It’s time I tried my hand at some fake news.  Actually, as is often the case to make the fiction credible, part of  it is true.  So here it is :

One morning at the checkout counter of my supermarket in Bidart, “The Basque Village on the Sea-Shore”, I noticed the name-badge of the lad toting up the price on each article’s ESL.  He is Basque and his first name is JOKIN.  I could not resist.  I just had to blurt out, as though I had suddenly recognized him, the predictable “You gotta be jokin’ !”.  I had to say it in English, though I knew he would probably not understand either the words or the play on them.  Then again it was possible he understood English, and had suffered all of his seventeen years putting up with English-speakers’ ridicule of his name (shades of the Johnny Cash song “A Boy Named Sue”).  You can work out for yourself where the fake news is in all this.

“You gotta be kidding !” is a response Catholics should have to many things they hear at church :

—  “This is My Body”.

—  “Your sins are forgiven”.

—  “Jesus rose from the dead”.

—  “Mary was assumed into Heaven”.

—  “The Faithful Departed are enjoying eternal life and the damned are suffering in Hell.”

—  “These indulgenced prayers will liberate your loved ones from Purgatory.”

—  “The Bible is the word of God.”

—  “The Pope is Christ’s Vicar on earth.”

You can add many more to the list.  The trouble is that practising Catholics leave their brains at the church door and never question the outrageous lies they are told by a credulous, presumably innocent, clergy, and never realize how silly are the statements they believe.  None of them is particularly funny.  We should however laugh outright at the nonsense they express, and give them the ridicule they deserve.  I know I sound like a broken record, but I’ll keep repeating my mantra :