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- 06/29/18--08:24: _Sung Dominican Rite...
- 06/29/18--08:44: _Photopost: Ordinary...
- 06/29/18--09:00: _Photopost: CMAA Col...
- 06/29/18--13:26: _The Feast of Ss Pet...
- 06/30/18--07:24: _Dominican Rite Sung...
- 06/30/18--09:05: _Artworks Restored i...
- 06/30/18--12:04: _Bibliography of Dom...
- 07/01/18--04:23: _The Cathedral of St...
- 07/01/18--14:39: _Sermon for the Feas...
- 07/02/18--04:43: _The Witness of a Yo...
- 07/03/18--05:00: _Don’t Concede Groun...
- 07/04/18--01:58: _Artworks Restored i...
- 07/04/18--05:00: _Special Offer on Bo...
- 07/04/18--09:00: _Important News from...
- 07/05/18--02:10: _Photopost: CMAA Col...
- 07/05/18--04:00: _New Reprints: Schee...
- 07/05/18--11:33: _Recent First Masses...
- 07/06/18--02:15: _The Legend of Simon...
- 07/06/18--05:00: _Photopost: Closing ...
- 07/06/18--10:44: _Dominican Missa Can...
- 06/29/18--08:24: Sung Dominican Rite Masses in Malta in Coming Months
- 06/29/18--08:44: Photopost: Ordinary Form Mass in Spanish at Colloquium Day 2
- 06/29/18--09:00: Photopost: CMAA Colloquium Solemn Requiem Mass in the Usus Antiquior
- 06/29/18--13:26: The Feast of Ss Peter and Paul 2018
- 06/30/18--07:24: Dominican Rite Sung Masses in Malta
- 06/30/18--09:05: Artworks Restored in Italy (Part 1)
- 06/30/18--12:04: Bibliography of Dominican Liturgical Books
- 07/01/18--04:23: The Cathedral of St Paul in Mdina, Malta
- 07/01/18--14:39: Sermon for the Feast of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus
- 07/02/18--04:43: The Witness of a Young Catholic in Love with Traditional Liturgy
- 07/04/18--01:58: Artworks Restored in Italy (Part 2)
- 07/04/18--05:00: Special Offer on Books from Sacra Liturgia
- 07/04/18--09:00: Important News from the FSSP
- 07/05/18--11:33: Recent First Masses and Ordinations
- 07/06/18--02:15: The Legend of Simon Magus
- 07/06/18--05:00: Photopost: Closing Mass of the CMAA 2018 Colloquium
- 07/06/18--10:44: Dominican Missa Canta in Wisconsin, July 29
I am pleased to announce that during July Fr. Alan Joseph Adami, O.P. will celebrate sung Masses according to the traditional Dominican Rite at St. Paul's Chapel, Valley Road, Birkirkara, Malta. These Masses will occur at 7:00 p.m., on July 1 and 15; August 19; and September 2, 9, and 16.
This announcement is decorated with images Fr. Adami's First Mass (also in the Dominican Rite) this last April at the Maltese Latin Chaplaincy.
|The Crucifixion of St Peter, depicted in the Papal Chapel known as the Sancta Sanctorum at the Lateran Basilica in Rome, ca. 1280.|
|The Beheading of St Paul, also from the Sancta Sanctorum.|
I am pleased to announce that during July, Fr. Alan Joseph Adami, O.P. will celebrate sung Masses according to the traditional Dominican Rite at St Paul’s Chapel, Valley Road, Birkirkara, Malta. These Masses will occur at 7:00 p.m., on July 1 and 15; August 19; and September 2, 9, and 16.
This announcement is decorated with images Fr. Adami’s First Mass (also in the Dominican Rite) this last April at the Maltese Latin Chaplaincy.
Greetings to our readers,
I have been working on a bibliography of the printed editions of Dominican liturgical books for some time and have now made it available online. It is very long and would overburden NLM’s daily presentation of posts, so I have made it available on Dominican Liturgy, my own blog.
If you notice anything missing or any errors, do let me know in the comment box over at Dominican Liturgy, rather than here. I hope that some of our readers find this useful.
The chapel of the Cross, where Masses for the Dead were said, has painted wooden Crucifix and statue of the Virgin Mary and St John from the early 17th-century by Fra Innocenzo da Petraglia.
St Agatha, who according to local tradition, took refuge for a brief time on the island of Malta during the persecutions, later returning to her native Sicily.
Today at St. Mary's Oratory in Wausau, Canon Heitor Matheus of the Institute of Christ the King preached the following sermon for the Feast of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. NLM is grateful to him for sharing the text. Today's feast is a marvelous example of how the liturgy expands over the centuries to ponder more deeply and enter more fully into the mysteries of God. First, from ancient times, there was Maundy Thursday; then in the Middle Ages, Corpus Christi; then when the love of men had grown cold under Jansenism, the Sacred Heart; and finally, in the revolutionary Europe of the mid-19th century, the Precious Blood. Each of these feasts draws out a further dimension of the inexhaustible love of the Redeemer whose victory is greater than the forces of darkness arrayed against Him. Each feast makes present to us the reality and power of the particular mystery commemorated.
