This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Thursday, 21 September 2017

The Catholics sign a peace treaty

We are very pleased to announce that the warring factions in the Catholic Church (basically the traditionalist/orthodox group and the liberal/modernist wing) have agreed to settle their differences, and sign a peace treaty. This will allow more time for smiting the Protestants, who have been getting off far too lightly recently.

Pope Francis SJ agrees to answer the five Dubia raised by his dear friends Raymond Burke, Walter Brandmüller, and the two more who were casualties in the Great Catholic Wars. He also agrees to stop insulting other Catholics, to keep his mouth shut on aeroplane trips, and to learn Latin once and for all.

the two Ronnies

Argentina, 1991. Fr Bergoglio meets his hero Austen Ivereigh.

Fr James Martin SJ has agreed to stop trolling the Catholic world with lunatic remarks about homosexual marriage being the only moral lifestyle, the Holy Spirit being female, and Mary Magdalene being the first Pope. He will be allowed to continue selling his book about building bridges, although it will be re-catalogued as "Catholic Comedy".

Groucho Marx

No more sniping at Cardinal Marx and his abandonment of Catholicism!

Bishop McElroy of San Diego will apologise for describing his fellow-Catholics as a "cancer", and promise never again to write articles for America while under the influence of Rosica (made with gin, hair restorer and anti-freeze).

Mr Bean

No more jokes about Massimo Faggioli being "Mr Bean"!

Father Thomas Reese's plan, that updates to the liturgy, the catechism and the Bible should be installed automatically, and probably overnight when nobody's looking, will be abandoned. They would require a total reboot of the CatholicTM operating system, and probably introduce infection by the Jesuit virus.

Laurel and Hardy in drag

No more cruel pictures of Fr Martin and Fr Rosica!

Amoris Laetitia will not be withdrawn, but it will become an excommunicable offence ever to refer to it again, either favourably or unfavourably. Admittedly we shall lose all the spiritually nourishing bits about how good it is for married life if the wife cuts the lawn and the husband does the laundry, but these can probably be found in the Sunday newspapers' "Lifestyle" columns.

Colbert poncing around

All today's pictures featured comedians, so, for a change, here's Colbert doing Catholic stuff.

Next week: Tina Beattie, Father John Zuhlsdorf, Jacob Rees-Mogg, and Cardinal Cupich agree: "We all believe the same things really!"

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Everyone who disagrees with me is cancer!

A special guest post from Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego, reprinted by kind permission of America magazine, the Jesuits' own journal of spiritual nourishment.

Bishop McElroy

Bishop McElroy receives a certificate listing his merits.

There has been a lot of criticism of my friend Fr "E.L." James (Martin), on account of his new sex book, "Fifty shades of gay". Why, even Cardinals Sarah and Napier have spoken out against him. Still, the less said about that the better, let's consider the ordinary Catholic in the pew. THEY ARE CANCER. Yes, they are. Well, to be fair, some are blackwater fever, others are bubonic plague, and the mildest of them are probably just a runny nose. But YES, they are SICK.

And don't give me any of that "Sober up you loony old coot" stuff. Pope Francis called for diatribe, and that's what you're getting. Diatribe, dialogue, diarrhoea, we gottem all.

Fr James the best-seller

As Fr James says, "The Holy Spirit helped to sell my book!"

God the Father inspired the Old Testament, and God the Son inspired the New Testament. Now God the Holy Spirit (or Pope Francis as he prefers to be known) has given us a third testament - Amoris Laetitia. He has even installed a new Pontifical Institute for Adultery to guide us through this new Catholicism.

Since writing his book about gay sex on bridges, Fr James has been scorned, vilified, mocked, laughed at, and - I regret to say - told in no uncertain terms that he is a screaming heretic. But his books sell, and that's what really matters. Remember that Jesus Christ was very keen on LGBT issues, and all claims that He ever regarded chastity as a virtue are simply BIGOTRY. And those who make them are SMALLPOX.

Fr James etc.

We congratulate Fr James and his partner on their new son (although he is a little undersized).

Can't you spice this up a little, Bishop? Antonio Spadaro says this piece is weak and understated. Ed.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

The Pope's Magnum Principium

The Pope has published an apostolic letter (or Motu Proprio for those of a rigid disposition) entitled Magnum Principium. The term means "great principle", so after four years of this remarkable papacy, it has finally been revealed what the Pope's Great Principle is.

