Dis is me, Eccles

Dis is me, Eccles
Dis is me, Eccles

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Christian Comment at election time

Deacon Donnelly, formerly a protector of the pope, has had a "Christian Comment" article banned by the prestigious Barrow Evening Mail, because of its political content: apparently the suggestion that Christian belief might actually be relevant for those wondering how to vote was too much for the newspaper. The Evening Mail claims to be in pre-election "purdah" - itself a Hindu/Muslim notion, involving the editor covering her body and retiring to a secluded room.


The Evening Mail's ace reporters on the streets of Barrow.

Admittedly, the Evening Mail has had an exciting week, with many more interesting news stories to cover, and it may simply not have had space to publish the Nick Donnelly piece, provisionally entitled Help! All the candidates is unsaved persons. Take, for example, this story, which gave the newspaper a "Hold the front page" moment, involving all the staff working overtime.

newspaper scoop

A story soon to be taken up by newspapers worldwide.

The deacon's full article can be found here, but as a public service we publish a revised version, which should meet the rigorous journalistic standards of the Barrow press.

Every General Election I am faced with a dilemma as a Christian – which candidate and political party can I vote for in good conscience?

Well, they're all jolly good chaps, aren't they? Labour's wonderful - very sound on making sure that all kids are adopted by gay couples! Killing off baby girls - that's another nice one! My heart warms to John Woodcock - a great man and a great star. He reminds me of many of my favourite Biblical characters such as Cain, Jezebel and Herod the Great.

Then the Liberal Democrats and Green party are even better! Abimelech and Herodias would have voted for them, like a shot.


Abimelech is declared to be duly elected to parliament.

It's been really great seeing David Cameron's legalisation of same sex marriage, especially since it was a surprise that we weren't expecting! And LGBT rights are now to be taught in Christian schools, which will be much more useful to 5-year-olds than learning to read. Simon Fell is the Conservative candidate, and he's the first animal-human hybrid to stand for parliament. Well done!

He's no worse than many other MPs, to be fair.

You don't need to make a protest vote, but many of my friends who want to see the entire third world starve to death say that UKIP may be the way ahead here. An embarras de richesses, eh?

It is a solemn and binding duty to vote. Didn't Emily Davison say "I have a dream" and then spend 27 years on Robben Island fighting the Fascists in World War 2, all because she wanted to put an X against the name of some deranged half-wit chosen from a bunch of greedy, perverted time-servers? So we should do this too. But how can I choose?

See, Nick! Be nice about everyone, and they'll publish your piece. Eccles.

Nick, gagged

Sigh... here we go again.

The life of a secret nun

With the news that Pope Francis has killed the fatted calf for the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (the "prodigal nuns"), some readers have contacted me, saying "Who are these ladies? They don't look like nuns at all. Could they be the Women's Institute?"

Francis and quasi-nuns

"F" briefs the secret nuns.

Let me make it clear at the outset that I will have no truck with any jokes about their unusual habits. Now, where we?

The secret - or plain-clothes - nuns are an elite order of Catholic agents. They go around in "mufti", and are in most respects indistinguishable from ordinary members of the public. Their director, "F" has given some of them a "Licence to Pray", although this is only permitted in emergencies. One of their most famous agents is "Double-six seven", 667, or Jackie Bond, who often introduces herself by "The name's Bond, Sister Bond".

Campbell and nuns

In England, "M" entertains some less prestigious "uniformed" nuns.

Some of the films in which Sister Bond's exploits have been recorded are Dr Küng, From Eccleston Square with Love, You're Only Resurrected Once, On His Holiness's Secret Service, and The Man with the Golden Vestments. Fans of the Bond series will remember another recurring character, the eccentric Cardinal K, who provides our heroine with the latest in a series of improbable new doctrines produced in his laboratory. Many of them don't work properly, or have undesirable side-effects.

Cardinal Martini

Cardinal Martini - shaken but not stirred.

