Friday, January 23, 2009

Among the stranger things about living in Rome

Is going to these gigantic museums full of baroque art and treating them like normal churches.

In the last couple of weeks, I've been going sometimes to St. Peter's for confession/vespers/Mass/adoration, all of which they have there in addition to The Baldachino, The Pieta, the bones of the popes and martyrs and assorted unimaginably precious treasures of the human race. There is often a huge queue to get in, and it is a bit of a pain to have to go all the way across the piazza, wind through the windey, twisty crowd control barriers, and go through the metal detector and then more windey/twisty stuff...but once you're in...

But some days, especially on very rainy days or early in the morning, all that can be got through very quickly. Today I got an early train into town and had a while to kill before I had to be somewhere and had a little hankering for some Adoration. They have a v. beautiful (seems completely redundant to say it. Of course it's v. beautiful. It's St. Peter's Basilica!) adoration chapel and I saw that despite it being a beautiful sunny morning, there was absolutely no queue at the metal detector so I popped in.

It felt rather strange just marching past the little clutches of tourists, with their little audio tour thingys stuck in their ears, all milling about the Pieta getting their pictures taken in front of it. But march past I did, with hardly a glance. (Honestly, once you've spent your whole life seeing the pictures and then having seen the thing itself and having had your picture taken in front of it, it loses some of the "HolyCow!that'sreallyIT" mojo.)

Past the tombs of Popes, statues of saints and more works of great western art than you can plausibly shake a stick at...

It is odd being a resident. I go to St. Peter's often because it is close by. It is (sometimes) convenient and there are still large bits of it set aside for religious purposes.

But I'm beginning to not be so weirded out at living here.

Which is slightly weirding me out.


Steve said...

I love that adoration chapel. It's tremendous.

Anonymous said...

By 'adoration chapel' do you mean the Blessed Sacrament chapel? Next you'll be talking about attending a Eucharist!

Steve said...

No, I mean adoration chapel. Every time I've been in there, there's adoration. I believe it's perpetual. It's not simply for reservation of the Eucharist.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Steve, my point was directed at Ms White.
Whilst we're at it though, the Blessed Sacrament is frequently exposed there, but not perpetually. My point is more that the use of 'adoration' without any qualification is very modern, hence my reference to the eucharist

Anonymous said...

df is right. I always assumed that that usage was invented in one of those neo-Cath colleges where the students all seem to undergo at least one bout of "discerning."

Anonymous said...

" is a bit of a pain to have to go all the way across the piazza, wind through the windey, twisty crowd control barriers, and go through the metal detector and then more windey/twisty stuff...but once you're in..."

er..hello...Planet Hilary..

Perhaps you'd like to swap places ? You can spend all of Saturday morning ringing round to find out who hasn`t yet abandoned the practice of confession and I'll get a flight to Rome and stand in the queue.

Sounds fair to me.

Anonymous said...

df - the term "Eucharist" has been used since time immemorial. If you read St. Peter Julian Eymards "The Real Presence" - you find several chapters referring to the Blessed Sacrament as the "Holy Eucharist".

Although I agree that supposedly modern hip-Catholics like to say trite phrases such as "I'm going to the celebration of the Eucharist" rather than "I'm assisting at Holy Mass".

Anonymous said...

Speaking of ideologically-induced linguistic inventions,

when did I become "Ms"?

What does "Ms" mean anyway?

I understand "Miss", being an honourific for unmarried women, and "Mrs." for married women.

You are, sir, perhaps too young to remember that the execrable "Ms" was invented by feminists to avoid what they consider the "demeaning" categorization of women according to their marital status.

Hence the name of their sagging and leaky "flagship" publication.

If you refrain from using it in the future, I will consider revisiting some of my novusordoist neologisms.