Too Pooped to Pope!

Imbolc                                                           Valentine Moon

Cybermage Bill Schmidt held the hot hand tonight in Sheepshead.  He just kept winning.  And came out ahead, well ahead for the evening.  The card gods blessed him in his coming and in his going.  My cards were middling.  In the black, but barely.

Since this is three ex-Jesuits, a very engaged Catholic layman, and me, a former clergy, talk turned to the Pope.  One guy thought the headline for Benedict’s resignation should have been:  Too Pooped to Pope!  Great line.

The Vatican has always fascinated me.  Partly the mystery and secrecy, the Vatican library for example.  Partly its nation-state status inside the city limits of Rome.  Partly its peculiar prominence among the world’s religions.  Partly the long history and partly its long reach.  Partly the great outfits.  Surely the great art.

Kate and I sent the thank-you notes for our wedding, penned over the Atlantic on a Pan-Am airliner, from the Vatican Post Office.  We also first had what we call Popeteria salad (mozzarella and tomatoes with basil and olive oil) in the cafeteria of the Vatican Museum.  When we were there in March of 1990, the Last Judgment was still in the process of being cleaned, but the rest was, well, pristine.  Ha, ha.

Michelangelo. Raphael. Bernini. Great and illustrious names in Italian art decorated–decorated–St. Peter’s, the chapels, apartments and even the hallways.  The Vatican is a great monument to the power of the Western artistic vision as well as the power of the papacy and the curia.

Sede vacante.  The chair is empty.  Now the inside ball, politicking without politicking.  Running without running.  Men in cardinal soutanes and small cardinal berettas file in and begin a centuries old tradition, an oligarchy of the church chooses their monarch.

Set aside the metaphysics, this is just plain interesting from a human and organizational and historical perspective.

 

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