Friday, October 27, 2006

Ciao from Tuscany...

Ciao, tutti! Today I leave for Florence and Gricigliano. I was there last year to visit the Institute of Christ the King ( and so I will again this year. I'll be at the Uffizi gallery on sentiamo dopo!

Here I am with Father G. Wach at Gricigliano in the Tuscan hills. Do you like the suit (on me!)? My grandfather wore the exact type when he was wed on June 1, 1940 (it was the Depression and they had no money)!

Catholic legions as they assemble in Rome...

Welcome to the Vatican! Here we have our solidarity as Catholic pilgrims as we arrive: Videre Petrum (To see Peter)!

Today the world attempts to water down Christianity to just a series of moral platitudes and then to dignify this mixture of vague religiosity and well-meaning moral optimism with the respectable name of Christiaity.

But we know better and Fides vincit!

Learned beauty from my godmother...

Please pray earnestly for my godmother who is suffering with great courage through an illness during this critical time in her life. She is a noble and sweet woman with a wonderful husband and daughters (please see her site here: ).

My godmother and her husband and my own father taught me so many lessons about beauty: through antiques and namely through old autos! But just remember what they always say: "Forties forever!"

The Italian sun: off the coast of Rome...

Yes, God has surely blessed Italy! She has everything and more: the seat of Christianity is Rome. This Christianity is not merely a moral ideal or a set of ideas or laws. It is a concrete reality - the spiritual order incarnated in a historical person and in a historical society. The spiritual order is just as real as the material order (the reason that we don't see it is because we do not look at it...our thoughts are elsewhere while some few exceptional men: mystics, pilosophers, etc., may find it and then live on that plane).

My deliverance in this broken world: the Church of Christ! Live Christianity and make your pilgrimage to Christian Rome, today!

Press Corps: Paparazzi...!

The guerilla-style paparazzi always entertain me! Sometimes you even see them around Rome: in the northern, more fashionable part of Rome (you can always tell them as they move all the time, in groups, with huge zoom lenses!). When you see these guys, just run the other way!

But do you know what makes me laugh about this photo, though?'s the scarf! Every Italian just loves the scarf! They have this thing about keeping the back of the neck from getting a chill...or about going out in the morning with wet hair...or about wearing certian colors that portare sfiga!

Roman etiquette: how to greet a Bishop...

More on the Roman etiquette that we all strive to know and love once we arrive here in Rome:

“Should you bend the knee when kissing the episcopal ring? Yes, if the Bishop is within the limits of his own diocese, as it is a acknowledgment of his jurisdiction as Ordinary. Outside of his own diocese, etiquette requires that he should only permit a low bow due to his character as a Bishop. According to principles frequently laid down in this manuel, it is proper to bend the knee to a Cardinal everywhere, to an Archbishop in his province, and to an Abbot in his monastery; and the same honor should also be paid to the Apostolic Delegate throughout the territory of his Delegation.”

-Costume of Prelates of the Catholic Church According to Roman Etiquette
By John Abel Nainfa, S.S., D.C.L

Fall foliage: in Italiano!

I took this photo in the States last September and so I just have to share it with my Italian friends:

Autunno nel Minnesota e sinonimo di “Estate Paradiso,” il meraviglioso fenomeno naturale dovuto alle stagionale diversa variazione cromatica delle foglie di alberi come aceri, pioppi e betulle, che in un trionfo di rossi gialli, ocra e marroni “incendiano” di fantastici colori boschi, foreste e parchi cittadini!

Who first brought Christianity to Europe?

San Paolo ha fatto!

“If we take the case of the first introduction of the Christian faith in Europe, we see how complex and profound is the process that we are attempting to understand. When St. Paul sailed from Troy in obedience to a dream and came to Philippi in Macedonia, he did more to change the course of history and the future of European culture than the great battle which had decided the fate of the Roman Empire on the same spot more than ninety years before. Yet nothing that he did was notable or even visible from the standpoint of contemporary culture. He incurred the hostility of the mob, he was sent to prison and he made at least three converts: a business woman from Asia Minor, a slave girl who was a professional fortuneteller, and his jailer. These were the first European Christians – the forerunners of uncounted millions who have regarded the Christian faith as the standard of their European way of life.”

