In Commemoratione S. Pauli Apostoli

Statue of the Saint before the façade of the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, Rome, Italy.
Statue of the Saint before the façade of the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, Rome, Italy.

Deus, qui multitudinem Gentium beati Pauli Apostoli praedicatione docuisti: da nobis, quaesumus; ut cuius natalitia colimus, eius apud te patrocinia sentiamus. Per Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum, Filium tuum: qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spíritus Sancti Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

Mercy Shall Encompass Him

Multa flagélla peccatóris, sperántem autem in Dómino misericórdia circúmdabit. Psalmus xxxi. 13.

Oranges and Lemons

A View of London, Westminster and Southwark, as they appeared A.D. 1543; 19th century engraving by Nathaniel Whittock from a drawing by Antony van den Wyngaerde (ca 1543-50).
A View of London, Westminster and Southwark, as they appeared A.D. 1543; 19th century engraving by Nathaniel Whittock from a drawing by Antony van den Wyngaerde (c. 1543-50).

Two Sticks and Apple,
Ring ye Bells at Whitechapple,
Old Father Bald Pate,
Ring ye Bells Aldgate,
Maids in White Aprons,
Ring ye Bells at St. Catherines,
Oranges and Lemons,
Ring ye bells at St. Clements,
When will you pay me,
Ring ye Bells at ye Old Bailey,
When I am Rich,
Ring ye Bells at Fleetditch,
When will that be,
Ring ye Bells at Stepney,
When I am Old,
Ring ye Bells at Pauls. Tommy Thumb’s Pretty Song Book (c. 1744).

When Their Time Comes

I often think about the still-Anglican members of that Working Party, and my other friends in the priesthood and episcopate of the provinces of Canterbury and York, with great affection, mingled with sadness at the thought of how much fun, how much sense of real purpose, they are missing out on; how much real talent is being wasted on a dead end; how very much some of them could offer to the great project outlined by Aidan Nichols, of repatriating to Catholic Unity all that was good in Anglicanism. So far, we haven’t attended to much more than the liturgical side of things; I claim that I am doing my humblest best but there’s work here for dozens (especially, but by no means only, those with academic skills). And there are others … Fr Brooke Lunn; Fr David Holding; many more … who have spent decades talking about Unity with the See of Peter … what is one to say …

I ought to make it clear that I am not ‘proselytising’. I do not have in mind younger clergy who have, with a good conscience, discerned a particular ministry to be completed within the Church of England. I am not thinking of those who are not and never have been ‘papalists’; those for whom going to Rome is as problematic (or even more so) than staying. I have in mind solely those who, when we were together, by their words and body-language, made clear that Rome, ‘the rock from which we were hewn’ as one of them repeatedly put it, was the answer to our pressing need; those who cheerfully said to a PEV ‘Give us the lead, Bishop, and we’ll follow’; those who told us that they would just put in the few more years necessary to secure their pensions and then join us; and, inexplicably, have been nowhere to be seen since the publication of Anglicanorum coetibus.

Of one thing I am sure. When their time comes, it must be made easy for them (and indeed also for those ex-diocesan bishops, if only they can be man enough and humble enough). There must be no unpleasant nonsense about how they missed the opportunity when the ‘terms’ were easy. Men who have spent 50 years in the Sacred Priesthood, who are priests to their fingertips, must not be told that they are “too old” for the presbyterate of the Ordinariate; that never again can they expect to stand at an altar holding in their hands the Adorable Sacrifice, that vocation which in the Mind of the Eternal was theirs before the ages began. There must be no subtle (or unsubtle!) systems of discouragement. The spirit of Benedict’s gracious intentions must be honoured to the full. The doors must be widely and generously and permanently open. These are good and able men, fine priests, who are called by God to give service in His Vineyard. To treat them in any way otherwise would be very wicked. Fr. John Hunwicke.

Thou Findest Him Not

Detail of folio 23 verso of the Codex Boernerianus.
Detail of folio 23 verso of the Codex Boernerianus.

Téicht doróim
mór saido · becc · torbai ·
INrí chondaigi† hifoss ·
manimbera latt nífogbái ·

Mór báis mor baile
mór coll ceille mor mire
olais airchenn teicht dó ecaib ·
beith fo étoil · maíc · maire ·

† From a facsimile given by Matthaei in his XIII epistolarum Pauli Codex (1791), folio 23. In the third line the facsimile has INrí chondaigi n hifoss, a dot over n (not reproduced here) being the punctum delens.

