Here in Rome there is a special circus going on during the Synod, called “Amazzonia: Casa Comune” which means “The Amazon: Our Common Home.” These are the voodoo folks you’ve seen news photos of, desecrating the church of Transpontina with their pagan Pachamama idols and others we won’t speak of. On today’s schedule for the circus was a pilgrimage from Castel Sant’Angelo to the Vatican. I always thought a pilgrimage was rather longer than this but it seems that the earlier plans to make it longer failed, and if the attendance figures were any indication, I’d say it was due to lack of interest in walking that far.
As this group made their mini pilgrimage up the broad avenue called Via della Conciliazione, which leads to St. Peter’s Basilica, along the way they “prayed” a “way of the cross” that wasn’t really a Via Crucis but rather a series of tributes to their collection of communist “martyrs” and the new category of environmental sins. They were surrounded by a huge pack of journalists and curious tourists that made it difficult to discern the true number of actual attendants, but most noticeable was a small group of men in jeans, T-shirts and an abundance of feathers that did not take part in any of the ceremonies and seemed to be there to do nothing more than fill the role of the costumed gladiators at the Colosseum: photo ops for tourists.
All week long I have carefully avoided this circus and I refuse to enter that desecrated church. But since the police have providentially placed us in this little ghetto where the pilgrimage was to pass by, we thought it best to arrive in time to at least witness it, and who knows? Perhaps get one or two books into some of those hands.
With the help of some Brazilian friends, we did manage just this. Not huge numbers, but some. However, most of the people passing by Castel Sant’Angelo are not the same people that are coming to Rome on Pilgrimage and being dropped off by the busload to visit the Vatican. Not only had they no interest in such a book as ours, they looked at us as though we were little green men. That is, when they weren’t studiously ignoring us. So though we made a valiant effort, very few copies left our hands.
So we brought several boxes of books to the FSSP parish here in Rome, Ss. Trinità dei Pellegrini, and the priests allowed us to place the boxes by the entrance where any passersby can help themselves. They do get a fair number of tourists that pass through to see the beautiful altar painting by Guido Reni. During the holy hour that I spent there after dropping off the books, I saw at least three tourists enter with the book in hand.
The altar painting is worth taking a moment to share because its composition is profound and worthy of contemplation. If you look at the Trinity depicted here, you will see that the overall grouping is in the shape of the Tree of Life. But now look at each of the three Persons: all of them have arms (or wings) extended. God the Father is reaching outwards with His mighty power as Creator. God the Holy Spirit’s wings scoop downwards, showering the earth with His sevenfold Gifts and twelve Fruits. And God the Son reaches upward from the cross, offering up His own life for the sake of Mankind, sanctifying our Human nature while also offering perfect propitiation for us with the Father.
Tomorrow will be an official day of rest for us, as we will attend the High Mass at Trinità dei Pellegrini and then drive up to Norcia to visit and pray with the monks. We are praying for all of our benefactors as well as all those who have and who are yet to receive this book.