-Christianity and European Culture
Selections from the Work of Christopher Dawson

Roman-Hellenistic culture: the enduring Pompei...

Study classical history and the humane letters! The history of the ancient world - classical Greece and Rome - which was once regarded as an essential part of education, is glorious! All one has to do is visit Pompei, just south of Rome, to be reminded of that!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Hallow your Halloween in Rome with us...

FYI: Solemn Tridentine Rite Vigiliary Mass of All Saints to be held in Roman catacomb…

Those of us born into this modern epoch are rather familiar with the old Orwellian mantra: “old is bad/new is good.” But we just so love the old and this coming Tuesday, October 31, at 4 o’clock in the afternoon there will be sung in the ancient Roman Catacombs of Priscilla a Solemn High Mass in the Tridentine Rite.

The Mass will be sung in the Basilica of St. Priscilla, adjoining the catacomb and convent of the Benedictine sisters on the Via Salaria. We thank the Benedictines for their hospitality as well as the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter for hosting the Mass.

In this catacomb is found the very famous fresco of the Madonna and Child, the oldest known representation of this subject. These catacombs, where many popes and martyrs were buried , were discovered in 1578 and they extend for some 13 km and some 40,000 persons were buried there on three separate levels.

Hope to see you all there and happy All Hallow’s Eve!

Roman etiquette: how to greet a Bishop...

Remember that when you greet a Bishop you can reverence his ring for an indulgence! The ring is a symbol of the Bishop’s close union with his local church; a symbol of his authority/jurisdiction. By decree of Pope St. Pius X (March 18, 1909), a partial indlgence of 50 days, applicable to the souls in Purgatory, may be gained by devoutly kissing the ring of a Bishop. Just remember to bend your knee when you meet ‘em and try not to chip your tooth on the ring!

Franciscan relic collection in Velletri...

In the fourth century St. Jerome declared:

“We do not worship, we do not adore, for fear that we should bow down to the creature rather than to the Creator, but we venerate the relics of the martyrs in order the better to adore Him Whose martyrs they are” (Ad Riparium, i, P.L., XXII, 907).

The account of Polycarp’s martyrdom written by the Smyrnaeans in A.D. 156 in which Christians describe the events following his burning at the stake:

“We took up his bones, which are more valuable than precious stones and finer than refined gold, and laid them in a suitable place, where the Lord will permit us to gather ourselves together, as we are able, in gladness and joy and to celebrate the birthday of his martyrdom.”

Always under siege, but never taken...

“It is true that Catholicism has suffered grievously from the sectarian division and strife of the last four hundred years, but it has succeeded in surmounting the long drawn-out crisis that followed the dissolution of the mediaeval synthesis, and it stands out today as the one remaining centre of unity and spiritual order in Europe. If Christianity is necessary to Europe, the Catholic Church is no less necessary to Christianity, for without it the latter would become no more than a mass of divergent opinions dissolving under the pressure of rationalist criticism and secularist culture. It was by virtue of the Catholic ideal of spiritual unity that the social unity of European culture emerged from the welter of barbarism, and the modern world stands no less in need of such an ideal if it is to realise in the future the wider unity of a world civilisation.”

-Christianity and European Culture
Selections from the Work of Christopher Dawson

Russian Catholics in Italy...

Yes, the Church is international. In the Cathedral of St. Peter in Frascati, just south of Rome, I saw this tomb. She is Helena Raievsky of the House of Moscow. So nice to know that she kept the Faith!

While in Rome I so enjoy reading these nineteenth century marble tomb inscriptions that one sees all over in the churches. The dead, even from the grave, can inspire us with their last Latin words!

Give to the missioners in Russia today (!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

World Mission Sunday...

This Sunday we will celebrate World Mission Sunday. Please be generous as the Mormons and J.W. are with their financial resources.

