This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

The Book of St Richard, Chapter 25

Continued from Chapter 24.

1. And Richard continued to age, yet still he failed to grow in wisdom and kindness.

2. Thus it came to pass that his wife Lalla agreed an "entirely amicable" separation with him, for she was finally exasperated by the selfishness of his genes.

3. And no man can say whether she threw plates at him.

Dawkins family

Richard, Lalla and K9 (Mark 10) in happier times.

4. So Richard sought solace in good deeds, such as moaning about Brexit, moaning about the Trump that is called Donald, and of course moaning about religion.

5. For he continued to smite the Christians with a series of hard-hitting books, films, television programmes, interviews, tweets, exotic dances, oil paintings, sculptures, cartoons, operas, plays, novels, talking parrots, rude vegetables, and graffiti.

6. All of which bore the powerful message "I AM RIGHT AND YOU ARE WRONG."

7. Thus Richard crushed the Christians with all the resources at hand, except of course for theology, philosophy and reading comprehension; for in his life as a Renaissance Man he had never had the chance to study any of these.

angel facepalm

An angel heareth the words of Dawkins.

8. And Richard continued to be praised by those who hated God, and even in his seventy-seventh year he continued to travel.

9. He even defeated Katie Hopkins, Austen Ivereigh, and Damian Thompson, in a context to find the politest person in Britain.

10. So it came to pass that Richard was invited to Berke-ley in the land of Cali-fornia, that he might speak on his book, "Another old potboiler", subtitled "Richard Dawkins - the years of martyrdom".

11. For the land of Cali-fornia abounded in atheists, liberals, sceptics, lunatics, freaks, weirdos, and hippies, and was thus only too pleased to welcome Richard to its shores.

hippies

"Yeah, man, Richard is a cool dude, don't you know?"

12. But it was not to be. For when crushing the Christians, Richard had not hesitated in mangling the Muslims as well.

13. And if there was one sin for the children of Cali-fornia, it was intolerance: except, curiously, intolerance of Christianity, which was often encouraged.

14. And indeed the mangling of Muslims is the worst crime of all (except, possibly, telling the transgendered to "get real").

15. So Richard was left to mourn in Oxford; and he wailed profusely and gnashed those few teeth that remained unto him.

To be continued

Sunday, 23 July 2017

How to preach today's sermon

Following a spiritually nourishing blog post from Fr Tim Finigan, entitled How to listen to the sermon tomorrow, we propose a little help for your priest/ vicar/ pastor/ worship leader/ big cheese (this is an ecumenical post) in case he/ she/ xe/ brie (and a polygendered post) has to preach on the subject of the Wheat and the Tares (a.k.a. Darnel). One of the following templates is sure to work.

crop circle

Trouble at Ambridge.

Brother Bosco of the Calumny Chapel: Brothers, we is Wheat and everyone else is Dranel! Altogether now, raise your arms in the air and shout: "You is not saved, only we is saved!" And especially the Cathlics with their Babylonian fish hats, their cannibalism, and their costume holy men, they is very unsaved! For those of us what knows Jesus personally, He says to us "Brother Bosco, you is Wheat, my son, and you has a golden crown waiting for you when you pops off to the Glassy Sea. While the Pope and his Cradinals is going to the Lake of Fire!" Hallelujah! And now, Hymn 94, "Oh what fun it is to be saved!"

Bosco clown

You is not saved, only Bosco is saved.

Father Dan Brown SJ: Today's gospel about the wheat and the darnel is based on a parable written by Mary Magdalene, the wife of Jesus, and the first Pope, who wore a dalmatic and taught God all He knows. Its message is that we are the wheat, and those who disagree with us are the darnel, the haters, who don't know the first thing about discernment. By the way, have you got your copy of my new book "Bridge-it James's Diary", or "The Jesuit guide to sexual relationships"? You haven't? Then you too are a hater!

Da Vinci code

Renowned Jesuit Jacques Martin staggered through the vaulted archway of the museum's Grand Gallery.

Father Laudatosi: In the reading today, we see the perils of ignoring the environment. Somehow, genetically-modified seeds were mixed with the original organic low-fat gluten-free vegan-friendly non-carcinogenic unleaded wheat, and as a consequence the Earth will be destroyed by climate change! As Pope Francis has told us, there is only one solution - study the spiritual enneagram and practise your circle dancing!

circle dancing

Some non-alcoholic salt-free unisex circle dancing.