So He took bread into His holy and venerable hands, and raised His eyes towards heaven, unto God, His Almighty Father, and giving thanks, He blessed it, broke it and gave it to His disciples saying: “Take and eat, you all, of this, for this is my body.”
In like manner He took the chalice into His holy and venerable hands, He blessed it, and gave it to His disciples saying: “Take and drink, you all, of this, for this is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal testament, which shall be shed for you and for many unto the remission of sins.”
Through these words, through these gestures, Our Lord gave His own Body and Blood to His apostles. In His poverty, Jesus Christ did not have anything to give but Himself. And that’s what He left for His children: the treasure of His Real Presence in the most Holy Eucharist.
And it was the will of Our Lord that all of His children, from all places and all times, would be able to partake of this precious gift. And for this reason, He gave an order to His apostles:
Do this in commemoration of Me.
By these words, Our Lord gave His apostles the power to do what He Himself had done: to change the bread and the wine into His own Body and Blood. By these words, the apostles were ordained Priests of the New Law, in order to offer the Sacrifice of the New Law. “Do this in commemoration of Me,” which means, offer this Sacrifice of my Body and Blood for the glory of God and for the salvation of souls.
So, priests are the executors of the “Last Will” of Jesus Christ. And His last will was that His apostles, and their successors, would do what He Himself did on that blessed night… that the Church would carry on this mystery, until the end of time.
This Feast we celebrate today gives us the opportunity to reflect on the fact that the Blood that Our Lord shed on the Cross for our Salvation is really present on the Altar. After the Consecration, the Chalice doesn’t have wine anymore, but Blood. The Precious Blood of the Lamb of God, which was sacrificed for us.
It is not a fable, or a pious imagination, like the Protestants would say. It is not a figure, but it is the reality. If you wish, you can go and ask Our Lord Himself: Lord, what is inside that Chalice? And He will say, as He said on that blessed night: It is my Blood.
So how could someone dare to doubt the word of God?
So many miracles during the centuries have attested the Real Presence of Our Lord in the most Holy Eucharist! What an infinite treasure Our Lord left to His Church: His own Body and Blood really present among us!
From the very beginning, the Holy Church received this precious treasure with reverence and love. And she surrounded the sacred words of the Consecration with many prayers and ceremonies: everything to render glory to the Real Presence of Our Lord.
This monument of piety that we call the Liturgy is the most valuable patrimony of the Church. Saint Paul says that Christ showed His love for the Church by dying for her. And we could say, without any hesitation, that the Church shows her love for Christ through the Liturgy, because the Liturgy is the great chant of love that the Church sings to God.
And we know that it was not a work of one day, of one year, but of many centuries. Beginning with Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and the holy apostles, passing through many saints and popes, the Liturgy of the Roman Church was always growing organically, until it found its completion in the codification made by Pope Pius V after the Council of Trent. The “Tridentine Mass,” as we call it, always was and will always be the authentic expression of the Faith of the Catholic Church. That is how, for almost two thousand years, the Church has accomplished, day by day, the “Last Will” of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to “do this in commemoration of Me.”
It is not so surprising that the enemy would try to attack the Liturgy of the Church, that he would push for a reform, in order to deform this most beautiful Chant. Because the devil knows very well that the Liturgy is linked to the Faith. When you touch the Liturgy, you touch the Faith. When you change the way people pray, you change the way they believe. And when you change the way people believe, you change the way they behave. As Cardinal Burke said: “The abuses in the Liturgy are strictly correlated with lack of faith and moral corruption.” These are the consequences of bad liturgy.
And the way to discern a good liturgy from a bad one is the manner the Blessed Sacrament is treated. If the Body of Our Lord is treated like a mere wafer, and if the Chalice of His Blood is treated like a glass of wine, we can clearly see how this way of doing things will deform the faith of the people, who will be inclined not to believe anymore in the Real Presence of Our Lord. And this deformed faith will lead to a deformed life.
Perhaps this is the key to understand all the crisis we have been going through in the Church and in the world: a lack of care toward the Liturgy. How has the Liturgy been celebrated? How have people been treating the most holy Eucharist? If the angels could cry, they would, seeing what we see in so many churches nowadays.
What we need to understand is that if we believe it is the Lord, we must treat Him accordingly, with all respect and love. So we can see how important it is that the Liturgy of the Church should be well celebrated, for the glorification of God and the salvation of souls. If the downfall of a person, of a family, or a society comes from the lack of care and respect towards the things of God, the restoration of all things will only happen when we learn how to give God the adoration He deserves—when we learn how to honor, with due respect, the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.
