Friday, November 9, 2012


Vatican City, 9 November 2012 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Benedict XVI received participants in the eighty-first session of the general assembly of the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL). The meeting, which is currently being held in Rome, brings together delegates from police forces and political representatives from the 190 member States which, since 2008, have included Vatican City State.
In light of the fact that the participants are focusing on international cooperation in the fight against crime, the Pope highlighted the importance of strengthening collaboration and exchanging expertise "at a time when, at a global level, we see a widening of the sources of violence provoked by transnational entities which hinder the progress of humanity.
The evolution of criminal violence "is a particularly troubling aspect for the future of the world. No less important is the fact that the task of reflection brings together politicians responsible for security and justice, as well as judicial bodies and the forces of law and order, in such a way that each one, in his respective sphere, can offer an effective contribution to the service of constructive exchange".
Continuing his English-language address, the Pope noted that, "in our own day, the human family suffers owing to numerous violations of justice and law, which in not a few instances is seen in outbursts of violence and of criminal acts. Thus, it is necessary to safeguard individuals and communities by a constant, renewed determination, and by adequate means. In this regard, the function of Interpol, which we may define as a bastion of international security, enjoys an important place in the realisation of the common good, because a just society needs order and a respect for the rule of law to achieve a peaceful and tranquil coexistence in society".
"We are aware that violence today is taking on new forms. At the end of the Cold War between the Eastern and Western blocks, there were high hopes, especially where a form of institutionalised political violence was ended by peaceful movements demanding freedom of peoples. However, although some forms of violence seem to have decreased, especially the number of military conflicts, there are others which are developing, such as criminal violence which is responsible each year for the majority of violent deaths in the world. Today, this phenomenon is so dangerous that it is a gravely destabilising threat to society and, at times, poses a major challenge to the supremacy of the State.
"The Church and the Holy See encourage all those who help to combat the scourge of violence and crime, as our world resembles more and more a global village. The gravest forms of criminal activities can be seen in terrorism and organised crime. Terrorism, one of the most brutal forms of violence, sows hate, death and a desire for revenge. This phenomenon, with subversive strategies typical of some extremist organisations aimed at the destruction of property and at murder, has transformed itself into an obscure web of political complicity, with sophisticated technology, enormous financial resources and planning projects on a vast scale. For its part, organised crime proliferates in ordinary places and often acts and strikes in darkness, outside of any rules; it does its work through numerous illicit and immoral activities, such as human trafficking – a modern form of slavery – the smuggling of materials or substances such as drugs, arms, contraband goods, even the traffic of pharmaceuticals, used in large part by the poor, which kill instead of curing. This illicit market becomes even more deplorable when it involves trafficking the organs of innocent victims: they undergo physical and moral humiliation which we had hoped were over after the tragedies of the twentieth century but which, unfortunately, have again surfaced through the violence generated by crime carried out by unscrupulous persons and organisations. These crimes transgress the moral barriers which were progressively built up by civilisation and they reintroduce a form of barbarism which denies man and his dignity.
Benedict XVI then went on to reaffirm the fact that "violence in all its forms, whether crime or terrorism, is always unacceptable, because it profoundly wounds human dignity and is an offence against the whole of humanity. It is therefore necessary to combat criminal activities within the limits of moral and juridical norms, since action against crime should always be carried out with respect for the rights of each person and of the principles of the rule of law. The struggle against violence must aim to stem crime and defend society, but it must also aim at the reform and the correction of the criminal, who remains always a human person, a subject of inalienable rights, and as such is not to be excluded from society, but rather rehabilitated".
At the same time, he explained, "international collaboration against crime cannot be reduced to the work done by police. It is essential that the necessary work of containing crime be accompanied by a courageous and lucid analysis of the underlying motives for such unacceptable criminal acts. Special attention should be paid to the factors of social exclusion and deprivation which persist in the population and which are a vehicle for the spread of violence and hatred. Special effort should also be made in the political and educational fields, to remedy the problems which feed violence, and to foster conditions that prevent violence from occurring or developing".
Therefore, the Holy Father concluded, "the response to violence and crime cannot be delegated to the forces of law and order alone, but requires the participation of all those capable of confronting this phenomenon. To overcome violence is a task which must involve not only the institutions and organisations mentioned, but all of society: the family, educational institutions, including schools and religious bodies, the means of social communication, as well as each and every citizen. Everyone has his or her particular responsibility in building a future of justice and peace".
Vatican City, 9 November 2012 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today published the calendar of celebrations to be presided over by the Holy Father between November 2012 and January 2013.
- Saturday 24: At 11 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, Ordinary Public Consistory for the creation of new cardinals.
- Sunday 25: Solemnity of Christ the King, at 9.30 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, Mass with newly-created cardinals.
- Saturday 1: At 6 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, First Vespers for the first Sunday of Advent with students of Roman and Pontifical universities.
- Saturday 8: Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. At 4 p.m. in Rome's Piazza di Spagna, homage to Mary Immaculate.
- Sunday 16: Third Sunday of Advent, pastoral visit to the Roman parish of "San Patrizio al Colle Prenestino". At 9 a.m., celebration of the Eucharist.
- Monday 24: Vigil of the Solemnity of the Birth of Our Lord. At 10 p.m., Mass in the Vatican Basilica.
- Tuesday 25: Solemnity of the Birth of Our Lord. At midday from the central loggia of the Vatican Basilica, "Urbi et Orbi" blessing.
- Saturday 29: At 6 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, prayer presided by the Holy Father with young people participating in a European meeting organised by the Taize Community.
- Monday 31: At 5 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, First Vespers and "Te Deum" of thanksgiving for the past year.
- Tuesday 1: Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and forty-sixth World Day of Peace. Mass in the Vatican Basilica at 9.30 a.m.
- Sunday 6: Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. Mass in the Vatican Basilica at 9.30 a.m.
- Sunday 13: Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord. Mass in the Sistine Chapel at 9.45 a.m., conferment of the Sacrament of Baptism upon a number of children.
- Friday 25: Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle. At 5.30 p.m. in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the-Walls, celebration of Vespers.
Vatican City, 9 November 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:
- Mirko V. Jelic, the new Serbian ambassador to the Holy See, for the presentation of his Letters of Credence.
- Archbishop Alain Paul Lebeaupin, apostolic nuncio to the European Union.
Vatican City, 9 November 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:
Msgr. Robert P. Deeley, vicar general of the archdiocese of Boston, U.S.A., as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 6,386, population 4,181,000, Catholics 1,908,000, priests 1.233, permanent deacons 247, religious 2550). The bishop-elect was born in Cambridge, U.S.A. in 1946 and ordained a priest in 1973. He studied in Washington DC and at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, and served in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 2004 to 2011.
Msgr. Angelo Vincenzo Zani, under secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, as secretary of the same congregation, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop. The archbishop-elect was born in Brescia, Italy in 1950 and ordained a priest in 1975. He obtained his doctorate in theology at the Pontifical Lateran University, Rome and has fulfilled roles in relation to the pastoral care of schools and universities, in the Lombard Episcopal Conference and the Italian Episcopal Conference.