The Reverend Alfred Narcolepsy M.A.: Today my typewriter crashed, so at the last minute I borrowed some ideas from the nineteenth-century sermons of the Reverend Chedediah Somnifer M.A. Now, the parable of the wheat and tares is of great relevance to us in this age of uncertainty. With Napoleon having escaped from Elba, and heading for Paris, vowing to "make France great again", we may think of the French army as sowing destruction among us. Now, what would Jesus have done? I think He would have backed the Duke of Wellington to rip up the tares. However, we cannot be sure that He would have endorsed the Earl of Liverpool's pledge to return us to the gold standard! Cano in pluvia as every schoolboy knows!

Napoleon

"This looks like a good place to plant some tares!"

Bev the Rev: Hey! A funny thing happened to me on the way to the church. I was walking past a cornfield when I decided to dance in it, just as David danced before the Lord! But Farmer Giles shouted at me, "Oi! Get out of my cornfield, fatso!" Men are such sexists! I think that's the true meaning of the parable of the wheat and tares, don't you? And my glove-puppet thinks so too, don't you, Bottley?

Pope and Spiderman

Pope Francis, with a trusted adviser.

Fr Antonio Spiderman SJ: Stuff this for a lark! I hate you all.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Is James Martin the Church on Earth?

The Catholic Church is probably unique in having, at any time, a single person on Earth who embodies it, is treated with universal respect and deference, and who is relied upon for a blizzard steady stream of writings, sermons, aeroplane interviews, etc. After all, the Anglicans do not refer to Archbishop Justin Welby as the "Holy Father", and, since they have no agreed doctrines, they cannot call on him for guidance.

Quaker

The Quakers do have a "Holy Father", but he does not say much in a non-porridgeal context.

Some Catholics have thought that Pope Francis was the Head of the Church, but this is clearly wrong. Indeed, we have the following guidance from the blessed Austen Ivereigh to put us straight: “Francis is increasingly reflecting the style, temperament, attitudes of the majority of the Catholics." This is worrying, if true, as it suggests that the Pope is lazy, bad-tempered, and selfish, hardly ever goes to church, and disagrees with Catholic teaching on homosexuality, divorce, abortion, etc. (at least, if we are to take senior American Catholics as our model).

Ivereigh looking pained

Austen Ivereigh, on Al-Jazeera, says he cannot eat another sheep's eye.

Luckily, Pope Francis is not the true head of the Church, and there has come someone whose ballet shoes he is not worthy to kiss. Yes, it is Fr James Martin LGBTSJ, the expert on building bridges, who can develop new Catholic teaching at the drop of a rainbow-striped biretta.

James Martin heresy

Blasphemy? Heresy? Or simply top-quality trolling?

Fr Jim tweeted a similar sentiment last year and was roundly condemned for it (I think this was the occasion of his blocking me on Twitter). Still, good heresies never die*, and he has repeated the same nonsense this year.

* The blessed Austen claims that the Pope's reforms "recover a deeper tradition in the Church", which sounds like a revival of the 2nd Century organization "Gnostic Voices".

So we must conclude that Fr Jim the bridge-builder (Pontifex absurdus in Latin) embodies the Catholic Church. Better than that, he *is* the Church.

Sunny Jim

Move over, Supreme Quaker, we have our own spiritual leader!

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Vatican salaries revealed

The entertainer and part-time priest, Father Chris "hate him or detest him" Evans SJ, came in from severe criticism from faithful Catholics this week, as it was revealed that his annual salary was £2.2 million. In response, he labelled his critics as "haters", and justified his rate of pay by explaining that it was not easy to maintain an army of hungry sockpuppets, or to buy vitriol to throw at those who disagreed with him. Also, he didn't really have a head for figures.

Spadaro can't count

"Remember that 2+2=5. See, I am holding up 5 fingers."

Another well-paid entertainer and part-time priest is Father Gary Lineker, of the Salt and Vinegar Crisps corporation. Formerly a star footballer for Bloxham United, he had to give up this career when he put on weight, although he still keeps in trim by knocking over little old ladies in the street. When his £1.75 million salary was revealed, he joined in the chorus of "haters!"

Rosica goes mad

Father Lineker is likely to have expensive psychiatrist's bills soon.

