Cardinal Hickey

The former leader of Washington’s Catholic church died a Sunday ago, the Post reports. The paper’s obituary is well done.

One sentence, for me, stands above the rest: “Catholics who disagreed with Hickey’s position on these issues, however, were inspired by him in other matters.” While used as a transition in the story, the sentence does an effortless summary of the Catholic churchgoer in modern and metropolitan America. The juxtaposition of dissent and belief goes on.

During grade school, I was lucky enough to be an altar server for a Mass the cardinal said at Blessed Sacrament. There were about six of us as servers; my job was holding his mitre cap (making me the “Mitre Man,” said a next-door neighbor). When we met Cardinal Hickey before Mass, we weren’t sure how to greet him. We knew protocol was to kneel and kiss the episcopal bling on his hand, but that seemed kind of old school. We were all impressed when he extended a handshake to each of us.

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