At high-level meetings of key leaders that take place under intense media scrutiny, the heads of the respective bodies often conduct a decorous and largely anodyne discussion in full view of the public, while the actual deals are cut in a back room, out of the glare of the news cams, between trusted lieutenants. In the case of the Archbishop of Canterbury's visit to Rome, Dr. Williams and Pope Benedict observed the customary courtesies, while Cardinals Tarcisio Bertone and Giovanni Battista Re met with C of E Bishops John Flack and Peter Carnley upstairs at Tre Aranci. OTR has obtained a partial transcript of the conversation:
FLACK: We haven't heard much in the way of concrete ecumenical effort, have we? I'll go three diamonds. See if they'll send us up some ice.
BERTONE: Here's the offer. In exchange for Akinola, you get Sklba, Clark, Lynch, the Sisters of Loreto, and a second-round draft pick. Three no trump.
FLACK: I don't need Clark. I need muscle up front, someone who can pull down some offensive 'bounds.
BERTONE: Freshen that up for you, Archbishop? OK, we can throw in Hubbard and ... and ... Bathersby of Brisbane.
FLACK: Hey, isn't Hubbard playing for our side already?
RE: That's the way we see it. But we're the ones paying his salary. Six spades.
FLACK: Pass. I see your point. Now we really like the looks of your man Milingo.
BERTONE: On waivers since September 24th. You gotta talk to his agent direct. No ice for me, thanks.
FLACK: I can live with the swaps, but how about sweetening the financial side a little?
BERTONE: Fair enough. Tell you what, make it Akinola and Orombi, and we toss you the Milwaukee Cathedral and Georgetown Law School. Seven spades.
Granted, the all-important political background is missing, but even from this fragmentary glimpse we can see that no theological effort was spared in what the Archbishop of Canterbury called "discerning a way forward." Flack (West) led the ten of hearts.
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Posted by: -
Nov. 24, 2006 10:23 AM ET USA
Grand slam! Brilliant!
Posted by: Aussie -
Nov. 23, 2006 9:41 PM ET USA
"Bathersby of Brisbane" I'm sure his Grace would love the change. My eyes welled up with tears of joy.... if only it were true.
Posted by: JARay -
Nov. 23, 2006 5:25 PM ET USA
Thanks for this highly amusing but insightful "fly-on-the-wall" commentary. Indeed they can have Bathersby of Brisbane. He and Carnley (ex. of Perth) should get on well together and have much to contribute..."Pass"
Posted by: Pseudodionysius -
Nov. 23, 2006 3:53 PM ET USA
Cardinal Mahony. Jokers wild.