Thursday, July 31, 2008

The holy tiara and those who never understood it...

"The gift of the Tiara occured on 13th November 1964, shortly before the Holy Father's departure for Bombay. The pope concelebrated Mass in St. Peter's according to the Byzantine rite together with the Melchite Patriarch. At the end of the liturgy the Secretary General of the Council publicly recalled that according to Jesus Christ's example, the Church had always been the mother of the poor, and that accordingly, the pope was donating his tiara to them.

The Holy Father himself, among the acclamations of the crowd, approached the altar and laid the tiara upon it. The gesture aroused a great surprise, for not all approved of it; it meant that his succesors had to renounce it too. [bonk!] With this gesture the pope was giving a new view of the very papal ministry. But it was not an impulsive action. The pope intended to live in poverty according to the teachings of Christ and of the Council, which was making use of the expression "Church of the poor."

...And the poor, as he had remarked in Milan years earlier, are always with us, as Christ taught. On one occasion, at the end of the meeting of the St. Vincent Society in Milan, a collection was made. The Archbishop, who never carried money with him, deposited his Episcopal ring in the box.

The last reason for the gift of the tiara was not poverty, but ecumenism. He wanted to avoid by all means anything that might have emphasised distances, misunderstandings, and disagreement between the Catholic Church and the other Christian Churches."

-Paul VI The Man and His Message by Archbishop Pasquale Macchi, English translation 2007.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Thank you for donations!

Just yesterday we had the privilege of attending a baptism in the Vatican Basilica according to the preconciliar Rituale Romanum. It was a joy, and the second such baptism I've attended in St. Peter's the last year (since the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum). In short, all is upbound.

Each day more spent in Rome I feel gratitude to the many who have kept me here as a graduate student through this time of the weak U.S. dollar. Thank you to the priests! Those who have donated to me via this blog have been few, but have been priests - and the best priests! Their many acts of kindness are a testimony to their spirit, true faith and their signature benevolence for the lay flock. They have the cura animarum and we are all grateful to be under them. Many thanks as always!

To these priests: one saint laboring in Ireland, two others in the United States and even one on a U.S. Navy ship, vi ringrazio and I carry your intentions in my heart!

Priests and religious: you are our example...

"There is nothing that leads others to piety and to the service of God more than the life and example of those who have dedicated themselves to the divine ministry. For since they are observed to be raised from the things of this world to a higher position, others fix their eyes upon them as upon a mirror and derive from them what they are to imitate."

-Council of Trent, 22nd Session, Decree Concerning Reform, Chapter 1 (Decrees Concerning The Life And Conduct Of Clerics Are Renewed), anno 1562.

Monday, July 28, 2008

" Liturgical Movement..."

From Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger's 1997 memoirs, Milestones (Chapter XII):

"I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy...And, because the ecclesial community cannot have its origin from itself but emerges as a unity only from the Lord, through faith, such circumstances will inexorably result in a disintegration into sectarian parties of all kinds - partisan opposition within a Church tearing herself apart. This is why we need a new Liturgical Movement..."

Link here:

And I will make you the father of many...

There is much pastoral work to be done. Don't be lazy, any of us!
These summer days this Italian missioner can be seen taking these adorable kids to lunch near the Vatican. They're so cute a photo had to be taken, and they just loved it! The Creator reveals a shade of his beauty through such adorable treasures.
Catholic orphanages are again filling up, thanks I guess in large part to AIDS. Each day on the way to school I walk by an orphanage with all African kids, staffed by sisters, and I've wondered if their parents have perhaps died from AIDS or the like.

American Missioners of the Precious Blood...

With final profession the cleric is handed a blessed crucifix which he proudly wears as a part of his habit. He carries this cross in his sash and even holds it in his hands as he preaches. In the end, he is buried with it in honor:

The Roman amice: how to vest...

Rule 1: "The amice is to be crossed right over left."
Rule 2: "It's okay if while you're vesting someone hears you humming the signature theme song from Star Wars."

Sunday, July 27, 2008

These historic times we live in...

Rome, July a.D. MMVIII.

The craftsmanship of yesteryear...

Here we see the cuff of an alb. Pure linen. Old Testament quality. Bring back these talents and so grant employment to authentic Catholic artisans and beauty in the rites!

From Holy Rome: Carmelite pianeta...

