30 May 2017

Patrimonial Pins

I recently sang an EF Sunday Mass for a priest who, like me, spent some years in that now-defunct organisation called "the Church of England". So, like me, he lives in enjoyment of the two Sacraments of Matrimonium and Sacerdotium and of the Church of England Pensions Board.

As, murmuring Merear ... , I took up the maniple, I noticed with interest that it had obviously been found to be too loose. It had been slightly tightened by the deft use of an old-style decade-of-Vatican-II nappy pin.

Philological Note: The 'Nappy' is what, I gathered half a century ago from Dr Spock, North Americans call the 'Diaper'.

Historical Note: In this much more ecological age, nappies/diapers are 'disposable', that is to say, made of a material which after use is sent off to enrich land-fill sites. In the unreconstructed 1960s, however, they were made of cloth and were reused after careful washing and sterilisation in a substance called, if my memory serves me aright, 'Milton'. Laudato si, as our Holy Father would say if he were a Family Man.

Technological Note: The nappy/diaper was secured by a pin, which had a clever little metal attachment which slipped into place so as to make it impossible for the pin to come undone and penetrate the baby. This was called "a Nappy Pin", and those of us now well into our seventies probably have several of these surviving in odd cupboards and drawers.

Trip Down Memory Lane Note: Ah, how it all takes one back! How well I recall laying three nappies out in a row, placing a minute daughter on each of them, then going along as if along a factory production line and 'doing them up'. And how also (Ah!) I  remember the subsequent processes of extricating the depositum ventris from the fabric; and subsequently wringing out (or 'mangling') the washed nappies and hanging them up on the washing line at the back of the Curate's House. On a January morning, how cold, numb, red, chapped, and crinkly ones hands ended up! Ah, Happy Days. Ah, how well (etc.etc. ad nauseam).

Liturgical Note: How wonderful the operations of Providence, that, so long after the 1960s, Nappy Pins should be reusable as Maniple Tightners! Clearly, even in that dread decade, as the altars fell and Dr Calvin's dark and terrible hand fell upon the sanctuaries of the Catholic Church, Providence already had in mind the provisions both of Summorum Pontificum and of Anglicanorum coetibus.

Optative Note: Long live the Ordinariates! Vivat Benedictus XVI!  


Deo volente said...

Father, "nappy pins" survive to this day in the U.S.A. as "safety pins". They are a must for everyone and tightening a maniple is a worthy example! Every sacristy should have them.

KaeseEs said...

Fr. Hunwicke,

You may be pleased to learn that the British usage is encroaching on the North American continent, after a sort. The use of cloth diapers is on the rise among the 'crunchy' set, though they are no longer secured by metal pins but rather by a plastic-and-rubber device called a snappy (trade name "Snappi"). They are also usually enclosed by a waterproof cover fastened by snaps. The process of extracting the contents after use remains substantially the same.

Mulier Fortis said...

Yup. Here in the UK also... and plenty of us who have not yet attained the venerable three score and ten still use them!

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

As part of the generation of bathetic baby boomers that the Catholic Church has not yet been able to excrete (we have been like a brick in the kidneys of the Body of Christ) there are aught but a few things ABS can point to and think - well, at least we did that right.

Many baby boomers used cloth diapers (ABS and The Bride included) , some of us went to England to help preserve real beer from the final solution intended for it by Budweiser, and some of us learnt how to make real bread and to grow our own produce.

And that's about it because everything else we touched we ruint.

CG said...

Ah, but nappy pins were curved to prevent you from sticking them right through the fabric into the belly of the baby.

Fr John Hunwicke said...

This side of the water, "Nappy Pins" had a little metal attachment which one clicked into place thus rendering it impossible for the pin to open accidentally. Also, they tended to have a curve. What we call "safety pins" do not have these distinctive features.

Adrian said...

One would hope that Ordinariate sacristans would never stoop to use such an undignified makeshift. Anything that needs a safety-pin before it can be worn should not be used until it has been repaired. Generations of terrifying Anglo-Catholic ladies (whom it is unwise to cross) have made this quite clear to Father.

Sue Sims said...

Father, do you have triplet daughters?

Fr John Hunwicke said...

No, Mrs Sims, we had the three of them very close together. The sons came later.