Then there is Father Graham Norton SJ (£850,000), the "bridge builder" and LGBTSJ activist. Bible scholars have determined that the only mention of bridges in sacred scripture is in 2 Maccabees 12:13; here, Judas Mac destroys Casphin, a town encompassed with bridges and walls, basically because it is full of Jesuits railing and blaspheming (well, more or less).

In a bid to divert criticism from the Vatican salary scandal, it has been announced that, when the present pope regenerates, his successor will be a woman. Indeed, it will be our old "bridge building" friend, identifying as a woman.

Stan Laurel in drag

A leading LGBTSJ Jesuit dresses for her new role.

However, the big news item of the week was the funeral address of Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI for Archbishop Meisner, which went "Francis!!?? Arentchasickofhim??!! The Lord will not desert his Church, but this Schweinehund is in danger of capsizing it!!??" (This is not an official translation, and sometimes my German is unreliable.)

Popes have not usually had the opportunity of criticising their successors, and the words above are considered unusually strong for a funeral oration. But we live in strange times.

Pope on ship

"Does anyone know how to steer this thing?"

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Intern takes over Pope's Twitter account

Twitter went into meltdown this week (I'm sorry, we're using Daily Telegraph journalistic style here), when the @pontifex Twitter account was handed over to Eddie, a 15-year-old intern, for the day, rather than being used for computer-generated Dalai-Lama-style platitudes, as is usually the case.

Eddie

Eddie responds to the queries of the faithful.

@pontifex: Hi, it's Eddie here. I'm hoping to become Pope one day, so I'm getting some work experience. Send me your questions!

@CardinalBurke: Bless you, Eddie. I don't suppose you've got the answers to my dubia, have you?

@pontifex: Hi, Eminence! I'll have a hunt round and see whether they've fallen down the back of the sofa or something!

Melinda Gates

Hello, Eddie!

@MelindaGates: Why doesn't the Church change its teaching on contraception? I am married to a very rich man, and so I expect value for money!

@pontifex: I'm only 15, Melinda, so this isn't really a problem for me. Still, we keep getting Do you wish to install the new Magisterium? messages, so maybe that's something to do with it?

@MelindaGates: I'm still confused about why Vatican I was followed by Vatican II, and not Vatican 98 or Vatican XP (isn't XP Christian?)

@pontifex: I'm told that the boss is going to call a new Vatican Council soon, to make Italian the official language of the Church and ban Latin for all time. I'll ask him if we can call it Vatican Vista.

Love Island

@caroline_flack: Eddie, have you seen Love Island?

@pontifex: Sorry, Caroline, Mum won't let me watch it. But we do have a new Vatican TV show, Hate Island, where we send Spadaro, Winters, Rosica, Ivereigh, Martin, Mickens, etc. to an island and get them to write insulting articles about Catholics.

@michael_voris: Can I vote for Spadaro to be eaten by a crocodile?

@pontifex: No crocodiles, Michael. It seems that we've only got vultures, snakes, poisonous spiders, and blood-sucking bats. Oh, sorry, that's the list of participants!

Vietato Lamentarsi

@austeni: I was licking the corridor clean outside the Pope's apartment today, and saw the sign "Vietato Lamentarsi". What's all that about, Eddie?

@pontifex: Well, Austen, according to Google translate, it means "Forbidden to complain". We're all under orders to smile, smile, smile!

Smile

Your new-look Swiss Guards.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Fake News about the Pope

Pope Francis has complained about the large amount of Fake News emanating from the Vatican, most of which portrays him as some sort of tyrannical dictator. For example, there was a report on the highly-regarded website Five Peter One, to the effect that, at the time when Pope Francis sacked (or at least refused to extend the appointment of) Cardinal Müller, he dressed up as an executioner and asked the cardinal five fundamental questions:

1. What is your name? Gerhard Müller.

2. What is your quest? To seek the Holy Grail.

3. What is the airspeed of a swallow? African or European?

4. Do you renounce evil? Yes. Er, that's still the right answer, isn't it?

5. Who is Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith? Me?

WRONG!!! Ha ha ha ha ha!!! (Hideous laughter at which the usual suspects (Spadaro, Parolin, etc.) all joined in.

Spadaro with death ray

"DEATH RAY ACTIVATED O MASTER AWAITING INSTRUCTIONS"

Of course this was easily identifiable as Fake News, designed to show the Pope in a bad light. But there has been far too much of this.

* His Most Eminent Highness Fra' Matthew Festing, Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta, Most Humble Guardian of the Poor of Jesus Christ, was getting a little tired with the responsibilities of his position (especially as he had to order a new cheque book three feet long in order to fit his signature on it). He wanted simply to retire to Northumberland and grow vegetable marrows. However, his resignation was portrayed (Fake News) as a constitutional crisis in the Order of Malta, with Pope Francis acting like a dictator of the worst kind.

Pope and Festing

"Parasitic Fungi? Yes, I'm suffering from those as well."

* There is no truth in the Fake News that four cardinals wrote to the Pope to ask him "What the Hell he was playing at." They certainly did not ask Pope Francis if there had been any changes in Catholic doctrine - and, after all, if they had wanted to know they would have asked his key Jesuit advisers such as Spadaro or James Martin. No, this "dubia" story is nonsense from beginning to end.

So from now on, we want to see no more Fake News about the Pope. Let's rely on impeccable sources such as Austen Ivereigh ("Pope Francis announces an end to war, famine, disease and death!"), Antonio Spadaro ("Donald Trump is the anti-Christ and traditionalist Americans such as Burke and Chaput are possessed by demons. Trust me, I'm a Jesuit"), or James Martin ("Everyone who disagrees with Satan is a HATER.") Got that?

Mueller

Cardinal Müller discovers a suspicious package in his car. (Fake News!)

Sunday, 9 July 2017

The Pope Francis charm school

Some critics say that I, Eccles, am occasionally rude and insulting. I don't see it myself, but then I came across the following advert and couldn't resist.

Pope Francis charm school

A chance to brush up my skills!

The course started badly, as one of the assistant tutors, Fr Müller, was not present. "He's at Mass, Holy Father," explained an aide.

"Drag him out!" shouted the Pope. "God is used to being kept waiting, but I AM NOT."

He then went on to explain that the New Ways Ministry had recently given him an award as the most humble pope since Alexander VI, and he was confidently expecting the Freemasons to award him the Order of the Golden Moose for services to humility. So we could certainly learn from him!

Pope gets a drone

"A drone! With a radar attachment to detect neo-Pelagians and zap them!

A Jesuit in a rainbow cassock wandered in, smoking a strange-looking cigarette. "Hey, man, is this the Coccopalmerio?" he asked, and promptly fell over. A fellow-student explained to me that "Coccopalmerio" is slang for a particular type of party, although he did not give details.

Meanwhile, the Pope had taken advantage of the break in the proceedings to fire one of his cardinals. In fact, he said "Off with his head!" but it was unlikely that things would be taken that far, and the Swiss Guards would simply break one of his legs. This is what "mercy" means!

Pope Francis concluded his course by explaining that, no matter how charming you were, you could easily be misunderstood. For a Jesuit, this is not a problem, of course, but he showed us a tweet from one of his most loyal sycophants.

Ivereigh tweet

This is not gloating, this is mercy.

"Unfortunately Ivereigh couldn't attend today's class," he said, "which is a shame, as he could learn a lot from it."

What a pity there isn't some sort of organization that could give training to Catholic commentators such as Austen, so that they could express themselves clearly and avoid being misunderstood!

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Church of England celebrates Queen Mary Tudor

Following a tweet commemorating the death of the martyrs St Thomas More and St John Fisher - one of those little side-effects of the Reformation - the Church of England has now decided to go further and celebrate the life of Queen Mary Tudor.

More and Fisher

"Fear not, Master Fisher, they kill us now, but will praise us in tweets five hundred years hence."

Actually, there is nothing new to see here. According to the Gospel of Wikipedia, which is always right: In 1980, despite their opposing the English Reformation, More and Fisher were jointly added as martyrs of the Reformation to the Church of England's calendar of "Saints and Heroes of the Christian Church", to be commemorated every 6 July (the date of More's execution) as "Thomas More, Scholar, and John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, Reformation Martyrs, 1535".

So far very few reciprocal gestures have been seen from the Catholic Church. However, Pope Francis is a great fan of Martin Luther, and he models his style of governance on that of Henry VIII*, so it cannot be long before these two gentlemen become Doctors of the Church.

*Gerhard! Lie low if you will, but I'll brook no opposition - no noise! No words, no signs, no letters, no pamphlets - Mind that, Gerhard - no writings against me! (A Man for all Seasons).

Mary Tudor

So what about Mary Tudor?

Technically, of course, Mary Tudor is not a martyr, although Catholics say that she was a martyr to ill health. On the other hand, these days we must remember that the Reformation and all things asoociated with it were A Good Thing, as they led to the modern Christian churches with their new priorities of Equality, Diversity, Climate Change, Transgendered Awareness, Drug-fuelled gay orgies in the Vatican, Jesuits building bridges, etc., rather than the pre-Reformation values of Faith, Hope and Charity. So can Mary be denied the title of "Saint and Heroine of the Christian Church"? I think not.

Cranmer

"Well, yes, she did burn me. A little. But I probably deserved it."

All that remains now is for the Catholics to celebrate Queen Elizabeth I, another keen smiter of "heretics", and perhaps Thomas Cromwell, too. Then we can agree on the following joint statement between Anglicans and Catholics:

THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY WAS A GOLDEN AGE, AND THE TUDORS WERE ALL JOLLY GOOD CHAPS. THE REFORMATION WAS A GREAT SUCCESS AND EVERYONE HAD A SUPER TIME. VISITING RUINED ABBEYS MAKES FOR A REALLY GOOD DAY OUT, WHICH WE WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN ABLE TO DO IF A LOAD OF BORING MONKS WERE STILL THERE PRAYING, STUDYING, ETC. HOW UNCOOL IS THAT?

Rievaulx Abbey

This is what an abbey should look like!

Friday, 7 July 2017

A tribute to Cardinal Meisner

In an exclusive interview with this blog, Pope Francis has paid tribute to Cardinal Joachim Meisner, who died this week.

Cardinal Meisner and friend

"Look, even this puppet can say 'No, yes, yes, yes, yes!'"

"Johann, er, Joachim Meisner was one of my closest friends," explained the Holy Father. "Unfortunately we lost touch in recent years, although we used to exchange phone calls, Christmas cards and discussions of theology in the old days. In fact, I think I've got one of his letters here, which I never got round to answering. It was signed by four of my closest cardinal-friends, but Spadaro said that it was simply something complimenting me on the solid Catholic doctrine in Amoris Laetitia, and it didn't require any reply."

Sosa and Spadaro

"Hey, Sosa! I've blocked ALL the Catholics on Twitter. Job done!"

"Anyway, he was a good man, and a good Catholic, which is probably why we grew apart in the last few months. I seem to remember that he wrote another letter, requesting an audience, but we popes are very busy men, and I just couldn't find time to see him. Or even to reply to his letter. We shall not see his like again - in fact I hope not!"

Pope and Trudeau

"And I wouldn't have given this numpty an audience, if I'd known he was going to wear Islamic rainbow socks."

Saturday, 1 July 2017

I wasn't expecting the Spanish Inquisition

The scene - the Pope's office in the Vatican. Pope Francis is sitting reading the names in his little black book and licking his lips. Spadaro is sitting in a corner of the room, eating peanuts, scratching himself and cackling over the new Stephen Walford humour column in the Vatican Insider.

F: It's going well. Burke is now an unperson, Pell has been framed, we're sacking Müller today. Next on the list is Sarah - I wonder what we can do about him?

pope and Spadaro

"Poison his beer, O Infallible Master."

There is a knock on the door, and Spadaro goes to welcome Cardinal Müller to his morning audience. Müller enters, kisses the Pope's ring, aims a kick at Spadaro, etc.

F: Welcome, my son. What is ailing you?

M: Holy Father, I think we must finally do something about Fr James Martin. The man's heresies are so absurd that even the Lutherans say "I wouldn't go that far!" Also, he is bringing the Church into disrepute by celebrating "gay" Masses dressed in a rainbow loincloth.

James  Martin

The Pride of the Vatican.

F: I have news for you my son. Guess who runs the Inquisition?

M: The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith? I do, surely?

F: No, you're fired. I'm appointing your Deputy, Luis Ladaria. So from now on, we've got a Spanish Inquisition.

M: I wasn't expecting a Spanish Inquisition!

Archbishop Ladaria bursts in, with two other cardinals, and they recite lines from the well-known Monty Python sketch.

Monty Python Spanish Inquisition

Nobody expects...

