10 September 2017

Musings from the Little House of Easement Down the Garden; or 'Mgr Loftus' part 1

American friends may be unaware that, in a Third World country like ours, one of our customs is this. Where, as in many areas, particularly of Surrey and Kensington, there is no running water and no 'sewerage system', a little hut at the bottom of the garden is provided as an answer to the Calls, so many, so manifold, and so peremptory, of Nature. 'Night Earth' deposited there is covered daily by a thin covering of soil. Since in many parts of England 'toilet paper' (what is the American term for this?) is unavailable or is too expensive for all but the wealthiest Russian oligarchs, the custom is for the daily newspapers to be cut neatly into smaller rectangles of appropriate size and to be left in a pile to be applied to the person, with as much diligence as may be judged necessary. Such rectangles can, of course, before use, easily afford supplementary reading matter.

That is how I came to find myself looking at a rectangle of newsprint which, I inferrred, had been cut from a journal of Catholic origin. It was an 'opinion piece' by a cleric called ... of course, this is probably a nom de plume ... Mgr Basil Loftus.

'Loftus' is clearly a Bergoglianist, because I read there, in the twilight of the Little House, that "Pope Francis has resolved the culture of ecclesial poverty, the renunciation of carnival custume and pretentious titles, and ...".

At that point I hesitated, and referred just half an inch to the left, to the as-yet unutilised earlier part of the article ... where the author is described as Mgr Basil Loftus.

I scratched my head. Mgr? Surely, that is an Italian abbreviation for Mon Signore? And, surely, that, in English, is My Lord? Is 'Loftus' a barone or a conte? Perhaps even a marchese? In my simple Anglican Patrimony ignorance, I (subsequently) asked a friend ... one of those Cradle Catholics from whom we poor converts have been urged by Mr Ivereigh and his friends to take our religion as from a purer fount ... what Monsignore meant. "Ah", he said, nodding his wise old Cradle Catholic head. "It means that 'Loftus' is a Domestic Chaplain to the Supreme Pontiff".

You can imagine how stunned I was. 'Loftus' is clearly very old; to think of him popping off to Rome every few days to perform the important if menial tasks of laying out the Holy Father's baroque maniples and lacy albs and satin ferraiolas and whatnot indicates a very personal devotion to the Great Man. "Er", said my mentor, "No, 'Loftus' pretty certainly never gets anywhere near the Vatican. If he did, the pope would probably strangle him with one of his maniples. Monsignore and Domestic Chaplain are just  ... well, let's say, just rather pretentious titles ..."

Oh dear. Now I am terribly puzzled. How difficult it is to be a poor ignorant convert.

Do you think 'Loftus' would take me on and give me some private coaching?

To be continued.


3 comments:

Liam Ronan said...

Alas! If you had not utilized that last strip of newspaper, Father, you might have discovered an address somewhere for Mgr. Loftus so that you might have initiated a long and profitable correspondence with him. Perhaps, however, you might yet retrieve what was lost if you were to turn-over the night soil with a trowel?

Sadly, the abbreviation 'Mgr.' also is used in the States as short-hand for 'manager'. Your Mgr. Loftus may not wear a Roman collar but might well prove to be the CEO of an American corporation which sells toiletries.

Should such be the case, he might prove a useful contact to cultivate when arranging a trans-Atlantic convoy to supply loo paper for the desperate garden shed owner.

Sue Sims said...

Mgr. Loftus was the reason I stopped subscribing to the Catholic Times. The weekly dose of heresy just became too much. Now I just read Dr Shaw's occasional (and expert) fisking.

Anita Moore said...

I once heard a priest of a particular generation declare from the pulpit that the Catholic hierarchy was cooked up in later centuries by a Church that had forgotten her calling to "follow Jesus" and become lost in the lust for titles and worldly honors. After a certain consistory, it seems like he should have lamented the misfortunes of the liberal luminaries whom Pope Francis raised to the College of Cardinals, thus conferring on them the corrupt and idolatrous honors of a Church that had forgotten her mission to "follow Jesus"; but instead, he took several minutes out of the beginning of Sunday Mass to rhapsodize over them and congratulate them on receiving this signal honor.