March 11, 2009

How I Almost Met a Pope

This is one of my favorite stories from my religious life. As I was once accused by a classmate, "I think you joined religious life just for the stories." (This is a play on Dr. Tim Whatley, who was accused of converting to Judaism "just for the jokes.")

Around the time I was first in contact with the Capuchin Franciscan Order, one of our friars convened a conclave and had himself elected Pope Pius XIII. I was a novice when we discovered this, and we were very much amused.

During the same year, one of Pius XIII's biological brothers died, who was also a friar. (There were one or two others besides, from the same mother, who also became friars.) So another novice and I drove from Fond du Lac to Appleton to go to the funeral. We wanted to pray for our deceased brother and assist at his Mass, but we were also thinking that we might get to meet Pius XIII. What would happen if he showed up? Would he preside at the Mass? How would it work? Would the rather liberal friars in Appleton have the necessary equipment for a pontifical requiem Mass? As we drove up we were filled with bemused speculations.

For his own reasons I suppose, Pius XIII didn't show up. Now I don't care if you're Pius XIII or Linus II or Hadrian VII or whoever, if you're going to be Pope you should at least have enough class and reverence to come to your own brother's funeral.

1 comment:

ben in denver said...

Pius XIII makes Bp. Richard Williamson of the SSPX, who has been so much in the news lately look liberal by comparison!

Well, I will pray an Ave Maria for the ainti-popes out there for the conversion of their hearts.