This is me, Eccles

This is me, Eccles
This is me, Eccles

Thursday, 30 April 2015

The Pope warns of Climate Change

Now that climate change is generally agreed to be the greatest threat facing the world, rather than, say, war, famine, disease, abortion, etc., Pope Francis is making this the topic of his next encyclical, of which we have seen a draft copy. Here are some of the highlights.

Prince Charles

"We'll need a bigger ark," says Noah.

In the book of Genesis it is recorded that God punished the world for its enormous carbon footprint by sending down a great flood. Noah was the only righteous (i.e., environmentally-aware) person around at that time, and he survived the great flood by making an ark out of recycled wood; being keen on biodiversity he took two of every species with him, except possibly dinosaurs and unicorns.

Our climate model predicts a plague of at least one frog.

Over to Egypt now, and the many different forms of climate change that arose from the Pharaoh's insistence on fossil fuels. Water turned to blood, flies, frogs, hail, fire and thunder. Sounds familiar, eh? Things got worse, though. The Red Sea was parted, and this was all because the Egyptians refused to recycle their plastic bags.

Jericho - no wind-farms, and inevitable climate change effects.

As Christians we know that 100-watt bulbs are sinful, and that wind-farms are blessed. It is our mission to preach this gospel to the heathen, or face the environmental consequences, as they did in Jericho.

In April I was lucky to entertain some of the world's leading experts on climate change, as they turned up in their private jets from all corners of the world to tell me of Christ's new message "GET THEE BEHIND ME, CARBON!" Remember the fate of the Gadarene swine? The climate changed, and they had to run into the sea to cool. themselves down.

Jesus and the man possessed by demons (what we would nowadays call a "climate denier").

Finally, we read of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, symbolising the doom we may expect at the end times. Their names were Phew-what-a-scorcha, It's-Brrr-itain, Turned-out-nice-today, and Scattered-Showers-With-Sunny-Intervals. St John was warning us of the threat of Climate Change, and no mistake!

I want you all to pedal very hard to get this plane off the ground.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Eccles refuses to bake a cake

Since my name is Eccles, cakes are never far from my mind; so, needing some extra cash, I opened a cake shop. All went well to start with, and orders flooded in, with "CONGRATULATIONS ON BEING SAVED" cakes one of my specialities.

It is not generally known that cake can be a route to Salvation.

I even baked a custard pie for Cardinal Pell, which he said, mysteriously, he was going to "shove in the face of that old buzzard Kasper." I don't really understand the Australian vernacular, but I think it had something to do with a Synod.

Pope Francis enjoys an Eccles cake.

So all was going well until three guys came into the shop and said "Hello, we're from ISIS. Can you bake us a 'KILL THE CHRISTIANS' cake?"

"No, I don't think so. Isn't that illegal in the UK at present? I might be prosecuted for inciting people to break the law."

"OK, then. Make the slogan 'SUPPORT KILLING CHRISTIANS.' You can't object to that. In the Middle East, we have the right to murder Christians and nobody in your country seems to mind. We want to extend this right to everyone. Its called Equal Murder. Equality's always a good thing."

"But I don't have to make cakes bearing messages I disagree with."

"You do, actually. Otherwise, we in ISIS will sue you for hurt feelings. Look at Jihad Cecil here, he's already starting to cry. Cheer up, Cecil, old man. No, you know what judges are like. It'll be worth £100,000 to us any time."

Eccles goes out of business.

And that is why I no longer make cakes.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Why Michael Coren is wrong

Dear Michael Coren,

As the publishers of your book Why Catholics are right, we have received with perplexity the news that you have left the Catholic Church (again), and have signed up for the Anglican Church of Canada.

This would seem like a golden opportunity to revise your brilliant book, and the first task is to find a new title. Do you prefer Why Catholics are wrong or Why Canadian Anglicans are right? We suspect that the first title will sell more copies, as nobody really cares what the Canadian Anglicans believe, if, in fact they believe anything at all.

Catholics are right

We won't pulp our remaining stock, in case you change your mind again.

Getting down to details, now, we wonder what edits will be needed to update the book. Here are a few suggestions.

OLD: The Virgin Mary is really cool, don't you think? Respect for her is a sign that we respect all women.