Is it: Faith? Hope? Charity? Humility? Mercy? Jesuit fudging? True doctrine (stop sniggering at the back)?

Nothing like Pope Francis, but would probably do just as good a job.

No, it's "I can't be bothered to run the Church myself, and so the Bishops' Conferences - which are already deciding on their own interpretations of Amoris Laetitia - will now be able to have their own Mass translations." Well, we say "translations", but "free variations on a theme in accordance with 'some principles handed on since the time of Vatican II' (???)" is nearer the point.

Over to Father James Martin SJ, the Pope's special adviser on doctrine, and a man with lots of original ideas.

"I'm going for a special Jesuit translation, which will omit the General Confession entirely, since we don't recognise any sins these days. Well, except voting for Trump, ignoring climate change, or refusing to laugh at Steve Colbert's tasteful jokes."

One of Steve Colbert's tasteful jokes.

"Then the Creed will become a free for all, in which the congregation will be encouraged to join when they feel like it, and remain silent over the bits they disagree with (this may be all of it!) We shall also have a few minutes at the end of the Creed for worshippers to add their own new ideas - for example about the Holy Spirit being female, and Mary Magdalene the first pope."

"But the highlight will be the sign of peace, when the Priest - this is too imortant for a Deacon - will invite people to participate with the words 'GIVE US A KISS'. The men in the congregation (for doctrinal reasons women are not welcome here) will be asked to come up and embrace the priest."

Practising for the Sign of Peace.

Others have their own ideas for rewriting the Mass. Many experts in Latin have pointed out that the correct translation of "Et cum spiritu tuo" is NOT "And with your spirit", but "And also with you". Or, more correctly, "Cheers, mate!" So this is likely to change.

And just because two countries speak the same language, that is no reason for them to say the same words. American Catholics (the few who attend Mass) will probably go for the LGBTSJ translation above, while English Catholics (we can't call them Anglo Catholics, unfortunately) will have a form of words known as "Vin-acular" based on the Liverpudlian traditions of Cardinal Nichols. Finally, Australian masses will include an interval for "tinnies", and the final part will be based on the traditional Latin prayer "Saltatio Vindobonensis Cum Matilda" or "Waltzing Matilda".

We live in interesting times, my friends.

"This should last a lifetime, Arthur. Or until some fool changes it again."

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Mogg "the wrong type of Catholic"

Criticism of Jacob Rees-Mogg continued to flood in today, after it suddenly became clear - to people who must have spent the last few years in the Burmese jungle or somewhere - that he was the wrong type of Catholic.

Mog

"Sorry, leaving dismembered mice on the floor is against my religion."

Said one commentator, Suzanne Moron of the Guardian: "Of course to us modern liberals, the word Catholic is synonymous with bigot, but we might be prepared to tolerate him in public life - say, as a cleaner at the House of Commons - if he would only repudiate his views on marriage and abortion. It's six times now that his wife has failed to do her civic duty and have a termination."

A distant relative, Sadiq Rees-Mohammed, M.P. for New Damascus (formerly the London Borough of Hackington), joined in the criticism. "When I went on the Piers Morgan show and was asked whether I supported the decapitation of infidels and the chucking of gays off the roofs of buildings, I explained that my religious views were a personal matter, and that put an end to the discussion! It would have been an Islamophobic hate crime to press me further!"

death to juice

Sadiq Rees-Mohammed.

Peter Sutcliffe of the British Serial Killers Advisory Service agreed. "This 'pro-life' attitude of Mogg's is frankly, disgusting. When I was active in public life as the Yorkshire Ripper, I never felt that human life was valuable, so why should he? What a bigot!"

Rees-Mogg was defiant today. "Frankly, I'm not keen on stealing, false witness, and adultery, either," he confessed. "This does make me exceptional among MPs, where expenses-fiddling, lying, and extra-marital affairs are rather expected. The Whips keep asking me if I am feeling all right."

lions and Christians

The traditional way of dealing with religious bigots like Rees-Mogg.

Pope Francis was unavailable for comment, but one of his key advisers, Cardinal Cupich, commented: "The last thing the Church needs at this time is Catholics who actually believe in something. I myself have never fallen into that trap! No, give me an atheist, or a Catholic like Piers Morgan, every time!"

Monday, 4 September 2017

What was the quality of the service you received?

Thank you for attending divine worship this weekend. Please take the time to fill in the following ecumenical questionnaire, as we are constantly trying to improve the quality of our services.

