Ruth Gledhill reports in the London Times that England’s Catholic bishops will be wading into the election campaign with a “controversial” document condemning moral failures and urging a return to the “classical Christian virtues of faith, hope and charity in public and private
life.” Meanwhile, staying with old friends in the Gloucestershire village of Berkeley far from the madding crowd, I paid a visit to the church of St Mary the Virgin, a Norman basilica-style edifice whose doors still show bullet holes from the civil war. It’s hard by Berkeley castle, where Edward II was likely murdered in 1327, and where Mr. and Mrs. (formerly Lord and Lady) Berkeley now reside. The Berkeleys are an old Catholic family–the castle chapel serves as the local Catholic church.
Buried in St Mary’s churchyard is the jester of the Earl of Suffolk, who died in 1727 at the pretty ripe old age of 63. Jonathan Swift is said to have written his epitaph, not without significance for an aging blogger:
HERE LIES THE EARL OF SUFFOLK’S FOOL
MEN CALL’D HIM DICKY PEARCE
HIS FOLLY SERV’D TO MAKE FOLKS LAUGH
WHEN WIT AND MIRTH WERE SCARCE
POOR DICK ALAS IS DEAD AND GONE
WHAT SIGNIFIES TO CRY?
DICKYS ENOUGH ARE STILL BEHIND
TO LAUGH AT BY AND BY