Monday, December 11, 2006

Catholic Humour - Bring on the Barley Brew!!!

The Catholic Sun

Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine,
There’s always laughter and good red wine.
At least I’ve always found it so.
Benedicamus Domino!

by Hilaire Belloc

When I first started my encounters with the Catholic species one of the things that surprised me was the tendency towards wit and humour. There's the general joie de vivre, the crazy stories I've heard, plenty of doses of sarcasm and above all the puns!! Sometimes the target of mockery is something non-Catholic, sometimes it is at so called 'liberal Catholics' but even the more conservative and traditional minded Catholics also have the ability to laugh at themselves or the history of the Church as well. So in light of recent comments on Joee Bloggs blog about enacting parodies of 'coffee table Mass' thought might be time to post Hilaire Belloc's 'Pelagian Drinking Song' to add some light entertainment whilst I'm still contemplating what to write in response to Pinochet's death!!! Bring on the Barley Brew........

The Pelagian Drinking Song

Pelagius lived at Kardanoel
And taught a doctrine there
How, whether you went to heaven or to hell
It was your own affair.
It had nothing to do with the Church, my boy,
But was your own affair.

No, he didn't believe
In Adam and Eve
He put no faith therein!
His doubts began
With the Fall of Man
And he laughed at Original Sin.
With my row-ti-tow
He laughed at original sin.

Then came the bishop of old Auxerre
Germanus was his name
He tore great handfuls out of his hair
And he called Pelagius shame.
And with his stout Episcopal staff
So thoroughly whacked and banged
The heretics all, both short and tall --
They rather had been hanged.

Oh he whacked them hard, and he banged them long
Upon each and all occasions
Till they bellowed in chorus, loud and strong
Their orthodox persuasions.
With my row-ti-tow
Their orthodox persuasions.

Now the faith is old and the Devil bold
Exceedingly bold indeed.
And the masses of doubt that are floating about
Would smother a mortal creed.
But we that sit in a sturdy youth
And still can drink strong ale
Let us put it away to infallible truth
That always shall prevail.

And thank the Lord
For the temporal sword
And howling heretics too.
And all good things
Our Christendom brings
But especially barley brew!
With my row-ti-tow
Especially barley brew!

-- Hillaire Belloc

More Belloc poems to be found here:

Warning: his humour is not to all tastes and at times quite outrageous.


At 9:42 am, Blogger MrSmith said...

Oh that's just amazing. I think I shall have to investigate this Belloc personage a little more. Thank you for posting that, bishop!

At 10:36 am, Blogger Katrina said...

Personally I prefer Chesterton's humour and poetry. Belloc and Chesterton were associates you know, so much so that George Bernard Shaw coined the term Chesterbelloc!!!! Chesterton is generally considered to be the 'softer' side of the pair though as befitting of his rather large and rounded figure!!!

Chesterton also strikes more of a chord with me than Belloc because he is a Londoner and that comes across in his writings.

At 11:22 am, Blogger MrSmith said...

Yes indeed. I find it hard to picture Chesterton penning Belloc's Christmas card lines, even in jest. And when just wandering down a road in London can remind you of Chesterton's novels, it's a great way of being reminded of the hugeness and importance of God and His Ways even in the most mundane situations. I think that might be one of the greatest things Chesterton's managed, to enchant the everyday.

At 12:37 am, Blogger Dominic said...

Oh, G.K. Chesterton is one of our (numerous) great Catholic writers, and one who has been strangely underrated...both for his fiction and his apologetics (even putting to one side his journalism...). But for aphorisms no-one in English literature can beat him, surely.

"Tradition is the democracy of the dead", and so on.

I don't really like Belloc so much - morality poems aside - there is something a little harsh, and at times even hateful in his writings (same can be said of Evelyn Waugh, I think, although he at least acknowledged as much, and his talents are greater anyway). But thinking of Belloc (as a half-French, and France-born writer) leads me to think of Georges Bernanos - - - an extraordinarily powerful and moving writer, almost a 20th century Dostoyevsky (and with similar faults to him, too, in some regards).

Anyway, I'm rambling on. Really enjoying reading your blog. All the best.


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