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Sunday, August 26, 2018


by Joan Colby

Pope Francis with Cardinal McCarrick. File photo by Jonathan Newton-Pool/Getty Images.

“I cannot fail to acknowledge the grave scandal caused in Ireland by the abuse of young people by members of the church charged with responsibility for their protection and education,” [Pope] Francis said. “The failure of ecclesiastical authorities – bishops, religious superiors, priests and others – adequately to address these repellent crimes has rightly given rise to outrage and remains a source of pain and shame for the Catholic community. I myself share those sentiments.” —The Guardian, August 25, 2018

The host in the ciborium is transfigured
By words into Christ’s body,
The wine to blood.
He drinks ceremonially,
Offers the communicants
The chalice of redemption.

He believes in vocation,
In the holy calling
Of the spirit. He reads
His breviary, recites the
Apostles' Creed.

The sacristy where he dons
The vestments. The boys in lace
Surplices, their voices
Not yet deep as echoing wells.
Christ forgives all sins, even these.

He thinks of the thieves on the crosses.
The promise of paradise.
Of John the beloved disciple
And Leonardo who knew so well
How to paint that yearning.
“Suffer the little children,” Jesus said.
All who repent will be absolved

The priest thinks of Augustine
Who grappled with midnight angels
And prayed “Lord make me chaste,
But not yet.”

Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, the new renaissance, Grand Street, Epoch, and Prairie Schooner. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, Rhino Poetry Award, the new renaissance Award for Poetry, and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She is the editor of Illinois Racing News, and lives on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois. She has published 11 books including The Lonely Hearts Killers and How the Sky Begins to Fall (Spoon River Press), The Atrocity Book (Lynx House Press), Dead Horses and Selected Poems (FutureCycle Press), and Properties of Matter (Aldrich Press). Colby is also an associate editor of Kentucky Review and FutureCycle Press.