Monday, December 8


All the Complicated Mystery / About What the Holy Office does, the Rota, the Consistory

It turns out that the Shrine is not the first to do an ecclesiastical Gilbert and Sullivan parody, nor the most eminent, as Monsignor Ronald Knox got there ahead of us, in a response written in November 1951 to a letter of congratulation from the Very Rev. C.A. Alington:

I'm the sort of man they make an Apostolic Protonotary -
I've written reams and reams of prose, and quite a lot of potery [sic];
To walk on garden-rollers is among my minor glories,
And I used to be prevailed upon to write detective stories;
I can also punt canoes (or as they say in Greenland) Kayaks,
And had quite a flair at one time for composing elegiacs;
I can look up trains in Bradshaw, on occasions locomotary,
As undoubtedly becomes an Apostolic Protonotary.

In short when I've unravelled all the complicated mystery,
About what the Holy Office does, the Rota, the Consistory;
When I've studied more theology, and don't get quite so drowsy on
Attending learned lectures which discuss the Homoousion;
When I've somehow put behind me (with my poor command of French) a list
Of authors whose philosophy is known as Existentialist,
When my learning on a multitude of themes is less bucolic -
There's ne'er a Protonotary will be so Apostolic.

--published in Ronald Knox, In Three Tongues, 1959

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