One question remains though: why are all "F"'s secret agents old ladies in their 70s? Wouldn't a younger agent be better able to thwart the plans of Ernst Stavro Dawkins or Rosa Toynbee? Sister Bond admits that this might be so, but maintains that it is all part of her disguise as a harmless old woman, whom nobody could possibly take seriously; and so far this is the case.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

San Francisco Catholics ask Pope to replace God

Satan. Increasingly popular amongst San Francisco Catholics.

More than 100 people claiming to be Catholics have signed a full-page advertisement in the San Francisco Chronicle. It takes the form of an open letter asking Pope Francis to name a new God more closely aligned with San Francisco’s progressive ideals. Apparently, the "usual" God, known to some as Jehovah, Yahweh, or simply God, is increasingly out of touch with liberal ideas on morality, and it is time for a replacement.

Baal - said to favour same-sex marriage.

Being himself the offspring of a "three-parent family", namely, a man, a cat and a toad, the demon Baal has been suggested as a worthy replacement for God. Admittedly, he is regarded as one of the seven princes of Hell, and also identified with the god who had trouble with Elijah in the Old Testament, but he is not known for fostering "division and intolerance", which, in the eyes of San Franciscans, are the worst sins possible.

The worship of Mammon is also very popular amongst SF Catholics.

The signatories of the letter include various influential Catholics, such as B.L. Zebub, the uncle of the captain of SF's pancake-racing team "The San Francisco Tossers", Lucy Fur, a director of the "Catholics for Abortion" charity, and Belle Phe-Gore, a prominent politician and expert on getting other people to pay carbon taxes.

Archbishop Cordileone - so far uncooperative.

Even though all the signatories to the letter are very very rich, important and famous, it seems that neither Pope Francis nor Archbishop Cordileone of San Francisco currently favours dropping God in favour of one of the more demonic alternatives. We don't often find ourselves in agreement with Cardinal Kasper on this blog, but even that Prince of the Church has declared that "Worshipping Satan is a step too far. Maybe. Well, at least at present." You can't get much more definite than that!

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Is it still safe for Catholics to laugh at Father Vin?

Reprinted from the Catholic Herald.

Six years on, the popular sitcom "Father Vin" continues to divide Catholics. Telling the tale of three useless clerics marooned on the remote island "Britain", some have seen it as a mockery of Catholicism, while others see it as brilliantly slapstick, surreal and childish.

Vincent Nichols

Father Vin.

Crucially, the ludicrous characters are the butt of the jokes, rather than precious elements of the faith. The humour is gentle, and all "Father Vin" fans have their favourite episode. For some, it is the one where he goes to a synod and can't remember how he voted. For others, it is the embarrassment he suffers when he discovers that "gay" masses are taking place on his doorstep. Yet again, others will remember the difficulties Vin gets into when he tries to silence 500 Catholic priests, only to be reminded that the Pope wants "dialogue".

Down with this sort of thing

Father Vin demonstrates against the Catholic Herald letters page.

Of course "Father Vin" contains other memorable characters. We have all laughed at the rather dim Fr Timothy Radcliffe, who is totally unable to understand some aspects of Catholic teaching on sexual matters, and Mrs Beattie, the tea lady, with her "Try another heresy, Father, go on, go on, go on!" However, our personal favourite is the disgraced Father Kieran, with his fondness for DRINK and GIRLS.

Kieran and wine


Perhaps the most popular of all episodes is the "Kick Cardinal Cormac up the backside" story, in which Father Vin is told that the only way that he can become a cardinal is to "give the boot" to his predecessor. Watch this sort of superlative comedy, and you will never wish to say "Down with this sort of thing!"

Fr Ted and Bishop Brennan

A bad day for Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor.

