Sunday, July 30, 2006
Why do we study in Rome? In our new era of fetal experimentation and in vitro fertilization and everything else, it's great to study the truth, right? In the truth we find human freedom...the foundation of justice...which secures the dignity of the human person...and so the protection of his rights...with an understanding of his duties, etc. While some seek to legitimize, blur, deny or ignore truth, we affirm that there is a truth: an objective, absolute, immutable truth that is God. Without the truth we are slaves in a vacuum condemned to lives of licentiousness, irresponsibility and whim. So you can see, the pursuit of truth is our hobby!
Many of us will likely end up teaching at a coeducational, Catholic, liberal arts college anywhere in the world (go Apostolic Constitution Ex Corde Ecclesiae!). We will be the faculty and the administrators - a microcosm from Rome. We will energize and bring Catholic cohesion to the disciplines. We will expound Christian doctrine and we will live the authentic Christian life. We will rejuvenate our faith-filled campuses in the light of Revelation. The treasury of knowledge seen through the Deposit of Faith will be seen and shared.
This was our view as we dined together, all of us graduate students in Rome, atop the Pontifical North American College. The sun sets just atop the Vatican City State, in the shadow of the famed dome of the Vatican Basilica!
My colleague was just then telling me of how the Catholic church invented the univeristy. One can look to the oldest univeristies in the world: Bologna, Coimbra, Paris, Oxford, Salamanca, Padua, Cambridge, Rome, Lisbon, Prague, Vienna, Heidelberg, Louvain, Cracow, etc., and they were all born of the mystic climate of Catholic Europe. Of the 52 universities founded before the year A.D. 1400, 29 of them were established directly by the Popes and 10 others by both an emperor's or prince's decree together with a Papal decree.
Forza! These lovely Catholic women all study bioethics here in Rome at the Pontifical Athaneum Regina Apostolorum staffed by the zealous Legionaries of Christ (www.upra.org). Now, these ladies are ready to dialogue ( = do battle!) with the world.
John Paul II shared these words in his encyclical letter in the 1990s: "Today...it seems necessary to reflect on the whole of the Church's moral teaching, with the precise goal of recalling certain fundamental truths of Catholic doctrine which, in the present circumstances, risk being distorted or denied. It is no longer a matter of limited and occasional dissent, but of an overall and systematic calling into question of traditional moral doctrine." (Veritatis Splendor 4).
In the Pontifical Univeristy in Rome, teachers and students join together in a common love of knowledge. As Saint Augustine noted, they share in a joy of truth, the gaudium et veritate, where they search, discover and communicate the truth in every field of knowledge (if we can all just get tenure!).
Catholic graduate students have fun conversations in Rome over cena! Is this the Angelicum table where only Thomas was talked about? Was the shared discussion all about the new revival of scholarly research concerning Medieval thought or of the Thomists of the 20th century: Etienne Gilson and Jacques Maritain or of how Vatican Council II singled out Aquinas for favorable mention in its decrees on seminaries and Catholic education or how the 1983 Code of Canon Law directed that seminarians take St. Thomas as "their teacher in a special way?" I was at the Gregoriana (Jesuit) table...
However, here's the future from Rome! We arrive from the ends of the globe to study theology or philosophy or bioethics or social sceinces, etc.! We study here so as to return home to teach!
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Having been stuck growing up with the emasculated liturgies of the '70s and '80s, I so enjoy a nice Missa Cantata in Rome for a change. But, it sure is an embarassment some of the liturgies that I have attended while in Italy that surely could only appeal to the elderly Italian nun of today. Why do some still seek to take the masculine vigor/spirit out of the/our liturgical patrimony of the West? We want some Gregorian Chant back and not all of this On Eagles' Wings or This Little Light of Mine music.
The virility of the Roman Rite is a gift from the Church. What is of the mind of the Church is a manly, virile Mass, as we see with the universal model: the Papal Mass.
When I first moved across the Atlantic to Italy, these were my first friends! Ehab (the Copt) from Egypt, Nicholas (the Neophyte) from America and Karin (the Swede) from Sweden. Those were good times back during the reign of H.H. John Paul II. I so love my friends!
