Sunday 21 April 2013

Weekend in Rome

Saturday began with the Villa Borghese and astonishing sculptures by Bernini. I wonder what feminists think of statues of rape. Actually I wonder what I think of them. The answer is, of course,  that I think they are very beautiful and we cannot blame Bernini for Greek myths. But..

Graham Greene said thrillers were more like real life than real life is and I suppose the classical myths of rapes fall into the same category, if that makes sense. 

Great, intelligent lunch with Hilary and Christopher, two Canadian Catholics who live in Rome. She writes for a pro life news website, he works for Vatican Radio. Both love the Tridentine Mass. I liked Hilary for saying: 
Feminism is evil. 
She suggests I should become a Catholic apologist. Interesting thought. They are badly needed, for sure. But I realise I have a Protestant mind. Should that stop me? Many Catholics these days seem to.

Interestingly, she says Catholic writers are happy to fight again abortion and research on foetuses but shrink from attacking homosexual marriage. This does not surprise me in the least. Protecting life goes with the grain of contemporary culture. Telling people how to live their lives goes against it. Add the anti-discrimination zeitgeist, the sexual liberalism zeitgeist and the Catholic priests who have been guilty of unspeakable sex crimes.

On this issue, both are glad that the scandals have come to light and blame them on homosexuality being permitted in very many seminaries in the 1960s and 1970s.  I am not sure. I have often suspected that the problem was less paedophilia than pederasty, but some have said that things were equally bad in the 1950s. Some of the victims were girls but three-quarters were post-pubescent boys.

Pope Francis seems, they think, to be interested in social justice and not at all in liturgy or doctrine. His reign will be back to the 1970s, which, Christopher added, may be what we need now.

Sunday was a wonderful, sunny day with Mass in the Tridentine Rite at the Church of Santissima Trinita dei Pellegri, a church which Pope Benedict XVI gave over exclusively to the Old Rite. then lunch with highly intelligent, well-informed, nice people who meet up after Mass. It is twenty years since I hung out with Traddies, the nicest people in the world. I shall come back to Rome very often, God willing. The perfect city.

I thought when I was a teenager that everything beautiful would come to an end when the generation ten or fifteen years older than me took over but it was not so. There are groups of conservatives, though I thought when looking around the congregation at Mass that those who believe in tradition feel and seem like Bolshevik conspirators before 1914, in the days when Europe was civilised. Why is loving tradition, whether in religion, politics or social life, considered subversive or even wicked? To answer that question would be to explain much about the state of the Western world. I really don't know. Can you tell me, dear reader?

Go to Rome if you can to see the marvellous Titian exhibition in the Quirinale. One of the best exhibitions I ever saw. 

Note for stingy people:

I recommend the Hotel Paisiello Parioli, Via Paisiello, a place full of character. The price, by Roman standards, was very reasonable (EUR 210 for a single room for three nights).  I had a large room with a bath, not shower, thank God. There is a nice drawing room for guests and the place has character. The hotel is in a great, leafy, quiet area of Rome, very near the lovely Villa Borghese, an area a bit like South Kensington or Bayswater in London, but more central.  However, it is not near a metro, the bus to the centre comes only every twenty minutes and the twenty-five minute walk through the park to the historic centre of Rome, very charming at first, becomes tedious after a couple of times. I therefore, on balance,  prefer my home from home, the Hotel Julia in Via Rasellla, close to the Trevi fountain, which is even cheaper, has three stars and is astonishingly central. A nice hotel though the rooms are rather small and it does not have character. It does a decent breakfast.


  1. What on earth can the Christopher person mean that this Pope's reign may be back to 1970's and (that) may be what we need now. ?
    The John Jay College investigation report finding is that the sex abuse was overwhelmingly pederasty and homosexuality. There have been numerous copy-cat, false accusations for $$. The proportion of non-abuser Catholic clergy seems to be around 98%.
    I hope you're inspired to hang out with Traditionalists now. I know you said it seems to be difficult in Bucharest to find Catholic society outside Mass. But you know where an alternative exists, the internet.

  2. I wonder if he said that or someone else. I do not want to be involved in clerical politics. It is wiser simply to defend Catholic teaching and assume or talk as if other Catholics think the same.

  3. You have confused me. You said that the Christopher person said what I said you said he said.

    Concerning clerical politics I understand your thinking. You've said it succinctly, clearly. It is worthy of reflection.
    The traditionalists though see as a very serious problem that in the 1970's as a result of the ambiguity of VatII the Church became more and more worldly and political, and very less Liturgical and Doctrinal thus losing holiness and souls.
    You probably know and understand this but many Catholics misinterpret it or misunderstand it or just do not agree. Alas

  4. I would prefer chatting to you if you at least gave me some name for yourself, even if not your real one.