Saturday Poem / They're Selling Their Mansions
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For Pope Francis, who lived in a rented apartment in Buenos Aires, cooked his own meals and took the bus to work
The bishops are selling their mansions.
In Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik moves
into a seminary apartment.
He gives up the fine art and antiques in
the thirty-nine room house with five-car garage,
breakfast nook, butler's pantry, Wuerlpool tub.
Just the taxes run $44,000.
Why? Penance for the pedophile priests' sins?
Shifted around but never charged or jailed.
Never placed out of reach of the children.
Who will light the ten fireplaces, restock
the wine cellar, teach young priests to tend bar?
Where will they entertain the next George Bush
when he calls weeks before the election?
The house sold for two million, a real deal.
It looked like one man's form of repentance.
Now, the archbishops are selling their mansion.
The stone Victorian Gothic pile
where Philadelphia archbishops lived
since 1935 is up for sale.
Former home to archbishops and four red hats --
yes, the cardinals are selling their mansion --
the house had welcomed Pope John Paul II,
President Reagan and his astrologer.
They've promised the proceeds to inner-city
parishes. The house has sixteen rooms, five
baths, granite walls, slate roofs, on eight acres.
Don't know the price. If you have to ask, don't.
The archbishop may choose to live beside
the cathedral in a rectory built
for archbishops when they were less royal.
It's all so sudden and quite delightful --
as though Luther had risen from the dead
still stunned by the opulence of old Rome.
-- Ann Curran
First Published March 16, 2013 12:00 am