Friday, July 28, 2006
Also, Catholics can respond with noble firmness to the dominant and shameless wave of hatred against Jesus Christ and His Holy Church that we now see in print, film and radio. The apathy, leniency and lack of response by Catholics to the insults and screed heaped upon the Lord and our Holy Church are a sad sign of how the Faith has been weakened in our once strongly Christian culture.
However, the legend never died as Christendom remains, however broken, and we're it! So, let the legend live!
Rich in incident and alive with fascinating characters! Do you see how the mountain extends up into the clouds?! Those who know me know of my colossal walks. One hobby of mine is to walk for hours in the water with my aqua socks on - but, with my pitted Spanish black olives and Dante, too! The Inferno is fun! D. Alighieri was a Catholic who loved the Church. Interestingly, the word "Church" is only used in one of the Gospels: Matthew (16:18, 18:17).
I made a voyage to Loreto in Marche to see the home of the Virgin Mary. Then, I saw the most glorious sunset of my life!
I was standing there on the promenade overlooking the Adriatic Sea while listening to Brazilian music with an Italian bartender and a Romanian waitress. The moment was so special that I just had to give it to our Blessed Lord! All praise and glory and honor to Him Thrice Holy!
Thursday, July 27, 2006
We have an endearment to the Catholic converts in Russia because it was there that the Church was made extinct under the Soviet cataclysm.
A multimillionarie philanthropist can give to the missions of the Church or even a penniless student such as myself who wears torn clothes and eats buckwheat and garbanzo beans/chick peas. Anyways, send your checks today to assist in the endeavor (see: www.vladmission.org).
Like I once heard a Manhattan socialite quip during tea time at the Waldorf Towers:"There is an old proverb, quoth she, sayeth, that the goodness that thou mayest do this day, do it, and abide not nor delay it not till tomorrow."
-Chaucer: The Tale of Melibeus. (14th cent.).
One American sister who knew him personally, Sr. Margherita Marchione, has written several books on the subject. She is willing to visit Catholic schools and parishes to speak on the subject in his defence (her travel expences must be covered). Contact her to arrange her possible visit: Sr.Margherita.Marchione@ATT.NET
When I frist landed on the runway in Italy in A.D. 1998, my 4 friends and I walked down from the plane to the apron in front of the hangar where I kissed the tarmac! We were finally home - in Roma Beata! Later, having flown in and out of Ciampino, I have learned to love da Vinci (alternatively called Fiumicino in honor of the town whose location is adjacent!). For the Holy Year A.D. 2000 they did some nice work on the airport and they even have an (ugly) chapel there now. Fiumicino is the best and its only some 20 miles from downtown Rome with a landing view of the Tyrrhenian!
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
I've always loved to absorb the color of life. I so enjoy seeing the different colors of the sea off the coastline of Italy. It is said that the presence of different corals and minerals in the water create these sometimes contrasting shades of green and blue! I love to swim through the different colors.
While gliding along the coast and musing with my Tuscan cigar and Dante, I was contemplating his 14th century words while describing Satan: "A liar and the father of lies." (Dante: Inferno, Canto 23).
Chiefly, God is treated by many of us as someone who is absent. But God is omnipresent and he is here today in Italy and elsewhere. I sing of His greatness in the nature of the Italian peninsula as it is so palpable for all to see His beauty while enjoying its splendor!
An early June morning in Italy? What a treat! While alternating between the pool and the Adriatic Sea, I was thinking the whole day about the episcopal motto of His Holiness Pius X, of happy memory. After all, he was my confiration saint! Just over 100 years ago, on ascending the throne of Peter, Pius X addressed to the world an encyclical letter, in which he summed up, in four words taken from St. Paul, the whole object of his pontificate: "Instaurare omnia in Christo" (To restore all things in Christ). Let the legend live, gentlemen!
Monday, July 24, 2006
"The Catholic Church, that imperishable handiwork of our all-merciful God, has for her immediate and natural purpose the saving of souls and securing our happiness in heaven. Yet in regard to things temporal, she is the source of benefits as manifold and great as if the chief end of her existence were to ensure the prospering of our earthly life. And indeed, wherever the Church has set her foot, she has straightway changed the face of things, and has attempered the moral tone of the people with a new civilization and with virtues before unknown. All nations which have yielded to her sway have become eminent by their gentleness, their sense of justice, and the glory of their high deeds."
