Monday, May 26, 2003

The proper place of cardinals

St. Philip Neri came to have some very well-placed friends. One of them was the pope, who, back when he was a lowly cardinal, had Philip for a spiritual director. By dint of persistent refusals and some zany behavior, Philip succeeded in getting the Pope not to stick a red hat on his head. However, the pope later did put a red hat on another member of Philip's household, the newborn Oratory: Cesare Baronius, a brilliant historian and the cook of the community. To celebrate, Philip made a sign for the kitchen door: the cardinal's coat of arms with the caption "Cesare, Cardinal Baronius, Chief Cook and Bottle Washer."

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