Monday, November 30, 2009

Rev. Dr. Pierre Blet, S.J. (1918 - 2009): R.I.P.

Sunday morning at 9 a.m. one of the very last Rome legends passed on to his reward at Rome's Hospital Santo Spirito.

Fr. Pierre Blet, S.I., famous Church historian, Rome professor and renowned Jesuit scholar (and great defender of the memory of the Servant of God Pius XII), passed away at the age of 91.

With this loss the Company of Jesus loses one of its most heroic members: ever wise, observant, pious and loyal. May the Lord reward him with the prize of His chosen ones.  Fr. Blet celebrated every day Holy Mass according to the Usus Antiquior of the Roman Missal.   

October of 2008 I was in the lobby of the Gregoriana (Rome's Jesuit University) and took this pic of our beloved Fr. Blet.  It was always a joy to see him at the Gregorian and to see him smile and wave.  He was a brilliant man, shy and had an angelic smile.  He would always smile back if you smiled at him.  He was French and spoke some English.  He once told me of his trip to St. Louis once upon a time. 

Fr. Blet entered the Jesuits in the 1930s.  In 1958 he graduated from the Sorbonne with his doctorate.  In Rome he became professor of modern history at the Pontifical Gregorian Univeristy and for 17 years he taught diplomatic history at the Pontifical Academy of Ecclesiastics.  In 1985 he was elected a corresponding member of the Institut de France.  Once in about 1998 when John Paul II was chatting with journalists on a flight he was asked about Pius XII and his answer was simple: "Read Blet."

Paul VI asked Fr. Blet along with some other scholars to defend the wartime record of Pius XII.  After their research they published the Actes et Documents du Saint-Siège relatifs à la seconde guerre mondiale (Città del Vaticano, 1965-1981).   In English you can buy Pius XII and the Second World War According to the Archives of the Vatican published in English by Paulist Press in 1999.

The funeral will be tomorrow at 10 am at the chapel of the Curia Generalizia della Compagnia di Gesù (Borgo Santo Spirito 4, vicino Santo Spirito in Sassia).

Requiem aeternam!

And many thanks to Rodolfo who brought me along to visit Fr. Blet once and for alerting me of the news of his passing. 

Germany's Beatae Mariae de Anima in Rome

Just glorious to pray inside this church during the reign of a German Pope.

The church was constructed and decorated before the fall of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806 and thus the double-headed eagle motiff.  Such magnitude of events with the extinction of the Holy Roman Empire, the heir and representative of the Caesars.   

Czech pilgrims sometimes pray before this image of St. John of Nepomuk.

And in the sanctury is buried the last German Pontiff, Adrian VI.  Then came 455 years of Italian popes until the year of three popes when the Pole was elected and then in that year of grace AD 2005 another German was elected, now gloriously reigning, Benedictus XVI. 

Germany's Beatae Mariae de Anima in Rome


Magnificent to see the arms of a reigning German Pontiff here above the entrance of the old German pilgrim hospice in Rome.  In 1806 was the extinction of the Holy Roman Empire, the heir and representative of the Caesars and thus the old double-headed eagle from the golden days before the fall.      

Private Theologian of Pope Benedict: Fr. Wojciech Giertych, O.P.

Such a nice man.  He was our professor in Rome at the Dominican Univeristy, the Angelicum.  One day the Rector Magnificus entered the classroom with the other Polish Dominicans present that day and made the announcement and it was a joyous surprise for everybody.  He still teaches at the Angelicum twice a week during the spring semester and if you want to take his course it's entitled: Fundamental Moral Theology.  He is a lovely man, very humble.  He speakes English from his youth in a boarding school in England.  He can sometimes be seen on the 64 or 40 express bus and always has a big smile.   

Pueri Cantores of the Coro della Cappella Sistina in the Basilica Vaticana

"Cute kids, but each of these scrubs needs a haircut, subito."

-An Italian Mamma

Baroque Vestments in a Baroque Chapel in a Baroque City

Roman Basilica of St. Pudenziana.

This is the pianeta (Roman style chasuble) or in Latin it is called casula or planeta

Ottobeuern Abbey in Bavaria: Battle of Lepanto Scene

Pope St. Pius V, pray for us!