So my brethren, let us adore the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Most Holy Sacrament; and in a spirit of reparation for so many abuses, let us say many times during the day the prayer that the Angel of Portugal taught the three children at Fatima: My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love Thee, and I ask pardon for all those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love Thee.
Not long ago, I received a remarkable letter concerning two articles I had published in close proximity. It is from a college-age Catholic who wanted to explain how her own experience resonated with my observations about the appeal of the traditional liturgy to young people. The letter has such a winsome freshness that it seemed only fitting to share it with NLM readers (of course, having previously secured the author’s permission).
Thank you for your recent New Liturgical Movement article titled “Divergent Political Models in the Two ‘Forms’ of the Roman Rite.” Each one of your points resonated with me very much. I am a twenty-five year-old woman who discovered the Traditional Latin Mass only a year and a half ago, but prior to that I attended the Novus Ordo Mass, prayed my Rosary daily, and benefited from weekly Eucharistic adoration. As a cradle Catholic, my upbringing took place in a fairly “mainstream” American parish. I donned my white altar-girl alb to serve Holy Mass, served as a lector, and played St. Louis Jesuit tunes on my clarinet in the sacro-pop choir. I think this upbringing in the “normal” Catholic world puts me in a good position to comment on the points made in your article. For what it’s worth, I would like to tell you I agree with everything in it.
Your following statement is, for me, a lived reality: “The Novus Ordo can be fruitful for those who already have a fervent and well-ordered interior life, built up by other means.” Those other means in my life were the catechesis I received as a homeschooled child brought up in a large family with two revert parents who, although not acquainted with the traditional Catholic sphere, had an innate respect for dogma and unwatered-down truth. You mention in the essay that the faithful will bring other things to the Novus Ordo Mass. I certainly did. I brought explanations of Church dogma that I heard on Catholic radio, I brought lives of the saints that I read in the many books my parents supplied, and I brought my own imagination that I developed in reading fiction and poetry to beautify a liturgy that I began to find increasingly bare. By these means, I never forsook my faith, but I must say the banal liturgy began to feel like a veritable ball and chain on my interior life. So perhaps the only nuance I would add to your thesis is that the N.O. does suffice for those who are able to supplement their faith life from other sources, but as they grow in their faith, they will most likely become increasingly discontent with the N.O. liturgy.
This brings me to your insightful statement: “The people who attend [the N.O. Mass] are assumed to know how to pray, how to ‘participate actively’ (as if this is at all evident!), and how to be holy. They come to display and demonstrate what is already within them.” I could not agree more. All the years I attended the N.O., I didn’t realize the enormous effort I was making to foster an awareness of the profundity of the Sacred Mysteries. I fostered this awareness by prodding my interior senses to recognize the beauty of the Holy Mass, the sacrificial splendor of Calvary re-presented, the absolution of my sins, the priest as the figure of Christ, the participation of the angels and saints, the awesome wonder of adoring the consecrated host, and the time-bending transcendence of the Holy Mass. The liturgy, which by working on the external senses ought to enliven and assist the interior senses, offered me no help at all in contemplating these mysteries and often even offended me.
In the fall of 2016, I attended my first Traditional Latin Mass. My life has never been the same since. Although there were many things in the traditional liturgy I didn’t understand on an intellectual level, it had an amazingly natural feel to it. Given my understanding of the Eucharist, it was natural that there should be solemnity, reverence, and grandeur. It was natural there should be profound silence, wonder, awe, and radiance. This liturgy not only corresponded with the understanding I brought in my interior, it surpassed it, nourished it, and fed it. My cradle liturgy, the N.O. with its casual minimalism, contradicted my knowledge of the reverence due to our Lord in a jarring banality that could only ever feel foreign even after thousands of Masses I attended in the course of my life.
At the T.L.M., I was astonished by how easy it was to pray. I just watched the breathtaking reverence and listened to that indescribably full silence. When I acquired a hand missal, I encountered yet a new layer of prayer. The psalms and scripture became living organisms like flowers growing in a spiritual ecosystem, my Eucharistic devotion skyrocketed after suffering stagnation so many years, my love of the Sacred Priesthood, my reverence for priests, and my deep gratitude for them reached heights I had never imagined possible. These men who stood before God, facing God on my behalf filled me with wonder.
This quantum leap in my spiritual life should not be surprising to you because you should see that I was simply feeling the liberating effects of attending a liturgy that “is not leaning on you to supply it with force or relevance.” It does not require me to be a responsible citizen in a rigid governmental framework, but rather allows me to be a daughter in the court of my King and my Father. It truly is a liturgy that is, as you say, “inherently full and ready to act upon you.”