To donate online works for me. If you have a credit card, it can work for you, too? Give today to our converts to the Faith in the Russian Federation (

“Communism is by its nature anti-religious. It considers religion as ‘the opiate of the people’ because the principles of religion which speak of a life beyond the grave dissuade the proletariat from the dream of a soviet paradise which is of this world.”

-Pope Pius XI: Divini Redemptoris (March 19, 1937)

Happy 18th B-day to the FSSP!

Yesterday in Rome we celebrated the 18th anniversay of the founding of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (

So with the spumante a toast was proposed in Latin: Prosit! Vobis/tibi quoque!

Me, the Frenchie and the Tiroler...

We study together in Rome (notice that I'm the one eating in the photo)! Perhaps your vocation is to study here, too? We often make parties on religious solemnities...

His glorious return to's Dziwisz!

He was Pope John Paul II's best friend. Now he returns to Rome this coming week as a Prince of the Church to take possession of his titular church...

Sua Eminenza Reverendissima il Cardinale

Stanislaw Dziwisz

Arcivescovo Metropolita di Krakow (Polonia)

prendera possesso del titolo presbiteriale di S. Maria del Popolo


Martedi 24 ottobre 2006

I shouted to him in Latin and he waved to me...!



The Roman Major Seminary: at the Lateran...

I was at the all-hallowed Lateran Archbasilica last week to visit for some prayers. While walking the grounds of the Pontifical Lateran University I took this photo for the blososphere. It's the Major Seminary for the Diocese of Rome. Not all of the students are sons of Rome anymore. Some are from Croatia or Poland and even especially from the South of Italy, like Puglia.

Holy Matrimony: the Catholic way...

I often cringe when I sometimes receive an invitation for a Catholic wedding: the couples of today usually get it wrong!

When you have your invitations printed, remember that the words are going to be slightly different for Catholic couples...

Remember, it's a "Nuptial Mass" or "Nuptial Vows" and not just a "Wedding Mass" or "Marriage Celebration." Also, the priest is not the "Presider," but instead the "Celebrant." It's not "Assumption Church," but instead "The Church of the Assumption." It's not the "Bride" and "Groom," but instead the "Bridegroom" and the "Bride."

Pro-life legionaries from Vatican...

The Vatican knows its enemies (corporate and otherwise). If Masons and Reds were the more prominent enemies of civilization yesterday, then Planned Parenthood International is public enemy number one for today.

God will not be mocked and He knows that they wouldn't be doing it if there wasen't a dollar to be made. But then again, He knows, too, that Satan demands human sacrifice in every generation. What does Christ (God) have to say on the subject? "Some demons can be cast out only by prayer and fasting." Oremus...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Update from Rome...

Any comment from Reggie?

“Well friends, Latin lives!” Fr. Foster, the world’s greatest living latinist, with great enthusiasim, has announced his createion of his own “Latin Academy” here in Rome.

Academia Romae Latinitatis
Perennis Romae Latinitas

I. First Experience of the Latin Language:

Introductory, synthetic presentation of the Latin language through examples from 2,000 years of Latinity: as basis initial learning. 35 afternoon encounters of 90 minutes plus personal outside projects.

II. Second Experience of the Latin Language:

Immediate, practical application of the Latin language through examples from colloquial Latinity: as material for speaking, familiarization, appreciation exercises in Latin conversation.

III. Third Experiece of the Latin Language:

Advanced, analytic demonstration of the Latin language through examples from 2,000 years of Latinity: as a basis for future specialization. 35 afternoon encounters of 90 plus personal outside projects.

IV. Fourth Experience of the Latin Language:

Specialization course or reading and composition, exercises and pedagogical practice. 35 afternoon encounters of 90 minutes plus personal outside projects.

V. Fifth Experience of the Latin Language:

Continuing education on the highest level of Latin reading and writing, speaking and teaching. 35 afternoon encounters of 90 minutes plus personal outside projects.

Little Skywalker wants to be a Jedi latinist...

