Sunday, January 13, 2008


Imagine my shock—SHOCK!!!—when I found out this morning that my boss had decided to take an unscheduled vacation to Florida or somewhere. Now granted, I was out sick at the end of last week and wasn't there to be told myself, but he apparently only told one person, and that was on Friday at closing time. About all I can say is that it's totally in keeping with his usual degree of foresight and consideration (which is to say, virtually none at all).

Oh, it made me want to cuss. Now, keep in mind that I'm at home with most profanity—the F-bomb doesn't even make me blush, most of the time, and I'm more likely to bellow "pull the stick shift out of your ass, you bald-headed little chickenfucker" at someone whose driving offends me. There is, however, a distinct difference between profanity and cursing. Profanity is the act of turning the air blue to assuage one's own internal torments, be they physical or spiritual. American profanity is poor stuff, as is the case with most of what's made in the US these days (Miller 'beer,' for example)—monotonous, weak, and composed mostly of a few basic elements. We use the F-word in the same way that most of our food is made out of high-fructose corn syrup. Read some food labels—that stuff is in EVERYTHING.

It's good to get some variety into things—Arabic is a great language for profanity, especially since there's so many parts of a sick camel to which someone can be compared. French isn't bad either, although for some strange reason they have a practice of taking holy items in vain—if you ever hear a Quebecois bellowing "tabernac!," rest assured that it is NOT a pleasant thing that has happened to him. Possibly the all-time winner for French profanity comes from General Ducrot during the 1870 Franco-Prussian War—when the good general realized that the army he was with was stuck in a valley with the Kaiser's pointy-helmeted legions on all the surrounding hills, he uttered the famous line "Nous sommes dans un pot de chambre et nous y serons emmerdes!" (Roughly—"We are in a chamber pot and we are about to be shit upon.")

Cursing is different—it's when you actively express the hope that something bad will happen to someone, and who knows? They may even deserve it.

When it comes to cursing, I must bow to one of the all-time masters. Gavin Dunbar sat as Archbishop of Glasgow, Scotland, from 1524 to 1547, (and was also Chancellor of Scotland from 1528-1543). His March 31, 1524 'Monition of Cursing,' sometimes also (wrongly) referred to as the Curse of Carlisle, is the longest and most detailed blast of invective of which I am aware. George MacDonald Fraser described him as 'among the great cursers of all time.' I see no reason to disagree with Mr. Fraser.

Archbishop Dunbar was most emphatically not a nice man, and we should not be surprised—after all, he was appointed by the second Pope Clement VII (long story), one of the Medici popes, and the pope who later made his own son Alessandro de Medici Duke of Tuscany. Keep in mind too that the good archbishop and his flock dwelt in 16th-century Scotland, the country where the word for 'fun' --"creac"-- also meant 'heavily-armed cattle-stealing expedition.' For his own part, the Archbishop bludgeoned a rival cleric (David Cardinal Beacon, Archbishop of St. Andrew's) into the hospital on at least one occasion. He also spent a great deal of time persecuting Protestants—burning seven of them at the stake in 1539 alone, including a Franciscan friar-- and one botched burning in 1528 that, due to wet firewood, took six hours to make the end of Patrick Hamilton. Incidentally, the Scottish Church split with the Papacy in 1560 and quickly evolved into a Protestant establishment in its own right.

The subjects of the great spleen-venting of 1524 were the 'Border Reivers,' who were a loose array of 200 or so clans who lived in a roughly 40-mile deep swath along either side of the old Anglo-Scottish border (running roughly from Berwick to Carlisle). From about 1450 to about 1610, the rugged and thinly-populated border country was basically a no-man's-land between the more civilized areas of northern England and Lowland Scotland. If you lived within twenty miles of the border and wanted to wake up alive in the morning, you had best live in a tower house, a sort of dwelling that was really a two-story miniature fortress with no openings on the ground floor, and a narrow stairway or ladder to get in through the door on the second floor. Even then, you would have wanted to sleep with a sharp sword near to hand, and somebody on watch. By comparison, this is when most of the rest of Europe's country folk had given up on living in castles.

These 'borderers' were a poor, violent and frequently treacherous lot who made a living mostly through stealing things from each other, or from anyone else who happened across their path. They were also very fond of feuds, arson, kidnapping, extortion (coining the term 'blackmail') and preemptive revenge (where you kill the other guy first, just in case he might think about killing you someday). In short, reiving; 'reive" is a Scots word for stealing, sometimes anglicized as 'reaver', meaning a thief, thug, or criminal.

In short, the Borderers were rather like the Scottish Highlanders, but without as much of the Victorian-era historical romanticization. Sir Walter Scott's 19th-century portrayal of the Highlander cattle-rustler Rob Roy MacGregor took root in the popular mind and eventually saw a movie made about him starring Liam Neeson, but Walter "Auld Wat" Scott of Harden, one of the nastiest of the border chieftains, never attracted the same attention.

Map of the Border Country, from

"Auld Wat of Harden," by Tom Scott, RSA

National loyalties were a minor thing for most Borderers, though—they were English when it was convenient, and Scottish when that was convenient, and if things got too hot for them in one kingdom they stayed with their kinfolk on the other side of the border until it was safe to go home. Since most of the March Wardens appointed by the English and Scottish kings were drawn from the Borderer families, and they in turn used their own clansmen as law-enforcement muscle, you can imagine just how seriously law and order was taken.

A note for any amateur genealogists out there—if your family is Scottish or English and includes names such as Armstrong, Bell, Cecil, Crozier, Douglas, Elliott, Fenwick, Buckley (also Buccleuch), Forster, Home, Howard, Irvine, Johnstone, Kerr, Maxwell, Nixon, Robson, Scott, Storey, Tait, Hume, Shaftoe, Heron, Watson or Graham, you may have some Reiver ancestors. Please note—these weren't just common bandits. The Howards, Douglases, Grahams, Homes/Humes, and some others were major aristocratic families with branches on either side of the border. The Homes and Howards did a thorough—but not too thorough-- job of beating each others' heads in at the Battle of Flodden in 1513, even though (or perhaps because) there were some of each family on each side.

The thumbnail history of the Monition is this—the years leading up to 1524 had been pretty violent ones on the border, even by Border standards. The machinations of Henry VIII and several years of open warfare between England and Scotland certainly didn't help matters. Reiver bands numbering up to a thousand men were ranging as far north as Edinburgh and Glasgow and as far south as York, burning, looting, and killing, and running off all the livestock they could find, including loot from Church property. Nobody was safe- in one infamous incident, a gang of borderers stole the Bishop of Carlisle's pet fish and held it for ransom—and then killed it after the bishop paid. The new Archbishop of Glasgow, whose archdiocese included most of the Border country, had grown up with the ceaseless border-skirmishing and decided to put the fear of God—or at least the fear of the Archbishop of Glasgow—into the Borderers, or at least those Borderers who were not too busy ransoming fish or murdering each other to listen. Archbishop Dunbar wrote up an absolutely epic monition—a formal order or warning by a bishop or archbishop to refrain from doing something—in the form of a curse, which he then commanded all the clerics under his remit to read from the pulpit and in other public places. The curse is generally thought to have applied particularly to 77 Border clans, but the exact source of that idea is unclear.

Did it work? It's hard to say. In any case, the Borderers kept going for another ninety-odd years or so, until James the First and Sixth became king of both England and Scotland (1602) and decided to stamp out the giant running sore in the middle of his domains. Many of them were rounded up and shipped to Northern Ireland, which through most of the 17th Century served as Britain's dumping-ground for surplus people with short tempers and long swords.

It's worth pointing out that some of the particulars of Archbishop Dunbar's curse—the denial of the Holy Sacraments (except for baptism of infants), the voiding of all obligations by innocent people to Borderers, and the ban on good Christians from having business with Borderers, were both legitimate aspects of medieval and Renaissance-era canon law and church practice, commonly referred to as the Interdict. The Interdict was similar to excommunication, effectively a cutting-off of service by the Church in a specified area or with regards to a specific cleric or layman, analogous to the electrical company turning out the lights for nonpayment of bills; no Masses celebrated, no confessions or penance, no Eucharist, no weddings, no shriving of the dying, none of the essential 'smells and bells' that made late-medieval, pre-Reformation life navigable. All of this happened, of course, at the peril of the offender's soul, since to be denied the sacraments essentially meant a short trip to hell, so it was a very blunt way of saying 'behave or else.' Pope Innocent III once kept the entire Kingdom of England under the Interdict for eight years (1208-1215), due to a fight with King John (of Robin Hood fame) over who should be the next Archbishop of Canterbury, and only eased off when he started worrying that the English would give up on Christianity altogether if they went too long without being exposed to it. From the churchman's perspective, this monition was very serious business indeed.

The Monition went down as one of those odd little footnotes to history that I love so much, and it's recently become something of a pop-culture curiosity in Scotland and northern England. The term "The Curse of Carlisle" came about in large part because the city council of Carlisle decided that for the millennium celebrations, it was worth making a nod to this interesting bit of the region's history. The city then commissioned a local artist to carve the text of the curse –- all 1,000-plus words—into a spherical granite boulder which would be displayed as a monument. Christian groups objected, particularly after it became known that the artist had elected to carve the stone so that you have to walk widdershins (counterclockwise) around the stone in order to read it—Church groups claimed that it was a pagan stunt, as well as objecting because the curse's text supposedly included Biblical references (allegedly
Philippians, Chapter 4 Verse 6) in a context which certain parties viewed as blasphemous. Here's a novel thought-- if you want to read English from left to right on a round thing, you'd have to walk counterclockwise around it anyways. Human nature being what it is, the 'cursing stone' was subsequently blamed for bringing bad luck to the city, including an outbreak of hoof-and-mouth disease, a flood, various crimes, rising unemployment, a major fire, and worst of all, the local football team, Carlisle United, being dropped down a league.

Anyways, on to the Monition itself! The original text is directly below, in 16th-century Scots and obtained from G. M. Fraser's history of the border country, titled The Steel Bonnets, and my own transliteration is below that. I don't want to hear any whining from people at work about how easy it is to do history—just you try and make sense of this! The past was a different country, and languages were different then too. For one thing, spelling and punctuation were definitely optional, and you don't even want to know about penmanship.

Original 1524 version:

"Gude folks, heir at my Archibischop of Glasgwis letters under his round sele, direct to me or any uther chapellane, makand mensioun, with greit regrait, how hevy he beris the pietous, lamentabill, and dolorous complaint that pass our all realme and commis to his eris, be oppin voce and fame, how our souverane lordis trew liegis, men, wiffis and barnys, bocht and redeimit be the precious blude of our Salviour Jhesu Crist, and levand in his lawis, are saikleslie part murdrist, part slayne, brynt, heryit, spulziet and reft, oppinly on day licht and under silens of the nicht, and thair takis and landis laid waist, and thair self banyst therfra, als wele kirklandis as utheris, be commoun tratouris, ravaris, theiffis, dulleand in the south part of this realme, sic as Tevidale, Esdale, Liddisdale, Ewisdale, Nedisdale, and Annandereaill; quhilis hes bene diverse ways persewit and punist be the temperale swerd and our Soverane Lordis auctorite, and dredis nocht the samyn.

And thairfoir my said Lord Archbischop of Glasgw hes thocht expedient to strike thame with the terribill swerd of halykirk, quhilk thai may nocht lang endur and resist; and has chargeit me, or any uther chapellane, to denounce, declair and proclame thaim oppinly and generalie cursit, at this market-croce, and all utheris public places.

Hairfor throw the auctorite of Almichty God, the Fader of hevin, his Son, our Saviour, Jhesu Crist, and of the Halygaist; throw the auctorite of the Blissit Virgin Sanct Mary, Sanct Michael, Sanct Gabriell, and all the angellis; Sanct John the Baptist, and all the haly patriarkis and prophets; Sanct Peter, Sanct Paull, Sanct Andro, and all haly appostillis; Sanct Stephin, Sanct Laurence, and all haly mertheris; Sanct Gile, Sanct Martyn, and all haly confessouris; Sanct Anne, Sanct Katherin, and all haly virginis and matronis; and of all the sanctis and haly company of hevin; be the auctorite of our Haly Fader the Paip and his cardinalis, aned of my said Lord Archibischop of Glasgw, be the avise and assistance of my lordis, archibischop, bischopis, abbotis, priouris, and utheris prelatis and minesteris of halykirk.

I denounce, proclamis, and declaris all and sindry the committaris of the said saikles murthris, slauchteris, brinying, heirchippes, reiffis, thiftis and spulezeis, oppinly apon day licht and under silence ofnicht, alswele within temporale landis as kirklandis; togither with thair partakeris, assitaris, supplearis, wittandlie resettaris of thair personis, the gudes reft and stollen be thaim, art or part thereof, and their counsalouris and defendouris, of thair evil dedis generalie CURSIT, waryit, aggregeite, and reaggregeite, with the GREIT CURSING.

I curse their heid and all the haris of thair heid; I curse thair face, thair ene, thair mouth, thair neise, thair tongue, thair teeth, thair crag, thair shoulderis, thair breist, thair hert, thair stomok, thair bak, thair wame, thair armes, thais leggis, thair handis, thair feit, and everilk part of thair body, frae the top of their heid to the soill of thair feet, befoir and behind, within and without.

I curse thaim gangand, and I curse them rydand; I curse thaim standand, and I curse thaim sittand; I curse thaim etand, I curse thaim drinkand; I curse thaim walkand, I curse thaim sleepand; I curse thaim risand, I curse thaim lyand; I curse thaim at hame, I curse thaim fra hame; I curse thaim within the house, I curse thaim without the house; I curse thair wiffis, thair barnis, and thair servandis participand with thaim in their deides. I way thair cornys, thair catales, thair woll, thair scheip, thjair horse, thair swyne, thair geise, thair hennes, and all thair quyk gude. I wary their hallis, thair chalmeris, thair kechingis, thair stanillis, thair barnys, thair biris, thair bernyardis, thair cailyardis thair plewis, thair harrowis, and the gudis and housis that is necessair for their sustentatioun and weilfair.

All the malesouns and waresouns that ever gat warldlie creatur sen the begynnyng of the world to this hour mot licht on thaim. The maledictioun of God, that lichtit apon Lucifer and all his fallowis, that strak thaim frae the hie hevin to the deip hell, mot licht apon thaimr. The fire and the swerd that stoppit Adam far the yettis of Paradise, mot stop thaim frae the gloire of Hevin. quhill thai forbere and mak amendis. The malesound that lichtit on cursit Cayein, quhen his slew his bruther just Abell saiklessly, mot licth on thaim for the saikles slauchter that thai commit dailie. The maledictioun that lichtit apon all the warlde, man and beist, and all that ever tuk life, quhen all was drownit be the flude of Noye, except Noye and his ark, mot licht apon thame and drouned thame, man and beist, and mak this realm cummirless of thame for thair wicked synnyes. The thunnour and fireflauchtis that set doun as rane apon the cities of Zodoma and Gomora, with all the landis about, and brynt thame for thair vile sunnys, mot rane apon thame, and birne thaim for oppin synnis. Tha malesoun and confusion that lichtit on the Gigantis for thair oppressioun and pride, biggand the tour of Bablloun, mot confound thaim and all thair werkis, for thair opppin reiffs and oppressioun. All the plagis that fell apon Pharao and his pepill of Egipt, thair landis, cornse, and cataill, mot fall apon thaim, thair takkis, rowmys and stedingis, cornys and beistis. The watter of Tweid and utheris watteris quhair thair ride mot droun thaim, as the Reid Say drownit King Pharoao and his pepil of Egipt, sersewing Godis pepill of Israell. The erd mot oppin, riffe and cleiff, and swelly thaim quyk to hell, as it swellyt cursit Dathan and Abiron, that genestude Moeses and the command of God. The wyld fyre that byrnt Thore and his fallowis to the nowmer of twa hundredth and fyty, and utheris 14000 and 7000 at anys, usurpand aganis Moyses and Aaron, servandis of God, not suddanely birne and consume thaim dailie genestandand the commandis of God and halykirk. The malediction that lichtit suddanely upon fair Absalon, rydant contrair his fader, King David, servand of God, throw the wod, quhen the branchis of ane tre fred him of his horse and hangit him be the hair, mot lie apon thaain trew Scottis men, and hang thaim siclike tha all the warld may se. The Maledictioun that lichtit apon Olifernus, lieutenant to Nabogodonooser, makand weair and heirchippis apon trew cristin men, the maledictioun that lichtit apon Judas, Pylot, Herod and the Jowis that chucifyit Our Lord, and all the plagis and trublis that lichtit on the citte of Jherusalme thairfor, and upon Simon Magus for his symony, bludy Nero, cusit Ditius Makcensisu, Olibruis, Julianus Apostita and the laiff of the cruell tirrannis that slew and murthirit Crits haly servandis, mot licth apon thame for thair cruel tiranny and murthirdome of cristin pepill.

And all the vengeance that evir was takin sen the warlde began for oppin synnys, and all the plagis and pestilence that ever fell on man or beist, mot fall on thaim for thair oppin reiff, saiklesse slauchter and schedding of innocent blude. I disserver and pairtis thaim fra the kirk of God, and deliveris thaim quyk to the devill of hell, as the Apostill Sanct Paull deliverit Corinthion. I interdite the places thay cum in fra divine service, minitracioun of the sacramentis of halykirk, except the sacrament of baptissing allenerlie; and forbiddis all kirkmen to schriffe or absolbe thim of theire synnys, quhill they be firs abolyeit of this cursing.

I forbid all cristin man or woman till have ony company with thaime, etand, drynkand, spekand, prayand, lyand, gangand, standand, or in any uther deid doand, under the paine of deidly syn. I discharge all bandis, actis, contractis, athis and obligatiounis made to them by ony persounis, outher of lawte, kyndenes or manrent, salang as thai susteined this cursing, sub that na man be bundin to thaim, and that this be bundin till all men. I tak fra thame and cryis douned all the gude dedis that ever thai did or sall do, quhill thai rise froae this cursing. I declare thaim partles of of all matynys, messis, evinsangis, dirigeis or utheris prayeris, on buke or beid; of all pilgrimagis and almouse deids done or to be done in halykirk or be cristin pepill, enduring this cursing.

And, finally, I condemn thaim perpetualie to the deip pit of hell, the remain with Lucifer and all his fallowis, and thair bodeis to the gallows of the Burrow Mure, first to be hangit, syne revin and ruggit with doggis, swyne, and utheris wyld beists, abhominable to all the warld. And their candillis gangis frae your sicht, ast mot their saulis gang fra the visage of God, and thair gude faim fra the warld, quhill thai forbeir thair oppin synnys foirsaidis and ryse frae this terribill cursing, and mak satisfaction and pennance."

Lurkers' Version:

"Good folks, here are my Archbishop of Glasgow's letters under his round seal, [which] direct me or any other chaplain to make mention, with great regret, how heavy he bears the piteous, lamentable, and dolorous complaint that pass our all realm and comes to his ears, be open voice and fame, how our sovereign lord's [meaning the King of Scotland] true subjects, men, wives and children, bought and redeemed be the precious blood of our Savior Jesus Christ, and living by his laws, are pointlessly murdered, slain, burnt, hurt, despoiled and robbed, openly by daylight and under silence of the night, and their belongings and lands laid waste, and their selves driven there from, on church lands as well as others, by common traitors, reavers, and thieves dwelling in the south part of this realm, such as Teviotdale, Eskdale, Liddsdale, Ewisdale, Nithsdale, and Annanderdale; who have been in diverse ways pursued and punished by the temporal [worldly] sword and our Sovereign Lord's authority, and dread not the same.

And therefore my said Lord Archbishop of Glasgow has thought it expedient to strike them with the terrible sword of Holy Church, which they may not long endure and resist; and has charged me, or any other chaplain, to denounce, declare and proclaim them openly and generally cursed, at this market-cross, and all other public places.

Therefore, through the authority of Almighty God, the Father of Heaven, his Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Ghost; through the authority of the of the Blessed Virgin Saint Mary, Saint Michael, Saint Gabriel, and all the angels; Saint John the Baptist and all the holy patriarchs and prophets; Saint Peter, Saint Paul, Saint Andrew [the patron saint of Scotland], and all holy apostles; Saint Stephen, Saint Lawrence, and all holy martyrs; Saint Giles, Saint Martin, and all holy confessors; Saint Anne, Saint Katherine, and all holy virgins and matrons; and of all the saintly and holy company of Heaven; by the authority of our Holy Father the Pope and his cardinals, and of my said Lord Archbishop of Glasgow, with the advice and assistance of my lords, archbishop, bishops, abbots, priors, and other prelates and ministers of the Holy Church:

I denounce, proclaim, and declare all and sundry the committers of the said pointless murders, slaughters, burnings, cattle-stealings, reavings, thefts and despoliations, openly by daylight and under silence of night, as well within temporal lands as on Church lands; together with their partakers, assistors, suppliers, knowing receivers of their persons, the goods reaved and stolen by them, art or part thereof, and their counselors and defenders, of their evil deeds generally CURSED, separately, aggregate, and reaggragate, with the GREAT CURSING.

"I curse their head and all the hairs of their head; I curse their face, their mind, their mouth, their nose, their tongue, their teeth, their forehead, their shoulders, their breast, their heart, their stomach, their back, their womb, their arms, their legs, their hands, their feet, and every part of their body, from the top of their head to the soles of their feet, before and behind, within and without."

"I curse them going and I curse them riding; I curse them standing and I curse them sitting; I curse them eating and I curse them drinking; I curse them rising, and I curse them lying; I curse them at home, I curse them away from home, I curse them within the house, I curse them outside of the house. I curse their wives, their children, and their servants who participate in their deeds. I curse their grain, their cattle, their wool, their sheep, their horses, their swine, their geese, their hens, and all their livestock. I curse their halls, their chambers, their kitchens, their stanchions, their barns, their cowsheds, their barnyards, their cabbage patches, their plows, their harrows, and the goods and houses that are necessary for their sustenance and welfare."

"May all the malevolent wishes and curses ever known, from the beginning of the world to this hour, light on them. May the malediction of God, that fell upon Lucifer and all his fellows, that cast them from the high Heaven to the deep hell, light upon them."

"May the fire and the sword that barred Adam from the gates of Paradise stop them from the glory of Heaven until they forebear and make amends."

"May the evil that fell upon cursed Cain, when he slew his brother Abel without cause, fall on them for the needless slaughter that they commit daily."

"May the malediction that fell upon all the world, man and beast, and all that ever took life, when all were drowned by the flood of Noah, except Noah and his ark, fall upon them and drown them, man and beast, and make this realm free of them, for their wicked sins."

"May the thunder and lightning which rained down upon Sodom and Gomorrah and all the lands surrounding them, and burned them for their vile sins, rain down upon them and burn them for their open sins. May the evil and confusion that fell on the Giants for their oppression and pride in building the Tower of Babylon, confound them and all their works, for their open callous disregard and oppression."

"May all the plagues that fell upon Pharaoh and his people of Egypt, their lands, crops and cattle, fall upon them, their equipment, their places, their lands, their crops and livestock."

"May the waters of the Tweed and other waters which they use drown them as the Red Sea drowned King Pharaoh and the people of Egypt, preserving God's people of Israel."

"May the earth open, split and cleave, and swallow them straight to hell, as it swallowed cursed Dathan and Abiron, who disobeyed Moses and the command of God."

"May the wild fire that reduced Thore (?) and his followers to two hundred and fifty in number, and others from 14,000 to 7,000 for usurping against Moses and Aaron, the servants of God, suddenly burn and consume them daily, for opposing the commands of God and Holy Church."

"May the malediction that suddenly fell upon fair Absalom, riding through the wood against his father, King David, when the branches of a tree knocked him from his horse and hanged him by the hair, fall upon these untrue Scotsmen and hang them the same way, that all the world may see."

"May the malediction that fell upon Nebuchadnezzar's lieutenant, Holofernes, making war and savagery upon true Christian men; the malediction that fell upon Judas, Pilate, Herod, and the Jews that crucified Our Lord; and all the plagues and troubles that fell on the city of Jerusalem therefore, and upon Simon Magus for his treachery, bloody Nero, Ditius Magcensius, Olibrius, Julian the Apostate, and the rest of the cruel tyrants who slew and murdered Christ's holy servants, fall upon them for their cruel tyranny and murder of Christian people."

"And may all the vengeance that ever was taken since the world began, for open sins, and all the plagues and pestilence that ever fell on man or beast, fall on them for their openly evil ways, senseless slaughter and shedding of innocent blood."

"I sever and part them from the church of God, and deliver them immediately to the devil of hell, as the Apostle Paul delivered Corinth. I bar the entrance of all places they come to, for divine service and ministration of the sacraments of holy church, except the sacrament of infant baptism only; and I forbid all churchmen to hear their confession or to absolve them of their sins, until they are first humbled by this curse."

"I forbid all Christian men or women to have any company with them, eating, drinking, speaking, praying, lying, going, standing, or in any other deed-doing, under the pain of deadly sin."

"I discharge all bonds, acts, contracts, oaths, made to them by any persons, out of loyalty, kindness, or personal duty, so long as they sustain this cursing, by which no man will be bound to them, and this will be binding on all men."

"I take from them and cast down all the good deeds that ever they did, or shall do, until they rise from this cursing."

"I declare them excluded from all matins, masses, evening prayers, funerals or other prayers, on book or bead (rosary); of all pilgrimages and alms deeds done, or to be done in holy church or be Christian people, while this curse is in effect."

"And, finally, I condemn them perpetually to the deep pit of hell, there to remain with Lucifer and all his fellows, and their bodies to the gallows of Borough moor [the place of execution], first to be hanged, then ripped and torn by dogs, swine, and other wild beasts, abominable to all the world. And their candle [light of their life, a euphemism for soul] goes from your sight, so may their souls go from the face of God, and their good reputation from the world, until they forebear their open sins, aforesaid, and rise from this terrible cursing and make satisfaction and penance."



About all I can say is that it's good to hear the church really speaking out on the social issues that matter to the common man.

Yes, I'm cribbing from Blackadder again. I admit it. Ironically enough, one of Archbishop Dunbar's predecessors was named Robert Blackadder. The following exchange is from Blackadder II, Money, between Edmund Blackadder and the Baby-Eating Bishop of Bath and Wells, who could have been Archbishop Dunbar's drinking buddy:

Edmund: You enjoy your work, don't you?

Bishop: Bits of it, yeah.

Edmund: The violent bits.

Bishop: Yes. (begins massaging Edmund's shoulders) You see, I am a colossal pervert. No form of sexual depravity is too low for me. Animal, vegetable or mineral -- I'll do anything to anything.

Edmund: Fine words for a Bishop. It's nice to hear the Church speaking out for a change on social issues.

Bishop: Have you got the money?

Edmund: Nope.

Bishop: Good. I hate it when people pay up. Say your prayers, Blackadder. (holds out the red-hot poker) IT'S POKER TIME!!!

Edmund: Fine. (closes the book and sets it down, then stands) Are you ever concerned that people might find you out?

Bishop: No. No, no, I kill, I maim, I fornicate, but as far as my flock is concerned my only vice is a little tipple before Evensong. (Baldrick hands him a drink) Oh, thank you.


[Edmund complies]

Bishop: THIS IS WHERE YOU GET-- (staggers backward, choking) DRUGGED, BY GOD!

Edmund: No, by Baldrick, actually… but the effect is much the same.

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