Eccles is blocked

It has become something of a matter of pride to be blocked on Twitter by George Galloway, Even Tom Chivers managed it by tweeting "booooooooooooooo" at him, which will probably even get him sued. George is a much-misunderstood fellow, who managed to make friends wherever he went, especially if it was Saddam Hussein's Baghdad or a Hamas knees-up. Not many people know that he is a talented cat-impersonator and an expert on forced marriage. Will he be re-elected as Respected MP for Bradford West? Well, that all depends on whether he captures the Jewish vote.

blocked by Galloway

Most likely to say: "Many of my best friends are Israelis."

Still, I have managed to get blocked by many on Twitter in my time. The roll of honour includes another great hero of mine, Richard Dawkins, the distinguished zoologist, theologian, poet and moral philosopher. Originally an expert on chickens, he has now diversified his interested into selfish genes, blind watchmakers, and deluded gods. Professor Dawkins understands that to be a good scientist, you have to have a spiritual dimension to your life. He is a deeply sensitive man, who is anxious never to give offence. If he stood in Bradford West, he would certainly have many Muslims supporting him.

blocked by Dawkins

Most likely to say: "Of course, I'm probably wrong."

Many people will be surprised to know that I have been blocked by Professor Tina Beattie, the well-known professor of Money, Life and Health (or something like that). Tina is a Catholic after my own heart - well, after her own heart, actually - and from her I have learned many things about the Catholic faith that no priest or bishop would ever dare to tell me. Her ground-breaking God's Mother, Eve's Advocate, is probably the only book on theology that I could recommend to people who enjoyed Fifty Shades of Grey. O Tina, tell me it was just a misunderstanding!

blocked by Beattie

Most likely to say: "The important thing is to remain true to Catholic teaching."

Even more puzzling is my cold-shouldering by Damian Thompson, the Spectator's publisher for Religion, Society and Human Flourishing (or something like that). In the good old days of Telegraph blogs, when Friday night was sock-puppet night, we found that we had many common interests, such as Catholicism, custard, and the oeuvre of Gladys Mills. To add insult to injury, once the organ-grinder had spurned me, so did the monkey (Paul Priest), a man considered to be Corby's answer to James Joyce.

blocked by Thompson

Most likely to say: "I think of Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor as my mentor."

And so it goes on. The Diocese of Lancaster blocked me after I constantly praised its bishop's tough line on bloggers. Stephen Fry was so embarrassed by my description of him as the cleverest man of this age or indeed any age, that he humbly blocked me. On the other hand, Catherine Pepinster, Polly Toynbee and Giles Fraser - people who provide me with much quiet amusement - still haven't blocked me, so perhaps there is some hope that they can be saved. Oh, and this man hasn't blocked me, either: indeed, quite the reverse!

Pope Francis tweet

Pope Francis writes a tweet inspired by Eccles's blog.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

How should saved persons vote?

There's been very little about it in the news, but some people may be aware that in the UK we are having General Election on May 7th. In fact, you wait five years for someone to publish a manifesto, and then seven (?) come along at once.

However, most of the nastiest laws that get passed do not even appear in manifestos - do you remember anyone promising us same-sex "marriage", genetically-modified babies, or sex-selective abortion? Or even "yes, ye can shove yer Granny off a bus" legislation (that one seems to have been defeated, at least for the time being). So,burn the manifestos and start again.

Rule 1: All party leaders are villains. Cameron, Miliband, Clegg, Farage, Sturgeon, that thick woman from the Greens whose name I've forgotten... I wouldn't trust any of them to feed my cat if I went away on holiday.

Cameron and Miliband

Two unsaved people.

Rule 2. All major political parties contain one or two decent people. Even the SNP - they must do, or the Scottish Catholic bishops wouldn't fawn on them so much. Not sure about the Greens, actually.

Well this isn't getting us very far. You may vote for a saved candidate, and find that his or her leader bites the head off hamsters and performs human sacrifices at the full moon. So we'd better think again about this.

Black Mass

A typical party conference.

If you go to a polling booth, you will be handed a piece of paper looking something like this (without the pictures).

