Sunday, July 30, 2006

Our student dinner in Rome: such a view!

All of us graduate students in Rome enjoyed this end of the year dinner atop the American seminary in Rome. The lovely meal, fellowship, conversation (and view!) was all just the best!

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!

Student lifestyle: study today to teach tomorrow!

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.

From our rooftop dinner: dusk in Rome!

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.

Study bioethics in Rome with us!

Forza! These lovely Catholic women all study bioethics here in Rome at the Pontifical Athaneum Regina Apostolorum staffed by the zealous Legionaries of Christ ( 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: " 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).

Our prescription from God: study in Rome!

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!).

Rome students talk St. Thomas Aquinas...!

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...

Catholic students in Rome...!

In our era we have witnessed the disestablishment of the Catholic educational stystem in much of the West. So, the new generation of Catholics has not always been given the eminent tools for philosophical and theological inquiry.

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

Sung Mass in Blessed Rome!

Here I am in Rome on the bottom right as an "acolyte." It's always such an honor to be Christ's "page" at the altar (!

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.

Party hosted by expats in Italy...

Saint Valentine's Day A.D. 2005 was a nice time had by everybody. Here's me with my two roommates. God's foreknowledge always saw that the three of us would end up in Rome as graudate students in A.D. 2004. You know you have the best roomies when you can chat Tanquerey over a bottle from the Cantina Cerveteri with lit Cubans and pitted Spanish black olives. Both of these men, "...arise and take heaven itself by storm!" -Saint Augustine: Confessions, 8, 8 (5th cent.). The Romans used to say that a good friend is "another self."

Logos: the journey to Italy from afar...

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

A Godsend: awake warriors for the cause!

To reverence the colors is an honor! Every Catholic pro-life activist can endeavor to turn the First Amendment and other "civil rights" to the good, and oppose all attempts to pervert the concept of civil rights into the rights of the Devil.

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!

Mighty remnants of Christendom...

The mission of the Church is not limited to the salvation of souls, which of course is paramount, but includes also the work of restoring Christian civilization. Raids are continually being made on the peaceful conquests of the Church. Despite the sometimes hatred, contempt and opposition of the world, all Catholics are called to engage the world to "restore all things in Christ."

Enlivened with beauty on the Adriatic!

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).

Record-setting beauty in Catholic Italy?

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

Give to the missions in need: in Russia.

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:

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.).


It is said that Popes' lives are written chiefly after their deaths and so the biography of a living Pope is typically meager. An eyeopener is needed for many of us moderns when it comes to the wartime record of this famed statesman of peace who acted as a fire wall during the last great war. So many defame him today because he is an easy target for the anti-Catholic torpedo. However, we defend him as a candidate for sainthood. Truth be told, Europeans have always had a long history of appeasement of dictators and Pius XII had to deal with this cultural dilemma just as his many predecessors had done: they have acted as a steady voice for peace for everyone.

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

Benvenuto a Roma: Aeroporto Leonardo da Vinci!

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

Church of Saint Columba: cool cornerstone!

Wow, my favorite! There's nothing like a wicked old sedimentary sandstone in the New World all carved Latin! This Irish warrior, Saint Columba, would be proud! May Sanctus Columba pray for us!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

With thoughtlessness: see God in nature!

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).

Beauty affirms it: He is here!

...the pool is for the birds and I'll be swimming in the sea from now on! At the same time, I was thinking yet another day about Pius X, of blessed memory. He sought a regeneration of Christendom. He saw that God is here and that we must see Him today. In this age of such useless incumbrances, we seek His face in beauty.

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!

Where I take a respite: the Riviera del Conero!

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

Hemingway-esque appearance?

No khaki hunting outfit here, but just me and my guardian angel enjoying Italy...and the Adriatic Sea! I was thanking our Blessed Lord for the moment while thinking, "How many souls will one day utter a cry of surprise at the discovery of that inner life which is theirs, and of which they have hitherto been unaware!"

Immortale Dei...the tiara of Peter!

"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)

Tiara of His Holiness Paul VI...

"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

Sponsa Christi: lead us in example!

Ut Christus Regnet (That Christ May Reign)! If your vocation is to be a sister, then get into the pre-entrance program...into the postulancy...into the novitiate...the juniorate...and be a professed sister!

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!

Skyline in Italy: such an ensemble!

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!

Ab oriente et occidente...!

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 (

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

New blog in Latin: our inheritance!

