Monday, 1 June 2009
How Not to Meet Your Bishop
Your Diocesan Bishop is approaching you with your parish priest. He is dressed as an ordinary priest. You know that he is largely informal with Priests and Laity. So what do you do?
Step 1: You remove your sunglasses and your hat. Good work! For deference, reverence for his holy office and respect in general - top marks! You are doing well.
Step 2: He moves to shake your hand politely and says, 'Nice to meet you.' Overwhelmed by his humility and your profound eagerness to show respect for his office, you near refuse his handshake and bend over to kiss a hand, the wrong hand, while he quickly tries to get his Bishop's ring out of his pocket, because he's realised you think you are 'doing the right thing'. You don't give him time to put it on and you kiss his hand anyway. He is embarrassed. You are even more so.
Step 3: In a painful attempt at reverence, respect for holy tradition and protocol you have made a t*t out of yourself. Still, don't worry, there is time to recover a sense of dignity and a modicum self-respect. So you say, "It is nice to meet you, Your Grace!" Great recovery...Except for the fact that later on you are told by another Priest he is not an Archbishop and his title and the title which is his as Bishop, should be, 'My Lord', for he is known as 'His Lordship'.
Yes. That happened today. Mental note for future reference. When you meet someone in authority in the Church, be yourself and don't force reverential traditional gestures to those who do not wish for it. So...What do I do when I meet the Holy Father again? Advice in comments box please, because one day, you never know, I might just need it.
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