The Empty Throne

It calls to mind that old joke about the cantor announcing the entrance hymn, “Please stand and greet Father by singing number 666, Hail Holy Queen.”

The priest is in the back protesting, “Ain’t no way I’m going out there now. No way!”

Internet Catholicism is all atwitter about that empty throne in the concert hall. I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. Pope Francis doesn’t seem like a man who avoids having a good time. But that picture from the Telegraph page tells a few more stories.

Cardinals on the right, bishops and ordinary clergy on the left. Guests of honor placed within the barrier. Women religious outside.

And some of those guests–they seemed to know what’s up. A few dudes not wearing sport coats or ties. A few women not wearing black or hats or veils. One woman in black had bare shoulders except for thin straps. I bet that would have gone over well with the prior administration.

Concert programs are prepared months in advance. The central European composers are favorites of the last pope. The connection between the Year of Faith and Beethoven’s Ninth? I’m not quite sure I get that. This was a musical program planned before the Resignation for another pope. I haven’t seem any comments yet about B16 not showing up. Now that would have made for interesting e-gossip, I’m sure.

And yes, what about that throne. It seems the organizers haven’t gotten the message about the Holy Father’s preferred seating arrangements. Remember his meeting with vowed religious from Latin America?

I suppose one might want to make something of the pope’s “snub” of classical music, the curia, the Year of Faith, high euroculture, or princely things. But to be fair, one would have to ask why Archbishop Rino Fisichella’s department didn’t check on the pope’s schedule, or if they did and decided to leave the throne “just in case,” or if this is a subtle leftover from the Middle Ages when popes were backstabbed … literally.

I have heard that Pope Francis was spending time with diplomats and visiting clergy and such before they jetted home Sunday. Makes sense to me, even if they were just slamming down sangria by the Tiber.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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