While this may look like some wacky tourist in a photo in front of some interesting architectural building, you might be surprised to learn that the man above, Thomas Collins, is actually a pretty important person in Canadian Catholic circles. You see, Thomas Collins is actually an Archbishop in Toronto, and he was invited to St. Peter's Square in the Vatican this week to be officially elevated into the College of Cardinals.
Before we continue, I want to say that HBIC is not here to comment on a religious discussion. To each, their own, I say, and let all men be equal when it comes to their beliefs and convictions. In saying that, please do not comment below on the merits of Catholicism or any other religion. I'm going to keep it light, and so should you. Ok? Ok.
Getting back to Mr. Collins, the Archdiocese put out a release regarding Collins' picture and elevation in Italy, and it read as follows:
"Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins let his Toronto pride shine through Thursday, sporting a personalized Toronto Maple Leafs jersey in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican.Mr. Collins has devoted his life to his beliefs, and I congratulate him for being elevated to the College of Cardinals. I'm not Catholic myself, but the man's dedication is something to be respected.
Cardinal-delegate Collins is in Rome this week in preparation for his elevation, along with 22 other bishops from around the world, into the College of Cardinals. His appointment as a new Cardinal was announced on January 6 and he will officially assume that post this Saturday, February 18 in a Consistory, led by Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter's Basilica.
"It's safe to say there are more than a few Toronto Maple Leafs fans in the pews of our parishes in the Archdiocese of Toronto," said Collins from Rome on Thursday. "This is a fun way to let them, and all Catholics in our diocese, know that I am thinking of them at this time. I am truly proud and humbled to serve them all."
While there is a delegation of roughly 200 Canadians in Rome this week – including an official delegation of the federal government – to experience the Consistory and support Archbishop Collins, there will also be regional Masses of Thanksgiving celebrated in a number of parishes during the month following the Consistory."
All of this, of course, comes one week after the Catholic Church placed an ad in Montreal newspapers asking the people of Montreal to pray that the Canadiens make the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
I'm no theologian, but I'm thinking that the prayers of Maple Leaf fans will probably be passed on by Cardinal Thomas Collins to a higher power while the arch-rival Canadiens' prayers are not acknowledged. All this is speculation, but the rivalry seems to have crossed into a new segment of culture with the pro-Maple Leafs Cardinal getting closer to the Supreme Being.
Does this rivalry need any additional fireworks? Would Canadiens fans now be considered "heretics"? I guess those answers all depend on who makes the playoffs this year.
Wouldn't it be a kick in the pants if neither team did?
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!