Monday, June 9, 2008

Cato and Cautinus, Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum

    In the early days of the Catholic church, rules had not been fully established and enforcement was weak for those that did exist.  A Wild West attitude permeated the offices of the clergymen and Tombstone was Clermont-Ferrand.

     When the Bishop of Clemont-Ferrand, Saint Gall, died, a rivalry began between two local priests for the succession.  The first, Cato, Tweedle-Dee, received the nomination by the local clergy.  The bishops who had come to Saint Gall's funeral agreed with this choice and gave it their blessing.
     At that time, the king had the right to make these appointments, but the king Theudebald was rather young, having succeeded his father at the age of 13.  Gregory does not appear to have approved of Cato, writing that he "was a man filled with self-esteem and silly self-admiration".  Harsh words.   Indeed when Cato received the bishops' blessings, his response was that he deserved this appointment as he had always been properly religious: fasting, giving alms, holding up the dignity of the priesthood, etc..  I suppose he was expected to grovel and exclaim that he was not worthy because the bishops went on their way home cursing him for his pride.
     Tweedle-Dee did not get along with his Arch-Deacon Cautinus, Tweedle-Dum.  For some reason, he threatened him with disgrace and death.   So Cautinus went to King Theudebald and informed him that Saint Gall had died and the Bishoporic of Clermont-Ferrand was vacant.  For this service, the king gave the appointment to Cautinus in spite of the fact the bishops had already blessed Cato.  Since Cato had all these terrible flaws, it might seem that the better man had won.  Or had he?
     Gregory went on to relate what Tweedle-Dum made of his position.   Cato refused to submit to the new bishop; so he and his friends were stripped of all church benefits, leaving them unable to feed themselves.   Anyone willing to come over to Cautinus's side would have all their holdings back so many did.  Then Cautinus went on to drink heavily and in public, steal land, go to court to steal land, and buried one Anastasius alive to steal his land.  He would not bother with books, consorted with Jews and left the city to save himself when the plague broke out.  
    Cato, meanwhile, was offered the bishoporic of Tours, which he turned down.  It was probably proposed by Cautinus to get rid of him.  Gregory does write that, when the plague broke out, while Cautinus fled, Cato stayed and ministered to the people until the plague killed him too. That is why he is Tweedle-Dee and not Tweede-Dum.

Beatles Song of the Week

Semel puellam habui, aut ego dicam, 
Semel me habuit. 
Eam cellam ad me monstravit, estne bona, lignum de Via Borea.
Manere me rogavit et alicubi sedere dixit,
Tunc circum aspexi et non sellam fuit cognovi,
Stragulum supersedi, meum tempus opperior, eum vinum bibebam. 
Usque ad hora secundus locuti sum et tunc "Tempus pro lecto est" dixit.
Laboravit mane me dixit et ridere incepit,
Non egi eam dixi et dormire in solo procul repsi.
Et ut excitavi, solus fui, hac avis voleraverat,
Tunc flammam concepi, estne bona, lignum de Via Borea. 

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great story! I guess Gregory calling Cato "a man filled with self-esteem and silly self-admiration" is a mite more graceful than calling him an arrogant bastard!

I do have a question, though. Why was the king allowed to make those appointments? Shouldn't it have been the Pope? Or is this post-Philip, where the Pope ruled from Avignon and not Rome?

Song of the Week...you're killing me, Ileen. LOL!

--Kristin

Hermine said...

This early on in church history the King made the appointments. Even the Pope was appointed by the Emperor. I am not sure at what point the Pope won the right to appointment bishops but they were still fighting about stuff like that in Henry VIII's time. As for who picks the Pope, that wasn't set out until about the 12th century but don't quote me on that.
What? The song is too obscure? I did wander away from Abbey Road and the White Album for this one. :)

Tracy said...

Sorry it's taken me so long to post - guess the moral of that story is, don't be fooled by outward appearances!

The Beatles song - Norwegian Wood?