NEW: Anne Boleyn is really cool, don't you think? Certainly worth founding a church for!

Anne Boleyn

Our founder loved her so much that he cut her head off.

OLD: The Spanish Inquisition wasn't that bad, you know. The French Revolution was far worse.

NEW: The Canadian Anglican Inquisition wasn't that bad, you know. In fact they mainly went around cutting down trees.

lumberjack song

Nobody expects the Canadian Anglican Inquisition!

OLD: Christ said that marriage should be between a man and a woman. And we Catholics think He was probably right.

NEW: If it's one things we Anglicans believe in, it's equal wedding cakes for all.

equal cake

Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker's man. Bake me a cake OR I'LL RUIN YOU.

There will doubtless be more substantial changes required, but I hope that these suggestions meet with your general approval.

Yours sincerely,

Fred Apostate,
Managing Director, Apostate and Heretic Books.

Alan Coren book

P.S. You are still one of our best-selling comic authors!

Monday, 27 April 2015

The Irish chalk and cheese referendum

In the UK we have already seen Equal Nutrition imposed without any opportunity for the public to vote on the issue. In Ireland they are holding a referendum on the subject, and it seems that all major political parties support the idea that chalk and cheese should be legally equal.

A chalk cake. Bakers who refuse to make these are sued for all they've got.

Supporters of the family have naturally been concerned about the consequences for children, arguing that a child "needs its proteins and carbohydrates." The "yes" voters, who claim that feeding a child on chalk is just as good, have a powerful counter-argument: they scream "Bigot! Bigot! Bigot!" until everyone goes home in disgust.

On this blog we are generally concerned with spiritually nourishing matters rather than simple bodily nourishment, and so we look to Christianity for guidance. Apparently, Christ never directly condemned the eating of chalk - which means it must be OK - but on the other hand He refused to feed the 5,000 on it, instead relying on an old-fashioned and probably bigoted diet of bread and fish (i.e., carbohydrate and protein).

feeding the 5000

I DEMAND that you give me chalk, you bigot!

Isaiah does mention chalk, but in a typically Old Testament bigoted way, for he says "He maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder." This is supposed to be the origin of Judeo-Christian persecution of chalk-eaters, but since it is in the Old Testament we may ignore it, just as we ignore the Ten Commandments.

On the other hand, Christ preached against offering children stones when they ask for fish, so that makes Him a "bigot" too.

child and mother

An old-fashioned child, eating cheese. He also has a "mother", so is doubly bigoted.

Prime Minister Enda Life has called for Ireland to become a "fair, compassionate and tolerant nation" by feeding its children on chalk. Enda is of course very keen on the protection of life, and so he brought in abortion legislation in order to eradicate as much life as possible. For those unfamiliar with the language of politicians, we note that "protection" here is used in the sense of a "protection racket", where gangsters protect someone by burning down their houses. Enda feels that destroying the lives of children by giving them a chalk-based upbringing will give them all the protection they need.

Enda and baby

Enda explains to a delighted baby that he will be brought up on a diet of chalk.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Catholic Church changes teaching on abortion

Taking advice from Mrs Hillary Clinton, widely tipped to be the next president of the United States, the Catholic Church has decided to change its teaching on abortion. Following her comment that "deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed" so that killing off children is made easier, there has been a unanimous response of "Oh gosh, we never thought of that" from the Church.

watching Osama Bin Laden attack

Hillary and friends enjoy a webcam set up in Bill Clinton's office.

Mrs Clinton has angrily insisted that for many years she has been negotiating with Pope Francis and his predecessors by e-mail, explaining to them how they have totally misunderstood Catholic teaching, but unfortunately all the correspondence was accidentally deleted. You know how these things happen.

Bill, Hillary and Jean-Paul II

"I'll think about it" promises Pope John-Paul II.

Meanwhile, on these shores Mr Edward Miliband, a well-known atheist and politician, has declared that he wants to meet Pope Francis. Having been leader of the opposition for nearly five years, he has not previously shown the slightest interest in hopping on a plane to Rome (or even hanging around when Pope Benedict XVI visited), but the approaching election has concentrated his mind wonderfully, and he realises that he urgently has to challenge David Cameron for the votes of any so far undecided but gullible Christians.