Let's bring this craftsmanship back in every corner of the globe - go forces of laics!

German Seminarians in Rome...

This photo was taken in the foyer of the Collegium Germanicum in Rome. It's a great manerist painting as one can see the German seminarians in their famous red soutane, not seen since the sixties (that is, the nineteen sixties).

Saturday, July 26, 2008

New Pius XII postcard available in Rome...

This photograph was taken at my desk yesterday evening. Just wanted to show everybody this nice new postcard, a reprint, of the last of the Romans in his sedia gestatoria. "Corona aurea super caput eius!" is wassup wit dat all y'all!

For the "bags" who studied "sub umbra Petri"...

Some readers here are old guys who studied in Rome back in the day. Those from the Pontifical North American College, the "bags," studied here in this collegio (the little house on Humility Street) until Spellman built their new spaceship on the Janiculum.
The North American Seminary in Rome was housed here and opened on December 8, 1859. Pius IX has his palace atop the Quirinal Hill and wanted his seminarians from the New World to be just down the street. Today, it's still a collegio (residece), albeit for English-speaking priests who go to Rome now to study post-ordination. See their site here:
The now elderly bags might be happy to know they're now restoring the entire exterior - as can be seen in the photo. Now the "new men" won't even know the old ocher look.
One question for the old timers, though: I have always wondered if this image is a rendition of an Our Lady of Humility or a Vergine Immaculata? Please advise.

Pius X: still reigning...

From the Basilica of the Holy Cross off Via Flaminia.

From the Vatican: your tonsure needs a zucchetto...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Humanae Vitae: 40 Years Later...

The Apostolic See is the mother and mistress of all the faithful. It goes without saying, though, it's been one tough battle.
Agitated and tossed by so many storms and tempests, so sorely distressed in that year 1968 - a time of distresses in almost all affairs - the pastoral solicitude and vigilance of Paul gave us a suitable and longed-for remedy: Humanae Vitae.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort." -II Cor. 1:3.
Hindrances remain and they are many. Pray and fast. And obey.

From Rome: Polish Trinitarians...

Now who gets the prize for the best mens religious habit?! A sight worth gold, these guys are now an endangered species. Rome had once been crawling with Trinitarian priests, brothers and sisters. Their order has one of the most interesting histories and it's a delight to read about. See them on the Internet.

Pontifical Photographer Felici...

Everybody goes to l'Osservatore Romano for photographs of papal events. But don't forget to visit Foto Felici, too! Especially if you have an interest in old papal photos. See their site here:
Founded in Rome in 1863, Foto Felici is one of the oldest photo shops in the world. Their family has recorded 150 years of Rome and Vatican history under 11 pontificates, from Blessed Pius IX to Benedict XVI. And the business is still in the Felici family, even today.
The Felici photo archives contain an estimated 100,000 images of Rome at the end of the nineteenth century on glass slide negatives, 2,000 views of Italy from the beginning of the twentieth century and millions of photos on film and glass negatives as well as now digital memory documenting the activities of the popes and Vatican life.
Visit their shop, just a few minutes walk from the Vatican City on the Via Cola di Rienzo.

Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles...

If you think you might be called to be a sister Stateside, then consider these happy warriors:

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Church...

Many thanks to TK for this photo taken during the WYD 2008!

These sisters are number one. See their site here:

Loome Thelogical Booksellers...

Congratulations are due! An old college buddy of mine, Andrew Poole, just purchased Loome Thelogical Booksellers, located in the state of Minnesota, USA.

Link to Loome Books here: .

For many of us, this is our most favorite book shop in the world, located in an old Swedish Covenant Church, along the St. Croix River.

If you're looking for any old book, then these are the guys to contact. And if you really want an experience, then visit their shop along the Minnesota-Wisconsin border.

Congrats and best wishes, guys!

From the Vatican: our capello Romano...

Italian mens' fashion: ever practical, timeless, elegant. With this hat the sun is so kept from the back of your neck, ears and nose.
There are many names for it. For some it's the Roman flat hat, for others it's il saturno while still for perhaps most it's il capello Romano.

By logical extension: wounded Italy...

"It was television which practically ended the era of piety and began the era of hedonism."
-Pier Paolo Pasolini

Finest site on the Vatican Basilica:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Stat promissa fides (the promised faith remains)...

