|Archbishop Joseph Coutts of Karachi, Pakistan|
Photo courtesy: Catholic News Agency (CNA)
The blog of the Catholic News Agency (CNA) recently in its “Who Wore It Best” in the 2014 Synod of Bishops named the beard of Pakistani Archbishop Joseph Coutts as the “Best Beard of the 2014 Synod.” The blog also said: ”We applaud Bishop Coutts for his very full yet nicely-kempt Santa Claus-esque beard. We also applaud his aviators fashion choice – we think Joe Biden [U.S. Vice President] would be proud.
In the second half of 1966, I came to know Archbishop Coutts, who was known as ‘Joe Coutts’ in the Christ the King Major Seminary of Karachi, in the then West Pakistan (present Pakistan then comprised of both East and West Pakistan and I was from Dhaka, East Pakistan, which in late 1971, became Bangladesh). At the time I was in the first year Philosophy and Joe Coutts in the second year. Some other seminarians (who later became priests) from East Pakistan, in various classes of Philosophy and Theology, were Francis Gomes, Abel Rozario, Bernard Palma, Julian Rozario, Marcus Marandi, Patrick D’Rozario (now archbishop of Dhaka), and Alexius Jyoti Gomes. Due to health reasons, I had to leave the seminary after six months.
In that short period, I knew Joe Coutts as a friendly, personable, ever-smiling and ready-to-help-others person. These qualities had made an impression on me. Now his beard became an additional qualification in his personality! Congratulations, Archbishop Coutts!