1. What was the first thing you noticed on arriving at your place of worship?

a) A man high up in the tower shouting "Allahu Akbar!"
b) The jolly ringing of church bells, intermingled with the screams 
of someone who had caught his foot in the bellrope.
c) Hooting and swearing from drivers trying to park their cars.
d) A solemn silence.
e) An axe flying past your head and a cry of "Odin is great!"
Michael Palin the Viking

"Welcome to our humble service of worship. I'm the vicar."

2. Did you have difficult finding a seat?

a) No, as there were only three people present.
b) Yes, but I kicked out old Granny Bannister, and took her place.
c) We do not sit in our church, but meditate while standing on our 
heads.
d) No, but a bouncer removed me, hissing "Get out of the bishop's 
cathedra!"
e) No, because I was part of the clown procession, and had a reserved 
bath of custard to lie in.
bishop in custard

The liturgical significance of custard has been under-estimated.

3. Which (if any) of the following sacred beings were mentioned during the sermon?

a) Pope Francis.
b) Fr James Martin SJ.
c) Lord Oates, the Quaker Maximus.
d) The crocodile god.
e) Rowan Williams.
f) Donald Trump.
g) The Duchess of Cambridge.
Martinian heresy

"I take as my text the 2000th tweet of St James to the Twitteratians"

4. The sign of peace. What do you do?

a) We don't have it, although we are allowed to smile at our neighbours
if we don't get too excited.
b) As little as possible, but usually one or two people catch me.
c) I embrace as many as I can, and later go round to the houses of 
all the people I missed.
d) I grab my neighbour's hand firmly, and squeeze until he cries 
for mercy.
e) In our church we smoke a pipe of peace.
pipe of peace

No, I don't know, either.

5. What music was there?

a) Gregorian chant.
b) Sankey's Sacred Songs and Solos ("Throw out the lifeline 
across the dark wave; There is a brother whom someone should save").
c) 100 Hymns for Hippies.
d) Something old, tuneful, and spiritually nourishing.
e) The Kevin Mayhew book of Bad Hymns.
nose-flute

"The organist is sick, but Mr Banerjee has agreed to play 'Shine, Jesus, Shine' on the nose-flute instead."

6. What was on offer after the service?

(a) Coffee and Eccles cakes in the church hall.
(b) Gin, toiler cleaner and hair-restorer, chez Anti Moly.
(c) Cold tap water (we are tops for asceticism).
(d) The priest's own-brand spinach wine.
(e) As much liturgical custard as we could drink.
Hogarthian orgy

"More gin, vicar?"

Thank you for completing our questionnaire, and if you have any further comments please keep them to yourself.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Latin abuse amongst young people

The history of the problem.

It is hard to believe that, until about 50 years ago, it was considered socially acceptable to get "high" on Latin. For example, Vincenzo Gioacchino Raffaele Luigi Pecci, a leading writer of the 19th century, wrote a successful memoir Confessions of a Latin-speaker, in which he admitted that he had been obtaining spiritual experiences through the use of Latin Masses, and even softer drugs such as the Rosary, Veneration, and even simple prayers.

Pope Leo and Bovril

Rumours that Pecci also experimented with Bovril are probably exaggerated.

In the 1960s there was a long-overdue clampdown on Latin, and the Spirit of Vatican II (if not the actual congress itself) drove use of it underground. Of course there were always hippies who continued to indulge in it, and we all remember Woodstock, that great open-air Latin Mass of 1969, featuring such bands as Gloria in Excelsis, Credo, and Agnus Dei.

However, it was generally agreed that the use of Latin Masses could severely cut one's time in Purgatory, and - in Catholic circles at least - spiritual experiences were frowned upon. Too fit in with the Zeitgeist (German for "Spirit of Vatican II"), it was necessary to root ones worship in more secular rituals, such as the Sign of Peace, the use of clowns and puppets, liturgical dancing, and of course hymns that were indistinguishable from pop songs.

Laudato sing song

Laudato sing-songs for tree-huggers!

But there is a problem!

Yes, I was coming to that. Although it is fiercely denied by bishops, priests, school chaplains, and the like, the "yoof" of today are beginning to experiment with Extraordinary Forms once more. A few sample comments from young people whom we interviewed:

"Until I tried the older form, I hadn't realised that Mass was all about God. I thought the highlight was supposed to be the Sign of Peace, as that's the point at which people started getting interested."

