Catholic Church of Montreal > News > Topics > Chronicles of Rome > On foot, on horseback or...riding a bicycle!

On foot, on horseback or...riding a bicycle!

March 8, 2013

Nothing should surprise me in Rome. I recently wrote about taxi drivers who have taken an artistic approach to driving. Well, today I was flabbergasted. Every day, I witness a veritable spectacle. The official cars, as though performing a waltz, come and go to drop Their Eminences off at the Paul VI Audience Hall at the beginning of the congregations and then to pick them up at the end.
Everything is moving according to a swift-paced choreography. Swiss Guards, officers of the Vatican City State Gendarmerie, and chamberlains are all in position to welcome the cardinals who arrive for the deliberations. If I may say so, all of this resembles a great liturgical celebration.  

Some of the prelates are all smiles, while others are solemn. Some enter with a quick stride, while others walk in slowly. And yet, although all "means of transportation" lead to Rome, there is one cardinal who surprised us with the unique way in which he arrived.  

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, the Archbishop of Lyon, arrived riding his bicycle, not wearing his cassock, which he must have been carrying in the bag that was slung over his shoulder. It appears that in addition to trying to emulate Dom Camillo, he was trying to compete with the Sainte-Gertrude Parish priest in Montreal North. This has yet to be confirmed...  

I had the pleasure of speaking with him briefly this morning, during the 11:30 A.M. break, and to me he seemed to be in excellent shape. This morning's scenario was repeated again this evening; he swiftly exited the conference room, quickly transformed into a layperson, and just as speedily departed on his bicycle towards who knows where.  He was surely trying to avoid the rain that began to fall only a few moments later.  

I heard one of the Vatican's officers say in the words of Obelix the Gaul, which he altered to suit the situation, "These Frenchmen are Crazy!" What's next - arrival on horseback?

Richard Saint-Louis, d.p. 


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