"He entered the Church, of course, after the Gospel". Anglican Catholics, nurtured on the writings and wit of our great mystagogue and monk Dom Gregory Dix, scourge of bishops ... " remember that the sign of a Bishop is a crook, and of an Archbishop, a double cross" ... might suspect that the habitually lazy lout described above must have been a bishop. (Dix once wrote: "Even when the stately summer of the Carolines was over, the 'Whig grandee' Bishops of the eighteenth century and the 'Greek Play' Bishops of [the 1860s] still had something for which the genial energy of a business man in gaiters does not quite compensate". He penned that in the 1940s; with what phrase, equally swift and just as catty, might one bring it up to date?)
We might think there was little trouble in placing the attitude betrayed here, so careless at once of liturgical propriety and of the proclaimed Evangelium - but who was the bishop, and of what age? Benjamin Hoadley? Talleyrand? - but he would probably have remained outside until after the Creed. But the culprit is, in fact, a sixth century Irish abbot, an example of austerity and of penitential endeavour, S Columba himself. Moreover, he was accompanied by four other monastic founders. And Columba was even the celebrant of the Mass!
Was S Columba really too sluggish an old gent to get out of bed before the Gospel? An ancient manuscript once in the library of the Dukes of Buckingham and now kept in Dublin gives the answer to this conundrum.