the Pope, a best-seller that has brought its author riches beyond the dream of avarice.

The book in question is, of course, "Pope Francis, the Great Reformer." It told of Francis's rise to power in Peronist Argentina, and how it affected his career. The author chose to publish the book under an obvious false name - Austen Ivereigh - as plausible an alias as Brontë Tusk, Eliot Gnashers, or Dickens Heffalump. Did he fear reprisals?

The Great Reformer

Sorry, wrong picture.

All we knew about the author was that he was some sort of Catholic journalist, with a gift for clunky prose and very liberal ideas. It seemed that he had spent some time in Argentina, but was now based in the UK. Somebody leaked the information that he ran some sort of dictatorship, the Kingdom of Voices, where his lackeys addressed him as "Sire".

There was no limit to his boldness. He once presented Pope Francis with a copy of the controversial book, taking care to disguise himself as Ronnie Corbett, before melting into the crowd.

Ivereigh and the Pope

Austen Ivereigh in disguise. Is he really a six-foot blonde woman?

But in the end, the secret could be kept no longer. The brilliant Vatican secret police tracked down the real Austen Ivereigh, and it turned out to be

Sorry, that's all we've got time for.

Friday, 16 March 2018

How to write nice things about a Pope

This is an instalment in our self-help guide "How to be a good pope", but is really intended for retired popes rather than ones still poping.

It may happen to you that after a few years as the world's holiest person you will decide to retire, in order to spend more time in prayer, contemplation, beer-drinking, piano-playing, reading the Eccles blog, and other activities suitable to your advanced years.

Pope Benedict reading a newspaper

"That's three heresies already, and I only opened it for the weather forecast."

Very good. The chap currently doing all the nitty-gritty pope stuff, such as writing ambiguous exhortations, insulting the ordinary Catholic, and praising Emma Bonino, should be left to tread his infallible path, now that you have decided to be fallible again.

But, horror! One day a pile of junk mail comes through your letter-box. It consists of a set of eleven slim volumes explaining the theology of your successor. What is worse, they want you to write something saying how wonderful it is.

Life is so dreadfully unfair. If the publishers had sent you Fifty more shades of grey, you could have sent it back saying that you only ever wore white; or if it was Building a bridge, you could have passed it on to some engineering friend. But theology is your thing, and you have to respond to the request.

Benedict XVI's letter

"There are many books that I shall never read, but these are the best."

Now, if all they want is a snappy headline for their publicity, then, whatever you write, they will be able to extract a phrase and blur the remainder. Your carefully-chosen words "When people describe Pope Bosco [your successor] as a brilliant theologian, my head begins to overheat" will be boiled down to "A BRILLIANT THEOLOGIAN", with the rest carefully obliterated.

Likewise, "Read these books? I'd rather watch the grass grow" will be edited into "READ THESE BOOKS". Then again, "I'm 90 years old, and they think I can find nothing better to do" will become "I CAN FIND NOTHING BETTER".

The moral is clear: write what you like about these books, and leave it to the boys at the Vatican to spin it whichever way they want.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Tributes to Pope Francis on his 5th anniversary

Five years ago today, a figure dressed in white came out on the balcony of St Peter's, to be greeted by enthusiastic cries of "Who the heck is that?" Yes, it was Jorge Belgrano Bergoglio, variously described as "St Francis II" (by himself), "The Dictator Pope" (by that rude 16th Century general, Marcantonio Colonna) and "The Great Reformer" (a bit of wishful thinking by little Austen Ivereigh).

Pope Francis, 2013

"I'd like to thank my agents, the St Gallen Mafia, ... and of course God."

Tributes have been pouring in, led by Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, and we are happy to print some of them here.

Pope Benedict XVI: Ow! Let go of my ear! I'll sign anything you like! All right, here goes. Pope Francis is a man of profound philosophical and theological formation. I mean, look, I may have written over 50 books myself (beginning with the very short Theological Highlights of Vatican II), and Francis still finds that a colouring book is a bit of an intellectual challenge if they don't tell you what colours to use - all right, Fr Spadaro, I'll drop that bit - but... anyway, the theology of Pope Francis is like the theology of nobody else, and everything he teaches is in continuity with what went before, even when it contradicts it. I can't say fairer than that!

Pope Francis book

The Pope Francis colouring book. "I haven't read it, but it's very good."

Cardinal Burke: I wish Pope Francis well on his anniversary. To tell the truth, I never wanted to know the answers to the Dubia anyway, and Francis is doing a great job in keeping them secret. For clarity of teaching, guidance, and a perpetual willingness to answer questions, you can't do better than the Holy Father!

Fra' Matthew Festing: I was very pleased to be told by Pope Francis that I had voluntarily retired as 79th Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. This left me more time for my own hobbies of hunting, shooting, and fishing. I also take an interest in historic churches as well as my collection of wax dummies: these are all effigies of Pope Francis, so you can see how much I respect the man whose coup at the Order of Malta was almost entirely bloodless.