Miliband and three groupies

All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!

Coincidentally, the Pope has expressed a long-standing wish to meet Ed Miliband, in order to decide whether he is real. "Some people find the Christian faith difficult to accept," he said, "but believing that Ed Miliband is a real person is far more of a challenge."

Thursday, 23 April 2015

The Scottish bishops disaster

By William McGonagall
'Twas in the year twenty-fifteen
That strange events in Scotland were seen:
The Nationalists' hopes began to burgeon
Because of a bonnie wee lass called Sturgeon,
Who was bound to do well in the General Election
Because of a mood of disaffection.
McGonagall poster
The Catholic bishops were all very fine,
Except perhaps for Keith O'Brien.
Of the rest I would mention especially
Philip Tartaglia and Leo Cushley.
Devine was divine, and as for Toal,
There was quite a high chance of saving his soul.
Cushley and Salmond

Trouble ahead: Leo Cushley makes a new friend.

But 'tis often thought that Catholics
Should be careful when dabbling in politics.
Bishops, you may write your flock a note
But don't tell 'em exactly how to vote.
When making our choice most think it better
To ignore the tedious "Bishops' Letter".
Bishops' letter
Alas! The bishops had been gammoned
By Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond.
They fell into a hopeless passion,
And expressed themselves after this fashion:
"She may have got enormous feet,
But her voice is low and sweet -
Aye, she's a' the world to me;
And for bonnie leftie Nicky 
I'd lay me doon and dee!"
Nicola Sturgeon

Bonnie Leftie Nicky.

I must now conclude my lay,
And tell the world what many men say.
Bishops are blessed, and they know how to pray,
But in Scotland, as in England, they
Sometimes don't take care what they say.
Respectfully, I warn the episcopal classes:
"Your conduct sometimes rather crass is.
Worship God, and say your Masses,
But don't trust any political lasses,
Or people will say you're a bunch of asses!"

Wiser than some bishops.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Are you a top Catholic?

As described slightly inaccurately here, 100 rich and famous people in San Francisco have written an open letter to the Pope demanding the removal of Archbishop Cordileone because of his insistence on Catholic values. The comedy PR man, Sam Singer, has been hired to help, and he has made the very important point that these are "top Catholics", not just any old people. Which raises the question: what is a top Catholic?

Tony Blair

This is what a top Catholic looks like.

Unfortunately, I have not heard of most of the top Catholics in San Francisco, although they do include Charles Geschke, the president of Adobe Systems. He's the one who sends alerts to my computer every two or three days announcing a new version of Flash Player. Being gullible, I download them, but they never work properly.

However, there are top Catholics everywhere, and we can only gaze at them in wonder. When the "kiss of peace" comes in church, you are not allowed to shake hands with them, but there will usually be an aide available to represent them.

Remember that Jesus said "You cannot serve God and Mammon, so choose one of them. I really don't care which!" To be a top Catholic, you really need to be rich and powerful, so make sure you choose Mammon!

Mother Angelica

Happy 92nd to Mother Angelica, a highly revered Franciscan nun. Not "top" though.

Who are the two people mentioned in the Nicene Creed, apart from Our Lord? Well, Mary, of course, but the other is Pontius Pilate, the man who liked washing his hands. Pretty "top" I'd say, and without too many religious convictions to get in the way. Unlike Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea who started off "top" but went downhill once they started to take religion seriously.

Chris Patten

Chris Patten, named by the Tablet* as one of the most influential UK Catholics.

*Of which he happens to be a Trustee. That proves he is a top Catholic.

Well, you get the point. When the Day of Judgement comes and Christ has to choose between sheep and goats, what will He do? Will He take aside the president of Adobe and say ironically, "You know, your program still doesn't work properly, but you're a top Catholic so come and sit and my right hand," or will he settle for a humble nun who spent her time doing good deeds and saying the Rosary? I've no idea.

Pope and Biden

The Pope is honoured to meet a top Catholic with no particular religious views.

One last point. It is the season for letter-writing, and now Cardinal Nichols is getting very worried that people may write to the Pope complaining that he is too strict about upholding Catholic teaching. May I implore readers NOT to do this? Thanks.

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!

Correction: I am not blocked. But I thought I was...

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.