10 November 2018

Lupi Rapaces

The first antiphon which, if we serve a Church or diocese with S Martin as its Patron, we will say or sing tomorrow 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. (A lady wolf was involved in the very Foundation of Rome, and the Romans sometimes referred to Professional Ladies as Wolfesses.)

Wolves were around at the very beginning of the Pontificate of our beloved late 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".

I believe S Thomas talks somewhere about Wolves being demons; or tyrants; or heresiarchs. Is it true that the Patron of the Diocese of St Gallen is a St Lupus, or did my ungoverned sense of fantasy just make that up?

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 to be heard 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 Catholic academic would like to write a doctoral dissertation De Lupitate. She could bring her narrative right down to the present day.

I hope her sleep will not be disturbed by the howls.


Grant Milburn said...

We are surrounded by a pack of not so sorrowful wolves.

Kenneth said...

Dear Father,
The only reference I could find for St. Lupus was in the venerable Alban Butler's Lives of the Saints for July 24th. He is listed as Bishop of Troyes. He was married for a time when he and Pimeniola, his lady wife, mutually agreed to separate to serve God. He entered the monastery of Lerins where he fervently applied himself to the ascetic life. Though he initially resisted, he was consecrated Bishop of Troyes in 426 and continued to live an ascetical life. He and St.Germanus of Auxerre were drafted to combat the poison with which Pelagius was infecting the Church of Britain. They visited your island and successfully extripated that heresy returning to Troyes.
There seems to have been a contretemps involving Attila. After sparing Troyes at the Saint's petition Attila was defeated at Chalons. As he retreated, he compelled the Saint to accompany him as far as the Rhine. This resulted in a serious misunderstanding between St.Lupus and the Roman generals who appear to have suspected collusion. As a result, St. Lupus was detained and absent from his See for 2 years. He returned to his See and governed it for 52 years, entering Glory in 479.
In Christ,
Kenneth Kafoed