March 5, 2008

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.

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15 Responses to It turns out I was right in the first place

  1. David says:

    I’ve stopped believing you. You probably write these things and then turn around and post deliberately erroneous information on Queerty. And then laugh about it.

  2. Judith says:

    You are too erudite and obscure for me. I love to read your blog, though.

  3. TED says:

    Arranging to have yourself burned at the stake is, arguably, an even more fabulous way to perish. These days, however, the best you can probably hope for is lethal injection, and they’d almost certainly have you in a jumpsuit that fights against your natural coloring and does nothing to bring out your eyes.

  4. Jeffrey says:

    Oh honey, beatitude or eminence, he’s just another God damn Catholic.

  5. Willym says:

    Big Ben and the Boys over at the Vatican seem to favour the idea of reviving the good old days of the auto-da-fe so you may yet have a chance. As to hiring St Marco – I heard the choir there not so long ago – bad really bad, as is the norm in most churches here in Italy including Big Ben’s place – so you’d also have to hire a decent choir. Just saying, it would add to the cost!

  6. Kenny says:

    And if you need to hire a decent choral director, I might know someone…

  7. Campbell says:

    Jeffrey is right my dear; you really shouldn’t encourage them by giving a flying thingummybob about how they are addressed.

  8. David: Oh, if only I were in enough control of my life to approach it that way.

    Judith: Since it is my goal to appear too erudite and obscure for anybody, I now love you and you must come away from whatever life you’re leading and be my bff.

    TED: You show an extraordinary and optimistic certainty about the upcoming election.

    Jeffrey and Campbell: How about if I worry about how they’re addressed but then I also have a little dartboard with ecclesiastical faces on it?

    Willym: Yes, but I can’t imagine it’ll be long before Maledict & Co. bring back the castrati too, so I imagine I’ll be okay.

    Kenny: I have no idea who you could possibly be talking about.

  9. henry says:

    I always enjoy the fact that ’eminence’ is a rather well-known French underwear brand, famous for its kangaroo pouch. It gives talking to a Cardinal a naughty edge.

  10. Camden says:

    Please tell me you’ve done your obvious duty and updated the erroneous Wikipedia entry.

  11. mkf says:

    oh, the old “eminence” versus “beatitude” thing again–well, why didn’t you say so in the first place? i coulda cleared that right up for you, saved you hours of agony.

    or not.

  12. Andy says:

    I can’t wait to read how that figures in. I love Venetian history…you know Venice (yeah, the whole Republic) was excommunicated like three times? Crazy stuff.

  13. Dan says:

    Actually his book was “How to Be Pope: What to Do and Where to Go Once You’re in the Vatican.”

  14. JamesR says:

    Faustus, sweetie, why San Marco? Have you any idea how uneven the floor is (from the numerous floods) in that place? Besides, the Catholics will never allow it. However, the Anglicans are progressing slowly and you could consider Saint Paul’s in London. Charles and Lady Diana were married there. Picture it: Faustus gliding up the aisle (billowing veil and train) to the strains of Wagner’s Bridal Chorus as sung by the Cathedral choirboys…

  15. Father Tony says:

    One of the first words I learned in the Vatican was “Eminenza”. It sounds so much more lubricious than the English version. You say it breathily, emptying your lungs on the last vowel, and with eyes cast to the floor, whenever you encounter a Cardinal.


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