Fortunately I picked up an expression from the Spaniards recently: “I am very sorry, but to cry I cannot.” For the first time in my life this gives me a kind of middle ground for sadness between endurance and grief, and it serves beautifully as I try to absorb Jackie Kennedy, Onassis, Cardinal Cushing, and the Roman Catholic Church.
All kinds of people are passing judgment on Jackie and Onassis, and I don’t care to join the troops. I try to keep reminding myself that nobody really knows enough to pass a judgment on anyone else, especially if he tries to get into the realm of motives. If we know ourselves, we know that we operate constantly from mixed motives; and yet we constantly tend to judge somebody else’s motive sharply and harshly.
Loneliness is a disease for which there are no very good cures and in which time stretches out and life seems to be lived on dead center. In Jackie’s case it was a loneliness subjected constantly to the public gaze. Maybe she now wants to get away from it all. How better than to come under the shadow of one who has the money and therefore the power to protect her? But this is only one man’s guess, and we shall “leave her to God.”
Cardinal Cushing is something else again. He is a man of great heart and broad sympathies. As someone so wisely put it, “Young men know all the rules; old men know all the exceptions.” I think I am old enough to sympathize with the Cardinal. A man does not wear his red hat all the time, and I am sure that in his long interviews with Jackie he was more concerned with his sympathies than with legalism. James Harper once said, on the subject of universalism, something to the effect that “one could entertain a pious hope that all men will be saved.” We all have our “pious ...1
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