You all know that we’re super excited about the fund-raising for our conference on homophobia.
And since funds do not raise themselves, someone must dress himself all elegant, like a Bible seller / Jehovah witness, and go around moving people and opening their wallets.
So here I am Sunday morning in suit, tie, tiepin and fedora (and other pieces of clothing indispensable not to get arrested for indecent exposure but that one needn’t to list) deciding to enter whatever church I can find on my way back home, trying to move some vicar to compassion.

First try: of course the church I was thinking of, the one visited by many Catholic Americans, is completely closed, locked up, as they say “my house is always open”.
No problem, I say to myself, I’ll just cross the road and there is an open church (one can tell from the old lady asking for alms). I enter, almost passing out for all that golden baroque.
I kneel, last row, praying the priest is not too old-fashioned and won’t try exorcising me for my proposal, I mechanically repeat the Lord’s Prayer (in Latin since I study it) and cross myself when necessary, the Orthodox way, just to be sure he doesn’t think me Catholic and needing a confession (handing flyers through the confessional is terribly hard), I offer a sign of peace and finally get inside the vestry.

Whilst the priest is getting undressed, the sacristan speaks to a woman about a mass for the dead, then looks at me like I’ve got some disease and I, defying fear and the old man’s deafness, ask him if I may speak to the father. I may.
Now, I know that for the readers of this newspaper I am (and call myself) an expert in religious questions, but how on earth could I know that wasn’t a parish? (In retrospect the fact that half of the people had touristic guides should have meant something).

Second try: the priest from the baroque church was kind enough to tell me how to get to the parish, not that I can remember anything after I get back on the street, but I’m grateful to that old man who reads mass like it is some Ikea manual and I can find the parish (which, being a cathedral, was hard not to spot).
I enter, kneel again etc. etc., a girl of unknown age (14-18 like the war?) smiles and waves at me, then disappears.
I mentally ask the Lord to forgive me for thinking about all the problems a Catholic girlfriend would cause me and I follow a flock of altar boys to the vestry.
I can finally speak with this famous vicar (we shall call him father Brown) and have him promise that maybe, with God’s and his superior’s help, he will promote the fund-raising on the parish newspaper.
I ask him how to get to a nearby Protestant church, say thank you and leave.

The door I came in from is closed. Shaking my head vigorously I turn around, thinking of how embarrassing this will be, but nothing happens because the other door is closed too.
I say to myself: «never mind. Just knock, there’s a doorbell too, apologise and everything will be fine».
I knock.
I knock.
The doorbell probably stopped working when bombs were dropped on Rome, that’s a pity! it was beautiful with that 1920s font.
I knock.
I pant and knock again, can’t the kids from the oratory shut up?
Father Brown:«Did someone knock?»
«I did, I’m locked inside, can you open the door?» (voice a little louder than it should be in a church hallway)
No answer, then a ghostly silence.

I call my mother: «Mom, don’t laugh, I’m trapped inside a church… Can you find the vicar’s phone number on their website? The address is…»
Of course the only phone number to be found is a landline. The vestry’s.
Enough, I was patient and everything, I’m calling 112.
«112, Carabinieri, can I help you?»
«Hello, yes, I’m trapped inside a church…»
«Pardon? A church?»
«Yes, a church»
«I’ll put you through to local police»
«Local police, can I help you?»
«I’m trapped inside a church, in a hallway leading to the vestry»
«We’ll make some phone calls and let you know»
Hangs up. The phone in the vestry rings.
My mother (who is no detective but could very well be one) tells me she’s calling some numbers she found on the website.
My mobile rings.
«Hello, this is the police, local police called us. You’re trapped inside a church?»
«We’ll make some phone calls and let you know»
Hangs up. The phone in the vestry rings.
I’ve been trapped for 30 minutes now. Every now and then I knock at one of the doors, or go to the window and shout. Everybody’s eating lunch.
Someone else calls me: someone’s son, he has the keys. All the keys. Except the one I need. He promises he’ll call father Brown.

It’s been 50 minutes now. They tell me father Brown is coming (he was on the other side of the city) and a police car is waiting outside.
My mobile rings again.
«Hello, this is the police. Are you still trapped inside the church?»
«Yes, there’s one of your cars outside. The vicar is coming with the keys»
«Ok, goodbye»

Finally they save me and, after I give my name to two very kind policemen, the priest drives me to a taxi rank.
I get to the first in line, the car looks empty, a guy is standing next to it.
«Excuse me, are you the first in line?»
«No, I’m a psychotherapist, the driver is inside»

From Tassocrazia website

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