Revisiting one of our Oxfordshire medieval churches the other day, I helped myself to one from a pile of Ordination Cards on the table at the back. It invited prayers for a woman called ***, who thinks that she is going to be ordained to the Diaconate later this month.
It was curiously unlike the breathless cards which used to circulate in my day. I don't think I kept any of those sent around by my contemporaries. A pity; they represent the sort of potentially significant ephemera which will not survive. They tended to give information about the ordaining bishop ... and, more importantly, lists of Saints who might intercede for the ordinand and his prospective parish. A pious and popish prayer often featured. Some theologically significant artwork. And the new address.
There was very little on ***'s card except for butterflies. There were about thirty of these (I made three attempts to count them, but ended up with a different total each time).
My wife justly complains that I am rarely at a loss for a theory about anything you might care to name, but ... 'onest injun* ... the connection between the Diaconate and Butterflies, has me stymied. I can't think of a single ...
... Ah, but Stay. A thought has just occurred to me. The beginning of a theory, indeed. Now don't hurry me.
I'm almost sure I recollect a phrase somewhere in P G Wodehouse in which the sort of chappie who flutters without commitment from girl to girl is likened to a butterfly. Is that somehow relevant?
*Is this phrase now Politically Incorrect?
25 June 2018
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Do contact xxxx and tell us what the connection is!
The diaconate is the first step. This lies in the future.
Twenty years ago, I remember being shown around an Anglican church by some locals who did the cleaning there - they even produced some of the vestments, in strangely unliturgical colours (orange, perhaps, was one of them), and adorned with less than tasteful floral designs about as relevant to the Eucharist as the butterflies you mentioned. The church had a female minister.
How do you pronounce "'onest"? Is it like "honest"?
Butterflies!!! And so it begins...
I have long maintained that once the fairer sex got into ‘Orders’ there would be an explosion of clerical haute couture. The pictures of Episcopal women ‘bishops’ or Catholic faux women priests show little concern for liturgical nicety, rather a plethora of garish colors as one seeks to out shine the others.
How long before we have clerical fashion shows featuring Dior, Givenchy, Versace, et alii? I’m sure that would put posteriors on pews - at least for a brief time.
No, dear Father, I am afraid the phrase is not "politically correct"! But, in the immortal words of Mehitable ( Don Marquis' alley cat ), "Wot hell! Wot hell! There's a dance in the old dame yet!"
Thank you for all you do. KMKafoed
. 'onest injun* ...
*Is this phrase now Politically Incorrect?
Yes the phrase is most definitely politically incorrect, on this side of the Pond even using the term "Indian" for someone other than from that ice-cream-cone shaped country in South Asia is verboten. I believe in Canada they are called the First Nations which I suppose means the individual members are "First Nationals" which used to be a supermarket chain here in the Northeast US but I digress.
As for butterflies, perhaps since the movement of air from a butterflies' wings can cause climate change due to chaos theory, maybe the ordination of the Deaconess was to have a similar dramatic effect on the church?
A quick consultation of one of the unfortunate search engines yields the following linked description of thecquestioned phrase.
Given that Her Honor’s family have speculated as to the presence of some Indian, oops, Native American, ancestry (supported by several common facial features), one could understand the Indian point of view on the honesty issue, why should they be truthful to the white invaders, after all? Cf. Taqqiya.
Metamorphosis? If so, the allusion backfires, as no ontological change occurs in the passage from caterpillar to butterfly.
It is very naughty of you, Father, to bait the PC police. You know how busy they are.
Regarding the Boko Fiddleworth reference:
Quoniam ira in indignatione ejus, et vita in voluntate ejus ad vesperum demorabitur fletus, et ad matutinum laetitia.
A good (female) friend is now an Anglican vicar - she was ordained* about 12 years ago, I think. She commissioned a stole for the ceremony embroidered with butterflies: the symbolism was apparently from 1 Cor. 15: "[The body] is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: it is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body."
*I realise that this wasn't an ordination which we would recognise as such.
The reference is obviously to Dante's Purgatorio.
O superbi cristian, miseri lassi,
che, de la vista de la mente infermi,
fidanza avete ne’ retrosi passi,
non v’accorgete voi che noi siam vermi
nati a formar l’angelica farfalla,
che vola a la giustizia sanza schermi?
Di che l’animo vostro in alto galla,
poi siete quasi antomata in difetto,
sì come vermo in cui formazion falla? ( Canto X, ll 121-129)
O proud Christians, wretched weary ones, who, diseased in vision of the mind, have confidence in backward steps, are ye not aware that we are worms born to form the angelic butterfly which flies unto judgment without defence? Why doth your mind float up aloft, since ye are as it were defective insects, even as a worm in which formation fails? (Norton’s translation)
Surely "red Indian" is all right, since there is no possibility of confusion.
"How long before we have clerical fashion shows featuring Dior, Givenchy, Versace, et alii?"
It's already here! The theme for this year's "Met Gala" in New York was "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination," and featured many of to-day's celebrities in ecclesiastical costume. This was done with the full support of the Vatican, who loaned 40 historic copes, chasubles, &c for the occasion. See here:
It's ironic that this event took place under the present pope, who doesn't seem that bothered about what Lloyd George once called "salvation by haberdashery." I'd have thought this sort of high fashion/haute couture was more up Ratzinger's street.
Also a clear reference to Romans 12:2:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed (metamorphusthe) by the renewal of your mind.
I suppose chasubles with smiley faces and other emojis cannot be far behind: chosen for the liturgy of the day, perhaps.
The reference above to 'unliturgical colours' reminds me of the vestment collection at the Matisse Chapel in Vence - I would not recommend a visit there to any traditionalist with high blood-pressure...
PS William Arthurs - your link is a brilliantly apposite eye-opener.
'Uncle Percy thinks Boko's a butterfly.'
I couldn't follow her. She had me fogged. Anything less liike a butterfly than good old Boko I've never set eyes on.
'Yes. Flitting from flower to flower and sipping.'
'And he doesn't like butterflies?'
'Not when they flit and sip.'
It might be a reference to one of Pope Francis' more memorable remarks: “Only if priests base their lives on Christ can they fully respond to their vocation and avoid becoming 'priest-wheeler dealers', 'priest-tycoons', 'butterfly-priests', always vain, that is.” (Santa Marta homily, January 11 2014). In which case the symbolic decoration on the stole would be both an ecumenical gesture and also a daringly humble coded self-admonition, a spiritual warning to the wearer a bit like some medieval vestments that feature skull an cross bones! Just a thought ...
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