Thursday, November 15, 2012

Interview with Cardinal Fratelli, Part III


“When were you made a cardinal?”

"In the summer of 1829.”

“Why didn’t you want to be a cardinal?”
I felt unworthy of such an office nor did I believe I could bear it.”

“But you did well, didn’t you?”        
Yes, moving into the cathedral was easy, although the priests had to get used to having such a young bishop. I seemed isolated, being an object of so much empty flattery. But, in a year, all was settled. I performed my duties well and even saw fit to chastise Lamberto II, who was son of the Duke of Tuscany; a man known for cruelty and revelry. I had the respect of my congregation and not to mention Francine, who soon reconciled with me.”

“Speaking of reunions, you also met back up with Michele. I heard she gave you a lot of unwanted attention!”
Indeed. The dear girl hadn’t married yet and was very lonely. I think she wanted friendship most of all.”

“Was there any temptation?”
Oh, I don’t want answer that.”

“Come on!”
Well, she certainly didn’t grow any less lovely. I simply restrained my feelings, prayed about this matter and promised to find a husband for her.”

“Ernesto, right?”
Yes. It seems the two met before I could make any plans on it. God brought them together without my help- as if to humble me.”

“How did you feel when you discovered Ernesto was your brother?”
At first, I could not believe it but then I simply knew. I sorely wished my parents told me they had another son before they’d wed but this apparently was a family secret not even Francine knew about. When I met Ernesto, I noticed we were very much alike, strong-willed, God-fearing…”

“And handsome?”
That too.”

“What is your favorite thing about being a cardinal”

“I enjoy being active in the community and visiting the churches I oversee. They are always glad to welcome me. There are many charities I support, including an orphanage and school. Going there and seeing the children, makes me happy, to know that God’s work is being done makes me feel very glad. And as you know, I take my duty as a preacher seriously. Sometimes I must be patient in my teaching, watching progress little by little… and this I enjoy also.”

“What is the hardest part of your duties as a cardinal?”
“I’d have to say that the paperwork is especially cumbersome. Even though I have a secretary to help, I have to look over so many papers, books and documents. It becomes wearying.”

“Do you get vacation time?”

“Not really. The last time I took a vacation, I went to Pisa and it was quite nice but there were several mishaps- one involving gelato…In the end, I felt relieved to be home.”

“It seems you really are set in your daily life.”

“Oh yes, I am. I say Mass every morning except for two days when I celebrate privately in the afternoon. I like these private Masses because the Lord seems to draw closer in the moments of silence. However, I know He is always there watching me- even when I trip in the hallway. I take frequent naps to stay energetic. Dina, my housekeeper, makes wonderful meals. I really can’t ask for more.” 

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