I received this little note via electronic mail yesterday:

“Everybody to the Alamo: we stand for Latin! Long live the Pope, God save the King and God bless Fr. Reggie!”

My reply to this little fan read thus: “Little warrior, we promise that the Latin knowledge will not die with the legends of old as we will learn it all in toto and pass it on to you!”

P.S. The little happy warrior is already saying that he wants to be a part-time valet to the Pope if only to hold the all-hallowed sanguine capello romano while standing next to the prie-dieu with the coat-of-arms of the His Holiness embroidered on the drapery during his first visit to New York as Benedictus XVI.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Pope's chief latinist fired from Rome's Gregoriana...

He's famous in the Vatican. His name is Fr. Reginald Foster, O.C.D., a Carmelite priest from near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was a student in Rome in the early 1960s, was ordained there, and has lived there since. Since 1975 he has been teaching Latin full-time at Rome's Jesuit University, the Gregoriana. He also is the world's most famous living latinist, having worked in that capacity for four popes for nearly forty years.

Every October Fr. Reginald has a first meeting for his new and former Latin students in his popular upper classroom at the Gregoriana. Typically, over one-hundred Latin students from all over the world are gathered.

This year, the class meeting was a little different. Today, Fr. Foster announced with great regret that his renowned Latin program would no longer be held there, after over thirty years, as per the Jesuit administration.

"Last Saturday evening," he explained, "We received a scrambled e-mail at my residence in Rome (the Teresianum), not addressed to me, but to my superior." The letter explained that, "Fr. Foster would be no longer teaching Latin at the Gregoriana."

The administration had cancelled Fr. Foster's Latin program and substituted another class for that time-slot. Their reason was cryptic: "Too many students are taking Fr. Foster's Latin without paying tuition." True, many of the students were not registered with the Univeristy, but everyone knew how renowned this Latin program was while drawing latinists from all over the world.

Fr. Foster, in good spirits, explained to us today: "Well you see, the Jesuits were rather Jesuitical about the whole thing, now weren't they?" Then, he went on to explain: "I'm taking this opportunity to announce the founding of a new Latin institute in Rome! We don't yet have a place to meet yet, but I'll keep you all informed! Latin lives!"

The greatest living latinist: Reginaldus Foster...

I took this photo today of Fr. Reginald Foster at Rome's Jesuit University, the Gregoriana. I guess it was a rather historical day as he just announced to us that he's been fired from teaching Latin there after over 30 years of teaching for the Jesuits.

His reply was polite, but firm: "It's been getting more and more difficult teaching here these past years. This program will not die and I'm announcing today the establishment of a new Latin institute in Rome!"

He gave each of us a sheet of paper that read:





Forza: we support Latin...

I was proud today as I watched the Latin students of Fr. Foster greet him individually to voice their support for him and his Latin program. What did I say as I greeted him? "Father, thank you for your many years of faithful service and we support you and your program always! Keep up the good work!"

Students voice their support for Fr. Foster...

Here we see Fr. Foster at Rome's Gregorian University today. Every student had a polite word of encouragement for him as they pondered the news that he had just shared with them: "The Jesuit administration put an end to our Latin program," he moaned. In reply, the student sentiment was strong: "We support you, Reggie, and the program will not die."

Jesuits in Rome: for or against Latin...

Word spread through Rome rather quickly today with the news that Fr. Reginald Foster had been fired by the Jesuits from teaching Latin at their Gregorian University last Saturday.

Students from the Gregoriana voiced their feelings today. Many were left wondering, "Why do so many older Catholics have such spite against Latin?" For us younger Catholics, we just want what the Church has given to us.

I asked an elderly Jesuit priest today what he thought of all this mess and his reply was thus: "Latin is part of our radici cristiane!"

From Vatican: young latinists stir our emotions...

I took this photo yesterday at the Vatican during the Mass of Canonization. I was so humbled to see these sweet little Italian kids trying to read some Latin! With glee I thought of how powerful the words were as they are taken from the Rite of Exorcism: Ecce Crux Domini...Fugite Partes Adversae...Vicit Leo De Tribu Iuda!

Latinists of today:they live...

Too bad Antonio Cardinal Bacci is dead. The good news is that when he died, his Latin knowledge did not die with him as it lived on through his successor, Fr. Reggie Foster.

If you ever have the opportunity, read Cardinal Bacci's memoirs. The Latin Liturgy Association had them translated from the Italian into English and the booklet is available from them. It's a great read ( with amazing insight into the battle to preserve Latin in this hostile epoch.

In Rome, know good Latin when you see it...

When you see this name carved in your polished marble in Rome, then you know it's good Latin! Antonio Cardinal Bacci was the greatest living latinist through the 1960s. His successor was an American, Fr. Reginald Foster, who remains the most prominent living latinist of today.

Cardinal Bacci was so good at Latin that he even published an Italian-Latin dictionary of "modern" Latin words. He was the one who coined Latin words for such modern inventions as electric lighting, the automobile and communism, etc.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Kids are so cute...

It was a merry Christmas for this little dude! He watched for Santa in the moonlight while telling an elaborate story of how all he wanted from Claus was some help to someday be a true maestro of sacred polyphony of the Roman school! So, Claus delivered!

I’m just happy the little critter got what he wanted (all he talked about for weeks was how “phat” he was with such a record of Vatican polyphony). He now just plays this record (with a repertoire of only polyphonic music) on his great-grandmother’s old portable vic found in the attic!

Trick question for the little squirrely-bird: “Who is the greatest living interpreter of the Roman polyphonic school?” Astounded I was as he laughed and replied: “The Eyetalian octogenarian Monsignore Domenico Bartolucci, appointed in 1956 by Pius XII as director of the famed Sistine Choir!”

FSSP Rome Centre: Newly Restored!

Welcome to the Rome headquarters of the Fraternitas Sacerdotalis Sancti Petri! It's the parish church of Saint Gregory the Great (!

After several months the scaffolding is now gone and this is the restored it! Once upon a time, this was just a dark Roman alley with a hidden treasure at the end of it. But now it's all been restored and so we thank our Blessed Lord and rejoice in Latin: "Oremus pro benefactoribus nostris!"

Anyone want to donate $6,000 for the proposed project for the installation of new interior lighting in the church (the current lighting dates mainly from the year 1929)! Write to the pastor, Rev. Joseph Kramer, FSSP!

The Italian woman...

I just had to take this photo! Do you like the traditional dress with mantilla?! These sweet ladies belonged to a choir and they were just angelic. God bless them all!

When you travel through the Castelli Romani you just never know who you'll meet or what you'll see, but the land is rich in cultural heritage!

Only the best: meet the baroque!

Baroque by definition: "Limbs swirling all over in the glory of contemplation." 3-D was the idea and that's the effect! Thus, we contemplate the sacred mysteries and our ultimate end: death, judgement and heaven or hell.

My favorite about the baroque is that it combines so very many mediums of art: fresco, oil on canvas, mosaic, sculpture, glass, etc. We see marble, plaster and all the rest building itself up towards the heavens for the glory of God and the sanctification of men!

Our home away from home: at dawn!

Il diario Romano! Preeminent and majestic: the dawn of a new day in Christian Rome! It makes me just want shout and hear the echo of these old Latin words: "Omnia vincit veritas!"

Actually, this is the best time to visit the Vatican Basilica. Just coast across the cobbles of Rome through the morning mists to get the Basilica as it opens at 7 o'clock. Then, visit the crypt to see the tombs of the dead popes!

The Italian sacristy...

Don't you just love Europe? Where else would you stumble upon a sign in Latin in a parish sacristy telling everyone just to be quiet so that everyone else can actually pray?

A rental car in Rome?

Like I often tell Americans making plans to visit Rome: "Cancel your rental car plans and just take the bus, metro, train or vai a piedi!" Needless to say, Rome was designed centuries before the automobile was ever even invented! But, Insomma!'s back!

From Geoffrey Chaucer:

"A knyght ther was, and that a worthy man, That fro the tyme that he first bigan To riden out, he loved chivalrie, Trouthe and honour, freedom and curteisie. Ful worthy was he in his lordes werre, And therto hadde he riden no man ferre, As wel in cristendom as in hethenesse, And evere honoured for his worthynesse."

-The Canterbury Tales

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The last of the Romans...

October 9 was the anniversary of the death of Pius XII. He was born in Rome and died at Castel Gandolfo. See this site to order yourself a Pius XII t-shirt:

"We belong to the Church militant; and She is militant because on earth the powers of darkness are ever restless to encompass Her destruction."

-Pius XII, AD 1953

Monday, October 09, 2006

What color shall it be for the next hundred years?

“After all, from my very childhood, I had understood that the artistic experience, at its highest, was actually a natural analogue of mystical experience. It produced a kind of intuitive perception of reality through a sort of affective identification with the object contemplated – the kind of perception that the Thomists call 'connatural'."

“I had learned from my own father that it was almost blasphemy to regard the function of art as merely to reproduce some kind of a sensible pleasure or, at best, to stir up the emotions to a transistory thrill. I had always understood that art was a contemplation, and that it involved the action of the highest faculties of man.”

-The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton

He studies sacred theology in Rome...

This Canadian will tell you in French or English or Italian or Latin or even in Greek: "I came to Rome to study the science of theology because it was my vocation and that's just how it works, folks!" If you are called to study here, too, then welcome to this mighty city where you, too, can live "under the shadow of the dome!"

Non-European Immigration into the E.U.?

Will Europe even remain Christian?

“The survival of civilization depends on the continuity of its educational tradition. A common educational system creates a common world of thought with common intellectual values and a common inheritance of knowledge, which makes a society conscious of its identity and gives it a common memory of its past. Consequently any breach in the continuity of the educational tradition involves a corresponding breach in the continuity of the civilization; so that if the breach were a complete one, it would be far more revolutionary than any political or economic change, since it would mean the birth of a new civilization, or at any rate the death of the old one.”

-Christianity and European Culture by Christopher Dawson

The harvest is ready: rally the youth to Australia!

Would you like to join us in July of a.D. 2008 for the "mother" of all Catholic youth gatherings in Sydney? Il Papa will be there, too, along with yours truly (io)! Welcome to the Land Down Under and see this site for all the details: P.S. Let the legend live!

Next Summer: Study Latin in Rome?

Only in Rome: a Latin quote from Virgil on the fa├žade of a public school overlooking the Tiber!

If you would like to study Latin in Rome with the American Carmelite from Milwaukee, Fr. Reggie Foster, the greatest living latinist, then read on...






Catholics in Sweden: warriors for the cause!

It's great to read of the Catholic Faith in Sweden. They are such a noble people with a proud history and a lovely culture. Once upon a time Sweden was a cradle of Catholic culture, and so let it be again! See this new Catholic site from Sweden:

Greek Rite Catholics...from Romania!

The Church lives! Does everyone know that the persecuted Catholic Faith in Romania lives?! Thanks in large part to the old Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Western Romania of today has many faithful Catholics and they are not to be forgotten. They are proud Catholics and even have their own parish in Rome near to the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. Pope John Paul II, of blessed memory, made an apostolic voyage to Romania in a.D. 1999, in preparation for the Holy Year.

Let the legend live...even post factum!

There was the King of Pop, the King of Rock and then there's the King of Rome! In all of his glory he rode atop his white Fiat while pronouncing the Apostolic Blessing!

Just remember, too, that the faithful can with sentiments of piety and devotion receive the Blessing given by the Supreme Pontiff Urbi et Orbi, even by means of live radio or television, and so receive a plenary indulgence on the usual conditions!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

In obeisance before His Holiness...!

From the Roman Breviary:

V./ Let us pray for our Pontiff Benedict.
R./ The Lord preserve him, and give him life, and make him to be blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies.

Our Father, Hail Mary.

Ex Breviario Romano:

V./ Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Benedicto.
R./ Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.

Pater, Ave.