Friday, January 20, 2006
Being in a Catholic, socialist country is interesting. The workers have little or no ambition. I watched a guy unload water bottles and go cups at Starbucks this morning and arrange them on the shelf. There were probably 2 1/2 dozen. Took him an hour. If he worked for me, and I have employed many, many college students, I would have given him a big hug and his last check. Many of the food service jobs are held by...immigrants. There are many Tunisians in the Latin Quarter. They tell me they love it here. They are ambitious. The women who serve breakfast in the hotel each morning are French as well beyond retirement age. I don't know exactly what that means. The churchs, every one exquisite, are everywhere. Most are falling into ruin. Who supports them financially? St. Nicholas, where I go each day, is a very conservative parish. All the masses are in Latin! (Note to Becky Nappi: write a big, nasty column condemning these people and embarrass the bishop and the Holy Father for good measure while you're at it). You go to the rail for the eucharist. The rail itself is covered with a white, canvas cloth. It's attached to the back of the rail and pulled over the rail itself for communion. You kneel, fold your hands up and under the cover and receive the eucharist on your tongue. The last person receiving the eucharist then flips the canvas back over the rail. Never have seen this, not even in Italy.
I love to read about St. Genevieve and St. Denis and the Abbaye de Cluny (have grown that rose for years) but one of my favorite stories is about a street in the Marais, Rue des Archives formerly called Rue ou Dieu fut Bouilli ("Street where God Was Boiled"). Seems that a moneylender in a supreme exhibition of rebellion stabbed a communion wafer with a knife. He then threw it into a steaming pot in anger, where to his astonishment, it began to bleed. That to you unfaithful.