In today's paper, I have a story about the relationship between religious leaders and sports, and in particular how the Catholic archbishops of Boston relate to the Red Sox. An observation from Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of Providence, a committed fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers:
"We deal with so many heavy issues, and complicated issues, and sometimes very difficult and emotional issues, and it's really good to have a lighter side and to have people be able to relate to that," Tobin said. "It makes the office of the bishop, and the bishop himself, more approachable, and the discussion about sports and the banter is really an excellent icebreaker."
The story was prompted by Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley's recent appearance at Fenway, and his multiple comments about the Sox.
In response to the story, I got this e-mail from David Clark:
"My dad, Rt. Rev. William H. Clark was the Episcopal Bishop of Delaware from 1975 to 1985. After retiring from that post, he and mom moved to Cape Cod, and he acted as an assisting bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. He was often asked to visit parishes to perform confirmation services. Dad was very much "low church” and had never bothered to order, much less wear, the mytre, a pointed “bishop’s hat”. However during a visit to a “high church” parish in suburban Boston during October 1986, the local priest was very concerned about having a hatless bishop confirm the new candidates. The matter was easily settled when a parishioner, agog with Red Sox fever because of the Mets-Sox world series going on at the time, kindly donated the Red Sox cap he had worn to church that day so that dad could wear it during the service. A long time Red Sox fan himself from his time as a parish priest at Trinity Church in Concord, and Saint Andrew’s Church in Wellesley, dad was happy to oblige."
And this e-mail, from a local Catholic priest:
"Did you ask how many of your interviewed clergy had Red Sox (and Patriots) credit cards from Bank of America like me? I try to use mine (either) on the day of the game for good luck, and ergo most of the time the Sox or Pats have won, which of course they would do anyway!"
Feel free to share your stories here.
(Photo shows Cardinal Richard J. Cushing at Fenway for the final game of the 1967 World Series, which the Red Sox lost to St. Louis.)
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Harvey Cox, the Hollis professor of divinity at Harvard University, marks his retirement by asserting a little-used right of his professorship -- to graze a cow in Harvard Yard. Photo, by Barry Chin of the Globe staff, taken on Sept. 10, 2009 in Cambridge, Mass.
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