11 November 2014

Lupi Rapaces

The first antiphon at Lauds for S Martin of Tours shows his disciples asking him not to desert them because Rapacious Wolves will invade his flock. (I wonder why that antiphon went missing from the Liturgia Horarum.)

Rapacious Wolves are always around. Look at (via a Concordance) the New Testament. Look at (via its index) what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about Scandal and those who cause it.

Wolves were around at the very beginning of the Pontificate of our beloved Holy Father Benedict XVI. In the homily at his inauguration, he asked us to pray for him "that I may not flee for fear of the wolves".

Wolves are always around, and I hope to return to them in tomorrow's post which will complete my two-stage piece on Benedict XIV and this year's Synod.

Englishmen will recollect a diverting frivolity in rebus lupinis. We once had a politician called Sir Geoffrey Howe; quiet and very unnasty. So much so that his despisers said that being attacked by him was "like being savaged by a dead sheep". Eventually, even he discovered that he could take no more of Mrs Thatcher, and decided to resign. People ... and not least Mrs T ... assumed that his resignation speech would be characteristically anodyne. Not so. The House of Commons became quiet enough for that proverbially cadent pin as he tore savagely into her personality and her politics ... but still in the same mildest tones.

Not long after, he was ennobled, and went, as one does, to Queen Victoria Street to consult the Heralds about a Coat of Arms. In consultation with them he settled upon his design, which was granted. The Crest (the Crest of a Coat of Arms is the bit on top of the helmet which itself rests above the shield) which he received was ... a Wolf courant imperfectly concealed within a rather tatty sheepskin. I bet you Americans wish you had a House of Commons, a House of Lords, and a College of Heralds.

Wolves are always around; they're nothing new in the life of the Church. Perhaps some keen young academic would like to write a doctoral dissertation De Lupitate. She could bring her narrative right down to 2014.

6 comments:

Fr PJM said...

In a commentary, St Thomas says the wolves are of three kinds: 1) the demons. 2) cruel, persecuting tyrants. 3) heresiarchs and their ilk.

vetusta ecclesia said...

Tangentially relevant. In Spain the cloak (capa castellana) is still worn. Strict conventions govern its use, one of which is that it is not worn before St Martin's day. He is, of course, the patron saint of the cloak and of "capistas", who attend a Mass for the opening of the cloak-wearing season.

John H. Graney said...

"I bet you Americans wish you had a House of Commons, a House of Lords, and a College of Heralds."

We only have robber barons.

Patricius said...

C.S Lewis said (I believe of logical positivists) lupi sunt et lupi esse videntur. Although I am not so sure that, in some circles, they really were seen to be wolves.

√Čamonn said...

Homo homini lupus - attributed to John Locke.

Expanded upon by an Irish cleric as follows:

Mulier muliere lupior, sed academicus academico lupissimus. Clerus clerico omne gradum lupietatis excedit.

√Čamonn said...

NB The Americans do have the US Army Institute of Heraldry but it only does the job for military units & government entities. Still, they are no slouches when it comes to proper heraldic practice.