Friday, December 25, 2015

Noel! Noel! Noel! May All My Enemies Go To Hell!

Here is a bit of Christmas cheer from Hilaire Belloc. I've heard that he once put it on his Christmas cards. But the full poem is from his wonderful novel The Four Men (1902).

Audit ale is the fine ale that the master and fellows drank at Cambridge University (and other places) at the feast commemorating the yearly auditing of each college's accounts.

Happy Christmas from Mahound's Paradise!

Pray for the haters. But may your ale always be better than their thin brew!

Noël! Noël! Noël! Noël

A Catholic tale have I to tell!
And a Christian song have I to sing
While all the bells in Arundel ring.

I pray good beef and I pray good beer
This holy night of all the year,
But I pray detestable drink for them
That give no honour to Bethlehem.

May all good fellows that here agree
Drink Audit Ale in heaven with me
And may all my enemies go to hell!
Noël! Noël! Noël! Noël!
May all my enemies go to hell!
Noël! Noël!


  1. My ale is tasting pretty good - so I know I'm not in hell!

    Christ was born in Bethlehem -
    amen. Merry Christmas all !

  2. Fortunately, we do not have to wonder about what our Lord thinks of this curse:

    Luke 9:52 "And he sent messengers before his face; and going, they entered into a city of the Samaritans, to prepare for him. And they received him not, because his face was of one going to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John had seen this, they said: Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them? And turning, he rebuked them, saying: You know not of what spirit you are. The Son of man came not to destroy souls, but to save. And they went into another town."

    As literate Catholics move away from being formed by the Catholic literary canon to being formed by the Word of God, surely we will begin to see this passage as one of towering ignorance. There is nothing funny about Hell, or wishing one's enemies in it, for it was precisely that His enemies NOT go to hell that Our Lord became flesh some 2000 years ago. With that in view, how does Belloc's giving his curse a Christmas ring rise above the level of sacrilege? Nothing, and I mean nothing, could be more opposed to the spirit of Christmas.

  3. Lee Gilbert:

    One thing is certain. You lack sense of humour. Are you sure you aren't Presbyterian? By the way, Belloc was one of the more literate Catholics you will encounter in your vale of tears.

    1. John, John, you must be mad.

      I am Presbyterian -
      but I love this bit of absurdist humor.
      Thank God for literate Catholics...

      and LONG LIVE St.JOHN KNOX ☺

    2. Connect hook: Now you have me laughing - but quietly lest we disturb certain dour Papists among us.

  4. "Noël! Noël! Noël! Noël!
    May all my enemies go to hell!"

    Very funny and a perfect sentiment for what has been a very bad year in the Catholic church.

  5. Mad John,

    Ad hominem arguments are unresponsive . . .
    "At least I've always found it so,
    Benidicamus Domino!"

    Very intriguing to me is that men who are coming into the Church from the Reformed (Presbyterian) tradition (Scott Hahn and many others) are having an enormous evangelical impact within and without the Church. And why? Because they steeped themselves in the Word of God, which is OUR book. Meanwhile the men of little effect quote Belloc, Chesterton and Waugh to one another.

    Some time ago I read a comment by a lady who said she had been thinking about becoming a Catholic until she started reading Catholic blogs and saw the way we speak to one another. Exhibit number one of that problem is Pewsitter which is currently headlining Belloc's quote with a link to this blog entry. It is a classic exhibit of the same sort of problem.

    Viewed from another perspective, some time ago I heard a Dominican priest ask why it is that we do not experience miracles as frequently now as our fellow Catholics did in the Middle Ages. He offered the possibility that it may well be because we have accustomed ourselves to joking about holy things. Anyone who has ever lived among clerics and Catholic intellectuals would recognize the problem. It is very common in that milieu to joke or speak lightly about religious superiors, and to use sacred Scripture or Sacred Doctrine as a foil for some humorous remark. I see the humor, but agree with him that joking about these things is a very big mistake. The juxtaposition of hell and noel is amusing up until the moment that one realizes that such a quote may very well scandalize "little ones." If that is the case, to take a leaf from St. Paul I would rather go through life altogether without such humor rather than scandalize anyone by putting him off from Catholicism. A wide experience of a long life makes me realize, too, that there are plenty of people who will take this innocently intended and amusing quote as a deadly serious personal motto. If this is "humor," then to hell with it.

  6. Lee Gilbert:

    I take it back. You are not a Presbyterian. You are a Jansenist.

    We "Men of little effect" (I pray you meant that in a non-ad hominem ad hominem way) read Belloc and Chesterton because they understood scripture and tradition so well and wrote the truth. Over decades they have influenced many, many people to convert to Catholicism because of this.

    May God hold you in the palm of His hand this Feast of Christmas and not squeeze His fist too tight.

  7. "... she had been thinking about becoming a Catholic until she started reading Catholic blogs and saw the way we speak to one another."

    If she were dissuaded by that she could not have been serious to begin with.