Sir Jasper Babyeater-Smyth (Conservative)

Edna Bully (Green)

Brother Eccles (Saved Persons' Party)
Pope with red nose
Praying Lord Frank (Monster Raving Loony Party)

Chris Fraud (Lib Dem)

Nicholas Frogbasher (UKIP)

Moira McNasty (SNP)
Vincent Price as Richelieu
Cardinal Vincent Nichelieu (World Domination Party)

Arthur Tablet-Freke (Tina Beattie for Queen Party)

Damian Thompson (Custard Liberation Front)

Sid Thugg (Labour)
Well, it's a tough call, but I rely on you to spot the most saved person in that list. If you are not so lucky with your ballot paper and you think that all the candidates are unsaved, then just write "UNSAVED", "VERY UNSAVED", "NO CHANCE OF BEING SAVED", "SAVED? DON'T MAKE ME LAUGH", etc. against all the names in turn. This may mean that your vote doesn't count, but it's perhaps the best you can do.

Pope Francis upsets the Turks

Ahmet Davutoglu, Prime Minister of Turkey, has angrily condemned Pope Francis's description of the Ottoman Empire's murder of 1.5 million Armenians as "the first genocide of the 20th century".

Ahmet Davutoglu

"Hey, Francis, we only killed half the population. Not a real genocide!"

Clearly, mentioning this sort of thing is bad manners, and according to poor injured Ahmet "an evil front is being formed before us. Now the pope has joined it and these plots." Apparently, this is the end of the famous saying "Turkey's voting for Christians". Pope Francis, in turn, has responded by giving up turkish delight, which he was going to do anyway, given that doctors had told him he was getting overweight.

turkish delight

The Holy Father is no longer delighted.

We are expecting further outspoken comments from the pope any time now. It is thought that he may mention the War (you know, it involved someone called Adolf Hitler, generally understood to be something of a bad egg), if he can face the wrath of Angela Merkel. Or he may go even further and talk about Stalin, in which case Vladimir Putin won't be sending him any more Christmas cards.

Basil Fawlty as Hitler

Preparing for a meeting with Angela Merkel.

Of course Turkey is one of our highly esteemed allies in NATO, so that if Pope Francis's tactless mention of the Armenians is to be regarded as an attack on it, then the UK, USA, etc., will be asked to declare war on the Vatican. The UK is already calling up its shock troops, the geriatric ACTA Brigade, which has been dying to have a pop at the pope for several years, especially during this era of diplomatic tension with the Bishop of Lancaster.

old man in wheelchair with gun

ACTA's youth coordinator rushes to the defence of Turkey.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Letters to the Tablet

Highlights of the Bitter Pill's letter page.

I am very upset by the letter from 461 Catholic priests in Britain regarding the maintenance of old-fashioned Catholic teaching on marriage and the family!!?? Don't they realise that we are waiting for the Holy Spirit to change her mind about this one, and until she does we shall scream and scream until you're sick of us??!! The process requires debate, prayer and discernment, but we certainly don't want to hear from a bunch of celibate men!!?? And that includes Jesus!!??

"Sorry, Holy Father, I forgot to post your letter to the Catholic Herald."

Cuddly Walter Kasper has spoken of the Church's living tradition, and the need to create it afresh!!?? After all, what's the point of tradition if it's just handed down by someone else??!! Tradition needs to be developed, otherwise it's just traddy!!?? This rude and naughty letter clearly refutes (or do I mean rebuts?) Kasper's position!!?? Shame on you, you horrid priests!!??

The letter has provoked further controversy within an already fragile Catholic Church - that's not my fault, Peppy, is it??!! Still, congratulations to brilliant Mgr Keith Bottletop of Bayswater for refusing to sign!!?? Good old Bottled-out is Sister Judy's Man of the Month!!??

Possibly not Mgr Bottletop.

