I'm rather terribly embarrassed about writing this ... it's not the sort of thing Nanny expected one to talk about in public ... after all, this is a Family Blog ... but, well, I was at Waitrose stocking up on smoked salmon (they sell a variety which is not cluttered up with all those daft little slithers of transparent plastic), when my Instinctive Responses suggested that, before catching the 'bus home, it might be comforting to, er, void my, er, bladder. So I went to, er, the PAC (Publicly Available Commode, Americane 'restroom').
Dear me. I was wearing trousers, pants, a capacious pullover, a long dangly scarf (my Wife's College), a waterproof. It was not a warm day. (This year, we got summer out of the way in February during Torpids.)
The good news is that I do have two hands. Using these with all the complex skills born of nearly eight decades, graduating in due course from elementary potty training, I was able to achieve my purposes without mishap, or whatever the American is for 'mishap'. I couldn't suppress a thought that a Wiser Providence ... I hope this isn't disrespectful ... let's say an Even Wiser Providence ... could helpfully have provided male humans with three hands, if not four. Perhaps, if Mr Darwin is right, we shall evolve an extra hand over the next few millennia. No; don't write in screaming about how I'm not really a Traditional Catholic or I wouldn't have mentioned Evolution. I'm just not in the mood for opening up warfare on yet another front.
Yes. Fronts. That's it. At this moment I thought about Cardinal Pell, whom I once had the pleasure of meeting at Knock when we both adressed the Irish Confraternity of Catholic Clergy. I think it might have been an occasion when I read my Paper on how a pope who tried to suppress the Vetus Ordo would be acting ultra vires. I particularly enjoy reading that Paper. I modestly feel that it goes with a zing.
Like me, Pell only has two hands; larger and more eminent ones than mine, I grant you, but still subject to all the same fundamental terrestrial limitations.
Assuming that, for solemn Mass in his Cathedral Church, the Cardinal Archbishop will have been wearing pants, trousers (do they favour zips or buttons in Oz?), soutane (with buttons), alb, girdle, stole, dalmatic, pectoral cross, chasuble, and pallium (praetereo Cappam Magnam), how, er, um, how on earth inguen ita suum a vestibus liberare potuisset ut minctum sine periculo tute perageret, non dicam stuprum?
Phew. Why didn't I write this whole piece in Latin? It's so much easier than English. I'm sure English must be the product only of God's permissive will.
Do you think newly created cardiinals attend specially designed Training Sessions praeside et magistro eminentissimo domino Cardinale Coccopalmerio?
24 March 2019
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I find this a strange piece from one so erudite. Do you expect people to believe George Pell would only ever have been in his cathedral for Solemn Mass and fully vested? That this is the only possible time a bishop may have been around his cathedral. Perhaps he committed the crimes for which he was found guilty by the court of a democratic country whilst in everyday clerical garb in a cathedral that did not contain as many people as there would be around when a major liturgical was due to be, was or had just been celebrated. I have seen my diocesan bishop in the cathedral precincts on a number of occasions at quiet times on weekdays. i do not, of course, suggest that he was about anything nefarious just that he was around, alone and at a time when the cathedral was quiet.
The American for 'mishap' is "mishap".
The first suit I was measured for, the tailor asked whether I should prefer a zip or buttons for the fly.
"What do you suggest?" I said.
"Well, sir, you are unmarried, are you not? In that case I should recommend buttons. You could if necessary sew a button back on, but you would need a wife to replace a broken zip."
I'm not sure one could say that, these days.
Roughly the same thoughts had occurred to me about the evidence as reported. Also, would a Cardinal Archbishop really be alone in the sacristy after Mass, and for some for extended period? All sorts of people would have been coming and going. He would have had to close the sacristy door first and lock it from the inside too, which would have been quickly noticed. In fact, would the Cardinal actually have a key to the sacristy about his episcopal person? That's what sacristans are for. I do not doubt that awful crimes can be and have been committed even by very senior clerics, but this story as presented has the feel of a lurid anti-clerical imagination without any understanding of how church life actually functions on the ground. The setting, the scenario, and the details are just not the way these things seem likely to happen.
Too, too wickedly funny. Except considering the great injustice to Cardinal Pell that has put every priest in jeopardy from civil authorities. They were already under spiritual attack and now, with knifings in France and Canada, even physical attack. We must pray for them.
PDLeck, please acquaint yourself with the evidence in Cardinal Pell's case. What our erudite host describes is exactly what was alleged: a fully vested Archbishop somehow alone in the sacristy immediately after Sunday Solemn Mass.
@PDLeck: Clearly, you are quite unaware of the actual allegations made against Cardinal Pell. They were specific both as to the occasion and as to the circumstances of the purported offence. And they plainly strain the bounds of credibility well beyond breaking point. The judge, however, chose to refuse to allow in evidence for the defence anything which might indicate the sheer practical implausibility of the allegations. Or, to put it another way, he refused to allow anything which might undermine the prosecution case.
This is as blatant a case of miscarriage of justice against a member of a disfavoured religious minority as any since that of Dreyfus.
@PDLeck: one would expect that, before commenting, you would have read what exactly Cardinal Pell was found guilty by the courts of Australia...
Because the accusation clearly states that he was wearing his full robes
Mr PDLeck, Had you read the evidence upon which His Eminence was convicted (widely available all over the Internet) you would find that a) the alleged incident took place immediately after Mass, a time when there are indeed invariably many people around, and b) it is claimed by the prosecution that the Cardinal remained fully vested during the alleged incident, in soutane, alb, cincture chasuble, stole... All of which would tend to get in the way.
Your comments are, there, while logical, not germane to this matter.
What doesn't seem to have been noted is the sychophantic nature of clergy and laity who are incapable of leaving a bishop alone in a church, most especially if he leaves a procession early.
If one googles Cardinal Pell Solemn Mass and then clicks on the images tab, there are umpteen photos of His Eminence offering the Mass. In a very large quantity, he is clearly wearing a cassock-alb under a light chasuble.
I do not know whether or not he is guilty of the offences for which he has been convicted by a jury. One hopes that juries get it right but we all know they are not infallible.
But let us not pretend that it would have been impossible because of his vesture.
In worrying that Nanny might frown on any mention of Cardinal Coccopalmerio, you are surely right.
A friend who has been a chorister at another cathedral tells me that she has never seen the bishop alone after Sunday's solemn Mass. He is always being buttonholed, even in the sacristy, by people out to exploit the chance to talk to him without making an appointment.
If you can bear it, follow the link from the county court website to the official text of the learned judge's sentencing remarks. You will find narrated there at paragraph 16 an account of events (charges 3 and 4) which would be physically impossible unless he had three hands. Kafka meets Monty Python.
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