Eating dust and ashes

I have a certain admiration for the vigorous anti-Catholic one-liners of Edward Benson, Archbishop of Canterbury (1883-1896). Here is another one.

In 1887, Leo XIII celebrated the Golden Jubilee of his ordination to the priesthood.  Archbishop Benson's friend, Canon Mason, suggested he might send the Pope a gift "in the hope that an act of personal kindness might smooth the way towards the healing of the schism ". Benson replied*:

It is the Pope's business to eat dust and ashes, not mine to decorate him. Therefore, my dear Mephibosheth†, hold thy peace.



*A. C. Benson, The Life of Edward White Benson, sometime Archbishop of Canterbury, 2 volumes, (London: Macmilan, 1899), vol. 2, ch.11, p.586, letter of 27th November 1887.

† Mephibosheth was the son of David's friend Jonathan who appears in 2 Samuel 4, 9, 16, 19 & 21 (those are all chapter numbers) - Benson quotes 2 Sam 14:19 at the beginning of his letter to Mason. As a grandson of Saul Mephibosheth might be thought to have been a threat to David's rule. In 2 Sam 16 his servant Ziba tells David that Mephibosheth remains in Jerusalem expecting to be given the throne of his grandfather. It turns out in chapter 19 that this was a lie. Benson gives that name to Mason to say "I know you are loyal but you appear to be disloyal".