In honor of the YEAR OF FAITH - JCE news will be showing some of the TOP Catholic movies of all time. Tune in for PART II of St. Bernadette of Lourdes- tomorrow.


Agenzia Fides REPORT - "We are asking help to national and international opinion so that they pay attention towards Buenaventura, in order to get out of violence": this is the appeal by His Exc. Mgr. Héctor Epalza Quintero, Bishop of Buenaventura, for the serious situation of violence that this region lives. "The Life, Justice, Solidarity and Peace Commission of the Diocese of Buenaventura, will publish this complaint that I, as a Pastor, fully support because we believe that the reality of Buenaventura, the critical moment it is going through, affects not only the authorities of Buenaventura, but also the Region and the Nation," said Mgr. Epalza Quintero in the statement sent to Fides Agency. The Bishop calls for an urgent action from the national government and the various supervisory bodies, so that "in exercising their constitutional and legal duties, they provide the guarantees of rights to communities and the territory."
The request is also forwarded to the human rights organizations, national and international, to make known the reality and show "th=e situation of barbaric violence that the city's inhabitants constantly suffer, particularly the suburban areas and rural communities." The press release of the diocese refers to clashes between paramilitary groups calling themselves "La Empresa" and "los Urabeños" who are fighting for the control of the territory and dominion of the areas of ports, which are coveted trafficking routes and mineral resources.
Mgr. Epalza Quintero warns that this situation of violence can be seen every day through the murders, disappearances and forced displacements. According to official data, since 6 October there have been 40 murders (committed with barbarity and cruelty), 35 shootings and 75 disappearances reported by the local Police station. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 09/11/2012)


