Sunday, February 13, 2005

Irony on the job
At work I was recently assigned a story at the 11th hour on the history of an RC religious order in the area and found the order’s lay ‘communications’ officer one of the most inarticulate people I’ve ever worked with, second perhaps to the Vietnamese beauty-salon owner who it turned out didn’t speak English whom I tried to interview for an advertising tie-in story once.

Me: (Not all at once but during the interview.) So, did the order found and staff SS. A, B and C churches? What’s unique about the order’s rule? How did the theology of the order’s patron saint, formative in Western Catholicism, influence the order?
Spokesman: (Mumbling.) Uhhhh, I don’t know. I’ll get back to you. (He didn’t.)
The young man had the demeanour of a depressed former flatmate — on downers. Made me wonder if mainstream church types are afraid of hiring intelligent, well-spoken people. (Then again the US RC episcopal conference has slick corporate types as spokespeople.)

The order, mediæval in origin, like so many others has liberalized — the friary I went to was like an elephants’ graveyard of ageing baby-boomer priests and their causes (¡Revolución!). It doesn’t get many vocations and after that interview I could understand why.

P.S. To be fair, one business day later he did e-mail me a partial answer to the first question.

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