It turns out I was right in the first place.
In a section of the book in which I discuss my (theoretical) future wedding appears the following sentence:
“I’d book the Basilica di San Marco for the event if I could, but I do not hold out much hope that the Patriarch of Venice His Eminence Angelo Cardinal Scola will be easily won over.”
The problem, as I found out yesterday, is that, while “His Eminence” is of course the correct third-person form of address for a regular cardinal, it is not the correct form of address for a cardinal who is also a patriarch. In such a case the correct form of address is “His Beatitude.”
You can see the source of my despair.
Earlier today, however, while procrastinating with respect to hanging myself, I was IMing with a friend who happened to be at the home of a Catholic friend who happened (I’m not kidding) to have on his shelf a copy of the New Catholic Encyclopedia.
And it turns out that “His Beatitude” is correct only for an Eastern-Rite patriarch. And since Venice is obviously a Latin-Rite patriarchate, Angelo Cardinal Scola is obviously referred to as “His Eminence.” Calling him “His Beatitude” is in fact probably a heresy so vile as to be grounds for burning at the stake.
It took me a few hours to get around to posting about it because I’ve spent the day sobbing with relief.
Whew. That was a close call.