Saturday, December 21, 2013

Before that "Duck Dynasty" Fool* there was St. Andrew the Fool ...

The first time I saw this photo
I thought it was of an Orthodox monk.

I pity the fool. - Mr. T

I don't have cable so I had no idea what Duck Dynasty was/is all about.

Besides, the only reality TV show I ever got into was "Third Rock From the Sun" which was mysteriously cancelled when people caught on that it was indeed a documentary/reality show - but I digress.

Now I know all about the brouhaha, and I just shrug.  Nothing new - except the loss of free speech I suppose - although something tells me this is about ratings. 

Anyway, long before Phil Robinson came along with that long beard and Duck Dynasty business, there was dear St. Andrew the Fool.  They talk alike, maybe look alike, but are separated by centuries...  But probably not class. 

St. Andrew the Fool.
The following dialogue consists of a chapter in the Life of Saint Andrew the Fool for Christ. It is a complex passage dealing with sensitive issues with unexpected twists and turns and paradoxes, as real life situations usually are, and for this reason it should be studied carefully, completely and within context. Saint Andrew was a holy man, specifically with the gift of being clairvoyant and a fool for Christ, who knew the secrets of men's hearts, and he spoke the truth as it was revealed to him and in the appropriate way for a particular moment. The story begins with Andrew sitting in front of the gate to his disciple Epiphanios' house.
As he sat on the ground in front of the gateway there came a young eunuch who was the chamberlain of one of the nobles. His face was like a rose, the skin of his body white as snow, he was well shaped, fair-haired, possessing an unusual softness, and smelling of musk from afar. As Epiphanios had been brought up together with him and was his friend they loved each other dearly.

Now this eunuch carried with him dates, about thirty in number. When he saw the naked body of the holy man he was alarmed and asked Epiphanios, "My dearest and beloved Epiphanios, who is this man and why does he go naked, although it is winter and unbearably cold, being like those who have been shipwrecked at sea?"

Epiphanios answered, "My dearest brother, I do not know what I shall say about his appearance, since his mind has been taken prisoner by the Evil One and he wanders about like one possessed and confused. All such people tear their clothes and run about without feeling anything." This he said because he did not want to reveal the holy man's virtue.

When the eunuch heard this he fell silent and, having pity on the blessed man as one of the poor, gave him all his dates. "Take these just for now," he said, "for I have nothing else with me."

But the holy man, who with the eyes of his spirit already knew the works of his soul, looked at him sternly and said, "Fools do not eat a gift of colophonia."

The eunuch, who did not understand what he said, replied, "You truly crazy man, when you see dates, do you think they are fruit from Colophon?"*

The blessed man said to him, "You deceiver, go into your master's bed-chamber and perform with him the sick practice of the sodomites, that he may give you other dates too. You wretch, you do not see the rays of the kingdom of heaven, who do not know the cruelty and bitterness of hell, do you not even feel shame before the angel who accompanies you as a Christian? What should be done with you, impure that you are, because you frequent the corners and do what should not be done, things which neither dogs nor swine, nor reptiles nor serpents do? You accursed fellow, why do you do this? Woe to your youth, which Satan has wounded and thrown down headlong into the terrible depth of hell and vehemence and boundless vigor! See that you do not go further, lest the Godhead treat you as you deserve, here burning you whole with flashes of lightning, there with the hell of fire."

When the eunuch heard this he trembled with fear, his face turned red like fire and his shame was great. - Please finish the story here. 

Obviously St. Andrew wasn't as nice as Phil Robertson in how and what he said in his interview with GQ, still Mr. Robertson got a lot of flak from it.  That's news, I guess.  I have to say, I'm with Fr. Longenecker on this one: 
We don’t watch TV. I’ve never seen Duck Dynasty. I read about Phil Robertson’s statements in GQ and don’t see what all the fuss is about. He’s simply stated the historic Christian view. He might have used crude language, but he’s just being himself. You can’t be entertained by a hillbilly and then expect him to behave like an East Coast liberal. 
Besides, are people familiar with what homosexuals do with each other?  It seems strange to me in this sexually liberated age that people are so coy about the actual facts of gay sex. 
We’re talking about anal intercourse between two men, oral sex, oral-anal sex, an obsession with the penis and anus and other stuff which is too disgusting to discuss.  If gay sex is so wonderful why are otherwise sexually liberated people so prissy and Puritanical about it–blaming Mr Robertson for being vulgar? He was only talking bluntly about what actually goes on between two men and saying he found it disagreeable. - Source
Follow-up on St Andrew the Fool...

When asked why he reprimanded the young courtesan, the Saint explained:
[After they finished their feast Epiphanios said to the blessed man, "Venerable sir, why did you rebuke my friend so bluntly?"]

The blessed man answered, "Because he is dear to you and beloved, for this reason I did give to him this lecture, for had he not been your friend, he would not heard a single word from me. This is not my vocation, to rebuke sinners, but to run the straight road which leads to a better life."

The Saint then went on to explain to Epiphanios, who, as a defense, tried to explain the courtesan's untenable predicament as a slave:
[Epiphanios said, "If a master enjoins a slave to minister to his needs, be they physical, or spiritual, or sinful, and the slave fails to obey, you surely know, my Lord, how much he will suffer, being maltreated, beaten, threatened and receiving all sorts of punishments."]