So shut up, you horrible priests!!?? ACTA's criticism of the Catholic Church is fine, but we don't want priests reminding people of Catholic teaching!!?? And, EEEK! Sister Moira has told me that a lot of laymen are also signing letters saying that they like Catholic teaching!!?? Where will it end??!! Will Vincent Nichols sign a declaration of faithfulness??!! No chance of that, luckily!!?? Byeeeee!!??

Sr Judy Piranha, CRSS, Chelmsford

Sr Judy and Sr Moira

In The Tablet of 28 March there was an interesting article, which noted that Jesus, according to three of the Gospels, invited Judas to share in the Last Supper, whilst being fully aware of his pending betrayal. See, in those days everyone was allowed to share communion, and encouraged to go out and betray Jesus! Shouldn't this be the practice nowadays as well?

Antony Demon, Northampton.

Judas Iscariot renews his subscription to the Tablet.

Of course, there is a more dignified way for droll people to appear in print.

The rest of this drollery is here.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Pope Francis appoints new advisers

Following the appointment of the "Cardinal from Hell", God-freed Danneels, as a special choice for the 2014 Synod on the Family, Pope Francis has now revealed the names of some more "family experts" who will be attending the 2015 Synod with the rank of Cardinal, in order to interpret the will of the Holy Spirit.

Elton John

Kasper lookalike, Cardinal John.

Cardinal John is known to be an expert on the family, having been married to both a woman and a man at various times. In addition, he is revered for the miracle of the motherless babies. Owing to his quiet and reclusive nature, little is known about him, but our extensive researches on Google have revealed that he is interested in music.

Richard Dawkins

Cardinal Dawkins, the world's oldest teenager.

Although not a Catholic in the traditional sense, it is fair to say that Cardinal Dawkins is inspired by the Spirit of Vatican II, showing that it is possible to be a Catholic without tying oneself down to any particular beliefs. His writings are said to have made more Catholic converts than the entire Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, although he is also known for his sympathetic study of Islam, F*** off, Mohammed, you never won a Nobel Prize! A zoologist, theologian, poet and clown, he has strong views on the morality of allowing children with Down's syndrome to live.

Rolf Harris

Cardinal Harris, a more controversial choice.

Since Cardinal Harris is currently behind bars for indecent assault, Pope Francis believes that he offers a unique perspective on family life. It may be thought that such a person should not be a cardinal, let alone an adviser to synods, but they said that about Cardinal Danneels too. By giving Cardinal Harris Vatican citizenship, and arranging for his deportation to Rome, Pope Francis hopes that he will entertain the Synod with his famous song "Tie me cardinal down, sport!"

Stephen Fry

Cardinal Fry adopts a young lad.

No public event would be complete without the presence of Stephen Fry, and as we speak, the organizers of the Arundel and Brighton 50th anniversary festival are keeping him in reserve in case Fr Timothy Radcliffe can't make it - very few people can tell the difference between their views. It is true that Cardinal Fry has condemned Catholics - sometimes in obscene tones - but this sort of language is very similar to what was used at the 2014 Synod when the microphones were switched off. Definitely someone to bring Catholic teaching into the 21st century.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

The Book of St Richard, Chapter 22

Continued from Chapter 21.

1. And Richard decided to explain the meaning of Easter to his disciples.

Happy Eater

Possibly the true origin of the expression "Happy Easter".

2. "For," he said, "is Easter not a celebration of the ancient fertility goddess Ishtar? Standeth it not to reason that they are one and the same, as the names are so similar, eshpecially for one that hath drunk of shtrong wine?

3. Thus Easter is a fertility rite, and this explaineth the eggs, and the bunnies. Hence Christianity is all a myth."

4. And Richard was cruelly mocked, even by the Archdruid Eileen, who listed many other fertility goddesses with similar names, such as Asda and Exeter, together with Esther, she that is called Rantzen.

