The bishop of the Des Moines Catholic Diocese delivered the opening prayers in the Iowa House and the Senate Tuesday. Bishop Richard Pates began, though, with a little self-deprecating humor.
“Speaker Paulsen asked me if I had interviewed yet for the position in Rome that’s going to be open at the end of the month,” Pates said. “I said I’ve already done that, so I won’t have to leave the great state of Iowa soon.”
Pope Benedict’s surprise retirement has sparked interest in the process of selecting a new pope.
“The election is kind of viewed from a kind of different perspective in Rome as it is here and some of the students from Dowling (Catholic High School in Des Moines) were asking how the cardinals planted their yard signs in the Vatican,” Pates quipped.
Pates also mentioned two U.S. bishops recently promoted to the College of Cardinals.
“Cardinal Dolan and Cardinal O’Brien were both nominated and created cardinals at the same time and Cardinal Dolan is very effusive, very friendly, very outgoing and they asked Cardinal O’Brien if he thought that Cardinal Dolan had a chance to become the next pope and Cardinal O’Brien replied: ‘His mother certainly thinks so,'” Pates said, getting laughter from legislators.
Pates will be back at the statehouse this morning as the Iowa Catholic Conference hosts a breakfast for legislators.