I’ve decided birds are very democratic.
This morning when I was stretching I watched a group of them sharing a bagel that could have used a bit of defrosting. Oblivious to me they pecked this thing for all it was worth that made me wonder if it hurt their tenacious, little beaks. If I could I would have toasted it for them.
I could see myself going into The Nectar on 79th Street asking Steve if he’d mind popping it under the grill.
“No problem,” he’d say, “would they like butter or cream cheese?”
What made the scene special were the 2 cardinals in the mix. They were so spectacular that I hung around longer in order to stare.
Cardinals always remind me of a priest I knew named Joe Brown who died a few years ago. I would write to him without fail every Sunday at the place where the Catholic Diocese basically send the old to die. It infuriates me. When a priest is no longer able to perform his clerical duties he’s retired to one of their many prosaic facilities thus the fate of my faithful friend.
What I loved about Father Brown was that you could tell him anything and he would listen without harsh judgment always reassuring that all would be well.
“Have faith in your creator Susannah,” he would tell me.
I don’t know if you know anything about Catholic priests but some of them can be really cruel. I remember in my 20s going to St. Patrick’s Cathedral for confession only to have the priest on duty kick me out of the confessional because I was living in sin at the time. He said I couldn’t come back until I moved out.
Easy for him to say, he didn’t have to worry about rent.
I was so upset that I wrote the Pope a letter naturally never receiving a response. What if I had been suicidal? How traumatic to be thrown out of a church that way, but let’s get back to Father Brown.
He once told me a story of when he was a young man in the seminary and how a nest of cardinals lived in an eave by his window. In the mornings when he said his prayers aloud they would quietly sit on the sill to listen.
“They were my first congregation,” he told me.
I learned so much about the plight of a priest from reading between the lines of our relationship. They really have it rough, by choice I know but still, it’s not easy striving to be perfect.
The Vatican should allow them to marry being the only sect who can’t. I have a friend who’s a Hare-Krishna and even he has a wife. It’s unnatural for men to be celibate their whole lives, something I truly believe.
They all end up having health issues because the only thing they can legitimately do is eat and drink and many of them do to excess.
I have noticed that some of the younger ones exercise and at least try to maintain a healthy life style but the older ones are another story.
I’m not a big fan of the Catholic Church these days. I believe the sexual scandals that clearly continue would be curbed dramatically if Pope Benedict and his band of pious, pigheaded perpetrators would shape up and get real. Like they suggest in 12 Step, I’ve taken what I’ve liked and have left the rest and memories of a particular priest are among them.
I miss my friend who was so kind and noble never complaining always smiling. When I saw those cardinals this morning after not having a very good weekend due to some unexpected trials, they made me remember that what is going on will pass and all will be well once again.
Thanks Father Brown, I think of you often and hope wherever you are cardinals nest near your window.
“For wherever 2 or more are gathered…”