The following account, by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, of a recent encounter with Pope Francis is scheduled to appear in a forthcoming edition of the cathedral journal, Oremus.
“As I entered the room, the first sensation was of a sweet and heady scent – an aroma of attar of roses – wafting towards me. It was the Odour of Sanctity.
At the end of the room was the Holy Father, suffused with a supernatural glow, his robes whiter than any Roman laundry could bleach them. As he walked toward me I fell to my knees, and he held out his hand.
‘Holy Father’, I cried out in adoration, ‘I am not worthy so much as to kiss the fringe of your garment.’ But graciously and tenderly, like a loving Father, he raised me up. Falteringly but devotedly, as one would a precious relic, I kissed the ring of the Fisherman.
(And, in truth, given the opportunity, I would have kissed much else besides.)”