Some of my classmates here in Rome have initiated this Latin language blog site! It's a hoot! With the Latin speaking Catholic now an endangered species, it's "awe yeah so niiice" to see some clerics getting to know the language and having a little fun with it!


Sunday, July 16, 2006

A Ukrainian Catholic!

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).

Cursus Theologicus...but where to study?

Study here in Rome with the Dominicans or elsewhere? Rome or Louvain or Laval or Paris or Lublin or Innsbruck, etc.? It's vocation and you have to go where you're called to go. However, it sure is fun to study under the Thomistic masters at the Dominican University in Rome! Here, Saint Thomas still rules the roost!

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?

Pleasantly nice personal library: after living in Rome!

At a cool Art Nouveau cafe in Rome I was chatting with another expat as he was telling me how his collection of liturgical books was the "mother of the mothers." I had to agree. After living in Rome one does have the opportunity to get the best books before anyone else, right?

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!

My surname in Rome...on a German bus!

This bus of pilgrims drove all the way to Rome from Germany. As the bus pulled up, I merrily spied my name on it! Sheepish as I was, I loudly exclaimed to them: "Dudes, the name of your bus is my surname!" Then, hurridly I shewed them my name printed on my international driving permit/driver's license!

Una statua Romana...

"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."

-K.E. Skydsgtaard

Mary is clearly the mother of Jesus and closer to him than the closest disciples?

A Roman street named after a Prince of the Church!

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

Nice photo from Bavaria with wicked chasuble... 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!

Live the glory in Rome, friends!

Could it be that in the education of our Catholic youth little attempt has been made to impart instructjon as to the history and meaning of the practices which have been embodied in the Church's majestic rituals.

Buy your bishop a "cappa magna" 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!

To know history = to be Catholic!

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!)

Endowment to being cool - get a pipe!

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

In the glory of the Italian sun!

" Christian is my name, and Catholic my surname. The former qualifies me, the latter manifests me for what I am. The latter demonstrates what the former signifies. And, if I finally must explain the word 'Catholic' and translate it from the Greek into the Roman idiom, Catholic means 'one everywhere,' or, as the more learned think, 'obedience to all the commandments of God.'"
-Saint Pacianus of Barcelona (4th Century).

Baptism of Papa Pacelli!

A typical day of wonder in Rome: I coasted off the Ponte S. Angelo only to stumble into this baroque hulk of a church which turns out to be open only on Sunday mornings. Then, in the rear of the church, to my surprise, I read this marble plaque which recounts the baptism of Papa Pacelli! So, I kissed the font and thanked Our Blessed Lord for the gift of his baptism. Pacelli received the irrevocable mark of baptism here and my prayer was that we can be worthy heirs to now carry the torch!

It's them: well-known fanfare of paparazzi!

Mysteriously transplanted by means of Providence's unfathomable designs? When you see the paparazzi near, just run as they might be looking for you. Or, just know that there is some "like really cool VIP" distinguished entourage near to where you are (just wave in the background and say: "hi mom!").

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Window shopping in Rome!

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!).

To be a modern knight?

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..."

Recurrent joy: to eat on the streets of Rome!

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...!"

Study in Rome...with 1,600 other students!

Can you imagine studying here in Rome at the Dominican Univeristy (a.k.a. the "Ange")? The professors and students are great! There are approximately 1,600 students from almost 100 countries with almost 300 students from North America!

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!

Amore per Roma!

The labyrinth of cobbled streets in Rome host some really cool cars - always! Do you like the trunk of this happy auto? Anathema sit to the ugly cars of today and yesterday!

Erstwhile supporters of liberty!

This poster is against the rascals who don't want to serve liberty. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us. We must respect, honour and love the Fatherland. Our armies serve the cause and in the Arab world today they stand unmatched. Let liberty ring!

Carved in the Roman travertine of old...!

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

Milestones...Belarus Cardinal retires!

This is a photo of a Roman Catholic parish in Moscow, survived! It's the Church of Saint Louis, King of France. Even with all the Soviet railing against the Church for all those decades, this property survived as it was attached to the French Embassy legation.

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 !

Rome: inheritor of silent voices...on the street!

Isn't it just glorious to see a cleric stride over the cobbles of Rome? It's such a thorough image: the Church remains! The street is a niche for the cleric: witness to the common folk! Ever eager to propound the truth, his cassock is his voice. Like my mother always used to say: "Put your tools to work for you!"

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!"