Thursday, April 30, 2009

A word about Pius XII and the line about "silence"...

Last month while at a lovely dinner party in a resort town near Rome I got chatting with an elderly woman who was abrasive, anti-war and would not say where she was from. Her first question to me was: "So, are you conservative?"

Just before the meal with a drink in one hand and a friendly wave with the other I made my way over to her on the couch and she warmed up in a flash. We enjoyed a lovely conversation in which she shared her life story: born in Berlin before the war and survived April and May of '45.

Curious to hear her take on Pius XII I asked if at that time she in her youth knew that the camps existed and what they were doing to Jews inside of them and her reply was a firm: "Yes, we already knew everything even before the end."

Then I asked if Pius XII was guilty of "silence" and she replied: "Surely, he must have known everything what with all the bishops and priests that could have reported the news to him."

Just today I finished reading The Last Battle by Cornelius Ryan (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1966). Here's an interesting bit from pp. 328-329:

"General Eisenhower made a personal tour of a camp near Gotha. Ashen-faced, his teeth clenched, he walked through every part of the camp. 'Up to that moment,' he later recalled, 'I had known about it only generally or through secondary sources...I have never at any other time experienced an equal sense of shock.'"

So, if the brass of the Western Allies at the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) had not a clear picture, then how could the Pope have known!

Thunderstruck we should be that the anti-Catholic secular media still goes after Pius XII.

Study in Rome: Pont. Inst. of Arab and Islamic Studies...

Study at Rome's Pontificium Institutum Studiorum Arabicorum located in Trastevere.
For years Archbishop Sheen studied to know Communism. Now, we must study to know Islam.

Rome traditions: April flowers on Spanish Steps!

Every April: pink azaleas!

See here:

Pius IX's old Rome tobacco factory (in Trastevere)...


Catholic culture: Easter Sunday lamb and then stew...

The Catholic tradition is to eat lamb on Easter Sunday. Then, some days later, we make lamb stew with what's left and this was it this year!

Where the big events are in Lazio...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Solemnity (in Rome) of St. Catherine of Siena...

In 1961 they dedicated this nice statue in honor of St. Catherine, near the Vatican. She's the co-patron of Rome, Italy and Europe. St. Catherine, pray for us!

Rome's famous Domenico...

If you have lived in Rome then you have seen this guy. He goes to most every big church event in Rome and often gives out religious objects. He even takes the train each year to countless church events in towns and cities around Rome (he will be in Velletri on Saturday for their big annual festa and procession).

Rome's Palazzo Altemps: in tribute to Pius XII...

Catholic culture: the Knight of Malta...

From the Rome street.

Rome's famous Marcel...

In Piazza Navona Marcel is a legend. For several years he has been there bringing cheer to kids and parents with his fine puppet shows. See his site:

Febbre suina: the great swine flu...

I guess we're all in the lurch with the swine flu hype?

Today I saw three persons in Rome wearing masks. Then some foreigner sneezed on my lap while on the 40 express.

If it gets yours truly kindly remember me in your prayers. Meanwhile, I will remember you in mine.

And consider me in your last will and testament as I'm thinking as I have to pay over 100k in student loans back. Thanks!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Catholic culture: the Gentlemen of His Holiness...

We call him "The Christmas Tree." Meet the only American member of the "Gentiluomini di Sua Santità" ( He's a nice guy and pleasant to chat with. I asked him if it took "connections" to get all those amazing decorations and he answered with a spirit of chagrin: "Well, yes!"

From Europe: the Catholic pilgrim...

Two pilgrims: Evan and Igor. Igor is a humble pilgrim from Slovakia who walked to Rome and Spain and Assisi and shows up in Rome now and then. He travels by foot and begs for offerings on the streets. Just last night in the pouring rain he was in front of Roma Termini asking for an "offerto" (offering). He speaks fine Italian and is very nice. Notice the burlap habit made of jute, hemp or flax!

What is wrong with this picture?

This palsied condition is located in a favorite Roman Basilica. Cuckoo-land of bad taste, anyone? Let's hear it, friends, "Courage to change!"
Yours truly has read all of Vatican Council II in toto and there was not a word about this monkey stew in any of VII's 4 constitutions, 3 declarations or 9 decrees, basta.