Dear Uncle John,
Why dose ST Peter hold up two fingers.
Love, john!!!
But mark tiped it.

hi, guys!

you guys are the best (you know how to make me happy with all the best questions!)!

st. peter holds up not two fingers which is what it might look like, but he's actually holding up three fingers: his index finger, middle finger and his thumb finger.

there are different meanings for these three raised fingers. i like the idea that its because jesus is a priest, prophet and king or that the pope touches heaven, purgatory and earth.

hope everybody is having lots of summer fun!



Reggie's world: the update...

Any news about Fr. Reggie Foster, the Pope's chief Latinist, is always big news. His fans are countless. Many have been asking for an update on his time in the hospital and his surgery which was carried out yesterday and so here's just a quick note.
As everybody knows, some four weeks ago Reggie fell on a Rome street and broke a part of his leg. Just today I saw him in his hospital room in Rome. He's in good spirits and has the right attitude. In short, he's on the road to recovery and doing just fine.
It's a great honor to see and speak with the world's greatest living Latinist. It broke my heart to see him stuck in a hospital bed, just the day after surgery. But, it gives one great joy to know that many good advocates are watching out for him and taking good care of him and that he is doing so well.
Reggie, we love you and get well soon!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Yours is a precious witness...

July a.D. 2008.

From Rome: old tipographia shops...

Is it just me or has anyone else arrived in Rome for the first time and peeked through windows of old printing shops and been surprised/intrigued to see these old printing machines still at it? It's great fun to enter these old shops and watch these magnificent technologies still at it. This one dates from the 1950s. Each a tribute to the genius of man and each still makes the best business cards money can buy anywhere on the planet.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Every Catholic family: buy this reprint...

Those living in Rome causa studiorum don't like to buy many English-language books as they're expensive and heavy (difficult to get home in the end or find a storage place for during the summer holiday).

So when an English book is purchased, it's a big deal. Some days ago I purchased one of the most interesting books I've ever seen: a book entitled The Mass, by Fr. Joseph Dunney. I ask every Catholic family to purchase this same book and read it together as a family.

This book explains the meanings behind the ordo of the extraordinary form of the Missale Romanum and it's a fabulous read.

Buy it here from the Angelus Press: .

Clergy: wear your clerical garb e basta!

Chapter VI
A Penalty Is Decreed Against Clerics Who, Constituted In Sacred Orders Or Holding Benefices, Do Not Wear Clothes Conforming To Their Order

"And since, though the habit does not make the monk, it is necessary nevertheless that clerics always wear a dress conformable to their order, that by the propriety of their outward apparel they may show forth the inward uprightness of their morals, yet to such a degree have the contempt of religion and the boldness of some grown in these days, that esteeming but little their own dignigy and the clerical honor, they even wear in public the dress of laymen, setting their feet in different paths, one of things divine, the other of the flesh. Wherefore, all ecclesiastical persons, howsoever exempt, who are either in sacred orders or in possession of dignities with or without jurisdiction, offices or whatsoever ecclesiastical benefices, if, after having been admonished by their bishops, even by a public edict, they do not wear a becoming clerical dress conformable to their order and dignity and in conformity with the ordinance and mandate of their bishop, may and ought to be compelled thereto by suspension from their orders, office, benefice and from the fruits, revenues and proceeds of those benefices; and also, if, after having been once rebuked, they offend again in the matter, even by deprivation of those offices and benefices; the constitution of Clement V published in the Council of Vienne, beginning "Quoniam," being hereby renewed and amplified."

-Council of Trent, 14th session, Decree Concerning Reform, November of 1551.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Swiss Guard Souvenir Shop...

Fridays, between 10 - 11 o'clock you can visit the Swiss Guard souvenir shop. Not many people know about it, but just show up at the Porta Santa Anna during that hour and tell the guard you came to buy something in the shop. He will let you into the foyer of the Swiss Guard barrack where the guard on duty will telephone the Swiss sister in charge of the shop. She will walk you into the barracks and show you what they have. They have calendars, CDs, DVDs, hats, shirts, etc. The best is the CD of their marching songs with the inno (anthem) of the Vatican City State played by thier band. Four years ago when I was there I got to see the guards on drill as they marched in as well as some of the nice 1930 frescos of guardsmen they have on the walls (such as in their canteen).

As in the good old days...

The youngest looking sisters that you will see in the Rome of today are these ladies who study at the Angelicum (in the Italian section). Most are from South America, although they do have one American sister among them (who came to Rome some years ago as a layman to study at La Sapienza). They're an order from Argentina, the Institute of the Verbo Incarnato. In 2004, with some friends we went to visit their house near Rome, atop the mountain village of Segni. They moved into an empty seminary there and have filled it again with youth and prayer. May they be blessed (and they even have a house in Russia, too!).

Opus Dei in Rome...

As they passed one could hear as they prayed the Holy Rosary in Latin. The priest is the father of many. The young will follow him.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Master is here and He calleth thee...

During the sixties the Church took many steps to conciliate the modern world. Evidently, this was in large part a disaster.
Now we pick up the pieces. But be not tired. What had quickly been lost is now on the rebound. Just see this in Rome, or in your family or in your parish. "Renewal!"
The sister is dressed in her wedding gown. That is why we see this garment, worn by her every day, and consisting of blessed objects. The world will always deride this, but it is de rigueur for those who enjoy the call. Each sister, as a bride of Christ, has heard a call and each has responded. The gown reads thus: "Non generous candidates need not apply."
The best for Him, the divine Bridegroom. Sisters, be blessed as you teach us men how to be men when we see your witness of Catholic womanhood in our very midst!

From the Vatican City State: Germans for Christ...

"All roads lead to Rome!"

From the Vatican City State: Spaniards for Christ...

T-shirts are a great idea, for the youth. The kids love 'em and the t-shirt says a thousand words. Fifteen years later I still have my World Youth Day 1993 t-shirt.

A day in the life of a study abroad student...

2008 will be the first full year of my life that I have not been to my homeland. This is because I am broke, so I will remain in Europe this entire year where I am employed as a tour guide.

Life in Italy has been different and here are the stats:

Over four years I've lived out of a suitcase.
Over four years I've had no microwave.
Over four years I've had no Internet at home.
Over four years I've lived without a dryer.
Over four years I've lived without a fan or air conditioning.
Over four years I've lived without a radio or stereo.
Over four years I've lived without a car.

My laptop is six years old.

And the first week of July I did get a fan finally as there was a deal for the cheapest fan ever in the town of Ladispoli, near Rome.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Productive of benefit: thanks for your support...

"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."
-Jeremiah 29: 11

I ask for prayers. This year, by God's grace, I finished the prescribed curriculum for the S.T.B. diploma in Rome. Now I must make the decision of how to continue: either to study dogma or Church history full-time.

It goes without saying that learned (= orthodox) instructors of the sacred science are an endangered species. Liberal theologians are a dime a dozen. In the old days if you were such a theologian you got from Rome a decree of "Recedat a cathedra" (Let him leave his chair). Today, the answer is that we just have to take over with team players (the Catholic theologian is to play for one team - the See of Peter).

We novices in theology love the sacred science, but sometimes not all of us are meant to teach it. Those who know me explain that my strength is history and not theology. Now this summer the decision must be made as to which science to study this coming autumn. Please pray for me.

"The little ones have asked for bread, and there was none to break it unto them."
-Lam. 4:4

With watchful and pastoral solicitude I preach to kids each day in the Vatican City all about the sacred mysteries. This summer I have been leading two tours each day. Many of these clients are just kids. For kids as well as for many of the adults, their tour of the Vatican Museums is a first introduction to Christianity. All of the art there is something related to theology. The clients have many questions and even the kids have a great intellectual breadth (thanks in large part to the bits they have already been taught). In the hearts of the youth there is an interior richness: they ask and desire to know. And now for the first time many are getting the assurance of a smile and the guarantee of a quick (and true) answer.

Leading two tours a day have taken a toll on the voice box. I have been losing my voice and at some moments can't even speak until I geat candies. The groups are often large, with between forty and fifty clients. I ask for prayers. Menthos candies help, but my already poor and weak (scratchy-lispy) voice is now dying. May the Lord give me a better voice has been my constant prayer for ages.

"So the poor have hope."
-Job 5:16

Also, soliciting alms for my Christian education is something that I do once each summer. It's not often, but just now that time of the year. I ask for some kind Christian to sponsor my Christian education this coming academic year in Rome. As everyone knows, the weak dollar and poor exchange rate have made studying abroad increasingly difficult. I ask for donations to support me in my academic endeavors here in the Holy City. It costs a lot of money to keep a student afloat each year.

This summer I'm living in a benefice in Italy. But I ask that all donations be kindly sent to this address under the patronage of the holy blessed Apostles Peter and Paul:

J.P. Sonnen
406 St. Peter St.
St. Paul, MN 55102

I thank you all for your beneficence and I carry your private intentions in my heart atop the very soil on which the blessed Apostles trod so many centuries ago!

Let us pray!

European Norbertines: on the front lines...

Some might complain that the Christian commonwealth is dead and that the European continent is already lost. But be careful who you say this to. The advance and exaltation of the Christian Faith and religion are on the boom, in Europe. Picking up what's left of Christendom, they live for the reform of the clergy and the suppression and destruction of the enemies of the Christian name. For the extirpation of heresies they labor. Know them, support them and pray for them, they are the Norbertines.

The Polish Canon on pilgrimage...

The Pope in Austrailia...

When the popes are outside Italy, there's always a different feel in the Vatican. Even the employees seem more at ease (with the lessened security threat).
Here we recognize the Apostolic Palace, completed in 1590, where the Pope lives. It all seems a little desolate without him. It seemed even more so during the Sede Vacante MMV. You can see the upper ten windows of the papal apartments? The window on the far left, without a shudder (shutter), is a hallway. The rest of the windows are all closed up as he's on the road. Pray for the apostolic voyage in the "Land Down Under" and the success of the 23rd World Youth Day!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The externals: "excited by those visible signs"...

Chapter V
The Ceremonies and Rites of the Mass

"And since the nature of man is such that he cannot without external means be raised easily to meditation on divine things, holy mother Church has instituted certain rites, namely, that some things in the Mass be pronounced in a low tone and others in a louder tone. She has likewise, in accordance with apostolic discipline and tradition, made use of ceremonies, such as mystical blessings, lights, incense, vestments, and many other things of this kind, whereby both the majesty of so great a sacrifice might be emphasized and the minds of the faithful excited by those visible signs of religion and piety to the contemplation of those most sublime things which are hidden in this sacrifice."

-Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, 22nd session, September of 1562.

When they knew how to build: from the Pacellis...

In 1922 the Pacelli family built this palace in Rome, just south of the Vatican (on the Via Innocenzo III). Here you can see the monti from their coat-of-arms on the facade. If you ever have to raise a family in Rome, this would be the ideal palace to buy a flat.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Glorious holy ones of old: still atop the cobbles...

To some who have lived in Rome these few pics might mean a lot. Anybody who lives or works in the Vatican network has seen this saint a thousand times walking in this manner. More than once a day he can be seen crossing St. Peter's Square or the Via della Conc. Always in his soutane. Always in prayer. He's really the last of the old-school guys left from the good old days who still works in the Vatican.
He lives in the palace of the Holy Office with his grandnephew who studies at the Regina Apostolorum. In fact, he now teaches the seminarians there at the Regina (the Legionaries). He's been walking the streets of Rome since the forties. With affection he is called by different names: "il Sardo" or "the scooter" or even just "De Magistris the Great."
Meet Archbishop Luigi de Magistris. He's an example to the young generation of how it's done. Be inspired by him. Follow the legends of old and get to know them. In your youth continue that which you have been taught by these wise men of old.

Olive Riley: world's oldest blogger has died...

The Italian newspapers reported this morning that our beloved Ollie has now passed on. Please pray for her soul. Ollie was born in 1899 and was the world's oldest blogger at 108 years of age! She was an Australian and died the day the Pope arrived there for the World Youth Day, July 12. Pray for us, Ollie!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Catholic youth summer camps...

The French "traditionalists" have these nice summer camps for youth and would be nice to see more of this across the globe. See how they do it here: .

Unfurled in public witness: the colors...