— Old Irish poem, a gloss on folio 23 verso of the Codex Boernerianus, a ninth century New Testament codex likely written by an Irish monk at the monastery of St. Gall, Switzerland.

To go to Rome is much of trouble, little of profit. The King whom seekest here, unless thou bring him with thee thou findest not.

Great folly, great madness,  great loss of sense, great folly since thou proposed (?) to go to death, to be under the unwill of Mary’s Son.

— English translation given in Whitley Stokes’ Goidelica, Old and Early-Middle-Irish Glosses, Prose and Verse (London, 1872).

To go to Rome, much labour, little profit: the King whom thou seekest here, unless thou bring him with thee, thou findest him not.

Much folly, much frenzy, much loss of sense, much madness (is it), since going to death is certain, to be under the displeasure of Mary’s Son.

— English translation given in Thesaurus Palaeohibernicus: a Collection of Old-Irish Glosses, Scholia, Prose, and Verse (Cambridge, 1901), edited by Whitley Stokes and John Strachan.

* * *

Folio 23 verso of the Codex Boernerianus contains the text of I Corinthians 2:9-3:3:

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.

For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.

And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

Donnchadh Bàn nan Òrain

Monument to Duncan Bàn MacIntyre, Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh.
Monument to Duncan Bàn MacIntyre, Greyfriars Kirkyard, Edinburgh.

Your kindly slope, with bilberries and blaeberries, studded with cloudberries that are round-headed and red; wild-garlic clusters in the corners of the rock terraces, and abounding tufted crags; the dandelion and pennyroyal, and the soft white bog-cotton and sweet-grass there on every part of it, from the lowest level to where the peaks are at the topmost edge. Fine is the clothing of Craig Mhór — there is no coarse grass for you there, but moss saxifrage of the juiciest covering it on this side and on that; the level hollows at the foot of the jutting rocks, where primroses and delicate daisies grow, are leafy, grassy, sweet and hairy, bristly, shaggy — every kind of growth there is. There is a shady fringe of green water-cresses around every spring that is in its lands, a sorrel thicket at the base of the rough rocks, and sandy gravel crushed small and white; gurgling and plunging, coldly boiling, in swirls of water from the foot of the smooth falls, the splendid streams with their blue-braided tresses come dashing and spirting in a swerving gush…

— Scots-Gaelic; Duncan Bàn MacIntyre (Donnchadh Bàn Mac an t-Saoir); 1724-1812;
A. Macleod, The  Songs of Duncan Ban Macintyre (Edinburgh, 1952), pp. 166-8.

Columcille’s Nettle Broth

Common -- or stinging-- nettle (Urtica dioica).
Common — or stinging — nettle (Urtica dioica).

Once when he was going round the graveyard in Iona, he saw an old woman cutting nettles for broth for herself. ‘What is the cause of this, poor woman?’ said Colum Cille. ‘Dear Father,’ said she, ‘I have one cow, and it has not yet borne a calf; I am waiting for it, and this is what has served me for a long time.’ Colum Cille made up his mind then that nettle broth should be what should serve him mostly from then on for ever; saying, ‘Since they suffer this great hunger in expectation of the one uncertain cow, it would be right for us that the hunger which we suffer should be great, waiting for God; because what we are expecting, the everlasting Kingdom, is better, and is certain.’ And he said to his servant ‘Give me nettle broth every night,’ said he, ‘without butter or milk with it.’ ‘It shall be done,’ said the cook. He hollowed the stick for stirring the broth and made it into a tube, so that he used to pour the milk into that tube and stir it into the broth. Then the people of the church noticed that the priest looked well, and talked of it among themselves. This was told to Colum Cille, and then he said, ‘May your successors grumble for ever! Now,’ said he to the servant, ‘what do you give me in the broth every day?’ ‘You yourself are witness,’ said the menial, ‘unless it comes out of the stick with which the broth is mixed, I know of nothing in it except broth alone.’ Then, the explanation was revealed to the priest, and he said, ‘Prosperity and good deeds to your successor for ever!’ And this has come true.

— Irish; author unknown; 11th century;
Whitley Stokes, On the Calendar of Oengus (Dublin, 1880), pp. c-ci.