  8. I confess I can't say I am lillywhite in this regard and having grown up in a bluecollar New Jersey town have just about heard...and unfortunately said...just about it all. And as a convert, I find myself appreciative of much of what Belloc has to say, and Chesterton as well, and do not think they are really at the heart of the problem, but there IS a problem and I do find very much to support and agree with in the words of Lee Gilbert. There is a sort of sub-culture in the Catholic Church that I find stunning in its offensiveness and sacrilege. One of the reasons I have been attracted to the Traditionalist movement is that there appears to be {at least in my personal experience} much more gravity and respect and decency if I can call it that and less simple godlessness apparent there among such people and their priests. Again, in my limited experience. I actually went to Mass at a parish where a retired visiting priest mentioned in his homily something about honoring God's name and then later in the homily was telling a story and repeated several times something about "Oh, My God" in a very secular fashion. My wife and I looked at each other in total disbelief, as it was not a joke, but rather simply the way he spoke. We have been at a parish meeting where the "F-Bomb" was dropped and have heard foul language of all sorts in the NARTHEX of the church building before Mass. Seriously, the American Catholic Church is messed up for many many reasons and we are not the only ones who notice it. Our devout African priest and two FSSP priests and a Mexican priest of ours all saw it. It is mind boggling. How this wretched state of affairs came to be I don't know, but as Lee said, parishes where this sort of thing are part of the fabric of community do not seem to appeal much in evangelization. I mean, the Elks Club serves booze. Might as well go there.

    For crying out loud, just listen/read the Pope! Have we ever had a POPE with a mouth like this, running it in public and dumping foul insults on people of all sorts? I mean, how base must this man be in private if he tosses around "shit-eaters" etc, etc, etc in public?

    I know many Protestants who are turned off by godless, base, sacrilegious "Catholic" culture. My wife and my adult children who I have led to the Church have all had to get through this. It isn't easy in some parishes and we have left one partly because of it, the base values of that parish being demonstrated in running off 8 priests in 10 years as well...

    Anyway, we all need to take a moment and THINK what our lives reflect and demonstrate to those around us. Yeah, stuff like foul jokes about the Blessed Virgin and the Eucharist have no place in the culture of the Catholic faith. And as Lee said, the Sacred Scriptures are OUR Scriptures, and we should be immersed in them. An immersion I suggest will expose many of our own personal flaws and help us see that what might have passed for "acceptable" really isn't.

  9. Should we care what Protestants think?

    1. We Protestants care a good deal about what YOU think !
      (Why else would I be reading Mahound?)

  10. I assume PewSitter linked to this post because it was interesting and different (and Belloc is always worth linking to), not because it expressed a proper Catholic attitude. Anyway, PewSitter links to all sorts of things, half of them being claims or statements that the editor thinks are false, silly or dangerous.

    Belloc had a quirky and dark sense of humor but he was a knight when it came to defending the honor of the Faith and the honor of those who professed it or were part of it, whether it was G.K. Chesterton (See Lines to a Don), Our Lady or Christ Himself. Sometimes righteous anger is is a sign of devotion to the faith, not its lack, at least for imperfect men, though of course here it is expressed humorously.

    Note, though, that these are not Belloc's words per se, but the words, or more accurately the song lyrics--of a distinctly imperfect character--"the Sailor"--in Belloc's novel The Four Men. Belloc then has one of the other characters criticize the song as "rank blasphemy" and "heresy". He is perhaps right.

    I asked us to pray for the haters. I know Belloc would have agreed with that. But that doesn't mean we can't also have a sense of humor--about our own humanity, if nothing else.

  11. Dympha, if you care about what the Successors of the Apostles think, about what the Church thinks, then of course you will care about what everyone outside the Church thinks about the Catholic Church as well about how you can bring their minds around to conformity with the Truth. The Church is not in the business of trying to alienate people, though of course there are many who will always find her teaching objectionable. So, without adjusting the substance of our teaching to make it agreeable to everyone, we should be careful not to cause unnecessary offense to those outside the Church. I say again unnecessary offense, for there are many things we must teach irrespective of what anyone thinks.

    "This is what the Apostles of our time think, from the decree on Ecumenism:

    Catholics, in their ecumenical work, must assuredly be concerned for their separated brethren, praying for them, keeping them informed about the Church, making the first approaches toward them. But their primary duty is to make a careful and honest appraisal of whatever needs to be done or renewed in the Catholic household itself, in order that its life may bear witness more clearly and faithfully to the teachings and institutions which have come to it from Christ through the Apostles.

    "For although the Catholic Church has been endowed with all divinely revealed truth and with all means of grace, yet its members fail to live by them with all the fervor that they should, so that the radiance of the Church's image is less clear in the eyes of our separated brethren and of the world at large, and the growth of God's kingdom is delayed. All Catholics must therefore aim at Christian perfection(24) and, each according to his station, play his part that the Church may daily be more purified and renewed. For the Church must bear in her own body the humility and dying of Jesus,(25) against the day when Christ will present her to Himself in all her glory without spot or wrinkle.(26)"

    It has always been a first principle in the Church, and is very clear both from the sayings of Jesus and the writings of St. Paul that we should not put stumbling blocks in the way of anyone's salvation, which clearly we are doing when we do or say things that are contrary to the spirit or substance of the Gospel. So, the answer to your question is clearly yes.

