St. Columbkille, Patron Saint of BitTorrenters and Net Piracy

St. Columbkille, Patron Saint of BitTorrenters and Net Piracy


I propose that we name St. Columbkille (Columba/Colmcille) as the patron saint of BitTorrent and other forms of Net piracy.

Tradition asserts that, sometime around 560, he became involved in a quarrel with Saint Finnian of Moville over a psalter. Columba copied the manuscript at the scriptorium under Saint Finnian, intending to keep the copy. Saint Finnian disputed his right to keep the copy. The dispute eventually led to the pitched Battle of Cúl Dreimhne in 561, during which many men were killed. Columba’s copy of the psalter has been traditionally associated with the Cathach of St. Columba. A synod of clerics and scholars threatened to excommunicate him for these deaths, but St. Brendan of Birr spoke on his behalf with the result that he was allowed to go into exile instead. Columba suggested that he would work as a missionary in Scotland to help convert as many people as had been killed in the battle. He exiled himself from Ireland, to return only once again, several years later.

So St. Columba made an “illegal” copy of someone else’s property and so defended his right to make such an unauthorized copy that he was willing to go to war over it. Sounds like a lot of Net pirates I’ve encountered.

Photo of Cathach of St. Columba in the public domain via Wikipedia Commons.

  • This is a great idea, Dom.  St. Columba could also be the patron of the open-source movement!

  • As the photo caption at the bottom clearly indicates, if you’d bothered to read it, the image is in the public domain. Click on the link in the caption and you will see the public domain statement.

    Of course, you could have done the polite thing and email me directly, but instead you chose to be rude and post a public comment and thereby attempt to embarrass me. Poor form.

    On the other hand, if your comment was not intended that way, I’ll be glad to accept an apology.

    Update: Of course, you could also have meant it ironically given the content of the post, in which case I have egg on my face and I have to apologize.

    I got to stop leaving my outrage half-cocked and ready to go off at the slightest provocation.