DARFUR, November 09, 2012 (CISA) -Peacekeepers from the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) on November 8 arrived to a sight of burnt houses and dead animals in the village of Sigili, Sudan. The peacekeepers first convoy had been blocked by Sudanese armed forces from accessing the area.


Ezekiel 47:
1 - 2, 8 - 9, 12

1 Then he brought me back to the door of the temple; and behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east); and the water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar.
2 Then he brought me out by way of the north gate, and led me round on the outside to the outer gate, that faces toward the east; and the water was coming out on the south side.
8 And he said to me, "This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah; and when it enters the stagnant waters of the sea, the water will become fresh.
9 And wherever the river goes every living creature which swarms will live, and there will be very many fish; for this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes.
12 And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing."
Psalms 46: 2 - 3, 5 - 6, 8 - 9
2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. [Selah]
5 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God will help her right early.
6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.
8 Come, behold the works of the LORD, how he has wrought desolations in the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear, he burns the chariots with fire!
1 Corinthians 3: 9 - 11, 16 - 17
9 For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building.
10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it. Let each man take care how he builds upon it.
11 For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
16 Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?
17 If any one destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and that temple you are.
John 2: 13 - 22
13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers at their business.
15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all, with the sheep and oxen, out of the temple; and he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables.
16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, "Take these things away; you shall not make my Father's house a house of trade."
17 His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for thy house will consume me."
18 The Jews then said to him, "What sign have you to show us for doing this?"
19 Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."
20 The Jews then said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?"
21 But he spoke of the temple of his body.
22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.


by Melani Manel Perera
The Bishops' Conference has picked next Sunday to challenge the government's proposal to legalise abortion. On that day, the faithful will be asked to pray and raise awareness. Fund raising will take place at the parish level to help pregnant women who are single or poor.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Sri Lanka (CSCSL) is dedicating next Sunday, 11 November, to unborn children to protest a government's plan to legalise abortion. As part of their action, the bishops will urge the faithful in each diocese, especially teenagers, young people, families and doctors, to pray and organise meetings to raise awareness about the issue. The CBCSL has also decided to raise funds in each parish to devolve to single mothers and to mothers who might be considering having an abortion. "If such a proposal does go before parliament, we shall peacefully protest against it, wearing a black band."

In his draft bill, Child Development and Women's Affairs Minister Tissa Karaliyadda is "limiting" abortion to minors victim of rape, pregnancies resulting from incest or in cases in which the foetus is physically deformed.

"For the Church, aborting the foetus, even if it is the result of rape or incest, or if it is deformed, is a terrible murder of an innocent human being, who is voiceless and defenceless. For this reason, we condemn in no uncertain terms such a process of legalisation, even when it involves exceptional cases that might attract the empathy and solidarity of people."

"Each abortion is a refusal of life, a criminal interference that violates God's plans for every human being," the prelate said. "The Church has always condemned abortion. Whatever the justification behind such an act, it must be considered a grave sin, indefensible by every institution and every individual."

Even though abortion is illegal in the country, the Sri Lanka Family Health Bureau, which was set up by the Health Ministry, has recorded a rising number of cases. In 2008, some 700 were performed every day for a total of 250,000 a year. Last year, this was up to a thousand a day for a total of 300,000 a year.