5. This last was a woman with a large cult of followers, who enjoyed the sight of obscenely-shaped vegetables. She inspired a series of Odd Odes by a prophet known as Cyril Fletcher.

Cyril Fletcher

Cyril Fletcher, or possibly an oddly-shaped vegetable.

6. Here perhaps may lie the true origin of many Easter traditions; for example the phrase "That's Life!" is symbolic of the Resurrection, and the Odd Odes survive in the liturgies of Paul Inwood.

7. But then there came others claiming to be the original of Easter, indeed so many that Richard could not deal with them.

8. Some men spoke of the worship of Wooster, a prophet who was aided by a supernatural being known as Jeeves. They sought and found the sacred cow-creamer, which was guarded by a giant in black shorts named Spode. That is, the giant was named Spode, not the shorts.

9. Others spoke of the festival of Euston, by which men attempt the impossible journey that ends in the holy city of Glasgow.

Glasgow Central

An earthly paradise.

10. As they pass through the sacred lands of Milton Keynes, Wigan and Preston, the faithful encounter terrifying hazards, such as leaves on the line and the wrong kind of coffee on the drinks trolley.

11. In brief, Richard's attempts to find an alternative explanation for Easter fell on stony ground.

12. Instead, he chose the day of Easter as an opportunity to ask of the world a burning question: Who is the most over-rated person in history?

13. "Perchance they will reply 'Jesus', or 'Mohammed', or even 'Buddha'," he said to himself.

14. However, it was not to be. With one voice, the world replied: YOU.

16. For they had concluded that Richard was indeed history.

Dawkins and a cap

If the cap fits, wear it.

To be continued.

The book of St Richard started here.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Through the Christian year with David Cameron

Happy Easter, everyone! David Cameron has given us his seasonal message, and as reported by Madeleine Teahan in the Catholic Herald, it clears up a serious misapprehension under which Christians have suffered for many years.

It's the principle around which the Easter celebration is built. Easter is all about remembering the importance of change, responsibility, and doing the right thing for the good of our children. And today, that message matters more than ever.

In fact, this doctrine is just an excerpt from Dave's new spiritually nourishing book Through the Christian year with David Cameron, and we are privileged to be able to print further excerpts on this blog. So here goes.

Cameron and Pope Benedict

David Cameron explains basic theology to Pope Benedict XVI.

"The church year starts with Advent, where we look forward to the coming of a new leader. In the Old Testament there was an emphasis on traditional Thatcher-Majorite Conservatism. Then comes the Apocrypha, filled with weird stories about shadowy figures such as Hague, Duncan-Smith and Howard. Finally, the New Testament tells of the coming of a Saviour to redeem the world, and bring a whole new set of teaching. And this Messiah is called Dave.

At Christmas we are asked to reflect on the importance of a well-managed economy, and the regulation of public expenditure. Caesar Augustus called all the world to be taxed, but he could equally well have cut public expenditure and reduced government borrowing. We never hear of Joseph actually paying his taxes, and indeed he is said to have fled into tax-exile in Egypt.

flight into Egypt

The flight into tax exile.

At Epiphany, we read the story of three great kings, named Cameron, Miliband and Clegg. King Cameron brings gold, which symbolises prosperity and job-creation. Anti-king Miliband brings frankincense, but that isn't enough to take away the clinging smell of bacon sandwiches. Deputy king Clegg brings myrrh, symbolising death, in particular the death of his political ambitions.

Labour mug

Controls on immigration! A gift from Anti-king Miliband.

So we come to Lent, a time of austerity. The message here is that only the Devil tries to stop us from making sacrifices - well, not me, obviously, but most of you - as we wait for the economy to recover.

At Easter, we celebrate chocolate eggs, Easter bunnies, daffodils, Bank Holiday traffic jams, and a well-deserved two days off work (or, for MPs, a month). We have no plans in our manifesto to scrap Easter, although if the gay lobby tells us it's necessary, then we reserve the right to change our minds on that one!