Dad had been in the Army and so we were always taught to respect the colors. The family flag was always, with reverence, kept in the foyer closet. It was put out in front of the house every Independence Day and every Flag Day and still even on other days, too, when dad remembered. When we got older then we youngsters had the honor, too, to post the colors and then take them back inside at dusk. It was a great experience.
Your kids will be inspired if you do the same. In this manner they can further learn honor and pride. In a similar manner, get your family a papal flag, too. Get a pole for it and place it out in front of your home on special days such as the anniversary of the election of a pope or even on a pope's birthday, etc. The extras count.
A papal flag, such as the one in the photo, can be purchased in Rome for just seven euro.

Where to stay on the cheap while in Rome...

Everybody writes and asks: "I'll soon be in Rome and have no money so where can I stay?"

There are many hundreds of cheap religious hostels, but here's just a few. Please note: these are cheap places and so you get what you pay for.

Istituto S. Giuliana Falconieri
Casa per Ferie
Via S. Giuseppe Calasanzio, 1
00186 Roma
Tel./Fax. 06.6871471

Centro Accoglienza Padre Giovanni Minozzi
Casa per Feire
Via dei gigli d'Oro, 15
00186 Roma
Fax. 06.6832773

Casa di Accoglienza Santo Spirito
Borgo S. Spirito, 41
00193 Roma
Fax. 06.6865664

The last is the best and just across the street from the Vatican (if you don't mind hearing the bells of the Vatican Basilica all night).

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Roman cassock: even in the summer heat...

Here we see an American priest who works in the Vatican, Msgr. Calkins. He's a mariologist and both he and Msgr. Perle, for twenty years now, have been working for the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.
Most clergy who work in the Vatican today just wear what the Italians call "clergyman" or what others might call "tenue de ville" (the black business suit with clerical vest, etc.). To their credit, these two monsignori, always looking sharp, wear the soutane to and from the office. People notice this and it counts for a lot. Many thanks for this witness.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

23rd World Youth Day: prayers start now...

For many of us it was the 1993 World Youth Day in Denver, Colorado, which helped to make us the warriors we are today.

I was just a thirteen year old kid. Finding myself surrounded for the first time by other youth who cared, too, was a big deal. It was a proud moment for a thirteen year old to first see that the fire was not just in his own heart, but shared by countless other youth. It's one thing to be told this, and an other to see it at that age. This solidarity along with the presence, prayer and words of Pope John Paul II was all it took to seal so many of us in our permanence as warriors for Catholic truth.

I had just graduated from the eighth grade and it was the August before high school. It was the most important trip I ever took. Somebody was praying for me. Start to pray now for the success of this twenty-third World Youth Day!

The priest: a man in uniform...

If you sit in St. Peter's Square around 8 am you'll see all the clergy going to work in the Vatican and then you'll see them as they break for lunch around 1-1:30 pm. The fedora rocks.

Summertime in Rome: since 1936...

For many summers, since 1936, this shack has been here along the Vatican Leonine wall. Every summer they open up and it's the place to get a cold drink while waiting at the Vatican bus stop.
There's an old guy who owns it who explains that his wife's parents started it back in the day. His grandaughter, who speaks English, works there these days and they're all real nice and proud to chat about the black and white photos they have of the same old shack from the good old days.

Polish sisters: best dressed in Rome...

The best dressed nuns in Rome, in the opinion of many, are the Polish sisters.
On the other hand, other Polish women can be spotted with their eighties lime green, polyester and salmon colored hair.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Good times with good friends...

The Swiss Guards are the nicest guys you'll ever meet. They're all youngsters - many are just nineteen and many are new to Rome.
When the Holy Father is away they are relaxed and only then are allowed to pose for photos with tourists (although sometimes just after papal events they can't say no to the smiling ladies who ask to pose with them!).

One word: leadership...

Rev. and dear Fathers:
First and foremost you wear it for yourself. Only after this do you wear it for others or even for God. You wear it even when you don't feel like it or even when you don't want to be noticed. And you wear it even when you're with other clergy. You wear it in the sweat. You inspire vocations. You are in a position of trust and a beacon of leadership. You put yourself on the cross. You do not cover your collar with a scarf. Enjoy and be inspired. We layfolk support you.

The German seminarians in Rome...

It all ended in the sixties, but the German seminarians in Rome used to wear red as seen here. The locals, with affection, used to call them the "crabs." During the war all the nationalities of seminarians had been sent home. But afterwards, the Romans clamoured that they wanted to see again their seminarians in red and so in about 1948 they brought them back. It would be a giant step, but let's see what happens in the future.