REMEMBERED IN HISTORY
By FRANCIS KENT
SAINT PIUS V, whose feast is today, has two claims to remembrance in history. He was the Pope who excommunicated Elizabeth I with the Bull Regnans in Excelsis in 1570; and he was the force behind the victory of Lepanto in 1571, the following year.
The papal deposition of Eliza
both, however richly deserved, is perhaps proof that saints can err in matters of policy. An excellent historian, E. I. Watkin in his J U.P Home University volume "Roman Catholicism in England from the Reformation to 1950", describes it as:
"worse than a blunder, a disaster, probably the most serious blow inflicted on English Catholicism between the Reformation and the present day. It identified Catholic allegiance to the Papacy with a disloyalty to the sovereign which the vast majority of the English Catholics did not entertain. Protestants saw it and have seen it ever since as a declaration by the
Holy See that a loyal Roman Catholic cannot also be a loyal Englishman," It is remarkable how the Elizabethan martyrs, almost to a man (though they would have none of her as head of the Church), affirmed at the scaffold that they regarded the Queen as their lawful sovereign. And they had nothing to gain by doing so, for they were just going to be hanged. drawn and quartered anyway,
Pius V was wiser in forming what was a kind of NATO of his day—except that it was a league of Mediter ranean powers against the growing threat of Moslem sea power, which received its death-blow at Lepanto. Venice, Genoa, Sicily and Naples, the Pope himself, and Spain under Don John of Austria. contributed contingents to a fleet which routed 273 galleys and slaughtered 20,000 Turks at a cost of 8,000 lives in their own lines.
Cervantes lost an arm in this battle — I cannot help wondering if it were his right arm, and if he wrote "Don Quixote" with his Left hand Lepanto yielded one of Chesterton's finest swinging poems , .
. . the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss, And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross.
The cold Queen of England is looking in the glass • ..
But Don John of Austria was "laughing in the brave beard curled" and going to the war.
SHAKESPEARE gave expression to a Corrlrtion association of facial growth with a warlike nature "full of strange oaths". But.not all beards are fierce. There are some saints it is hard to imagine without their beards. That of gentle St. Joseph in his workshop must often have been full of sawdust, The wise benignity of St. Francis of Sales shines out from a considereblv bushy beaver, Perhaps the noblest beard of all was that of St. Thomas More: he could jest about it even on the block, An army psychiatrist has been sorting out his experiences on selection boards since the war. He concluded that men with bushy moustaches. or else clean-shaven, made the best officers. He said not a word about beards, doubtless because the heard has gone out of fashion among soldiers. It is only in the Navy that a man can seek "permission to grow" and then has to stick to his decision — and the growth.
The military psychologist was almost brutally opposed to the toothbrush type. Of 400 men with moustaches, he said, not one with a toothbrush (short and prickly) won selection as an officer candidate. They were all turned down, it seems, because they were "too rigid in character, lacked imagination, were faintly rebellious. and so touchy that they tended to Create antagonism."
yr reminds me of 1 Punch's drawing in the 1914 war (when the order went forth that "officers will not shave the upper lip") of a very young subaltern anxiously surveying his face in a mirror and parodying a topical song of the time: "We don't want to have you, but we think you ought to grow: Your king and your country both need you so!"