(Leo XIII: Immortale Dei. (Opening words) (Nov. 1, 1885)
"This our European structure, built upon the noble foundations of classical antiquity, was formed through, exists by, is consonant to, and will stand only in the mold of, the Catholic Church. Europe will return to the faith, or she will perish. The faith is Europe. And Europe is the faith."
-H. Belloc: Europe and the Faith (20th cent.).
Some still complain that the popes should not wear this hat
because it doesn't make them "look humble." Truth be told, it's more humble to wear such a hat than to not wear it? Hey, how much has Marxism infected our culture?
Sunday, July 23, 2006
To be the Spouse of Christ! "The woman, called from the beginning to love and to be loved, in her virginal vocation finds Christ above everything, as Redeemer who loved until the end through the total gift of Himself, and she responds to this gift with the sincere gift of her whole self." (On the Dignity of Women, Mulieris Dignitatem, A.D. 1988).
Dear Italian Sister: you holy virgin, bride and mother, carry the torch and let the legend live!
Before taking a ship across the Adriatic Sea to the Dalmatian coast, I just had to explore the port of Ancona. So, I walked up from the sea promenade to the highest point of the city, where a glorious church now stands. The silhouette of the domes was "oh so perfectly Italian!" and I even met a little puppy!
Nice marble carved up in Blessed Rome, eh? This photo is from Saint Mary Major, the largest church in Rome dedicated in honor of Our Blessed Lady. Catholics from Bulgaria, Moldova, Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, etc., can read this glory!
It is true that missionaries of the Latin Rite have been laboring in various countries of the East for more than five centuries. The Roman Rite is a universal Rite for all nations. I spent some time with some missioners in Russia, it was a blessing (www.vladmission.org).
FYI: "Christ and the Popes," said Benedict XIV, "want all men to be Catholics, but all need not be Latin." (De Martinis, Op. cit., Art. 47, p. 621). The image of the two lungs is significant: East and West.
Monday, July 17, 2006
Sunday, July 16, 2006
This is a statue of a glorious warrior of the Cold War, Jozef Cardinal Slipyj (m. 1984). Perched on the facade of the Ukrainian Catholic parish near to the Angelicum, he spies the passing faithful with his arm raised in might.
The Lord Reverend Cardinal would sometimes quote this line from Pope Benedict XIV: "The Church of Christ is neither Latin, nor Greek, nor Slav, but CATHOLIC. Members of all nations are EQUAL in the eyes of the Apostolic See...Catholics can have differences through venerable traditions in the Liturgy, language, laws and customs." (De Martinis, Juris Pontificii, Vol. III, Pars I, Art. 4, p. 621).
I first studied Philosophy and Theology at the University of Saint Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The few elderly professors in the philosophy department while I was still there in the late 1990s had been educated at Laval in Quebec, Canada. Until the fractured 1960s Laval had remained Thomistic.
Thomism is the right direction for us only because Thomas is so complete. Just see an index of anything Thomas ever wrote. The foremost American prelate of the XX century, Archiep. Fulton J. Sheen, often said that he had read, "every single line" that Saint Thomas had ever written. Might I do the same?
Back stateside, during the 1960s purge, a lot of the Marshal Tito clerics and others threw a great many of these wicked old books of yesteryear into the dumpsters. So in America, ther's only a handful left. However, in Italy, many more existed from the start and have survived (Grazie a Dio!).
Along the Italian coastline I have gotten the coolest liturgical books, all in Latin, that one could ever imagine. The best deals were in Naples, but I got some niiiice books in Genoa, Turin and of course, Rome, too! Under the Italian sun there are many used book sellers and they often have at least one or two liturgical books in stock, albeit expensive!
"Mary's name shall not disappear in anonymity, but shall be recalled in every age and praised as holy. Evangelical Protestantism must also learn to sing this song."
Mary is clearly the mother of Jesus and closer to him than the closest disciples?