Catholic culture: the Mater Divinae Providentiae devotion...

Catholic devotions rule! Young Catholic ladies visit Rome's San Carlo ai Catinari and offer a prayer in front of this miraculous image of the Mother of Divine Providence in the hope of having a baby.

Catholic custom: the archconfraternity...

FSSP in Urbe. Great way to involve guys in church. It works!

Catholic culture: the altar boy...

From FSSP in Urbe. Cute kids, makes me proud.

Rome Masses in Latin...

This is the proof. Now Santa Maria degli Angeli has a nice Mass in Latin every Sunday morning, too.
UPDATE: The Santa Maria degli Angeli Mass is in Latin, albeit Novus Ordo. This avviso is for another Rome chapel.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Catholic traditions: the street shrine...

As seen in Holy Rome.

The American sister in Rome...

"A habit says a thousand words."

Latin is our Catholic language...

Pastors, bring these Rome traditions to your parish.

Catholic culture: bishops buried in churches...

From Rome...

FSSP in the Holy Land...

FSSP Mass in Abu Ghosh on the feast of St. George some days ago.

FSSP in the Holy Land...

This is Quasimodo Sunday in the chapel of the famed Austrian Hospice in Jerusalem with FSSP seminarians on pilgrimage in the Holy Land these past days. Many thanks to the great Don Juan for the pics (he's the cerimoniere here)!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

From Rome: St. Giovanni Leonardi...

St. John Leonardi
1541 - 1609
Founder of the Order of the Mother of God
Co-founder of the Propaganda Fide
Patron of Pharmacists

What is wrong with this picture?

Sorry to anger some, but it is not acceptable to use a (Catholic) paschal candle which is made of plastic.

Friday, April 24, 2009

An inspiration...

"A little lump of coal here that is going to turn into a diamond."

The Easter Vigil fire: how it is done...

G-r-r-r, in the good old days they used real flint and steel to light it!

In Rome they often use pinecones and twigs and today just light it with a match.

But notice here how the old holy oils from the previous year are being reverently disposed of in this worthy manner? The oil stocks were cleaned out with paper towels and this is how it's done as seen in the Holy City.

Catholic culture: to draw holy pictures...

For kids...and adults. Try it!

Rome guide book in Latin...

St. Luke the artist...

From Santa Maria Maggiore...

Catholic culture: beer by monks...

Trappist monks make great beer and you can buy any of it at Tre Fontane in Rome.

What is wrong with this picture?

This photo was taken near Rome where St. Thomas Aquinas died, in Fossanova.

It would be nice to see somebody write a dissertation or tessina on the origin and development of having the tabernacle fixed to a permanent altar.

The One World Order...

Well, as we sink deeper into the net of the one world order, see this interesting site which has (some) food for thought:

That time of the year: modesty in dress...

Every March and April they all arrive by the millions in Rome: the gorgeous blond girls from northern Europe. These are the high school and college groups on school trips for Roman archeology, history, etc. It's also the time of year when the cloths peel off.

This subject discomfits people, but modesty in dress in an important theme and we need to talk about it and our clergy need to preach about it and our Catholic parents need to be on top of it. The "too little too late" often does not work in this regard.

A conjured paranoia is one thing, yes, while responsible and consistent instruction in this area is another. The flesh hegemony of today holds a powerful force, but parents have to be firm and Catholic in their instruction and you even have to instruct the really little kids, too.

Your kids will raise a plaint, but you parents be firm and united. Our sisters guide us by example in their dress. Preening signals come from our wardrobe and this is why it can be of such value for our good sisters to wear their blessed religious habit as a credible witness to the nations.

Girls, you can still have a gorgeous flair. This includes you wearing a ball gown, or beach dress, or a wedding or party dress. With modest cloths a woman still shares her complete beauty and attracts attention and pleases others. In your still modest dress let everyone see your generous spirit, confident nature and well-disciplined body.

And sorry to make readers angry, but the "bikini" is not appropriate dress for a Catholic girl or woman.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Rome Easter Sunday 2009

Eternal Rome: the clash and peal of bells with military splendor of a bygone era.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Fr. Reggie Foster: the update...

Many have asked for an update.

