Saturday, May 31, 2008

WWII: when the Vatican was bombed...

As a story that's never really been told, many don't even know that the Vatican City itself was bombed during World War II. Friday, November 5, 1943 was a quiet morning. Until, they say, five bombs fell on the Vatican from a single, unmarked plane. Here we see some of the remains of that event which they left alone so as to be a silent witness for future generations.
Little has ever been written or said of this event. These photos were only able to be taken through a free VIP tour we were gifted with through our univeristy and thanks to the Governor of the Vatican City State who as a courtesy gifted the Cistercian Abbot in Rome with this privilege. The tour guide that day, who for thirty years has been guiding pilgrims and tourists through the Vatican gardens, allowed for us on a special three-hour tour to get close to the site, now a parking lot. She explaind that no Vatican inquiry was ever made and that the low-level plane was unmarked. It was likely a "top secret" mission and neither the Nazis or Fascists ever claimed responsibility. The building in the photo is the train station of Vatican City, now used as a sort of department store for Vatican employees and others. Today, we know that terrorists seek to control through "intimidation" and fear. It is believed that the Nazi authorities in Rome, taking all orders from one in Berlin, bombed the Vatican itself in this manner during the beginning of their nine-month occupation of Rome so as to further remind all parties of the Nazi power and willingness to go all the way in their path of destruction.

WWII: when the Vatican was bombed...

More or less, these are never before seen photos. Remember them. Then ask why we have never seen these photos published anywhere outside of Italy or heard this story? A great many people want us to believe that Pius XII was a villan or a coward. But, we know better and we know that one cannot reason with a dictator (and in this case there was not just one, but two: der Führer and il Duce). They were all too willing to do more harm. It is said that when these bombs fell, many window panes in the Basilica of St. Peter as well as in the Apostolic Palace broke as the ground shook.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Carmelite Habit: still seen on statues...

From the International Sodality "Pastor Angelicus"



Sanctissimi in Christo Patris

Eugenii Mariæ Pacelli

Pastoris Angelici, Doctoris Mariani,
Defensoris Almæ Vrbis



On the 9th of October 2008, we will remember the fiftieth anniversary of the passing of Pope Pius XII. He ruled the Catholic Church from 1939, the same year in which the II World War began, until just fifty years ago, 1958. This was one of the most tragic and difficult moments of the convulsed twentieth century. During this conflagration the Pope displayed many varied and efficient charitable activities in favor of the victims, without any discrimination due to racial, political or religious backgrounds. Particularly important and decisive was his contribution to the deliverance of many thousands of Jews in Italy as well as in other war-torn countries where they were being cruelly persecuted. The precious aid and assistance of Pius XII was the object of unanimous acknowledgement from Jewish religious authorities and civil organizations as well as from numerous individuals who benefited from it during and after the war.

As Supreme Pontiff, Pius XII was extraordinary in his sanctity as well as his ability to govern. Gifted with an incredible ability for the office, Pius XII led the Church wisely and firmly while warding off the many dangers menacing the Catholic Faith and Christian civilization. This Pope was a prolific and masterful writer and orator who always had an up-to-date and authoritative word to say on the most relevant questions of the day, and not only on religious matters, but also in the field of human letters and sciences.

In the sphere of Catholic teaching, his achievements were many. Pius XII deepened the understanding of the ecclesiology of the Church with a fuller understanding of the Pauline doctrine on the Mystical Body of Christ (as seen with his encyclical letter Mystici Corporis Christi); further, he renewed biblical studies through the approval of the proper use of the so-called historical critical method of biblical scholarship (as seen in his encyclical letter Divino Afflante Spiritu); he opened new paths to the spiritual and apostolic life through the so-called secular institutes (seen with the Apostolic Constitution Provida Mater); he admirably promoted liturgical studies by incorporating the acquisitions of the authentic liturgical movement while at the same time warning against the deviations of the anti-liturgical heresy (encyclical letter Mediator Dei); he unmasked the so-called Nouvelle Théologie (with his encyclical letter Humani Generis); he enriched the study of mariology as well as exercised the infallible charim of the Papacy with his proclamation in the Holy Year 1950 of the dogma of Our Lady’s Assumption into Heaven (with the papal bull entitled Munificentissimus Deus); he stimulated devotion towards the Sacred Heart of Jesus (with his encyclical letter Haurietis Aquas); he gave a renewed impulse to foreign missions and missioners in the whole word and further promoted native clergy in missionary lands (encyclical letter Fidei Donum); and in short, there was no aspect of Church life upon which Pius XII did not act upon in which we can see his attentive and able leadership. The voice and teachings of Pius XII are so many and varied, so important and significant that even in the documents of the II Vatican Council, we can see that he is the most quoted author only after the Bible itself.

But above all, Eugenio Pacelli was a mystic. With his ethereal figure atop the horizon, he seemed to rise up in his manner of blessing, slowly and intentionally, as he embraced with his very arms the whole of mankind as an offering it to God. Always touching and characteristic was the presence of Pius XII. For Catholics the world over, he inspired the veneration of the faithful; for others, he drew their spontaneous respect. From the throne of Peter, Pius XII watched everything sub specie æternitatis and was conscious of the transcendental nature of his own petrine mission. His openmindness towards the supernatural realities further allowed him to be the witness of two spiritual events which proved to be extraordinary: the reproduction of the so-called "miracle of the sun" of Fatima, which he witnessed in the Vatican gardens in the Holy Year 1950 as well as an apparition in which he saw Our Lord during a serious illness in which he suffered in 1954 while he prayed the Anima Christi prayer. And still further, we look to the prophecy attributed to his pontificate, pronounced so many years before by the pen of St. Malachy, that he would the the Pastor Angelicus (Angelic Shephard).

The SODALITIVM INTERNATIONALE PASTOR ANGELICVS is a lay association founded in Barcelona, Spain, in 1998. Its aim is to spread the knowledge of the life and works of Pius XII as well as to collaborate with the appropriate ecclesiastic authorities so as to assist and promote in the cause of his beatification and canonization. This initiative of the Sodality has enjoyed the support and encouragement of three princes of the Church: the Most Eminent Cardinals Pietro Palazzini, Silvio Oddi and Alfons Maria Stickler, as well as from numerous other prelates and secular and religious clergy. The Sodality is in contact with the Rev. Peter Gumpel S.J., vice-postulator of the cause of Pius XII as well as with the Rev. Pierre Blet S.J., one of the original three scholars who were entrusted by Pope Paul VI to prepare the edition of the "acts and documents" of the Holy See regarding its diplomatic activities during the II World War, which was later published in twelve volumes.

Quickly approaching the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Pius XII, the SODALITIVM INTERNATIONALE PASTOR ANGELICVS invites all Catholics and others to join in this special initiative so as to best commemorate together the life and pontificate of this saintly Pontiff. This is the very reason why the Sodality has planned a series of months, which one can see below, leading up to the culumination in Rome on the 9th of October 2008, in the frame of what we would like to refer to as a “Pacellian Year”. These activities are included here simply as a suggestion for other efforts in different countries in connection with this same year of commemoration. Meanwhile, the climax of this year of memory will be an international pilgrimage to Rome, Italy, which is scheduled for this coming October of 2008. During this very pilgrimage the commemorations in honor of Pope Pius XII, and for the purpose of showing support for his proposed beatification, will end solemnly with Pontifical Mass sung for the repose of his soul in the Borghese Chapel in the Patriarchal Basilica of Saint Mary Major, God-willing, by His Eminence Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos (the date for this Mass has been set for October 9, but the time of the Mass has yet to be announced).


The program of commemorations includes numerous activities such as Masses, conferences and some photo and film exhibitions. Each month until the anniversary date will be dedicated to a specific subject related to a particular aspect of the pontificate of Pope Pius XII.

October 2007: Pius XII and Missions (50th anniversary of the encyclical letter Fidei Donum)
November 2007: Pius XII and the Sacred Liturgy (60th anniversary of the encyclical letter Mediator Dei)
December 2007: Pius XII and the Secular Institutes (60th anniversary of the Apostolic Constitution Provida Mater)
January 2008: Pius XII on the Way to the Altars (the process of beatification and canonization)
February 2008: Pius XII and the Mass Media (cinema, radio and press)
March 2008: Pius XII and the Building of Europe
April 2008: Pius XII and the Hebrew People
May 2008: Pius XII, Marian Doctor (the Blessed Virgin Mary in the writings of Pius XII)
June 2008: Pius XII and the Sacred Heart (Haurietis Aquas)
July 2008: Pius XII and Biblical Studies (Divino Afflante)
August 2008: Pius XII and the Silent Church (against Communism and Nazism)
September 2008: Vatican Life During the Reign of Pius XII
October 2008: International Pilgrimage to Rome for the closing of the memorial year of Pius XII, 2008 (suggested dates: October 6 to 9)

All persons interested in obtaining further information in this regard are invited to please contact us via the following postal and/or e-mail address:

Rodolfo Vargas Rubio
Apartado de Correos 5496
08080 Barcelona

Electronic mail:

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

50th anniversary of the death of Pius XII...

Sr. Margherita Marchione, the celebrated American author and university professor, has asked Catholics in the Internet world to please post this which she just wrote in light of her latest book which will soon be available:

50th Anniversary of the Death of Pius XII

Catholics throughout the world will commemorate the 50th anniversary of Pope Pius XII’s death at Castel Gandolfo, on October 9, 1958. Carlo Tei, who now resides in Hong Kong, wrote (March 12, 2008): “As a young student in Rome , I joined the procession of the people accompanying the body of the Pontiff, from Castel Gandolfo to the Vatican . We all felt we were accompanying a ‘Saint’ to the Holy city, the new and eternal Jerusalem .” Fifty years later, in spite of five decades of misinformation and calumny, Catholics thoughout the world continue to venerate Pius XII whose efforts during World War II saved thousands of Jews from the Holocaust.

Pius XII was not a “silent Pope.” He explicitly condemned the “wickedness of Hitler” citing Hitler by name, and spoke out about the “fundamental rights of Jews.” The wisdom of his words and actions is supported by the evidence. In his testimony at the Adolf Eichmann Nazi War Crime Trials, Jewish scholar Jenö Levai stated: “Pius XII—the one person who did more than anyone else to halt the dreadful crime and alleviate its consequences—is today made the scapegoat for the failures of others.”

Pope Pius XII’s peace efforts, his denunciation of Nazism, his defense of the Jewish people, have been clearly documented. Albert Einstein concluded in Time Magazine (December 23, 1940): “Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler’s campaign for suppressing the truth.” Countless expressions of gratitude, on the part of Jewish chaplains and Holocaust survivors, give witness to the assistance and compassion of the Pope for the Jews before, during and after the Holocaust. Rabbi David Dalin states that “to deny the legitimacy of their collective gratitude to Pius XII is tantamount to denying their memory and experience of the Holocaust itself, as well as to denying the credibility of their personal testimony and judgment about the Pope’s role in rescuing hundreds of thousands of Jews from certain death at the hands of the Nazis.”

Personally and through his representatives, Pius XII employed all the means at his disposal to save Jews and other refugees during World War II. As a moral leader and a diplomat forced to limit his words, he privately took action and, despite insurmountable obstacles, saved hundreds of thousands of Jews from the gas chambers. Broadcasting in German in April 1943, Vatican Radio protested a long list of Nazi horrors, including “an unprecedented enslavement of human freedom, the deportation of thousands for forced labor, and the killing of innocent and guilty alike.”

Throughout World War II, Pius XII so provoked the Nazis that they called him “a mouthpiece of the Jewish war criminals.” Jewish historian and Holocaust survivor, Michael Tagliacozzo, wrote a letter to the daily newspaper “Davàr” (Tel Aviv, April 23, 1985) which states: “Little known is the precious help of the Holy See. On the recommendation of Pius XII the religious of every order did their best to save Jews.”

All experts who witnessed that era, agree that, if Pius XII had stridently attacked the Nazi leaders, more lives would have been lost. Fifty years later, I interviewed Carlo Sestieri, a Jewish survivor, who was hidden in the Vatican . In a letter to me he suggested that “only the Jews who were persecuted understand why the Holy Father could not publicly denounce the Nazi-Fascist government. Without doubt—he stated—it helped avoid worse disasters.”

The world looked with pride and admiration at the many-sided career of Pope Pius XII who, in his own agonized generation, was already recognized as a “Great Pope.” Everyone appealed to him for help to locate missing relatives. Requests for information came from all over the world. Pius XII’s virtuous life speaks for itself. On December 13, 1954, a picture story entitled “Years of a Great Pope,” appeared in Life magazine. The author states that Pius XII was deserving of the title “Great Pope” because he sought “peace for the world and the spirit” during World War II. For almost two decades, he was “unbending, working with devotion and all the skills of diplomacy to mitigate the burdens of a beleaguered world.

When he passed away on October 9, 1958, an editorial, “Fighter for Peace,” in the Los Angeles Examiner, expressed the sentiments of Catholics and non-Catholics: “Pius XII was known as ‘the Pope of Peace’ … . Never, during these troubled years, did Pius XII lose his gift of gracious beneficence. No other Pope received so many people. They numbered many millions. Whether the audiences were large or small, he conveyed a sense of intimacy and understanding. His gifts to them were hope and courage. This fighter for peace is now in peace with God.”

A new book, The Truth Will Set You Free (Paulist Press, 2008), by Margherita Marchione issues a challenge to all Catholics to learn the truth and speak out courageously. The Foreword by Cardinal Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone, casts a great deal of light on the present pontificate’s thinking about the campaign against Pius XII: “How profoundly unjust it is to draw a veil of prejudice over the work of Pius XII during the war….directives given on the radio, in the press, and through diplomatic channels were clear. In that tragic year of 1942 he told everyone: ‘Action, not lamentation, is the precept of the hour.’"

Margherita Marchione, PhD, author of: Yours Is a Precious Witness: Memoirs of Jews and Catholics in Wartime Italy (1997); Pius XII: Architect for Peace (2000); Consensus and Controversy:Defending Pius XII (2002); Shepherd of Souls: A Pictorial Life of Pius XII (2002), Man of Peace (2003), Crusade of Charity: Pius XII and POWs (2006); Did Pope Pius XII Help the Jews? (2007) Paulist Press. [E-mail Sr.Margherita.Marchione@ATT.NET/Tel. 973-538-2886, Ext. 116/FAX 973-539-9327].

Summorum Pontificum: the Rome Update...

For the past several months, this Polish Franciscan named Fr. Benedict, has read Mass each day in the Classical rite for the faithful in the Church of San Antonio on the Via Merulana, just a minutes walk from the Lateran.

From the Pisa Centrale train: a good read...

During our formative years we all read important books which proved to shape us. While in high school, by divine providence, I bought this book. It's a fantastic and simple read and one can buy it here for just $13.50:

Five bullet holes in old fascist sign...

With stealth (and some stupidity) I climbed up a cliff along the seashore near Rome, crossed the grassy lawn and palm forest of the Odescalchi castle and took this photo of a bullet-ridden sign that I had heard was on its facade. The plaque commemorates a meal that was held there seventy years ago this month when the Axis players met on the eve of war in the resort town of Santa Marinella.

Head of St. Andrew in Rome...

Earlier this month, for just a short while, the head of St. Andrew the Apostle was put on temporary display at the Church of San Andrea della Valle in Rome. This relic for many years has been kept in the Cathedral of Amalfi, near Naples. As I touched the reliquary I offered a prayer for every reader of this blog.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

For all your Catholic t-shirt needs...

Buy your Catholic t-shirts here:

Thirty years: abortion in Italy...

As of May 22 abortion has been legal in Italy for 30 years. This past May 22 there was a giant anti-abortion rally held in Rome.

Each year there are about 140,000 abortions in Italy (now you know something which perhaps as many as 99.9% of Italians don't even know).

The abortion industry is corporate, in large part American, and it cannot last for long. Be confirmed in your pro-life efforts and know that we are many.

They say that Piux X died in 1914 with a broken heart over WWI. Others say that Paul VI died in 1978 with a broken heart over legal abortion.

Beaches near Rome: Santa Severa...

All hail the Belvedere torso!

Like St. Augustine once said: "The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page."

One time I brought my grandfather to this castle when he was almost ninety years old. It was splendid. Also, the locals say this is the best place to hunt for ricci (sea urchins).

Beaches near Rome: Santa Marinella...

All hail the all hallowed oil base flag!
The nicest beach near Rome, in the opinion of many, is this one just about sixty-five km from Rome.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day: WWI Veteran at 107 years...

From the AP:

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Frank Woodruff Buckles, the last known living American-born veteran of World War I, was honored Sunday at the Liberty Memorial during Memorial Day weekend celebrations.

"I had a feeling of longevity and that I might be among those who survived, but I didn't know I'd be the No. 1," the 107-year-old veteran said at a ceremony to unveil his portrait.

His photograph was hung in the main hallway of the National World War I Museum, which he toured for the first time, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States presented him with a gold medal of merit.

On Monday, he will be presented the American flag flying outside the memorial.
Buckles, who now lives in Charles Town, W.Va., has been an invited guest at the Pentagon, met with President Bush in Washington, D.C., and rode in the annual Armed Forces Day Parade in his home state since his status as one of the last living from the "Great War" was discovered nearly two years ago.

Federal officials have also arranged for his burial at Arlington National Cemetery.
Born in Missouri in 1901 and raised in Oklahoma, Buckles visited a string of military recruiters after the United States entered the "war to end all wars" in April 1917.

He was rejected by the Marines and the Navy, but eventually persuaded an Army captain he was 18 and enlisted, convincing him Missouri didn't keep public records of birth.

Buckles sailed for England in 1917 on the Carpathia, which is known for its rescue of Titanic survivors, and spent his tour of duty working mainly as a driver and a warehouse clerk in Germany and France. He rose to the rank of corporal and after Armistice Day he helped return prisoners of war to Germany.

Buckles later traveled the world working for the shipping company White Star Line and was in the Philippines in 1940 when the Japanese invaded. He became a prisoner of war for nearly three years.

Buckles gained notoriety when he attended a Veteran's Day ceremony at the Arlington grave of Gen. John "Black Jack" Pershing, who led U.S. forces in World War I, said his daughter, Susannah Flanagan.

He ended up on the podium and became a featured guest at the event, and the VIP invites and media interview requests came rolling in shortly afterward.

"This has been such a great surprise," Flanagan said. "You wouldn't think there would be this much interest in World War I. But the timing in history has been such and it's been unreal."
Buckles spent much of his museum tour Sunday looking at mementos of Pershing, whom he admired. He posed for pictures in front of a flag that used to be in Pershing's office and retold stories about meeting the famous general.

While Pershing claims most of the fame, Buckles now has a featured place at the museum.
"This is such an extraordinary occasion that we here at the museum decided that the photo of Mr. Buckles should be permanently installed in the main hallway here" said Brian Alexander, the museum's president and chief executive.

Patron of Sacred Liturgy at St. Andrea della Valle...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Always carry different blessed objects...

A dear friend gifted me with this prayer cord, from Ukraine. Made by monks, one can see how Byzantine it looks.

With each breath (air inhaled and exhaled), with each knot/bead, one prays, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me, a sinner." This is a fantastic devotion and easy for anybody.

Read about the Jesus Prayer in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, number 2616.

Feast of St. Rita in Rome...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

And the poor have hope: many thanks...

As St. Paul wrote: "For your sake He made Himself poor though He was rich so that you might become rich by His poverty."

In Rome the dust of the world mingles with the dust of Peter. Catholics from the world over, while seeking to be "poor in spirit," make their journey to Rome in a spirit of conversion. Still others make many sacrifices so as to study here, for the honor to live "under the shadow of the dome." The poverty of these students is evident as they have no surplus, but exist from hand to mouth. We are many.

I take this opportunity to thank three clergymen who in their extraordinary kindness have donated to my education through this blog. One a Canadian, one living in Ireland and one an American. You three know who you are and I thank the Lord for your priesthood and for your victimhood. May the Harvest Master reward each of you!

They say that those who have no money perhaps have a greater subjective inclination to the Kindgdom of Heaven. Perhaps this is true, but all I know is that your kind donations have really helped me a lot and I thank you all ex imo pectore!

UST - Online Petition for TLM at UST...

From Veritatis Splendor (

So, the petition to the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul for considering the start of the TLM on campus has over 80 signatures thus far - considering that it hasn't really been very well advertised, that's pretty dang good I'd say!

Now, according to the Aquin (student newspaper, linked above), the petition has been moved online. Of course the article's author didn't give a link to it, nor could I find a link to it anywhere on the UST website... But Google came through again - Click here for the Online Petition for current UST students (I'd say alumni too, who are in the area and would go!) and faculty.

Honestly, I'd even say if you are a resident of the area who would attend, sign it too. UST is always talking about "community relations", so say something in the comments about how this would improve the relationship with UST's neighbors and would "celebrate diversity" between the students and their surrounding community. Sign today!

The magnificent mantelletta...

Gorgeous it is and as rare as hens' teeth! But as a layman one can get away with saying: "Holy Father, bring back all the old vestural privileges for monsignori, canons, bishops, etc. which made it all so fun!"
In the Rome of today it is extremely rare to see the mantelletta anywhere (even at St. Mary Major anymore). This is because of concelebration, the fact that the mantelletta is reserved to the very highest class of monsignori who are protonotaries apostolic de numero, auditors of the Sacred Roman Rota (as is the cleric in the photo) and certain chapters of canons, etc.

Habit watching atop the cobbles of Rome...

This photo comes to us from our personal favorite: the Augustinain Canons of Klosterneuburg (see their site here:
In fact, if you feel called to be a canon regular, to live in Europe and to be German-speaking, then consider this order and so enjoy this wicked habit of old...
You notice here the Austrian has donned the habit which has as a part of it a white ribbon which is a symbol to him and to the world of the rochet which he wears as a canon to pray the choral office, etc.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Grazie dei messaggi a tutti voi...

Many thanks to everyone for their kind words of encouragement. Such a treat to receive support from fellow bloggers as well as from blog readers in the blogosphere. Through the primeval forest of blogdom, just in the past few years, a quick trail has been blazed and now we still gaze in amazement as the growing plain of influence of Catholic blogs continues to reach yet even further.

Special thanks, too, to a fellow son of the North Star State, the famous Fr. "Z." Who would have known that the Lord would have gifted the greater world with so many fine clergymen from the vast Northwest Territory (a region which once belonged to Catholic France)? Now these priests bring the divine kingship of Christ to the world with their many talents and they make us proud. Two of these fine sons deserve honorable mention: Frs. John Zuhlsdorf and John Berg, FSSP. Both are sons of Minneapolis, discovered in 1680 by a Franciscan, Fr. Hennepin.

The opportunity to share my sojourn in the Eternal City through photographs has been a blessing and a great joy. It all came together at once: the invention of the blog, the digital camera with its indoor photographic ability, speedy wireless Internet access, the German Pontificate, and I guess me ending up here as a student.

Heedful of my poverty, God still called me to graduate school in the Holy City. There are many ramifications to being here and one of these has always been the financial burden. In a special place in my heart I carry those generous souls who have donated to my education through this blog. Although my shortcomings are many, I thank you all for your many acts of kindness and I carry your intentions in my heart.

We were all born some place special on the globe. For most of us, Rome is a long ways from home. How the Lord of History has provided Catholic leadership from the New World! Blessed was I to have been born on the new continent of the Western World first made known by the Catholic explorer Christopher Columbus and then pioneered by Fathers Hennepin and Marquette. And then born near an old American military outpost established at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers.

On the upper reaches of the Mississippi River, father of streams, you will find a unique Catholic nucleus. Remember this place. Early explorers made note of their utter amazement at the mighty current that sweeps down the Mississippi River. There you will find two "Twin Cities." One seems to have the most fitting name of any city in the world (it has borne the honored name of the zealous Apostle of the Gentiles, Saint Paul) while the other seems to have the most unique name of any city in the world (the metropolis, Minneapolis).

In the 1930s Eugenio Pacelli was there. In the 1980s Joseph Ratzinger was there. Perhaps someday you, too, might make it there to see the two most magnificent churches on the North American continent: the Cathedral of St. Paul and the Basilica of St. Mary.

See here:

Monday, May 19, 2008

Greatest American prelate of the xxth century...

"Ephesus taught me that preaching of the Word will always provoke antagonisms. Whether it be against communism or against greed, whether it be directed against divorce or abortion, there will be not only individual harassment but organized revolt."

Treasure in Clay by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, c. 1980.

May we pray for his soul and may he pray for us:

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Labor pro Fide: da due anni...

Happy birthday today to Papa Wojtyla...and to this blog (a.k.a. der spawn).
Orbis Catholicus was launched at an internet point along the Tiber River two years ago today. The vast majority of these blog entries were posted at Rome's Jesuit University, the Gregoriana (from the secondo piano aula that's empty every afternoon).
Il blog won't be around forever, so if you like any of these pics just save them to your own computers before it's all gone with the wind. Intanto, I carry all of your intentions to the tombs of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul atop the soil on which they trod. Oremvs!

Marini II: la maturità tra classico e moderno...

As seen on Pentecost Sunday at the Vatican Basilica, Rome.

Redemptorist Habit at the Alfonsiana in Rome...

In my almost five years living in Rome, with all the events and liturgies I've been to, I've seen this habit only once (got to be a seminarian).
At the same time, after almost five years, I've seen the Carmelite habit only twice, on Latin Americans. I've never seen the Teatini habit and I've only seen the Trinitarian habit perhaps twice, on what I think to have been the same guy.
I've seen the Jesuit habit a few times, the Oratorian habit at the Chiesa Nuova (or Palazzo Massimo once a year!) and now we see again the lovely habit of the Augustinian Canons of Stift Klosterneuburg as they have a few studying in Rome.
But, there is hope. In fact, the one and only habit that one most often sees on the streets of Rome, at Rome's airports and her train stations and at papal events, is that of the Legionaries of Christ.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Redemptorists in Rome...

Once a common sight, especially on the Via Merulana and the Esquiline, it is now extremely rare to see this habit in Rome (notice the cappa nigra).

Carmelites in Rome...

Once a common site on the streets of Rome, today it is quite rare to see this trademark habit anywhere in the city. Pray that the Harvest Master will bring all the old glory back...

Friday, May 16, 2008

Rome has kept the Faith: do penance with Her...

One of the coolest old world traditions still continued in Rome today is this night pilgrimage on foot which myself and some friends will participate in tomorrow night with great excitement:

"Every Saturday night, from Easter until the end of October, a night Pilgrimage on foot takes place. It sets out at midnight from Piazza di Porta Capena, Rome, and reaches the Sanctuary at 5 o'clock on Sunday morning. A similar night Pilgrimage is carried out on 7 December, on the eve of the feast of the Immaculate Conception. The night pilgrims walk along the famous Via Appia Antica (old Appian way) until they reach the church called Quo Vadis, then they turn on to the Via Ardeatina and continue their way, walking over the Catacombs of St. Callisto and past the Mausoleum of the Ardeatin Caves (Fosse Ardeatine). They bring their personal intentions to the feet of the Virgin, along with the necessities, the hopes and the mission of the Church of Rome and of the Eternal City."


