True Humility

Sent by a priest friend…

True Humility

Bishop: “I’m afraid you’ve got a bad egg, Mr Jones”.

Curate: “Oh, no, my Lord, I assure you that parts of it are excellent!”

Thus, the origin of the phrase “The Curate’s Egg“, describing something mostly or partly bad, but also partly good.

This is from Punch of 9 November 1895 by George du Maurier.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Animadversor says:

    Except, of course, a soft-boiled egg (which is what I think we must have here) with any bad “parts” is necessarily wholly vitiated, so this is about the absurd depth of preposterousness to which the curate is prepared to crawl that he might avoid even the most infinitesimal possibility of offending his bishop, i.e., he’s sucking up to him, and I’m not sure that this is quite humility. Thank goodness this sort of thing was apparently limited to nineteenth century Anglican clergy; I should hate to think of the consequences for us Catholics if our priests took that line with their bishops.

  2. Animadversor says:

    There is a a little more at The Word Detective.

  3. As one who regularly hears cackles from his backyard signaling another fresh egg being laid, the Bear knows his mate would never serve him even a partly bad egg, because she loves him and and is quite sensible about these matters. Nor after sniffing it, would he or any self-respecting Bear eat a bad egg. Bears love to eat bad children, however, or so you should tell your little ones.

    [I hear you. Alas, sometimes in times of dire straits, less than fresh eggs are all that are available (e.g., After the Sack of Rome by Alaric in 410, Rome and her economy didn’t recover for hundreds of years and the City’s population declined by 90% due to plague and famine. Some of the survivors might have thought that even bad eggs were helpful in some way. In 1235 there was a famine in England that killed 20000 people in London alone. In the early 1700’s there was a famine in my native Prussia that killed over 40% of the population. Leningrad in 1941… one million people died in hunger and temperatures of -40. In the Great Famine in China around 1960 15 million people died. No, I am not comparing Vatican II and the hegemony of modernists to the invasion of Russia by the armies of the Reich, not am I comparing the post-conciliar liturgical chaos inflicted on the People of God to the Great Leap Forward…. Finally, you are certainly happy in the presence of the egg-discerning Mrs. Bear.]


  4. Antony says:

    Unless the bad egg smells of bitter almonds. In that case, playing catch with the baby griz might be the better choice.

  5. LudiDomestici says:

    From Wikipedia:

    “The final issue of Punch, published in 1992, reprinted the cartoon with the caption: Curate: This f***ing egg’s off! [5] Thus Punch drew a contrast with the modern era, implying that younger people have little concern for the niceties of Victorian good manners towards those once considered their social superiors.”

  6. The Masked Chicken says:

    His humility was not egg-zagerated.

    The Chicken

  7. Raymond says:

    I am reminded of the scene in the 2008 movie “Doubt”, when during dinner in the convent, the young Sister James (Amy Adams) spits out what seems to be a bad morsel of food. The older Sister Aloysius glares at her without saying a word, and Sister James promptly swallows the bad piece of food that she had just spit out.

    I’ve been to some friends and relatives’ houses before where I was served food that was less than appetizing for my taste buds. I humbly ate the serving on my plate and declined offers for seconds.

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