At the end of the Pope’s visit I present to you my Pope stories…..
I have lots of stories about my wife, her antics are a mine of interest and humour, let me share a couple with you.
Story one - Who is he
Some years ago I had a friend, let’s call him Scott (not his real name), he was South African. When we were in South Africa we stayed at his home and consequently got to know him well. He even used to lend me his car so that we could explore the country. Some years later my rather famous friend was appointed as a special representative to the Vatican, speaking on behalf of his religious denomination.
As Scott was attending many meetings in Rome on behalf of his denomination it became very newsworthy, and one day, on the front cover of an international magazine, a photograph was published of Scott with the man who was Pope at the time; inside was a large spread all about the work he was doing.
My wife and I and a group of friends were in central London and we walked past a newsagents; the window display was of this same magazine, along with the photograph of Scott and the Pope. Pauline scrutinised the picture, then turned to our friends to say, ‘We know him, that’s our friend Scott, but who is that man with him, the one in the funny dress?’
Story two Ignorance is bliss
A couple of years ago my wife kindly treated me to a trip to Rome as part of my birthday celebrations. If you a doing the sights in Rome, you must, or course, visit the tiny nearby country called ‘Vatican City’ which, as it happens, is the smallest country in the world. We wandered around taking in the sights and sounds and inspected the Swiss Guard. Pauline noticed that there was a meeting of some kind taking place in the chapel.
She was keen to go in, I was not, but as she had treated me to this trip I thought it best to tag along. It was obviously some sort of celebratory mass, not that I understand much about Catholic ecclesiology. There was a crowd of people at the front of the chapel and we watched as a procession of men moved down the isle, one of them had on a very large pointed had. Pauline asked ‘Is that the Pope?’ ‘No,’ I replied, ‘but he might be one day; I think he’s an archbishop judging by the special hat.’
We found a couple of empty seats and sat down. Pauline then decided that if they were doing communion then she was going to join in at the front. I told her, ‘it’s for Catholics’, but she was having none of it, saying ‘I follow Jesus so I’m sure I must be included.’ She headed off to the front. I sat tight.
There was a large multi-national crowd at the front, the man in the big hat was moving along the rows of people with a container of wafers, which he was placing on outstretched tongues. As he placed each one he said, ‘bless you my child’. Pauline wanted to return the favour, so she put her hand on him in order that she could bless him back. In a trice, the plain clothes security squad was at his side, to protect him from perceived danger.
Once the members of the crowd had received communion they began returning to their seats, whereupon I found that Catholic love and grace does not extend to someone who has pinched their seat, I was swiftly ejected from my perch, and was made to feel I had committed a heinous crime. I managed to squeeze in at the end of the row just as Pauline returned. The procession now weaved it’s way out of the chapel and Pauline noticed that the man in the big hat was waving at her (or so she thought, he was, in fact, pronouncing a blessing on the assembled crowd) and she began waving back frantically at her new found friend.
I perceived rapid, shadowy movements out of the corner of my eye, so I put my hand in the small of her back, began propelling her to the exit and hissed, ‘It’s time to leave, NOW!” before it’s too late and the plain clothes security squad arrested you as a trouble-maker.
For Blog Spot
Editor A. Brookes