From Rome: San Giuseppe Capo le Case...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wonderful Catholic dress: the chapel veil...

The lady on the left, who is Russian Orthodox, can be seen wearing a chapel veil at the Vatican last Sunday. The mantilla is a lovely Judeo-Christian custom that takes a Spaniard to describe in toto:
"A real Spanish mantilla is a long lace veil that a lady wears overhead fixed by a high back comb. When you purchase it you have then to ask for the two elements: the veil and the back comb (in Spanish: "mantilla y peineta"). A mantilla could be: black, white or golden. Black mantilla is weared by wives, widows and for mourning and religious ceremonies related to Holy Week. White mantilla is weared only by girls, maiden ladies and brides. Golden mantilla can be worn both by wives and maiden ladies but in solemn occasions. I do not recommend you to buy a mantilla through internet. It is a very expensive item if good and you risk to waste your money if you do not make the right choice. Let me find out if there is still operating an old shop in Barcelona that used to sale nice and fine mantillas. I would ask for a catalogue and bring it you."

For your parish youth group...

The Vatican newspaper, the Roman Observer, had these nice t-shirts printed up for their employees (go Salesians of Don Bosco!).
It's their motto. Have some printed up for your parish youth group, too. Guess what it means in English?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

New FSSP Rome site...

Spread the word, this is the new site:

Photos of clergy shoes...

Somebody just sent this link:

The fine 1949 Alfa Romeo...

Each year many thousands of lucky tourists take a Mediterranean cruise. Then, to arrive at Rome, they get to dock here.

This mighty fortress welcomes them at the entrance of the port of Civitavecchia. It's called the Rocca Giulia (or Forte Michelangelo) and was designed by Bramante under Pope Julius II (and then later Michelangelo did some work on it).

The fortress was begun in 1508 and completed in 1535. It was bombed during the war, but still survives and is fantastic to explore (sometimes they have art exhibits in it). There is even a chapel off its main cortile, where St. Fermina lived for some time, just before her martyrdom in 304 A.D.

As seen in the Vatican Museums...

Nixon gave this nice papal flag and four rocks from the surface of the moon to the people of Vatican City.

The flag was carried to the moon and back on Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing. Magnificant to see rock from the surface of the moon in the Vatican City State.

From the International Sodality "Pastor Angelicus"

In die anniversaria consecrationis episcopalis Eugenii Mariae Pacelli postea Pii PP XII...

Ephemeridis nuntium

Die iii ante idus maias anno salutis MCMXVII,
dum uico Fatimae in Lusitania Beata Deipara
tribus pastorulibus apparebat,

Alma Vrbe apud Sanctum Petrum

Benedictus PP XV

Reverendissimo presbytero

Eugenium Mariam Pacelli, Romanum,

in episcopum rite consecrauit
eoque Sardensem titularem ecclesiam
assignauit cum archiepiscopali dignitate.

Ex quo memoriam agimus in hoc anno Pio PP XII specialiter dicato,
quinquagesimo uero ab obito eius in Domino.

Vt cito Pium videamus altarium scandere gloriam
oremus et laboremus.

Monday, May 12, 2008

After Summ. Pontificum: it's a whole new Church...

Wine Academy in Rome...

It's great to spend time at the Wine Academy in Rome. When they have free events, such as tomorrow evening, it's a real cultural experience to visit there, on their rooftop terrace.

See their site here and visit the next time you find yourself in Rome (it's at the Spanish Steps): .

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Shrine in Anzio: Basilica of St. Teresa...

In Anzio, just south of Rome, there's a lovely shrine up overlooking the city with a spectacular view of the sea. It was constructed in the 1930s under the reign of Pius XI, of blessed memory. See their site here: