But no. Father Anonymous has been, and remains, away from his desk. Specifically, he's been holed up in the Bavarian Alps, mulling over the problems of free will and determinism. We are guests of the Bavarian church and its office for ecumenical studies, which hosts a week-plus shindig each year, drawing together church people (clerical and lay) from a wide swathe of European churches.
We've been learning a lot, much of it having to do with sausage, cheese and schnapps. But also some churchy stuff. We confess that until last week, we didn't even know there was a Czechoslovak Hussite Church; now, we count two of its priests among our friends, and have at least a sense of its liturgical style.
We are also reminded, constantly, of how proficient European schools are at teaching languages. After several shots of something clear and pluripotent last night, and attractive Bavarian ecumenist admitted that she had been a bit standoffish at first for fear that her English wasn't up to snuff. We muttered quietly that she was the one speaking our language, and not we hers. The sad fact is that we can't meet anybody here halfway -- even the Romanians don't bother suffering through our broken Romanian. Meanwhile, we dropped by a German prison the other day, and were deeply impressed by the erudition of the prisoner who shouted to us from his cell as we crossed the yard -- in German, English and then Russian.
Anyhoo, lest you wonder, we'll be home soon. (At least assuming the volcanic ash cloud doesn't wreak any havoc.)