"This Gregorian chant is COOL. Can we get Gregory to write some more?"

"Call me 'rigid' if you must, Pope Francis, dude, but I'm hooked!"

girl in mantilla

One of the warning signs of Latin abuse - a mantilla!

What is the solution?

Of course it is the duty of every Catholic to drive the Latin Mass underground. Although that liberal pope, Benedict XVI, made it easier to get access to Latin, there are still many reliable bishops who will tell you, "It's still illegal!" And there are priests who argue "Get lost, there's no demand for an Extraordinary Form Mass. And you're the 50th person I've had to turn away today!"

Make it a thing to be ashamed about. "Yes, your grandparents experimented with such substances - even your ancestors did for hundreds of years - but we modernists know better than they did, just as Pope Francis's Magisterium is better than anything the previous Popes and Doctors of the Church taught!"

No, the only safe way to worship is in Vernacular. So if you're in Swansea it will be Catalan, or if in Barcelona it will be Welsh. Because Vernacular is a very useful language - nearly as important as Italian, the language preferred by great thinkers such as Bergoglio, Spadaro, Faggioli, Coccopalmerio... Whoever wrote anything worth reading in Latin or Greek?

bishops dancing

Hands up, everyone who wants to look "with it"!

It is the "yoof" who are the problem. We invite them to World Yoof Day, where they can sing and dance, celebrating Mass with plastic cups and watching bishops acting like pantomime dames; but they will insist on looking for something deeper.

We're not worried about the older Latin junkies - who cares what they think, and anyway they're going to die off. No, it is the "yoof" that need protecting, and that means "NO LATIN".

Where are the police? Why aren't they doing something? Doesn't it count as a hate crime to use Latin?

missal

Protect our kids, and ban this book!

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Justice for Jimmy Martin!

This blog has always stood up for the underdog on the fringe of Christianity. For example, a few years ago we ran a JUSTICE FOR ENA! campaign in support of Dame Ena Beastly, the professor of Catholic Orthodoxy and Human Blossoming at the University of Rosebush. Ena had been going through a bad patch, with people cancelling speaking invitations to her. Nobody knows why, unless it is that they were really hoping for a Catholic.

Ena Sharples

Justice for Ena!

Admittedly, we did not get very far with our justice campaign, and it is reported that Ena is still not a happy bunny. She has discovered that the Catholic Church is colluding with fascism, because the American bishops did not unite to stop Donald Trump - who is LITERALLY HITLER! When there was the wondrous alternative of Hillary Clinton, surely a saintly person if ever there was one! With a husband who knows how to give a girl a good time!

No, the Church is run by Islamophobic, homophobic, Brexiteering, Nazi, Catholics, who have shunned the wise and wonderful Karl Marx - and why hasn't he been canonized yet if Mother Teresa has? - in order to spread lies, hatred, and poison exactly like ATTILA THE HUN. Don't these people realise that it's the 1970s now?

Justice for Jimmy

Today's good cause.

But enough of Ena Beastly. Today's good cause is Fr James Martin SJ, known variously as "Fr Jim", "Jimmy", "cuddles" and "Dan Brown" (for his pioneering views on Mary Magdalene). Sunny Jim was due to speak at a gala for the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, but has now been disinvited.

"What can I do to help?" you are asking yourselves. "The man may be completely obsessed by LGBTSJ issues, he may preach heresy, he may be in totally the wrong job, but... look, he's a friend of Pope Francis (and a special adviser no less)! He knows Spadaro! Rosica! Steve Colbert! He's a multi-millionaire celebrity author, TV personality, and deep thinker! Why, he's the American version of Stephen Fry!"

Jim fixed it

Many people owe a lot to Fr Jim.

We Christians are called to help the downtrodden, the faint-hearted, the weak, the poor, the helpless, and the oppressed. Luckily, Jimmy doesn't fall into any of these categories, so we can carry on making fun of him as usual. What a relief!

We must apologise because our "Justice for Jimmy!" campaign seems to have gone off the rails. The man running it has been shot, and we are making approaches to "Stonewall" Jackson, the gay rights activist, to see if he will take over.

There must be some mistake here. That's not God's message at all!

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Do atheists make the best Christians?

On this blog we have long been admirers of Cardinal Blase Cupich, as he exemplifies one important principle:

You don't need to have intelligence, faith or theological insight to rise to the position of Prince of the Church (and possibly even Pope - wouldn't that be fun?)

So we were impressed by his recent statement that some of the best Christians are atheists:

Cupich atheists

As is usual in Vatican circles these days, rejecting Christ's teaching is the way to advancement. Clearly we should bin Matthew 33:37-38.

Jesus said to him: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment.

However, in Cupichianity, Love means never having to say "I believe you exist"; so we can skip this commandment (greatest and first? Ha!) and go straight onto the second about loving your neighbour - perhaps calling him a "witless worm", or a "neurotic", or even a "self-absorbed Promethean neo-Pelagian", depending on your personal taste.

Cupich and glasses

"I can see lots of great Christians with my new glasses!"

Anyway, it's a great relief to us all that you can go straight to Heaven - which doesn't exist of course - by being "good" and "conducting yourself well". Perhaps by working for three hours a week for charity? Choose a modern charity such the British Pregnancy Advisory Service - or Planned Parenthood if you are in the States.


In other news, Professor Massimo Faggioli has written a fascinating article for the Catholic Herald explaining that he identifies as an ice-cream salesman.

Accordingly, we are pleased to show you an exclusive photo of Professor Faggioli selling some theology to Cardinal Marx.

Chico and Groucho

"Now to understand Amoris Laetitia you need the code book, the breeder's guide, and some Vatican II documents..."

Friday, 25 August 2017

Catholic Doomsday clock set to "Magisterial"

The Catholic Doomsday clock was initiated in 2013, as a way of warning against the inevitable meltdown that would follow should Pope Francis attempt to say anything "infallibly".

Whereas previous popes have refused to "go nuclear" since infallibility was defined in the 19th century, there has been an increasing risk that Pope Francis would say something mindlessly stupid ex cathedra.

nuclear explosion

Is the Vatican about to go nuclear?

The Pope has so far used a variety of weapons in an attempt to impose a new version of Catholicism: probably the least aggressive are tweets (produced by a teenage intern), which are indistinguishable from the platitudes of the Dalai Lama; more striking are his "air attacks" consisting of new off-the-cuff doctrines expressed on aeroplane journeys, and usually "explained" and "interpreted" afterwards; he is also a dab hand at deploying sockpuppets (Spadaro, Ivereigh, Faggioli, Marx, Daneels, oh there's too many to name...) to say the unthinkable, usually with a healthy dose of abuse thrown in.

Then we come to Amoris Laetitia, ghost-written, not based on anything agreed at the synods it followed, not even properly read by the Pope. A ticking bombshell, which brave bomb-disposers have attempted to defuse with DUBIATM technology. Still it continues to tick, tick, tick...

We may ignore Laudato Si', an attempt at building a "green" bomb which would destroy minds but not doctrine. Well, everyone else does.

Now, however, the threat level has reached "Magisterial". All the changes due to Vatican II, even the ones which are nothing at all to do with Vatican II, have been declared "irreversible".

Popemobile

Like his Popemobile, Pope Francis has no brakes, and no reverse gear.

Yes, the Spirit of Vatican II has won, and the threat level is now Magisterial. Pope Francis can repeal decisions made by his predecessors, such as Benedict XVI, John-Paul II, Pius X, Pius V, Peter, ... and even Jesus. BUT NOBODY ELSE HAS THE NUCLEAR CODES.

So the threat level is definitely Magisterial, if not Hysterical, "What I say goes, and cannot be contradicted, even if it contradicts Catholic teaching."

Doomsday clock

Theologians warn that some heresy may soon be proclaimed Infallibly.

Excuse me while I head for my bunker.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Fr James Martin finally "comes out"

It was long suspected from his lifestyle and the way he dresses; it will dismay many of his supporters, who still had confidence in him. However, we must admit that it is becoming increasingly common, among Catholic priests, as well as the laity.

Every year there are numerous marches and political campaigns on this issue, which irritate so many people. Even priests and bishops have been known to take part. But the movement seems to be unstoppable, and Fr James Martin SJ has finally nailed his colours to the mast.

tweet about Trudeau

Yes, Father James is pro-life!

Well, we on this blog are very broad minded, and we have come to accept the "love that dare not speak its name" - the preference for happy smiling babies to dismembered corpses. Fr James's own orientation has our full sympathy.

Of course, it was not always entirely clear which way Fr James swung. His preference for Hillary Clinton, the supporter of the Planned Parenthood "get your baby parts here, folks, and help make the lovely Mary Gatter an extremely rich woman" organization, was a little surprising. Still, we must remember that the alternative was Donald Trump, who is of course literally Adolf Hitler!

James Martin looking lik a priest

The flamboyant black and white costume is a bit of a giveaway!

Will other Catholic priests now come out, as Fr James has done? In the Vatican, there is said to be a large "pro-life" Mafia, although it is hard to see exactly where Pope Francis lies, following his suspiciously close relationship with Emma Bonino.

Well, our apologies for yet another post on the weird and wonderful James Martin SJ, theologian extraordinary, member of the friends of Canaanite women, builder of bridges, etc. But this bombshell could hardly be kept secret, and since "coming out" Fr James has been overwhelmed both by messages of support and by hateful misopedic abuse.

silly tweet about Holy Spirit

Still... as for his theology...

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

From the Gospel of St James the Jesuit

For obvious reasons, this book did not make it into the Bible.

1. And it came to pass that Jesus grew to manhood, and sought a new career.

2. For He said, "Carpentry is all well and good, and Man can never have too many garden sheds to hide in; but I have this sneaking feeling that I should go out and speak to the world."

3. "And although I am the Son of God, I must ask the advice of passers-by, that God may learn from them."

4. So Jesus met a Jesuit on the road, and said unto him "Know'st thou what I should teach?"

LGBT Jesuit and friend

St James the Jesuit, and friend.

5. And the Jesuit saith unto the Lord, "Thou should'st build bridges towards the sons of Elgibiti, brother of Tinabiti the absurd."

6. "Tell the world that there are no moral Laws any more."

7. "Tell them also, that, since Adam died before Eve, there was a time when the Church consisted of Eve only, wearing a dalmatic."

8. "That does not sound right," said Jesus, and He went his way, until he encountered one Ostensibly Faithful, an ivory-dealer from Crux.

9. "Listen, Man," said Ostensibly Faithful, "beware neurotic converts, beware conservative theologians, and, above all, beware the man that would answer the five questions of Dubia."

10. And Jesus was sore perplexed at all the advice He was receiving, and said "If only God the Father had known His own mind on these matters. But He hath created Man that He might learn wisdom from him."

11. "And it must be said that the wisdom of the Jesuit and the wisdom of the ivory-dealer are wondrous indeed, and would never have been produced by God."

LGBT cops

Hello, hello, hello...

12. So Jesus continued His way until He met some officers of the law.

13. "Hello," they said. And again "Hello". And finally, "Hello," a third time. "What is all this then?"

14. "I am come down from Heaven to save the world," said the Lord. "But I know not what I should say. And the ungodly give me foolish advice."

15. And the officers of the law debated amongst themselves, saying "He speaketh wrathfully. Hath he committed a hate crime? Let us arrest him, as it is much less trouble than looking for real offenders."

16. And it was so. Thus Jesus never found out what He should really have been doing, and salvation was left to the Jesuits to arrange.

© Fr James Martin SJ


And in other news...

BIG BEN FALLS SILENT FOR FOUR YEARS.

Pope Benedict

Big Ben.

The Catholic Church is still in mourning after four years of silence from the famous Big Ben. "He has not tolled anything since 2013," say the distraught faithful.

It is true that a replacement, a "Funny Frank" cuckoo-clock, has been arranged, but consumer-testing suggests that all it does is shout out insults, such as "Cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo, you're a rigid neo-Pelagian!"

Manufacturers are already bidding to provide the next replacement, including Cupich Inc. ("Blithering Blase"), Tagleco ("Cheeky Chito"), Vincent Nichols Enterprises ("Vain Vin"), and of course Sarah's of Africa ("Sound Sarah").

Thursday, 17 August 2017

The Mad Auster's Tea Party

With apologies to Lewis Carroll.

There was a table set out under a tree, labelled "Catholic Church", and the Massi Hare and the Mad Auster were having tea at it: the Wintormouse was sitting between them, fast asleep.

The table was a large one, but the three were all crowded together at one corner of it: "No room for converts! No room!" they cried out when they saw Alice coming.

Mad Hatter's Tea Party

Alice's first experience of Catholicism.

"There's plenty of room, you've driven all the other Catholics away!' said Alice indignantly, and she sat down in a large arm-chair at one end of the table.

In the distance, Alice could see other tables, also labelled "Catholic Church", including several of a more traditional appearance, which were well-populated. Still she decided to stay with this curious trio for a while.

"Have some tea," said the Massi Hare encouragingly. Alice took a sip and started coughing badly. "It's got pepper in it!" she said.

