Les Miserables 5: The Bishop in the Presence of an Unfamiliar Light (cont’d)

In the previous post we looked at Monseigneur Bienvenu and his encounter with the conventionist G—-, a dying pariah who lived all by himself on the outskirts of Digne.  Monseigneur Bienvenu was rather harsh with him during the early part of their meeting, but then G—- lit into him with an explosive diatribe accusing him of living richly in the name of Jesus Christ who walked barefoot.  He ended his harangue with the question “Who are you?”, and that is the point where we left off.

And now that you’ve had a couple of days to wait breathlessly for the continuation of this gripping saga, we will pick up right there.

The bishop responded with the Latin phrase “Vermis sum” (I am a worm).  To my mind, the use of the high church Latin right there, in conversation with a conventionist who has just shown a strong distrust for the church, destroys the earnestness of whatever the bishop was trying to communicate.  But perhaps that was all he could have said in that moment.

The conventionist was not too impressed with this response either, because in response he said, “An earthworm in a carriage!” Continue reading “Les Miserables 5: The Bishop in the Presence of an Unfamiliar Light (cont’d)”