All At Sea for the Blessing of Sydney's Fishing Fleet

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
9 Nov 2012

The Madonna helps ensure the coming year of fishing is safe and bountiful
One of the fishing boats in a flotilla of craft will carry the superb life-size wooden sculpture of Santa Maria di Porto Salvo. The statue will be accompanied by Father Christopher Slattery, Parish Priest of St Martha's Catholic Church, Strathfield while standing on the wharf at the Sydney Fish Market will be Bishop Peter Comensoli who will preside over the Blessing of the Fishing Fleet at Blackwattle Bay on Sunday, 11 November.
The blessing of the Sydney Fish Market fishing fleet and of fishermen and their craft from across NSW, is an eagerly anticipated event, with thousands expected attend the ceremony this year. For the fishermen and their families, Sunday's blessing, however, will have an even deeper significance as it will be the first time the specially-commissioned statue of Santa Maria Di Porto Salvo, guardian of seafarers and fishermen will be part of the ceremony.
The newly-arrived beautifully-painted statue of Santa Maria di Porto Salvo is an exact replica of the statue of the Madonna venerated in Bagnara Calabra, the fishing town in Southern Italy's Calabrian region.

The birthplace of many of the Sydney fleet's fishermen and their families, Bagnara Calabra has long venerated Santa Maria di Porto Salvo as the protector and guardian of seafarers and is very much part of Calabria's history, culture and tradition.
Fire Brigade Vessels will take part in the blessing of the fleet on Sunday
Literally translated her name means St Mary of Safe Ports or Safe Harbour.
"Her Elevation to Protector of all Seafarers and specifically to all Fishermen goes back to ancient times," says Calabrian-born, veteran Sydney fisherman, Salvatore "Sam" Bagnato. "In Bagnara Calabra where I grew up, the Church dedicated to Santa Maria di Porto Salvo was built in the area where most fishermen and their families lived," he says and recounts ancient story of how a painting representing the Madonna was being transported by ship when near the coast of Bagnara, a massive storm struck. It seemed unlikely the craft or anyone on board would survive.
As the boat was tossed by monstrous waves, the priest escorting the painting asked everyone on board to join him in prayers to the Madonna to ask for her help in saving the ship and their lives.

Bishop Peter Comensoli
"That's when a miracle happened. The storm abated, and all aboard were saved along with the ship," Sam says and recounts how the painting became the Icon of the Madonna in the church and the presentation of that miracle.
"This is when the devotion to Our Lady of Porto Salvo began," he says.
The President of the local Association of Bagnara Calabra, Sam was not only instrumental in organising the sculpting of the statue replica but he was the one who oversaw the statue's installation at its permanent home at St Martha's Catholic Church, Strathfield earlier this year.
He was also responsible for organising the consecration of the statue by Bishop Terry Brady, Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Sydney in a moving and very Italian ceremony at St Martha's Church a few weeks later on 16 July this year.

Fishing Fleet at Sydney Fish Market
Now four months later, on Sunday morning 11 November, Fr Christopher Fletcher will travel with the statue from St Martha's Church the Sydney Fish Market. At 9 am the Madonna will take her place at the front of one of the vessels and with the parish priest, sail with the rest of the flotilla of fishing boats around Blackwattle Bay. Accompanying the fleet will be a NSW Fire Brigade vessel which will spray streams of high pressure jets of water into the air to symbolise the blessing.
At the fleet will return to the Fish Market dock where the Madonna will be carefully carried and placed under a marquee and with Bishop Comensoli presiding, the traditional blessing of the fleet will begin.
The Fish Market will then be turned over for a full day of fun with an Italian flavour.
"The blessing of the fleet each year is an important part of Italian-Australian history and culture and it is important we to support and recognise our local fishermen. Being a fisherman is hard work. It isn't a job, it's a lifestyle," says Bryan Skepper, Manager of the Sydney Fish Market.


Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome
Feast: November 9
Feast Day:
November 9

This is the oldest, and ranks first among the four great "patriarchal" basilicas of Rome. The site was, in ancient times, occupied by the palace of the family of the Laterani. A member of this family, P. Sextius Lateranus, was the first plebian to attain the rank of consul. In the time of Nero, another member of the family, Plautius Lateranus, at the time consul designatus was accused of conspiracy against the emperor, and his goods were confiscated. Juvenal mentions the palace, and speaks of it as being of some magnificence, "regiæ ædes Lateranorum". Some few remains of the original buildings may still be traced in the city walls outside the Gate of St. John, and a large hall decorated with paintings was uncovered in the eighteenth century within the basilica itself, behind the Lancellotti Chapel. A few traces of older buildings also came to light during the excavations made in 1880, when the work of extending the apse was in progress, but nothing was then discovered of real value or importance. The palace came eventually into the hands of Constantine, the first Christian emperor, through his wife Fausta, and it is from her that it derived the name by which it was then sometimes called, "Domus Faustæ". Constantine must have given it to the Church in the time of Miltiades, not later than about 311, for we find a council against the Donatists meeting within its walls as early as 313. From that time onwards it was always the centre of Christian life within the city; the residence of the popes and the cathedral of Rome. The latter distinction it still holds, though it has long lost the former. Hence the proud title which may be read upon its walls, that it is "Omnium urbis et orbis ecclesiarum mater, et caput".
It seems probable, in spite of the tradition that Constantine helped in the work of building with his own hands, that there was not a new basilica erected at the Lateran, but that the work carried out at this period was limited to the adaptation, which perhaps involved the enlargement, of the already existing basilica or great hall of the palace. The words of St. Jerome "basilica quondam Laterani" (Ep. lxxiii, P.L., XXII, col. 692) seem to point in this direction, and it is also probable on other grounds. This original church was probably not of very large dimensions, but we have no reliable information on the subject. It was dedicated to the Saviour, "Basilica Salvatoris", the dedication to St. John being of later date, and due to a Benedictine monastery of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist which adjoined the basilica and where members were charged at one period with the duty of maintaining the services in the church. This later dedication to St. John has now in popular usage altogether superseded the original one. A great many donations from the popes and other benefactors to the basilica are recorded in the "Liber Pontificalis", and its splendour at an early period was such that it became known as the "Basilica Aurea", or Golden Church. This splendour drew upon it the attack of the Vandals, who stripped it of all its treasures. St. Leo the Great restored it about 460, and it was again restored by Hadrian I, but in 896 it was almost totally destroyed by an earthquake ("ab altari usque ad portas cecidit"). The damage was so extensive that it was difficult to trace in every case the lines of the old building, but these were in the main respected and the new building was of the same dimensions as the old. This secondchurch lasted for four hundred years and was then burnt down. It was rebuilt by Clement V and John XXII, only to be burnt down once more in 1360, but again rebuilt by Urban V.
Through these various vicissitudes the basilica retained its ancient form, being divided by rows of columns into aisles, and having in front an atrium surrounded by colonnades with a fountain in the middle. The façade had three windows, and was embellished with a mosaic representing Christ as the Saviour of the world. The porticoes of the atrium were decorated with frescoes, probably not dating further back than the twelfth century, which commemorated the Roman fleet under Vespasian, the taking of Jerusalem, the Baptism of the Emperor Constantine and his "Donation" to the Church. Inside the basilica the columns no doubt ran, as in all other basilicas of the same date, the whole length of the church from east to west, but at one of the rebuildings, probably that which was carried out by Clement V, the feature of a transverse nave was introduced, imitated no doubt from the one which had been, long before this, added at S. Paolo fuori le Mura. It was probably at this time also that the church was enlarged. When the popes returned to Rome from their long absence at Avignon they found the city deserted and the churches almost in ruins. Great works were begun at the Lateran by Martin V and his successors. The palace, however, was never again used by them as a residence, the Vatican, which stands in a much drier and healthier position, being chosen in its place. It was not until the latter part of the seventeenth century that thechurch took its present appearance, in the tasteless restoration carried out by Innocent X, with Borromini for his architect. The ancient columns were now enclosed in huge pilasters, with gigantic statues in front. In consequence of this the church has entirely lost the appearance of an ancient basilica, and is completely altered in character.
Some portions of the older buildings still survive. Among these we may notice the pavement of medieval Cosmatesque work, and the statues of St. Peter and St. Paul, now in the cloisters. The graceful baldacchino over the high altar, which looks so utterly out of place in its present surroundings, dates from 1369. The stercoraria, or throne of red marble on which the popes sat, is now in the Vatican Museum. It owes its unsavoury name to the anthem sung at the ceremony of the papal enthronization, "De stercore erigeus pauperem". From the fifth century there were seven oratories surrounding the basilica. These before long were thrown into the actual church. The devotion of visiting these oratories, which held its ground all through the medieval period, gave rise to the similar devotion of the seven altars, still common in many churches of Rome and elsewhere. Between the basilica and the city wall there was in former times the great monastery, in which dwelt the community of monks whose duty it was to provide the services in the basilica. The only part of it which still survives is the cloister, surrounded by graceful columns of inlaid marble. They are of a style intermediate between the Romanesque proper and the Gothic, and are the work of Vassellectus and the Cosmati. The date of these beautiful cloisters is the early part of the thirteenth century.
The ancient apse, with mosaics of the fourth century, survived all the many changes and dangers of the Middle Ages, and was still to be seen very much in its original condition as late as 1878, when it was destroyed in order to provide a larger space for the ordinations and other pontifical functions which take place in this cathedral church of Rome. The original mosaics were, however, preserved with the greatest possible care and very great success, and were re-erected at the end of the new and deeper apse which had been provided. In these mosaics, as they now appear, the centre of the upper portion is occupied by the figure of Christ surrounded by nine angels. This figure is extremely ancient, and dates from the fifth, or it may be even the fourth century. It is possible even that it is the identical one which, as is told in ancienttradition, was manifested to the eyes of the worshippers on the occasion of the dedication of the church: "Imago Salvatoris infixa parietibus primum visibilis omni populo Romano apparuit" (Joan. Diac., "Lib. de Ecclesia Lat.", P.L. CXCIV, 1543-1560). If it is so, however, it has certainly been retouched. Below is seen the crux gammata, surmounted by a dove which symbolizes the Holy Spirit, and standing on a hill whence flow the four rivers of the Gospels, from whose waters stags and sheep come to drink. On either side are saints, looking towards the Cross. These last are thought to belong originally to the sixth century, though they were repaired and altered in the thirteenth by Nicholas IV, whose effigy may be seen prostrate at the feet of the Blessed Virgin. The river which runs below is more ancient still, and may be regarded as going back to Constantine and the first days of the basilica. The remaining mosaics of the apse are of the thirteenth century, and the signatures of the artists, Torriti and Camerino, may still be read upon them. Camerino was a Franciscan friar; perhaps Torriti was one also.
The pavement of the basilica dates from Martin V and the return of the popes to Rome from Avignon. Martin V was of the Colonna family, and the columns are their badge. The high altar, which formerly occupied the position customary in all ancient basilicas, in the centre of the chord of the apse, has now beyond it, owing to the successive enlargements of the church, the whole of the transverse nave and of the new choir. It has no saint buried beneath it, since it was not, as were almost all the other great churches of Rome, erected over the tomb of a martyr. It stands alone among all the altars of the Catholic world in being of wood and not of stone, and enclosing no relics of any kind. The reason for this peculiarity is that it is itself a relic of a most interesting kind, being the actual wooden altar upon which St. Peter is believed to have celebrated Mass during his residence in Rome. It was carefully preserved through all the years of persecution, and was brought by Constantine and Sylvester from St. Pudentiana's, where it had been kept till then, to become the principal altar of the cathedral church of Rome. It is now, of course, enclosed in a larger altar of stone and cased with marble, but the original wood can still be seen. A small portion was left at St. Pudentiana's in memory of its long connection with that church, and is still preserved there. Above the High Altar is the canopy or baldacchino already mentioned, a Gothic structure resting on four marble columns, and decorated with paintings by Barna of Siena. In the upper part of the baldacchino are preserved the heads of the Apostles Peter and Paul, the great treasure of the basilica, which until this shrine was prepared to receive them had always been kept in the "Sancta Sanctorum", the private chapel of the Lateran Palace adjoining. Behind the apse there formerly extended the "Leonine" portico; it is not known which pontiff gave it this name. At the entrance there was an inscription commemorating the dream of Innocent III, when he saw the church of the Lateran upheld by St. Francis of Assisi. On the opposite wall was hung the tabula magna, or catalogue of all the relics of the basilica, and also of the different chapels and the indulgences attached to them respectively. It is now in the archives of the basilica.

Post a Comment