Mrs Mary McAleese: Our recent Voices of Faith conference in Rome, marking International Whiners' Day, was very successful, and it was a great shame that I did not get to meet you, Pope Francis. We sent you a letter of invitation but - would you believe it - you never read it! Now, normally I reject the patriarchal clerical hegemony of the Catholic Church - along with its teachings on abortion, marriage, homosexuality, God, Jesus, ... well, everything really. But I am a faithful Catholic all the same, and therefore I offer you, Francis, in the spirit of friendship, a short 94-page working document explaining how I will do things so much better when I become Pope.

Mary McAleese

"Also, I had to leave early as my husband needed some clean socks and a proper cooked dinner."

Cardinal Sarah: I have always preached the virtues of silence, and there is no better time than now.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

The Book of St Richard, Chapter 26

Continued from Chapter 25.

1. And it came to pass that Richard spake out on the subject of food.

2. "What if human meat is grown? Could we overcome our taboo against cannibalism?" he asked.

Dawkins dining

"No, it's not beef, it's not pork. Have another guess!"

3. For he had begun to tire of the land of milk of honey in which he found himself in his old age. Especially the honey, which his thousands of admirers sent him daily.

4. For Richard had cried out in woe at the loss of his favourite honey pot to the guardians of the port that is called Air. Which was all the fault of Bin Laden.

5. And now he craved the flesh of Man.

6. The lunch of the ploughman, the pie of the shepherds, and the stew of the biologist, all these he craved.

7. The toad in the hole craved he not, neither the rare delicacy known as spam.

Dr Who scene

A dish fit for a celebrity atheist.

8. And many mocked Richard, but other devout people supported him.

9. For the Ecumenical Episcopalian-Aztec Fellowship said that in a very real sense Richard was to be commended.

10. Moreover, the Hannibal Lecteran Church wished to feast with the great professor.

11. Indeed, he was even blessed by the Catholic Diocese of the Borneo head-hunters, who had been praised by the Bishop Sorondo for their social teachings.

Dawkins in jungle

"The head-hunters will be meeting me somewhere round here for dinner."

12. But the friends of Richard hardened their hearts against the cooking-pots of Dawkins.

13. Even the learned atheist that is called Grayling refused to partake of Tête d'agent d'assurances à la Dawkins avec pommes frites. For alas! he had his own woes.

14. Yeah, he had discovered that Brexodus was like unto the Great War, that Maysis was using the gas of mustard, that the Rees that is Mogg was literally the Kaiser, and that millions had already been slain.

15. Wherefore then should he divert himself with the lighter pastimes of the table?

16. So Richard ate alone.

To be continued.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

How social media bring people to the Catholic Church

In the news this week is Youtuber (whatever that is) Lizzie Estrella Reezay, who has announced her conversion to Catholicism. Apparently, social media are bringing in converts by the zillion: this blog will try and discover why.

Lizzie Estrella Reezay

"I owe it all to reading the Eccles blog."

Says one convert, "I feel that the Catholic Church is truly united behind Pope Francis at present. There is a general sense of well-being. He has solved the problems of China, by allowing them to appoint their own bishops, and probably the next Pope as well. He has waved his hand and made all the sex and financial scandals vanish into thin air. He has written a document on marriage and the family, Amoris Laetitia, that everyone can agree on. He has made some brilliant appointments of cardinals, by choosing the most unlikely people! What a time to be alive!"

Dawkins tweet

"I'll have the shepherd's pie, made with real shepherds." No wonder people would rather be Catholics.

Said another convert, "I like the way new Catholics are made welcome. Austen Ivereigh - surely one of the giants of Catholic journalism - has described us as neurotic, and he is spot on! Then there's Professor Doctor Doctorior Doctorissimus Massimo Faggioli, a man whose knowledge of Catholic theology since 2013 (when the subject was invented) is second to none: he has warned us against conservative converts, and quite right too. Apparently the Catholic catechism will soon contain a section explaining that we should support Marxism, and that's only fair."

Kasper

"Walter Kasper is my hero. A pillar of orthodoxy and traditional teaching."

Another convert spoke of the powerful work of Father James Martin LGBTSJ in driving people into the Catholic Church. "His new book, Digging a hole, is pure genius, and explains how we should all strive to go downhill. As explained in the papal encyclicals Facilis descensus Averno and Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate, there is wide path that we can all follow, paved with good intentions, and this is the way he wants Catholics to go."

But why do people rely on social media for their spiritual nourishment? Instead, could the Catholic Church not appoint people as leaders - you know, generally-respected shepherds of the sheep, who could give guidance? We would expect such people to speak out on issues of public concern. I've even thought of a name for them - bishops!

chess bishop

A bishop, showing leadership.

No, there's no hope there, and so people are driven to social media for guidance.

