Hoorah – a fiesta! Or a solemnity?
I am not sure if it is blasphemous or not but the phrase ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ keeps cropping up lately, either on the telly or in memory as I remember my Ma’s budgetting marathons. I did not know then what an epic struggle it was to feed, clothe and school a large, unruly, complaining and ever-growing family. So I apologise. But not for resenting the ‘1001 things to do with luncheon meat’ diet.
[As an aside, I am researching my gluttony-driven project to find meals which are delicious, nutritious and cheap. A Girl Called Jack does a good job at this.]
The origin of the phrase ( “Decouvrir saint Pierre pour couvrir saint Paul” in French, “Desnudar a uno santo para vestir a otro” in Spanish and “Dem Peter nehmen und dem Paul geben” in German) is obscure…. it may have to do with taxes payable both to Saint Peter’s in Rome and Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London, or to this outcry from the reformer John Wyclif in 1380, believing that the teaching of the Church was contrary to that of the Bible – a debate still alive today:
“Lord, hou schulde God approve that you robbe Petur and gif is robbere to Poule in ye name of Crist?”
This site also smartly raises this Chinese saying, the sense of which is identical:
“Dismantle the east wall to patch up the west wall”
And where did this come from?
Two little dickey birds,
Sitting on a wall;
One named Peter,
One named Paul.Fly away Peter!
Fly away Paul!
Come Back Peter!
Come Back Paul!
- There were two blackbirds
- Sat upon a hill,
- The one was nam’d Jack,
- The other nam’d Gill;
- Fly away Jack,
- Fly away Gill,
- Come again Jack,
- Come again Gill.
These names seem to have been replaced with the apostles Peter and Paul in the 19th century. And here they are:
O holy Apostles, Peter and Paul, intercede for us. Protect, O Lord, your people who trust in the patronage of your Apostles, Peter and Paul, and by their constant protection protect your people. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Note to readers: for some reason, links to other sites do not seem to be coming through on the published page. For this, my apologies.