Cool! This cardinal died in a.D. 1926. I'm sure he's watching over this Roman street now with a keen eye! The continuum of Rome lives on with evidence from every generation! Now we, too, must make our mark!
Friday, July 14, 2006
...in full Pontificals! I just love the gloves, made of knitted silk and ornamented with crosses on the top! Next time we need a photo of the ceremonial stockings/buskins with the sandals! Cheers to the glory of yesteryear seen today!
Too bad we can only see the all hallowed cappa magna with lace rochet in a museum today! When you visit Rome just buy one for a few thousand U.S. dollars for your bishop! Don't forget to order the ermine mozzetta for winter and silk one for summer! Purple wool for bishops and scarlet watered silk for cardinals!
Me being a model in Italy was going just fine until the photographer started an anti-Catholic tirade. So, I replied with a puff of smoke in her hot face: "Such a state of affairs, Madame, you bigot. Now you're gonna just have to get it in Latin: "Ut in omnibus honorificetur Deus per Jesum Christum!" (Post Scriptum: she never got paid!)
I had the temerity to try to be a model in Italy. I paid a photographer from Sweden to take some pics of me in Florence. It was quite an honor for someone as ugly as me and all was going well until...well, the strategic partnership was going just fine until i heard some anti-Catholic screed from the Swede. Then I barked: "Dolly, it's over! Long live Christ the King!"
Thursday, July 13, 2006
-Saint Pacianus of Barcelona (4th Century).
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Cool papal awards! Reminds me of the words of Ambrose:"Let our flesh die, that in it all that is sinful may die; and, as though living again from the dead, let us rise to new works and a new life " (but wearing these wickedly cool medals, too!).
When I was a kid my dad would sometimes bring me along to visit our dead at the local Catholic cemetery. With wonder I would sometimes marvel at the title carved in the granite of one stone: "Papal Count" while another read: "Papal Knight."
Walking the streets of Rome I sometimes see these glorious decorations of Papal Knighthood smiling at me through the store windows. I know I should at least (pretend to) be humble, but I still would just kill to drip in these decorations while sporting my Roman tailored tux!
So many know the Chaucer line on chivalry: "A knight there was, and that a worthy man, that from the time that he first began to riden out, he loved chivalry, truth, and honor, freedom and courtesy..."
You can't see his face in the photo, but his smiling chops wanted some money. To this gypsy I replied: "Sorry, Jerry, but I'm just a poor student." :-(
I so enjoy a Roman meal while sitting on an old wooden chair on the cobbled streets of downtown Rome! Of course the damask table clothes are nice, too! Just make sure the house wine is from the Castelli (Romani)!
Actually, just thinking about it makes me want to hum the good old, "O sole mio...!"
Until a. D. 1967 all classes at the Angelicum were taught in Latin (bring back the Latin, dudes!)! Until that time, only clerics (= men) attended the Angelicum. Today, many of us laymen study here.
This is a photo of the Church of Saints Dominic and Sixtus at the Angelicum. There is a Bernini altar in the rear of the church that is a must see! Visit soon!
The city of Rome is two plus millennia of beauty visited by the capital's 20 plus million annual visitors! With a German Pope now we see many more German pilgrims in the City and even less Polish pilgrims than before. Many Poles now make a voyage to the City to pay homage to Lolek Wojtyla at his tomb in the crypt of the Vatican Basilica.
Sunday, July 09, 2006
Kazimierz Cardinal Swiatek, a survivor of the Soviet gulags, just retired this month as head of the Archdiocese of Minsk-Mohilev, in Belarus. He's 91 years old and spent 10 years in Soviet forced-labor camps!
Might you be called to make a pilgrimage to Catholic Russia, land of the martyrs? I did and it was a blast! See www.vladmission.org !
We live in an era of anti-Catholic screed. While the mainstream media in America seeks to denigrate the Church with their liberationist agenda, we exclaim to these secular leftists with their Masonic tyranny: "Hey dudes, your virulent and bogus anti-Catholic firestorms haven't sunk the Holy Roman Church yet now have they?" To my fellow Catholic warriors I exclaim: "Die another day!"