A final word from another convert: "In the end, the most effective tool for Evangelisation is surely the Eccles blog. Pope Francis is a regular reader of his "How to be a good pope" advice column; Peter Hitchens has never been the same since it was pointed out to him that Queen Elizabeth I martyred Catholics; Antonio Spadaro hangs on his every word. It can't be long before these three people (and many others) come out as Catholics." He's right, you know.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Snopes fact-checks the Eccles blog

CLAIM: Snopes.com, the left-wing fact-checking site, motto: "Don't believe what they say about Obama, but do believe what they say about Trump," recently investigated the truth of a piece on the sometimes spiritually-nourishing satirical site "The Babylon Bee" (which is basically like the "Onion" but occasionally quite clever).

RATING:
  TRUE

Snopes decided that the BB piece was Fake News, and, as a result, Facebook decided to threaten Mr Bee with sanctions. Apparently, some morons actually believed that a certain BB article was factual.

We have now received the Snopes verdict on various other claims put forward on this blog, and the news is grim.


CLAIM: 2+2=5.

RATING:
  FALSE

ORIGIN: Fr Antonio Spadaro, a bosom pal of Pope Francis, tweeted the following: "Theology is not #Mathematics. 2+2 in #Theology can make 5. Because it has to do with #God and real #life of #people..."

So far this teaching has not been confirmed to be infallible, magisterial, and part of the Catholic Deposit of Faith. Snopes consulted several well-known brilliant people, including Stephen Hawking, Mary Beard, Stephen Fry, and Richard Dawkins, and - although most of them admitted that they didn't know much about real life - they agreed unanimously that 2+2=4. Indeed, this fact was apparently known to the ancient Greeks ("Pythagoras's Theorem"), although some claim that the discovery was first made by the Babylonians or even the ancients in India.

Anyway, although Snopes wouldn't approve of him, G.K. Chesterton made a similar pentaphobic comment:

Snopes also wouldn't approve of the self-evident observation that a person born male remains male for the rest of his life, whatever drugs and surgery he uses to support his delusion that he is really female. Let's move on.


CLAIM: The Pope is Catholic.

RATING:

MOSTLY TRUE

ORIGIN: On the one hand, some people would say that by definition Pope Francis, personally appointed by the Holy Spirit (with a little help from the St Gallen Mafia), cannot be other than Catholic. On the other hand, the old chap is not known for asserting Catholic teaching, preferring to make muddled statements that can be intepreted in several ways, and usually are. Still, any definition of "Catholic" that includes Fr James Martin, Nancy Pelosi, Austen Ivereigh, and Tina Beattie must definitely include Jorge Bergoglio.

To please Archbishop Mark Coleridge, Cardinal Zen forgets the problems of China, and reacts to the Snopes verdict with joy.


CLAIM: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau believes he is a teapot.

RATING:
  UNPROVEN

ORIGIN: This claim appeared on the Eccles blog as part of a totally serious article on the problems faced by people who self-identify as teapots and wish to transition to a full teapotic lifestyle. Justin Trudeau is well known to be totally insane (this is a charitable way of saying that he is the second most evil world leader around at the moment, and is challenging Kim Jong-un strongly for first place), and thus anything is possible. However, although little Justin pushes abortion and same-sex marriage for all he's worth, his aim is to be a DESPOT not a TEAPOT.

"I'm a little despot, short and stout..."

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Vatican to host Winter Olympics

There have been snowfalls in Rome this week, a direct result of a billion faithful Catholics taking the papal advice in Laudato Si' seriously, and thus saving the planet. Accordingly, St Peter's Square has been transformed into a venue for winter sports, which are so much more popular than papal audiences these days, and it has now been agreed that the Vatican will host the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Eskimo and igloo

Cardinal Nanook of the North stands by the dome.

The Catholic Church is very strong in certain events, such as snowball fights - it will have a natural advantage when the referee shouts "Let him who is without sin cast the first snowball" - and building snowmen, especially ones that look like saints.

pope snowman

Graven images are OK, but don't worship them!

These traditional sports are likely to replace some of the sillier Olympic sports such as Curling (feel free to disagree). We are happy to give our readers a preview of what we may expect at VAT2022.

snowball fight

Traditionalists in a snowball fight with the Modernists, but versus populum not ad orientem.

Archbishop Arthur Roche was a renowned ice-skater in his youth (yes, I now know this is a lie invented by his admirer, Damian Thompson), and he is anxious to shine as well. However, things have not gone well so far.

ice skater

Archbishop Roche wonders what went wrong.

When it comes to the more "artistic" sport of ice-dancing, there are some strong contenders, and here we see four eminent Catholics waiting to be measured for their tutus.

4 dreadful Catholics

"I'm used to skating on thin ice," comments Fr Martin.

Finally, the Holy Father himself will be only 85 at the time of the Vatican Olympics, and he is also planning to take part in his PopesleighTM.

Pope in bobsleigh

Going downhill very quickly... is this a metaphor for something?