What the Mantellettum (Mantelletta) Looks Like

Today auditors of the Roman Rota and some monsignors and canons wear the mantelletta.  In former years it was also worn by auxiliaries and bishops where they had no jurisdiction.  

Some of us hope for a return of the mantelletta for all bishops.  The growing critique is that the intellectuality behind the decisions to abolish a lot of this color was detached from rock-bottom principles of lessons learned in the past.  In other words, there was a reason behind the use of the mantelletta.  Like the old adage reads: before you take down a fence first ask why it was put up. 

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Eminent American Prelates: Raymond Burke is Our Personal Favorite

Everybody wants to greet him.  He has a warm smile and a kind word for everyone.  He freely blesses their religious articles.  He listens and takes a moment to say hello.  For once a bishop who vigilantly bishops the flock!  This is a guy who has read Lumen Gentium article twenty-five.  Read it and share it with your kids and enjoy.      

Iuventutem Event in Rome

Juventutem Italy
presents a conference entitled:
"Cattivi Maestri: Come Riconoscerli E Come Evitarli"


Saturday, December 12, 2009 at 3:30 pm

Parish of Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini
Piazza Trinità dei Pellegrini, 1

Dr. Gnocchi is a well known writer, columnist, apologist and expert in religious themes.  He will present his latest book: "Bad Teachers: Enquiry on the Enemies of Truth" which was written with Dr. Mario Palmaro.  All are welcome.

Vivat Benedictus XVI

Vatican Basilica at Dusk

As the sun sets.

Dominican in the Vatican Basilica

Atop this same porphyry stone Charlemagne King of Franks was crowned Holy Roman Emperor on Christmas Day, 800.

Respond to the Dominican vocation.

And remember the words of Leo XIII in Aeterni Patris: "We exhort you, venerable brethren, in all earnestness to restore the golden wisdom of St. Thomas, and to spread it far and wide for the defense and beauty of the Catholic faith, for the good of society, and for the advantage of all the sciences."

FSSP in URBE: Crossing the Tiber

See the top of the dome across the Tiber? 

That's what is knows as FSSP in Urbe:

FSSP in URBE: the German Chasuble

St. Robert Bellarmine at Rome's Basilica of San Ignazio

Read his life story.  Then learn Latin if for no other reason than to read his great works. 

Madonna degli Architetti (Madonna of Architects) a.D. 1475

Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Firenze, Italia.

Taking Pics in Lindau on Lake Constance

"Hey, who's that tall-crazed Amercian guy with the camera?!"

Thanks, Raph and Don Juan!

Lindau is just near the FSSP seminary in Wigratzbad and so the seminarians and clergy sometimes vist here for an outing...and Card. Pacelli used to vacation on Lake Constance!

Team Spirit in Chapel Windows

In the twenties these windows were put in the basement crypt chapel of Nazareth Hall Prep Seminary in Minnesota (USA).  Seen are the arms of the reigning Pontiff (Pius XI) and the arms of the Archdiocese (Saint Paul).  This is how it's done (so replicate it)! 

Rome Quotes

"What can one say, but 'VIVAT PAPA NOSTER BENEDICTUS'!"


Catholic Culture: the Family Burial Vault

Catholic Poland

The Nuns Loved Us First

Believe me: before you were born you were loved by a nun. 

Sr. Marie Noelle was the nun who made me the Christian man I am today.  My mother even kept the card she sent when I was born.  She was later my teacher and I had the honor to visit her last summer to thank her as an adult.  She loved me.   

As a boy I used to hear my grandfathers speak with the most solemn reverence of the "sisters."  This was an important boyhood experience for me.  Nuns had raised both of them in the Catholic school system.  They were loved by the nuns and this was love they didn't get at home, from the sound of things. 

If my daughter ever answered the call to be a sister I would weep and moan with joy at the Lady altar of any parish in thanksgiving for the rest of my days. 

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cappella Papale: First Vespers of the First Sunday of Advent

Yours truly shouted "Ad multos annos, Santita' !" and then came the smile and thus the closed eyes.  Needless to say, it's always a great moment to be next to Petrus Romanus. 

Where to Live in Rome as a Lay Student

This is the place:

Where to Enjoy a Sunny Lunch in the Vatican City

Earlier this year the Vatican Museum administration opened up a new little snack shop here on the corner with tables outside.  Just follow the signs after you arrive upstairs after the entrance and take the elevator or stairs down.  Enjoy! 

Name that Century

Opus Dei in Rome

Basilica of San Salvatore. 

Old Catechisms Teach Your Kids the Faith: It Works!

American Seminary in Rome Honors Pius XII


Because he was a saint. 

Friday, November 27, 2009

Know Catholic Architecture

Today yours truly enjoyed lunch with this nice blogger:

Evening Mass at Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini

Pastors: A Must for Every Parish with Solemn High Mass in the Usus Antiquior

You just have to have one of these and they are really, really rare.

For the first time ever, the 1962 Lectionarium has been published.

It is a must.  Spread the word. 

Or perhaps gift your pastor with one of these rare treasures for Christmas...

Get it here:

Honey, the kids want to know when we can put up the decorations?

Do Christmas decorations go up the day after Thanksgiving?

Dad always said: "When we were kids every year we put up the Christmas decorations on Christmas eve."

Advent is a time of penance; thus the violet vestments.

Benedictus pp. XV della Chiesa

Entrance of a Rome palace on Piazza San Eustachio. 

Catholic Culture: the Street Shrine

Rome's Old La Sapienza University

One big project of Mussolini was to transfer Rome's giant univeristy from here (St. Ivo in downtown Rome) to another neighborhood near Roma Termini (San Lorenzo). 

There he had built on the cheap a quick, modern looking campus.  Nice and modern in the thirties to impress the Germans and others, ghetto and falling apart by the seventies and today just beyond repair.  So beyond repair that today it ought to be changed into a fine Italian hospital or the like. 

The same dictator also changed the name of the University to just La Sapienza "the wisdom" while dropping the reference to the Madonna, or so I heard.   

If they were smart they would transfer the campus back to this original location.  An Italian professor recently complained as we walked by the new campus: "These buildings do not speak of a university.  Go to Constantinople and there you will see a university which is housed in buildings that speak of it being a university." 

Above the main entrance of the old campus these glorious words from Proverbs 1:7 remain in travertine: Initium Sapientiae Timor Domini ("The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom").

Pontifical North American College: American Seminary in Rome

Pontificio Collegio Americano del Nord
Firmum Est Cor Meum

Where American Seminarians are Buried in Rome

If you ever find yourself in Rome on All Souls Day visit here for 7 a.m. Mass.

This is the sepulchre (burial vault) of the Pontifical North American College at Rome's Campo Verano cemetery.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Pastors: Get It All Here

Spread the word...

Paul VI Speaking English

A bit interesting:

Rome Quotes

"In just over fifty years (between 1798 and 1849) three Roman Pontiffs were exiled from Rome in defence of the Catholic Faith."


Pius VI exiled in France 1798-1799 died in exile a martyr for the Faith.
Pius VII kidnapped 1809, in captivity to 1814.
Pius IX in exile 1849-1850, later prisoner of the Vatican 1870 to his death in 1878.

Rome Student Life: Meet the Faces of Today

Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum Names Library in Honor Of Pius XII

The Legionaries of Christ have named their Rome library after Pope Pius XII, of blessed, holy and happy memory. 

The Biblioteca Pio XII is shared by the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum and the European University of Rome. 

It was dedicated on October 27, 2008 and present were Fr. Paolo Molinari, SJ who is the postulator general of the cause of beatification as well as Fr. Peter Gumpel, SJ who is the relator of the cause of beatification. 

See here: or

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Extraordinary Form Live on Radio Maria

S. Messa Tradizionale In Diretta Su Radio Maria

Domenica 29 novembre ore 10.30 presso la chiesa di S. Antonio di Padova in Acireale la consueta S. Messa in Rito Romano Antico verrà trasmessa in diretta su Radio Maria.

Celebrerà p. Vincenzo M. Nuara O.P.

Evento mai avvenuto prima!

BAPTISM at FSSP In URBE: Meet the Newest Parishioner