Father Gibson and Adam had been to Poland many times. On the ground, they would split up and meet various friends who were also members of the Knights of Karl. Father said Mass in the Extraordinary Form daily in various churches. The weather seemed to him to be extremely cold, and the locals in Krakow noted that the temperatures were unusually low for the time of year.
In a small house in a street behind the Hotel Ester, Adam was staying with his cousins, Ben and Sofia Ferdinand. They had just watched international news from northern France, or the New Republic, as it was called, and were discussing the broadcast over tea.
Sofia, thirty-seven and very tall for a woman, commented that one could not trust most news agencies. "We know that the best news is now word-of-mouth", she said, while pouring the tea. "This news of the new baby president of the United States, a thirteen year old, puzzles me. Adam, can you explain this?"
Ben interrupted, "Sofia, what causes people to have trust in someone these days? Innocence, even false, or contrived innocence."
Adam agreed, "Yes, the cult of the personality, which has infected most cultures, leads to idolization of a person in a position of power. Look what happened in Rome when a pope was elected who is an introvert, holy,very holy, but not a "people-person". Most Catholics ignore him as he is not like the previous ones, rarely says anything public, never did, and, of course, can't now in hiding."
All three said a silent prayer for Pope Pius XIII, the first American pope.
The cousins ate small teacakes made with walnuts, raspberry jam and whipped cream. Adam loved Sofia's baking skills. In fact, before marrying Ben, she was a well-respected baker. Now, she was staying at home, helping the Knights, quietly.
Adam continued, "People in America, and around the world, have become cynical of leaders, and no longer, rightly so, trust many in power. What a coup to bring forward someone who is a genius but untouched by scandal or business corruption. As to the lack of experience, the fact that his father was president during the time of martial law makes this kid look fresh and untainted by even the military. I would assume he is merely a figure-head, a puppet, like his father before him."
Ben put down his tea-cup. "There is more to this than puppetry. Adam, you knew Karen, and you know the entire plot against her when she decided to talk."
Adam looked down at his plate. Yes, he had known Karen Levi O Melaghlin, And, although they practically grew up together in New York, and the fact that Karen was two years older, Adam had loved her for years. She had been an important person in his life from his teens.
"Karen wanted to tell Patrick that he was adopted. She wanted him to know that he was her son, but not the son of the dead president. Before she could tell him, she was murdered. Now, the president is dead and Patrick is what they are calling an "interim" president, and we all know what that means."
Sofia sat down, "No elections, end of so-called democracy, which, we know, died a long time ago but now the corpse speaks."
"Without a Christian Europe or Catholic Africa, America will slide more and more into out and out tyranny. Most people got use to martial law. Not all, of course. Do you have any more of those tea cakes, Sofia?" Adam had a sweet tooth.
"Patrick is a mystery to me," Adam said as he reached for another cake. "That he is a genius cannot be doubted. But, he acts like an ordinary kid sometimes. It is just that those lighter moments are not reported in the press. He comes across the television like a more mature person than he really is."
"What I do not understand is the appeal of such a youth, despite what we have discussed. I mean, this is ridiculous, barely a teen," said Sofia. Ben stood up and walked over to the window. "When will Father Gibson join us, Adam?"
"Not until after dark, I am afraid. He promised me a home Mass, as I have been unable to get to the Masses which the Knights hold privately."
Sofia got up again, "I better clean the house, " she smiled.
Adam stretched out his long legs. He could only stay two weeks and then he would try and meet Mason and Brandy. But, he knew they would have left the cabin by now. How odd to be sitting in one of the oldest houses in Krakow, built so long ago, before the 19th century, thinking of a small group of Catholics in another old house, so far away, in quite another context.
"We may not be able to come again for a long time. My dad is being summoned to the ruins of the White House for a conference on air flights to Europe. He said about 42 people have been asked to discuss the possibilities of discontinuing flights while the fuel crisis it at its height. But, of course, that is not the real reason and we all know it. All the governments are restricting travel, all. America slides back into complete isolationism, or pretends to, while those who hate America bring it down from the inside."
The three cleared up the table together. "I have to take Adam to a meeting, Sofia. We shall be back by eight tonight. Don't worry."
Sofia laughed, "Ah, of course, I never worry." The two men smiled at the joke and left. Sofia stood by the big front window and watched them walk down the small road and disappear. Suddenly, for some reason, she thought of her mother and the story of her grandfather and uncle leaving this very house in 1937, for a meeting against the growing threat from Germany. They never came back home. Sofia's mother told her the story. Angelica was only six at the time, and she had watched her grandfather,who she loved so much, go around the same corner Adam and Ben just passed. Sofia shivered. "It is worse than 1937, and our world is at war again," she thought. "Time to pray."
Sofia sat on the old chintz chair which had belonged to her grandmother. This house had come back into the family hands in 1988, and she was so glad to be here. Sofia took out her rosary and began to pray. "I wonder if my ancestors are listening to me. I hope they are praying, too."
to be continued...