Friday, December 17, 2010

From the City of the Popes: Glorious Dominican Presence


  1. How much I admire our pride in Catholic Rome, and attempts to put the best face on an otherwise gloomy picture of the Church both in Rome and elsewhere.
    Sadly, Religious in Rome are probably 1/4 of what they were in Rome before Vatican II. Certainly it is true among Orders of nuns in Italy, and clearly also in seminaries, monasteries, and Churches where the number of priests in some cases is down 75% from what number were before Vatican II.
    A priest relative of mine (now deceased), spent his seminary years in the early 1920's in Rome, and was a seminary professor there from the end of the 1940's, thru Holy Year 1975.
    He told us (and had photos and films), of the glorious pre-Vatican II years, when he would sit with his camera in Piazza San Pietro, and capture on film dozens of friars (Dominicans and others), and literally 6-8 dozen different Orders of nuns strolling across the vast Piazza....captured on films from the late 1940's thru the early 1960's.
    Understandibly, he became disheartened with the climate in Rome after about 1969, and gave up his tradition of filming in Piazza San Pietro on a Sunday, , and capturing life in monasteries and convents.
    But his library (which we are saving to dvd's), contains glimpses of Italian Orders of active nuns which once wore grey, brown, tan, maroon, sky blue, royal blue, deep crimson and black, and even purple habits. There are dozens of Franciscan Orders of nuns in both very cumbersome heavy brown or black habits, as well as those wearing long habits but more streamlined and confortable. There is captured an Order of Mexican nuns which I don't even think exist anymore, which wore bonnets as large or larger than the old-time Daughters of Charity cornets! But their habit was black, not the daughters of Charity blue.
    There are hundreds of Dominicans (Roman Dominicans all tonsured), as were the Franciscans, Servites, Trinitarians, and Minims on film. Many dozens of seminarians all in distinctive garb.
    All had happy faces, and nearly all were young....not many past 40....although there were SOME old friars.
    One monastery my relative always made a retreat in was called Tre Fontane, staffed until recently (I think they are either gone last year, or are closing this year), by the Trappists.
    He said there were always at least 50 monks there in his day, but I know for a fact there were, as of last year, only 8. The great Churches it was not uncommon to have communities of anywhere between 18-60 friars before Vatican II. Today, most have skeleton crews of 5-10 aged friars....and oftentimes less.
    So, thank you for these photos, and trying at least to present a brave face on the Church in Rome.
    There is some hope among traditionalist young priests and Orders of friars and nuns.....but what a job to clean house of all the old liberal Vatican II rot...for those still working in the Vatican, to old fossil liberal priests and nuns still beating their dissident drum in friaries and convents in Rome....and the USA.
    Pray for the good Orders, and men who have the courage to wear the habits in Rome. They are growing in numbers....but what a fight against the liberals they have had to fight to make their gains!
    Heroes, all of them!

  2. The Dominican in this picture is Fr. Charles Morerod, O.P., the secretary of the International Theological Commission. He recently gave a lecture at the seminary I attend in the United States. What a prince of a man! Amazingly intelligent, yet was able to speak in clear and precise language. And was kind enough to sit and enjoy a beer with the seminarians afterward. We need more men like him in the Church.