  12. As literate Catholics move away from being formed by the Catholic literary canon to being formed by the Word of God,they are in danger of becoming PROTESTANT ! ☺

  13. Dymphna; Yeah, we should care what Protestants and Hindus and other Catholics and God think about the way we act and the language we use. I submit that using foul language and telling raunchy or sacrilegious jokes does not advance the Kingdom or the mission of the Church. How anyone can say that is a "Protestant" assertion is beyond me.

    I would be stunned by some of the comments here but I have enough experience now with some "Catholics" who spout this type of attitude that I am not surprised.

    Just for the record, defending the use of foul and uncharitable language is not "Catholic" and reverencing the Eucharist and the Gospel and the Blessed Virgin and the souls of sinners enough to be careful about how we speak is hardly "Protestant"!

    Some of the comments here are religious absurdities and rank down there in the gutter with some of the smack talk I used to hear in the narthex of the parish we left.

    I can promise you all this; Our priests at my FSSP parish will not be standing with you if you think being a Catholic means ignoring or running down the Scriptures or common decency and manners. Oh, and those guys are Catholic by anyone's definition. LOL.

  14. I think having no sense of humour is definitely not Catholic. No one is attacking the Eucharist here, no one is using gutter language. No one is using "smack talk" (at least I think no one is - having been brought up in a decent home I have no idea what it is). No raunchy language, decapitations, child abuse or auto de fe either.

    Lord, save us from the piously dour.

  15. So here we have one proclaiming that his sense of humor {whatever that is} is the standard by which humor must be order to be "Catholic". Now that is laughable!

    It is also arrogance far greater than any "pious dourness" exhibited by anyone posting comments here.

    No more arrogance and hypocrisy could be shown than in accusing one who shows a better way {Lee Gilbert} of being a "Presbyterian" which I might add for a real Catholic is no compliment. As I said and can say again, what Lee pointed out is a standard of Catholicism folks like yourself would do well to seek to achieve, as your way has guttered the faith within our culture for a long time. Take heart, tho, without your own decision to change course you need not fear being saved by the "piously dour".

    In the meantime, some choose to laugh at that which actually warrants laughter. Accusing someone of being a "Presbyterian" because they choose to elevate the standard of discussion is hardly reflective of "being raised in a decent home".

    For myself, I think you owe Lee an apology.

    My own comments are merely reflective of what I have witnessed, and what you have offered here merely adds to that sorry experience.

    1. Jesus wept and well he might. No apology offered or warranted. My way has "guttered the faith"???

      FYI, I'm a rather traditional Catholic who receives the Holy Eucharist on the tongue on my knees. I would die to defend the Eucharist and the Holy Catholic faith.

      I did not assert my sense of humour as a standard, just the possession of one as a necessity. (Hint. I really don't believe Lee is a Presbyterian. The evidence is building on the Jansenism assertion, however.)

      I propose an Irish toast for this controversy.

      May those that love us, love us.
      For those that don’t love us,
      May God turn their hearts.
      And if he doesn’t turn their hearts,
      May he turn their ankles,
      So we’ll know them by their limping.

  16. Look, you may run your trap as long as you want in trying to defend a mistake of bad manners and crass irreverence. And in your defense, if I may call it that, maybe you and Lee have some "past" here of which I am not aware. But taking your own comments about this piece alone, you are out of line in tossing the baseless insults at Lee you have, and in doing so, have proven my point{-s} by examples reader may see for themselves.

    The fact that you want you continue making additional lame attempts at both insulting the individual and defending your low level of manners and decency describes far more about you than how you receive the Eucharist.

    I don't really have anything more to say about the matter since it is of not that much concern of mine. I think I've made my points about how some Catholics like you demonstrate no class and and less reverence and how others notice it. I also can say from past experience tht folks like you make a laughing stock of Catholicism and while you obviously don't care about that or how your actions/words damage the testimony of the Church, some do. You have hung meat on the bones of my observations.

    I do not know a priest who would come to your defense in this matter. But possibly the guidance of priests is of no concern of yours as well. Who knows.

  17. WelI, you've demonstrated my point about Jansenism being afoot. I agree, we ought to end this rather tawdry exchange. I shall shake the dust from my scuffed workbooks bid you adieu.

  18. I thought about this some more. Half my family is Baptist. They don't drink, they don't dance and do not smoke. They don't wear makeup and except for me they don't like Catholics. They also believe in the Rapture. I love them but no, I don't care what they think anymore. I never water down the Faith and I never back down. The ones who have come to Mass with me have been moved and I have hopes... but I'm not slapping a Protestantized gloss on the Faith for them.