One Voice - On Plato & Boxing: The Art of Living in Two Planes
By Dr. Reggie Kidd
One of Mulcahy's challenges was that he was an easy target for the neighborhood bullies. It didn't help that he never fought back—thinking fisticuffs were "not very … Platonic."
Then one night when he was 12 his father took him to see "Gentleman" Joe in a boxing match. "Gentleman" Joe was punching his opponent at will. With the crowd yelling, "Put him away!" Joe had stopped punching and told the ref to stop the fight because the man had been hurt enough.
And I realized for the first time that it was possible to defend myself and still maintain my principles. If Plato had been a boxer, I suspect he'd have fought like you. That was when I made up my mind to keep one foot in the ideal plane and the other foot in the real world. I thought you might like to know that. And I just wanted to thank you.
Francis Mulcahy became an effective priest because he embraced his humanity. Now, the M*A*S*H scriptwriters never really allowed Father Mulcahy to have one foot "in the ideal world." But they did show the way his keeping one foot "in the real world" lent power to his ministry: from rescuing orphans to performing orderly duties when the rest of the camp was sick, even to performing an emergency tracheotomy while under fire. All the while, he struggled with how useful his life was. Even with the scriptwriters' muzzle, it always seemed to me, Father Mulcahy's foot in the real world became a pointer to another plane of existence.
I especially loved the line where he states that Fr. Mulcahy became an effective priest because he embraced his humanity. I can't help but think that this would also make us better fathers, mothers, brothers, Christians, if we all embraced our humanity as Christ did!
Bonjour et Adieu mes Amis,