Monday, February 04, 2008

Among Prophets and Politicos

At Saturday's funeral of Gordon Hinckley, the president of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney paid their respects to the icon of Mormon State Catholicism: the longtime vicar-general of Salt Lake City Msgr J. Terrence Fitzgerald.

Ordained in 1953, the legendary "worker-bee" has served as "first counselor" to three bishops of the Wasatch, twice stepping in to oversee the statewide fold as head of the diocese's quorum of the twelve -- or diocesan administrator, as the canons would have it. He's also led three parishes, a high school and served two terms as rector of Mt Angel Seminary. Along the way, Utah's Catholic population increased sixfold, doubling again in the last 15 years to over 150,000, as the Mormon-Roman dialogue became an ever-more effective model of partnership for the common good.

His priesthood's seen seven LDS presidents, and today'll make eight; at 11am local time, the church is expected to announce that Thomas Monson, its longest-serving apostle, has been ordained its 16th "prophet, seer and revelator."

The chief Mormon liaison for interfaith matters, Monson and the Monsignor are longtime friends.

SVILUPPO: Well, so much for the "hook"....

Thanks to a friend in Salt Lake for pointing out that "Fitz would never wear anything as elaborate as his monsignor 'get up'" -- the sash-clad figure is, in fact, an Anglican cleric. (First they take Purple Rain... then what?) Apologies for the error.

Sans cassock, Fitzgerald was still very present at the Hinckley obsequies.

PHOTO: Joe Raedle/Getty Images