L: Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our two main weapons are fear and surprise. Surprise and fear. And discernment. Three main weapons.

F: All right, all right, you can finish this later. Don't forget the bit about "An almost fanatical dedication to the new Magisterium of Amoris Laetitia".

L: I have to go, Holy Father: we are planning a midnight raid on a bunch of Catholic priest-bloggers who insist on pre-2013 teaching. Finigan, Blake, Zuhlsdorf, ... all the usual suspects. (Exit.)

F (mutters): "Discernment" is good. Little Austen Ivereigh says that only Jesuits can do discernment. The fact is, it just means "make it up as you go along". Mind you, only Jesuits know that.

Oh, by the way, Müller, you've lost your other jobs too - Pontifical Biblical Commission, Ecclesia Dei, International Theological Commission. Now get out!

M: I'll send you some Dubia, Holy Father! (Exit.)

Sch&oum;nborn and balloons

At least it wasn't Schönborn. Balloons all round!

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Vicious attacks made on Sarah

Holy Land, about 2000 BC,

Faithful Catholics, who do their best to respect Pope Abraham, have been shocked by the persistent attacks on his wife Sarah from various ultra-liberal writers such as Christopher Goat of the Stone Tablet, Robert Mickheap the manure-dealer, Massimo Bean, Mike-and-Bernie Winters, etc. who find that she has this distressing habit of taking God's teaching seriously.

Abraham and Sarah

Pope Abraham and Cardinal Sarah.

Sarah herself has maintained a dignified silence in the face of abuse, which has even come from well-known clergy, such as Kasper the Jester ("She's a bit, er, African, isn't she?" he says) and Fr James Lot SJ, who has been attempting to build bridges with the LGBT community in the Cities of the Plain (supported by his wife Rosica the "Pillar of Salt" broadcaster), although the last bridge fell into a lake of fire.

Of course Pope Abraham's own ministry has not been uncontroversial. Some have accused him of trying to change Church teaching on infanticide, after a mysterious incident involving his son Isaac at Moria, and the subsequence apostolic exhortation A Moria Sacrificia. Indeed, the situation has become so bad that Abraham has refused to answer all dubia asking him to explain what on earth he means.

Pope Francis answers letter

Cardinal Burke, have you tried submitting your dubia using a six-year-old sockpuppet? You might get a reply that way.

Of course, some say that Abraham is merely following Sarah's advice to "remain silent", and it is rumoured that they have not spoken to each other for 93 years.

The real fear of Sarah's critics is that she will survive Abraham, and take over as Matriarch: the "Mesopotamian Mafia" are hoping to elect someone more liberal such as Isaac, who is not expected to take church teaching very seriously.

Pope as Superman

Some mockers have portrayed Abraham as a cartoon character such as Superman, Scooby Doo or Popeye.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Fr James Martin answers your questions

Dear Fr Martin. I understand that you are a Bridge expert?

Jim: Yes, my son!

Fr Jim and heretical book

In his new book Fr Jim argues that the LGBT Church must accept Catholics.

Well, answer me this then. The bidding at a game in my seminary went as follows:

North-South vulnerable, East-West predatory.
2 Hearts
I'd like to make a pass.
Game?
I am if you are.
West has no honour, so how should he bid?

card players

Playing the Jesuit convention: make up the rules as you go along.

Jim: NO TRUMP! NO TRUMP! NO TRUMP! Oh how we hate him!

I have a very simple question, Fr Jim. Is there anything at all that you consider sinful?

Actually, sin is never mentioned in the Bible, so who am I to say that anything is wrong? Still, I do get cross when Fr Thomas Reese steals the last fairy cake, or whenever someone calls me a heretic. Don't they realise that I am now a very important adviser to Pope Francis?

Tay Bridge

THE GAY BRIDGE DISASTER

Beautiful Bridge so proudly gay!
Alas! I am very sorry to say
That thousands of souls have been led astray
By that wretched book on building a bridge,
The Catholic way, including, er, um, bondage.

William McGonagall SJ.
Let's forget all this bridge nonsense for a moment, Fr Jim. Could you explain again your theory that Mary Magdalene was the first bishop? It always brings me out in giggles...