This evening was the surprise going away party for Reggie at Rome's Fatebenefratelli hospital on Tiber Island. He was thrilled, but still sad to leave his home of many years, Rome.

Tomorrow morning at 4 a.m. Reggie leaves for America on a special "aereo ospedaliero" (hospital airplane) with a stop in Germany and then in Chicago. Reggie will then be driven to a Milwaukee rest home, Clement Manor, where he was a resident last summer.

Reggie is fine and in good spirits, but needs lots of time to rest and recover. Born in 1939, he's still a spring chicken, diciamo!

Qui in Italia ci mancherà molto, speriamo e preghiamo per lui che possa tornare presto sano e salvo alla nostra scuola latina! Regg-Dogg, ti ringrazio di cuore e ti auguro ogni bene! Oremus!

Vocations: a good diocese to join...

In the France of today, he is one of the finest: meet the famous Bishop Rey of Toulon, southern France. Yesterday, while in the Vatican, it was a delight to meet him and to chat for a moment.

Bishop Rey is a really nice guy and speaks fine English. He's a true leader and has the presence of an army general. His diocese is located on the French Riviera (see here:

If you speak French and if it's your call, then look into joining this diocese. Lots are joining now - fine seminarians, priests and potential sisters and seminarians. Bishop Rey is a man of great vision and is open and orthodox.

Frank's Rome: meet the boss...

As a kid a hero of mine was Francis Cardinal Spellman as I read in books about his life, ministry and "twelve little apostles" (twelve auxiliary bishops of his See). In fact, Archbishop Dolan looks a bit like him, with that cherubic face!

How to make a nice altar frontal...

Just nail a wood frame together; then staple or nail a canvas front to it; then staple or nail the silk over that; then use a fabric glue gun to apply the trim. Make one and then see how it looks (and consider one in black, too!).

Spring flowers in Lazio...

To cheer everybody up...spring cleaning and spring flowers do the trick, or so said grandma.

Douglas MacArthur in Rome...

It's all in the corn cob pipe, friends.

Catholic womanhood: a unique beauty...

From a Rome tomb.

Support our troops: Rome's USO...

If you're in the US military and have an interest in making a stop at the USO then go to Via Vespasiano, 44 (a two minute walk north of the Vatican).

A relative of mine who is military went to Rome and the daily highlight (besides gelato) was going to the USO for "free" internet, a clean bathroom and "free" cookies!

Catholic Truth Society: Publishers to the Holy See...

Link here: .

Buy their apologetics booklets and place them in the back of churches.

Hollywood: cogwheel of Satan...

Thank God for Bill Donohue who is the only one standing up for our good name.

Always support the Catholic League and subscribe to their Catalyst newsletter:

The latest is Ron Howard and his new anti-Catholic film:

Sadly, yours truly will be in the film as an accidental extra (I'm the kid in the Cuba t-shirt next to the garbage can during the Via del Corso car chase). Actually, I pray they cut that scene.

Pray and do penance.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ab Urbe Condita: happy b-day Rome!

Yes, even Rome has a birthday.

Happy 2,762th birthday, Roma Beata!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

IV years ago today: let the legend live!

It was four years ago today in the Alma Città when it all came down with a joyous: "HABEMVS PAPAM!"

Four years ago today Joe Alois Card. Ratzinger was elected Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church and long may he reign!

Also, yours truly is still in Athens for Orthodox Easter (truly, the mother of all liturgical events on the European continent, but will soon post a few photos with the scoop).

Let us pray!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The difference: before and after...

These photos were taken on Holy Saturday in the Vatican Basilica.
The spawn altar had been used for twenty-eight years in St. Peter's Basilica (its lumber mensa having been "dedicated" instead of "consecrated" in 1980, with no altar stone/relics).
It was Card. Mario Nasalli Rocca di Corneliano who dedicated it.
So nice to have new leadership under a new pontificate and go BXVI!

What is wrong with this picture?

This photo was taken in a Rome church.

It utterly beggars the imagination that such a (consecrated?) altar exists, let alone in a Roman basilica.

What holds sway here? Any Italian art historian can point out the problem: "Tirchio."

Battle of Lepanto: know a bit of our history...

This photo was taken in the Vatican Museums.

See here: