Monday, January 25, 2010

Contra Trolles

Their mouth is full of cursing, guile, oppression; mischief and deceit are under their tongue.

— Psalm 10((B):7, Grail Version (changed from singular to plural*).

[* We all know, in regard to the wicked, that their name is Legion, for they are many.]

Strange how things come back to you... I am musing on a Malediction against Trolls (unfortunately I gave my copy of Benedictine Maledictions - I'm not joking, it details the texts and practice of liturgical cursing - to the Dominican Studium Library in Melbourne: dear me, I just knew I should've kept it handy), and this appropriate psalm-verse came to mind from the years when I used the modern Office.

I think it's time to set-to in the Office of Liturgical Repristination and Innovation (nature abhors a vacuum, and this particular set of rooms, starkly appointed in Danish Modern, hasn't seen full-time use since Bugnini went to Tehran; luckily, I have a key), and prepare a suitable Ordo.

Now, let me see... as I recall from that book, a proper sacramental malediction is prayed at Mass, either before the Embolism (as at Nuptial Mass, mutatis mutandis) or afterward (yet before the Pax Domini, lest there be an unseemly juxtaposition of themes)... Hmm, it must be directly after the Sed libera nos a malo, now I think about it logically.

The Benedictines of Carolingian times, who employed these curses to beg God to blast their enemies and their knavish devices, would all prostrate themselves before the altar, specially loaded with all their sacred relics arranged thereon for the more easy access to their supernatural power, and recite long formulæ of malediction, many of which were derived (as was the fashion) from the Old Testament exemplars of such.  They were driven to employ such forms (as am I) by their helplessness in the face of rabid enemies, who were envious of their goods and despised them, particularly as, like St John the Baptist, their pious lives were a standing affront to the wicked (as the Book of Wisdom notes) - the truth enrages those who wish not their evil be known.

On the theme of de malo, what on earth is the Latin for (internet) troll?  I think it comes via the Brothers Grimm, ultimately from Scandinavian folklore - and a quick check shews it does stem from Old Norse.  Amusingly, it is first recorded as used in Scots, that brother to English, way back when, recording the crimes of a witch in the Shetland Islands.

I suppose one treats troll as indeclinable, as if it were a Hebrew word; but just maybe it could be dealt with as if it were third declension, since that's the class for nouns whose nominative ends in a consonant - hence contra trolles (the preposition takes the accusative).

Any suggestions as to what creature of Græco-Roman mythology best answers to a troll?  I can think of that pesky Japanese demon that lurks under bridges, but that doesn't help...  I'll enquire of Fr Hunwicke, that learnèd scholar.

There is only one liturgical malediction still available for official use according to the prescriptions of Summorum Pontificum: an imprecation against pests (eureka! that should do nicely!) in the Roman Ritual, which I append as follows - apologies for the translation, which is a sort of proto-ICEL rendering of the Latin; I suppose a curse oughtn't be a thing of beauty:


The priest vests in surplice and purple stole, and coming to the field or place infested with these creatures [I suppose that means he comes to a computer screen with web browser displaying the affected blog - it would be rather difficult to find and physically visit the actual hard drive accommodating it], says

Antiphon: Arise, Lord, help us; and deliver us for your kindness' sake. 
Ps 43.1: O God, our ears have heard, our fathers have declared to us.
All: Glory be to the Father...
Priest: As it was in the beginning...
All Ant.: Arise, Lord, help us; and deliver us for your kindness' sake.

P: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
All: Who made heaven and earth.
P: Lord, heed my prayer.
All: And let my cry be heard by you.
P: The Lord be with you.
All: May He also be with you.

Let us pray.
We entreat you, Lord, be pleased to hear our prayers; and even though we rightly deserve, on account of our sins, this plague of mice (or locusts, worms, etc. [here the priest inserts the word trolls]), yet mercifully deliver us for your kindness' sake. Let this plague be expelled by your power, and our land and fields [i.e., the notional field of this blog] be left fertile, so that all it produces redound to your glory and serve our necessities; through Christ our Lord.
All: Amen.

Let us pray.
Almighty everlasting God, the donor of all good things, and the most merciful pardoner of our sins; before whom all creatures bow down in adoration, those in heaven, on earth, and below the earth; preserve us sinners by your might, that whatever we undertake with trust in your protection may meet with success by your grace. 
And now as we utter a curse on these noxious pests, 
may they be cursed by you; 
as we seek to destroy them, 
may they be destroyed by you; 
as we seek to exterminate them, 
may they be exterminated by you; 
so that delivered from this plague by your goodness, we may freely offer thanks to your majesty; through Christ our Lord.
All: Amen.

Exorcism: I cast out you noxious vermin, by God + the Father almighty, by Jesus + Christ, His only-begotten Son, and by the Holy + Spirit. May you speedily be banished from our land and fields [blog], lingering here no longer, but passing on to places where you can do no harm.  In the name of the almighty God and the entire heavenly court, as well as in the name of the holy Church of God, 
we pronounce a curse on you, 
that wherever you go you may be cursed, 
decreasing from day to day until you are obliterated. 
Let no remnant of you remain anywhere, 
except what might be necessary for the welfare and use of mankind.  Be pleased to grant our request, you [O Christ,] who are coming to judge both the living and the dead and the world by fire.
All: Amen. 

The places infested are sprinkled with holy water.  [I assume aspersing the computer screen would suffice.]

I shall pray what of this is befitting a layman, and will see what priest would be willing to do the rest if need be (perhaps Fr Tattersall? I missed him in Rome after the Conference, and really ought drop him a line about various matters).  Amen and amen!

1 comment:

Mark said...

"Amusingly, it is first recorded as used in Scots, that brother to English, way back when, recording the crimes of a witch in the Shetland Islands"

Not so amusing, for the Shetland and Orkney Islands are only recently Scots. Their older alliance was to the Norse crown, which makes the Scandinavian connexion even clearer.

All this talk of the Benedictine Maledictions reminds me of, well, firstly your Missa contra amices... but also, it reminds me distinctly of the Book A Canticle for Leibowitz, in which the Holy See (reconstituted in New Rome after an nuclear^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H er...I mean apocalypse) subscribes to a Mass against War, and Pointy Firing Things, etc.

Now, why's the whole thing not in Latin...? Didn't you learn as a lad, that all things nefarious respond, er... 'better' Latin!?