Meet The Bishopette Of Rome
Delightful sketch of contemporary Catholic life from the Provost of the Brompton Oratory, and reported by Father Ray Blake.
Recently the Oratory Fathers were taken to task at the end of a Sunday High Mass. An elegant woman marched towards the Provost through the lingering fog of incense and demanded to know what we Oratorians thought we were playing at. The causes of consternation included expensive-looking flower arrangements at the Lady Altar, vestments and golden vessels that had been spotted in the Sanctuary. Surely these extravagances were from funds that should have been given to the poor?
It was explained that the flowers were leftovers from a wedding the day before and that the silver gilt chalice and ciborium had almost certainly been picked up for a song in the 1850s when ecclesiastical Swabian rococo was not much in vogue. The vestments are thread-bear from a century and a half of use and, while still charming for their faded beauty, are too far-gone to fetch good money at auction. The dialogue ended in a slightly more serene atmosphere than it had begun and the articulate woman drove away placated in a gleaming new car which Google searches revealed to have cost £90,000.
The elements shown by the older lady are extremely à la page, and yours truly is lost in wonder at seeing how the older generations are ready to embrace the signs of the time. From the hostility to beauty, to the Judas-like remark that money spent for Christ is better spent for the poor – not even spent in this case; but this is beside the point -, and from the obvious show of humble attachment for the less fortunate to the lavish expenses that go with it, the lady’s intervention embraces all the latest trends.
I seriously wonder if she wore black shoes.
Be it as it may, we see here the beautiful effects of Pope Francis’ Pontificate, with the Pewsitter coming forward and daring to speak for the poor. I don’t know if the champagne tastes better after this, but there will be some occasion for small conversation, and discreet self-aggrandisement.
How is it called now? Oh yes.