mary, queen of china

mary ©papa osmubal

mary ©papa osmubal

mary, queen of china
steven schroeder

on reading Benedict’s Epistle to the Church in China, Pentecost 2007

Li Matou sought no privilege from China but a place
to study sacred words with those who knew
where to find them. He did not mean
to draw a crowd; but Inquisitors, the same
yesterday and today and forever,
take note of words traded in tongues they
do not understand. They are frightened
by patient Jesuits who’ve learned to listen,
by friars who accept sentences of silence

as rare gifts. Unspoken, words get out
of hand, give peasants ideas of justice
the Church would rather leave in the hands
of well ordered States that know how to keep
the rabble in line, how to keep trains
running on time, how to keep hands off souls.

What has Jerusalem to do with politics?
Every State wants something to kill

the pain. Everyone who has something to sell
wants a key to the market. Every user knows
who’s dealing. Every dealer knows a man
he can work with. And nobody
really wants to go to war.


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