There was a cork worker who made corks for bottles of sherry in the south of Spain who lay dying. He’d been an Anarchist his entire life. He hated the state, capitalism, and the church. He’s on his deathbed. This Spanish Anarchist had married a woman from a very religious, Catholic family. In the room where he’s dying, in one part of the room is his family who hated organized religion – who view it as a prop for capitalism and the state. And on the other side of the room are gathered the family of the Anarchist’s wife. They all went to church and they knew the local priest well. The Spanish Anarchist is lying there in the middle of the room, and the end is near.
His wife’s family says to him, “Pedro, don’t you want us to bring a lawyer in who will take your will – your last will?”
Anarchists don’t have wills and they often don’t have very much property anyway. Meanwhile, Pedro’s family is horrified by this. How can they suggest such a thing, that Pedro would make a will? That’s a bourgeois thing to do.
And then somebody else from his wife’s family says, “Pedro, the end is near. Don’t you want us to get a priest, for the last rites?”
He’d never set foot in a church before, and proudly so. There is consternation on the other side of the room. How will it all end? How will Pedro end his life? With a lawyer and a priest? And so Pedro looks up and he says, “Bring me a lawyer, and go and fetch the padre to come and see me also.”
There is joy on one side of the room; utter consternation on the other. Pedro lies in his bed in between them. So pretty soon the lawyer arrives dressed up in his suit. He’s got his legal pad and his attaché case. He’s never been in this house before, but he comes down by the bedside and says, “Pedro, you have a few possessions: a fork, a knife, a couple of plates. Don’t you want to give me your will now?”
Pedro says, “Wait a minute, señor.”
And then the priest comes in with his fine, purple garb and his holy oil to bless Pedro and give him the last rights. He comes close to the bedside and says, “Pedro, the end is near. You’ve led a good life, but I’ve never seen you in church and your children are not baptized. Don’t you want to make a confession? You’re going to meet your maker soon. Don’t you want to make a confession to me now? No one else can hear you. Don’t you have something you want to tell me?”
There is bewilderment among Pedro’s family and silent joy among his wife’s kin. And so Pedro says to the lawyer, “Come here, señor. I want you to stand on the left side of my bed.” And then he says to the priest, “Padre, come here please. I want you to stand on the right side of my bed.” And then he smiles, a smile of utter contentment. And he says, “Now you can all see, that like Christ, I am dying between two thieves!” Soon after this utterance, he expires.
*purported by the source to be a true story!