Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Cardinal and the Lady

The particulars of their encounter
are unimportant, but the picture
of the two has sent shock waves
around religious circles.

She is a Methodist minister;
he is an archbishop and cardinal.
She wears an alb and a stole;
he is clad in a Friar Tuck robe.

She looks like a middle-aged mom.
He is a little leprechaun
with white chin whiskers
and a red beanie on his head.

His appearance belies his toughness.
He cleaned up the pedophile mess,
closed declining ethnic churches,
and crushed a laity revolt in his see.

In the ecumenical service they attended,
he spoke and anointed persons present.
Then he paused and asked her
to anoint him, that is to bless him.

What prompted his request?
Was it a planned gesture of fellowship
of a spontaneous, seize the moment,
recognition of another godly person?

Perhaps he was influenced
by the actions of the new pope
to relate to people at their level
and humanize the Catholic clergy.

He has said nothing about the incident.
She said that she was moved to tears
by his request, as recognizing
the holy orders that she possesses.

All the women of my acquaintance
have reacted to the picture with praise
and joy for what it represents,
whatever that may be, now or later.

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