Duchess

Too much pepper and darkness in tea made by the Duchess of Rosica.

The Wintormouse woke up briefly, said "We made the tea, so why should she complain about it?" and then fell asleep again.

The Auster tapped his head significantly. "She's neurotic," he explained. "See my learned article in Crux, the journal of Catholic psychiatry."

"I want a clean cup," interrupted the Massi Hare: "let's all move one place on."

The Auster moved on and the others followed. Alice rather unwillingly took the place of the Massi Hare, who had just upset a jug of heresy into his plate.

caterpillar

The Spadaro explains to Alice that round here 2+2=5.

"The Wintormouse shall tell us a story," said the Auster, who had clearly established himself as the leader of this quaint trio. "Wake him up!"

"Once upon a time there were four little sisters," the Wintormouse began; "and their names were Amoris, Laetitia, Laudato, and Si'; and they lived at the bottom of a well-"

"What did they live on?" said Alice, who always took a great interest in questions of eating and drinking.

"They lived on half-baked doctrine,' said the Wintormouse, after thinking a minute or two.

"They couldn't have done that, you know," Alice gently remarked; "they'd have been ill."

"So they were," said the Wintormouse; "very ill."

This nonsense was more than Alice could bear: she got up in great disgust, and walked off towards another table, from which the sweet sounds of Gregorian chant were emanating. Suddenly the Cheshire Catholic appeared before her once more, grinning from ear to ear.

Cheshire Cat

The Cheshire Catholic.

"Can you just answer five questions for me?" said Alice to the Cheshire Catholic.

"No, I don't think so," said the Cheshire Catholic, fading away until only a grin was left.

"Oh how irritating everyone is," said Alice.

Just then the Rigid Rabbit rushed past muttering, "I'm late for Mass, I'm late for Mass!" and so Alice decided to follow him, as the most sensible person she had yet encountered.

white rabbit

The Rigid Rabbit.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Austen apologises for insulting everyone

Why I showed no sense or sensibility in my article for Crux.

Recently I used the term "pride and prejudice" as a metaphor, and then - because we writers feel compelled to substantiate our assertions with good evidence - listed a number of people as examples. That offended Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley, Miss Elizabeth Bennet, and many others on their behalf. For that I want to apologize. I shouldn't have given names, and I shouldn’t have used the term "pride and prejudice". Sorry.

Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet

Sorry, folks! I was right of course - I always am - but I shouldn't have said it!

Well, that didn’t work out so well. I tried to push out an inflammatory novel under the cover of what in the UK the media calls the "silly season" - John Allen came to me and said "Crux needs something silly, and you're the silliest person we employ" - but all I provoked was a chorus of fury.

I am also in the position of having insulted a very worthy clergyman, Fr William Collins, a good friend of Fr Thomas Rosica, describing him as a pompous and grovelling man, with some kind of neurosis about his position. Would that I had been more respectful, sensitive, and measured when writing about that slimy creep!

Lady Catherine de Bourgh

Lady Catherine de Bourgh objects to my describing her as "haughty and domineering".

Finally, Miss Lydia Bennet, now Mrs George Wickham, is another whom I have mortally offended, labelling her as silly and flighty. I apologise to the stupid cow and her crooked husband.

It will be noticed that many people have written criticisms of my writing, such as Dr Joseph Shaw, Fr Tim Finigan, Fr John Zuhlsdorf, Fra' Eccles, Dan Hitchens, Ed Peters, Fr Ed Tomlinson, Fr Dwight Longenecker, G.K. Chesterton, Cardinal Newman, ... they can't all be wrong can they? Well, of course they can, if I am right! Still, as Fr Phineas T. Barnum pointed out "there's no such thing as bad clickbait!"

Pope Francis, in his encyclical Al Italia, observes that differences in philosophy, theology and pastoral practice "bring richness to the Church", and he welcomes people who disagree with him. In fact Fr Spadaro has compiled a list of them, with skull and crossbones symbols besides their names! They've not been forgotten!

Pope Francis entering aeroplane

What new doctrine will the Holy Spirit give us today?

Respect and love and openness to the Spirit - there's the basis for dialogue. How to be equal and unequal; disagree without dividing; how to make two plus two equal five; to square the circle and get round my critics; there's the challenge for querulous Catholic commentators.

Why it's not as if there were some absolute truth that we were all seeking - what a quaint and (dare I say) rigid idea!