This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

February 24 -- Feast of St. Praetextus

I was afraid I would have to pun my way through this post with some variations on the word pretext, but fortunately, a little extra reading made that unnecessary. St. Praetextus offers us an interesting pair of choices.

First, your godson, the crown prince of Neustria, is having a scandalous affair with the widow of King Sigebert of Austasia. Do you tell your friend King Childeric that his son Merovech is shacking up with a foreign monarch? Do you rush a marriage to prevent a scandal? Do you stick your head in the baptismal font and wish it would all go away?

If you married them to prevent scandal, you're halfway to the scaffold. It seems good Queen Brunhilda persuaded the foolish Merovech to rebel against his father and your (okay, Praetextus') decision enmeshed him in the rebellion. It was a lending aid and comfort to the enemy charge. That brings us to decision number two.

Once you're in the dock and the executioner is sharpening his axe, do you stand firm and deny your guilt? Cop a plea and take a post in exile? Bribe the guards and hide out in Rome? Drop to your knees and beg for mercy from the King?

Yeah, I would have gone to Rome too, but wise old Praetextus took the spot in Jersey (Old, not New). He hung out there until Childeric's death, upon which the King of Burgundy (and regent for young Clotaire II) invited him to return.

Once back in your old job, do you pour a glass of burgundy and drink to the kindness of your new patron, promising to make no more trouble? Make a pilgrimage to Rome in gratitude for your restoration? Denounce the ex-Queen Fredegund for having murdered Childeric, the King who exiled you?

Maybe the last one is a little deceptive, since Praetextus also thought the Queen had murdered Sigebert (her brother-in-law), Clovis (her stepson), and Merovech (her other stepson).

Still, snitches get stitches. Pratextus was assassinated on the Queen's orders. And little Clotaire? He grew up to be a cruel little king, racking the old Queen Brunhilda (Remember her? The Merry Widow of Austrasia who married Clotaire's half-brother Merovech?) for three days before ordering her torn asunder by four goaded horses.

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