The holy man answered, "This, my son, is the martyrdom of Jesus Christ at which he hinted when he said: 'Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.' Thus if the slaves do not bow to the abominable sodomitic passion of their masters they are blessed and thrice blessed, for thanks to the torments you mention they will be reckoned with the martyrs." - Mystagogy

It is what the Church teaches.  Let's try not to be so sensitive.

* Please don't be offended - I mean that in the best sense of the word - fool for Christ.

Naked without virtues
bridges burned
my sins my



  1. Let's also talk about menstrual blood, clitorises (clitori?), pros/cons of circumcision, and lactation, Father L.


    Kinda crude, isn't it.


  2. Since when have the terms "vagina" and "anus" become crude or coarse? I could reword that (and every single person who reads this can too) into crude language.

    Even Father L. fell victim to this nonsense by saying, "He might have used crude language." No he didn't.

  3. Thom, two of the things you mention are natural biological functions ow women, one is a body part and one is a controversial procedure performed on young women by force, known as female genital mutilation.

    1. I know what they are. :) For what it's worth, regarding circumcision, I was speaking about males--also mutilation.

    2. Because all the other things you mentioned related to women, I assumed that you were talking about FGM.

  4. 'We’re talking about anal intercourse between two men, oral sex, oral-anal sex, an obsession with the penis and anus and other stuff which is too disgusting to discuss."

    Whomever this "Father Longenecker" is certainly seems to spend some time thinking about what two men do, I hate to puncture the good Father's fantasy but not all gay men are into anal sex (much less obsessed with anyone's anus) and a lot of straight people are. I would also hope the good father knows that most married couples engage in oral sex which is pretty main stream these days. Or does he think that "icky," too?

    Why anyone cares what does or does not go on in anyone's sex life or what other people, like this very rich cracker opinion is about it. He thinks gay sex is "icky," but he is straight so of course he does. I would think kissing some old dude with that scraggily beard is pretty "icky," myself but hopefully his wife doesnt so who cares?

    1. But Mack, Fr. is talking about Church teaching, not what's mainstream. Just because people do something, that doesn't make it moral.

    2. The Church teaches that married couples can't have oral sex..with each other?? I must have missed that day! The Church tries to control even what married couples do with each other???

    3. Sounds like somebody needs to read the catechism or humanae vitae.

  5. Me and hundreds of thousands of married Catholics I am sure! Wow, I wouldn't even make a "good," straight married Catholic! : )

    Have a great Christmas everyone!

  6. Anonymous4:51 PM

    Does the presence of sin negate the reality of sin? There are plenty of murders each and everyday. Does that negate the reality of murder as a sin?

    No one said the Church was a museum of saints. One of the few things our Holy Father has said recently that I do like is that the Church is a field hospital for sinners.

    So, Mack, does the presence of wounds negate the practice of identifying illness and treating it? Likewise, does the presence of sin negate the Church's efforts at identifying it and treating it?

    I, as a Catholic, would say that the presence of sinners in this world does not negate the fact that sin exists and that such things are morally wrong. That is why I am Catholic. She, the Body of Christ, has the truth on such matters.

    If you do not believe such things, then I would say you are not really Catholic at all, but Protestant.

  7. I like your self-portrait as St. Andrew the Fool. You did mention that you're annoyingly tall and gangly...

  8. Notice that the St. Andrew story cuts at the heart of today's version of sexually-liberated christianity. The typical contemporary christian thinks that you're a good person--justified in the Lord--if you have some concern for others--especially the downtrodden. Well, the young man in the story had pity on St. Andrew, was moved by his plight and so gave him all of his dates. St. Andrew shrugs and says the young man has plentiful access to dates, but if he doesn't flee from his sexual depravity then he'll perish forever.

    1. I know what you are saying. I was so impressed with the St. Andrew excerpt - it's an uncanny juxtaposition I think - these two voices, separated by centuries.

    2. I should have included this Phil Robertson quote in my post:

      "We never, ever judge someone on who's going to heaven, hell. That's the Almighty's job. We just love 'em, give 'em the good news about Jesus—whether they're homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort 'em out later, you see what I'm saying?"

  9. The self-portrait icon as St. Andrew the Fool reminds me of St. Mary of Egypt, (April 2, feast-day). She also is the patron or patroness of chastity, (warfare against the flesh; deliverance from carnal passions); demons (deliverance from); fever; skin diseases; temptations of the flesh. I read the biography of Ven. Matt Talbot (who had been terribly addicted to alcohol at a very young age), and he (Matt T.) had a particular devotion to Mary of Egypt. It makes much sense to me. A very Merry Christmas, Terry and to all your readers/visitors here.

    1. Of course, maybe it's off topic, considering the issue at hand, but sometimes I get the impression, especially from the ascetic saints, that normal bodily desires, in particular the desires of normal sexual attraction and bodily desire for the opposite sex, are evil and need to be killed at the root.

      This confusion of normal desires with sinful desires seems to be prevalent in ascetic literature.

    2. Mercury, you know you're not allowed to read about ascetic saints.

    3. I don't, Nan. But thanks for your concern :)

      It's just that so many prayers also talk about hating and disdaining carnal desires ... but aren't our carnal desires actually GOOD when properly ordered?

    4. Merc - sex is dirty and you know it.


  10. Yes, our carnal desires are good when properly ordered, which is why the reminder that ascetic saints aren't for you as their statements create confusion. You need saints who realize that human sexuality serves the creator's purpose.

    1. Get your mind out of the gutter lady.


    2. Y'all are awesome :)


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