Thursday, 15 June 2017

How to be a Christian and a politician at the same time

Many readers have written to me along the following lines:

Dear Eccles, I have been selected as prospective Conservative/Labour/Liberal Democrat/Buckethead candidate for East Cheam (or it may be Walmington-on-Sea), but I am worried that my religious views will make it impossible for me to succeed. Strangely enough, I am one of those Christians who basically believe in God, Christ, Sin, Redemption, etc. Can you advise me?

This is tricky, but I will try and explain what you must do. Well, you could become a DUP MP, where religious principles are actively encouraged, but this may not be possible in an English region such as Much-Binding-in-the-Marsh. So another strategy is required.

Tim Farron

Tim Farron MP takes part in a charismatic service.

I also get letters from Muslims saying that they want to be Mayor of London but happen to believe in killing the infidels in order to end up with 72 virgins in Paradise. I explain to them that this is not a problem, as nobody will dare question them on the details of their faith. If they happen to take the Koran seriously then the BBC, Guardian, and other left-wing media will simply congratulate themselves on their tolerance of diversity.

So, how should the ambitious Christian proceed? Well, take someone like Theresa May or Michael Gove as your model. Support same-sex marriage, don't stick your neck out on pro-life issues, and remember that ONE DAY, PRACTISING CHRISTIANITY WILL BE ILLEGAL AGAIN, AND YOU WILL NEED TO MAKE A STRONG NOT-GUILTY PLEA.

Theresa May

"Only joking, folks!" Theresa May pretends to be a Christian.

Of course you will be asked by religious experts such as little Owen Jones of the Guardian, "But you're a Christian. Didn't God destroy Sodom and Gomorrah in the Bible? Doesn't that mean you want to burn all gays?" Or maybe "You're a Christian, aren't you? You don't like dismembering babies? What kind of monster are you, denying a woman's right to choose!"

Luckily, we have the modern Catholic Church as our model here. Fr James Martin LGBTSJ is our teacher on matters of homosexuality, and we now know from this great man that the rainbow brigade are above criticism, and should be allowed to do whatever they want, with whomever they want, whenever they want, without any comments being made. If you have not brought up your kid to be a transgendered gay activist with an interest in bondage and doing naughty things with geese (any Jesuit college can provide details) by the age of 8, then YOU ARE A BIGOT.

goose

Hey, I've just received an invitation from Fr James Martin!

Likewise, Pope Francis in his unparalleled wisdom has appointed "philosopher" Nigel Biggar - who doesn't think that babies are human - to the Pontifical Academy for Life. (Sorry, this is often a satirical blog, but that appears to be a FACT.) The remaining members of the PAL are not yet finalized, but we expect that Peter Sutcliffe the Yorkshire Ripper and Gerry Adams of the IRA will become influential members.

Psycho

"Help! It's someone from the Pontifical Academy for Life!"

Which brings us neatly back to politics. Good luck with your career, and, if you are asked about your beliefs, give a light laugh and say "Oh, we don't worry too much about moral issues in the modern church!" It's the only way you'll succeed.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Pope Francis approves electronic tagging for clergy

As reported by Rorate Caeli, the Vatican is taking steps to keep its cardinals under control; if one of them is absent from Rome he is asked to let the Secretariat know where he is.

map of Kent

Sensors indicate that Cardinal Burke is hiding somewhere round here.

In phase 2, it is planned to extend this to all clergy, with the introduction of electronic tagging using the TAGLETM: this is a white collar worn round the neck, and if you see any priests so dressed, you can be sure that they are already under surveillance.

The Vatican's main computer AMORIS (Analytical Machine for Organizing Radically Innovative Services) will process the data transmitted by priests and bishops worldwide, and flag up any signs of "rigid" practice. For example, the tag will be able to detect whether the priest is facing east for an extended period of time, and warn the Pope that an Extraordinary Form Mass may be taking place. In addition, a smoke detector fitted to the tag will record the excessive use of incense.

EF Mass

A rigid priest. No chance of promotion if this gets out!

Priests who wish their masses to find favour with the Pope are recommended to move around a lot, perhaps in some form of liturgical dance, as the tag will detect this and transmit a signal saying "It's OK, this priest is one of us". Also the tag will detect (and approve) the use of hymns with particularly banal rhythms and harmony, especially those containing clapping and words such as "Ch-ch". On the other hand, sounds of Gregorian chant will set off a persistent high-pitched whistling from the tag. You have been warned, Father.

Fr Rosica

"Nothing can block the signal!" A model shows off the Rosica version.