In May we have a festival called Ascension. This is when millions of faithful worshippers go into a polling-booth and put an X against the name of the Conservative candidate. After this, I go up to 10, Downing Street.

7 party leaders

Seven party leaders organize a drinking contest.

Whitsun (or Pentecost) is traditionally a time for marriage, and surely the main Christian message here is that marriage is a wonderful thing, and should not be restricted to one man and one woman. "Be fruitful and multiply," said God, and if you can't manage this because you are a same-sex couple, then the Lord provides test-tubes and clinics whereby you may still pretend to be the parents of a child.

After that the country (or at least Parliament) has a long holiday between May and November. We call it "Ordinary Time" and regard it as a time to go on holiday and visit fish-markets. In this we simply emulate the Apostles, who were also fishermen. Of course, we will occasionally read in our papers about massacres of Christians and others, by Muslims, but that's none of our business, and it should not take us away from all those lovely fish!"

Cameron at fish market

Scottish sturgeon? No thanks!

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Another controversial letter from 461 priests

Following their controversial letter to the Catholic Herald, affirming Christ's teaching on marriage, which was roundly condemned by Cardinal Nichols, the infamous "gang of 461" has sent another inflammatory letter to the magazine.


Introducing a controversial figure into Catholicism.

We are fortunate to be able to reprint the entire text of the letter, as follows:

Dear Sir,

Credo in unum Deum, Patrem omnipotentem, factorem caeli et terrae, visibilium omnium, et invisibilium. Et in unum Dominum Jesum Christum, Filium Dei unigenitum. Et ex Patre natum ante omnia saecula. Deum de Deo, Lumen de lumine, Deum verum de Deo vero. Genitum, non factum, consubstantialem Patri: per quem omnia facta sunt. Qui propter nos homines, et propter nostram salutem descendit de caelis. Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine: Et homo factus est. Crucifixus etiam pro nobis: sub Pontio Pilato passus, et sepultus est. Et resurrexit tertia die, secundum Scripturas. Et ascendit in caelum: sedet ad dexteram Patris. Et iterum venturus est cum gloria, judicare vivos et mortuos: cuius regni non erit finis. Et in Spiritum Sanctum, Dominum, et vivificantem: qui ex Patre Filioque procedit. Qui cum Patre et Filio simul adoratur, et conglorificatur: qui locutus est per Prophetas. Et unam sanctam catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam. Confiteor unum baptisma in remissionem peccatorum. Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum. Et vitam venturi saeculi. Amen.

Yours sincerely...

Vin and the Tablet

"Catholics should be seen and not heard. Except for me, of course."

Already this inflammatory letter has been condemned by Vincent Nichols, who explained that it was clearly improper for priests to make dogmatic statements of Christian belief in the press. As he put it, could they not rely on him to waffle and obfuscate the issues on TV and radio?

The context, of course, is the forthcoming synod, at which an intense debate is expected. If you don't want to know the final result look away now.

[Cardinal Kasper has already written the final report, in which it is decided that Christian doctrine is too severe and lacking in mercy, and that the bits of the creed to do with sin and redemption are no longer appropriate. Also the "Spiritus Sanctus" should now be replaced by the "Spiritus Concilii Oecumenici Vaticani Secundi".]

Other critics of the letter include Gerald O'Collins SJ, who has suggested that the version of the Creed used in the famous 1998 paraphrase of the Mass should be adopted instead. "It's not much fun spending 17 years doing Latin homework, only to be told that I only got a B-minus," he complains. "How was I to know that 'Credo' doesn't mean 'We believe'?"

Pope Francis has so far not commented on the letter to the Catholic Herald. There is a suggestion going round that this is because he is a Tablet-reader, but we think it is just a malicious rumour put about by one of those traddie bloggers such as Mundabor or Rorate Caeli.

sheep perfume

Well, never mind the Creed. Buy your priest something to help him smell of the sheep.