Monthly Archives: April 2019

Not Spiky (1905)

THE (London) Church Times recently had among its classified advertisements the following:

“Priest, thorough Catholic (not ‘spiky’), young, musician, desires post.”

We do not remember to have come across this definition in words before; but we believe we can identify the species. The “spiky” Catholic must be he whose thorns prick harder than his blossom smells; who succeeds in introducing dissensions into a congregation and then leaves his successor to profit by his mistakes; whose exuberance of private devotion at public service finds its outlet in ceremonial calculated to disturb the equilibrium of an old-time parish; whose use of certain antique and excellent but, unhappily, unpopular and misunderstood terms, is so constant as to constitute him a purist of philological orthodoxy rather more truly than a shepherd of rather ordinary sheep and an occasional extraordinary ram of a vestryman; who sometimes departs and leaves his incense bills unpaid.

Yes, we have met “spiky” Catholics—thoroughly good men, most of them, but utterly impractical and unprepared for work in a world of ordinary men and women of average prejudices. Nobody knows why they are spiky. Not one of our theological seminaries encourages the trait. Many of them, indeed, have not passed through a seminary, and they are not generally among our profoundest scholars.

We trust this English “Priest, thorough Catholic (not spiky)” may find his “post.”

The Living Church, October 21, 1905, p. 837.


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