Friday, January 30, 2015

A Catholic Drinking Song for Super Bowl Sunday

Long time readers know of my love for the great British Catholic writers; CS Lewis - who would probably be Catholic today, JRR Tolkien, John Henry Cardinal Newman, GK Chesterton, and Hilarie Belloc. Chesterton and Belloc, who were close friends, were once accused by H.G. Wells (of The Time Machine fame) of having "surrounded Catholicism with a kind of boozy halo."

Chesterton Shaw Belloc
Shaw, Belloc, and Chesterton
With that quote in mind, which is not entirely unfair, I'd like to share (for your Friday enjoyment) a drinking song composed by Belloc himself, note particularly the final two stanzas,
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! 

Of course, we wouldn't want to fall into drunkenness, which the Bible and Thomas Aquinas both assure us is a sin, but Belloc's song does remind us not to fall into the equally unchristian Puritan overreaction to drunkeness - that of abstaining from all drink - which the Bible also shows us the error of.

Pope Benedict XVI Beer
Show us how it's done Papa!

So, in the spirit of Chesterbelloc (as George Bernard Shaw once called the friends) enjoy your wine and beer this Super Bowl weekend (and not those spirits that came upon the scene after the Protestant Revolution), but only to "hilarity" and not to drunkenness as St. Thomas recommended.


UPDATE: There's been a question about the tune one would sing Belloc's song to. As it comes from one of his novels, The Four Men: A Farrago, I'm not sure it actually has any music. If any of you readers happen to know of a "performance" of the Pelagian drinking song, let us know! (Or perhaps a particularly intrepid soul with some musical talent could set the song to music and link to a video for us.) Deus benedicat te. - Nathan

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