I must also tell you how much I enjoyed reading the related essay, “Traditional Liturgy Attracts Vocations, Nourishes Contemplative Life, and Sustains the Priesthood.” Again, I could not agree more with your observations, and the experience in my life seems to confirm your hypothesis. Since my family’s discovery of the Traditional Liturgy, I have seen two of my sisters join religious communities that pray the old Divine Office and assist at the Traditional Mass daily. They could not be happier. My two brothers who had discerned for several years in a diocesan seminary both decided to leave the seminary at large financial cost to themselves in order to join seminaries and orders in which they could offer the T.L.M. regularly. These stories describe nothing other than the seduction you so aptly point out in the article. While my experience with this holy seduction has not been as visibly dramatic as that of my siblings, the radical growth and change for the better it has occasioned in my interior life has been more wonderful than I will ever be able to describe.
Finally, I agree most especially with your point stating the N.O. liturgy is all too often a source of embarrassment. This statement of yours summed it up: “The reformed liturgy in its Genevan simplicity has never won any awards for seductiveness. It can barely be looked at head on before people feel embarrassed about its nakedness and try to clothe it with every accoutrement they can find or invent.” Even from my childhood I had a sense that there was a grievous disconnect between what the liturgy expressed and what I believed. I would wonder about what my non-Catholic friends would think if they came to Mass, and I always had a sneaky suspicion that the children standing in the sanctuary leading the faithful in the sign language of Our God is an Awesome God would surely belie our assertion that the God of the universe dwelt in the Tabernacle. I feared that if a non-Catholic came to church some Sunday this is all he would see, and I began to feel an uncomfortable feeling that the liturgy was at odds with my evangelical efforts.
Unfortunately, this fear was confirmed in my college years when I did bring some friends to Mass. One of them sat back as if he were at a rather silly elementary school variety show and the other man, a Jew, said, “Well, it wasn’t that different from any other Christian church I’ve been to. Do you know where I could go to a Latin Mass?” Nowadays when I bring non-Catholics to church, I no longer need to wince and figure out how I’ll explain away the multitude of conversion-killing banalities so typical in the N.O. liturgy. I bring my non-Catholic friends to the T.L.M. and watch it provoke in them the wonder, awe, and questions that are the first steps of conversion.
|An increasingly common sight|
Why, then, is this revival of traditional piety, devotion, and liturgy so fiercely opposed by so many in the Church? The best succinct explanation I have ever seen is that offered by Joseph Shaw in a recent post at LMS Chairman. I strongly recommend reading what he has to say there.
Meanwhile, may the Holy Spirit continue to raise up young people who, free of the prejudices of the post-Council, can embrace Catholicism in its good and beautiful historical embodiment, the culture of beauty and the sacred cultus that once made the Faith feared, loved, and lived.
I think I would say something different: form should follow function, but the function of anything we make must take the whole person into account, if it is to serve man fully. Man is body and soul, and unless his spiritual dimension is acknowledged, we have a diminished sense of the utility of the building.
No matter how mundane or apparently unspiritual in its character, there is no human activity worth doing, and no human artifact worth making, that cannot be considered in the light of our ultimate end. The appearance of a building will have an impact on us spiritually. Either it is taking us to God or away from Him. I would say furthermore that the material and the spiritual are not in opposition. When we see a building that is truly beautiful, or an action that is graceful, we are picking up on signs of optimal design and efficient action by any measure. This being the case, even the materialists should be interested in traditional beauty, for it is a signpost that their material goals are also being served optimally.
But beauty is more than simply an indication of utility, it also plays an integral part in utility; for when we see beauty, we delight in it and desire all the more what it points to, the source of all beauty, God.
The problem with the modernists is not their emphasis on utility, but rather that they have a diminished sense of what utility is, because of their flawed anthropology. This results in a reduced utility of a building, even by their limited measure... and ugliness. Their motto should not be “form follows function”, but rather “form follows dysfunction”! And the ugliness of their buildings is all the evidence we need, incidentally, that there is no order outside God’s order, only disorder.
The problem with their more traditionally-minded critics is that they have conceded the ground to the cultural Marxists by allowing them to define what utility is. The modernists see beauty as an unnecessary add-on; their critics as a luxurious add-on. I say neither is right. Beauty is both necessary to and integrated with purpose. But it is not a distinct ingredient that can be added like an egg to a cake. When everything is in place, it is an emergent property that is made present by virtue of the relationships of the whole to that purpose, and of the parts to each other.
The perfect design for any particular building is an ideal, unlikely ever to be seen before the day we behold the buildings of downtown New Jerusalem! However, if we at least try to look to heaven for inspiration, we are more likely to create something beautiful than we are by contemplating nothing higher than our own navels.
Architects of the past knew this. This is why even a Victorian workhouse, could be created with enough care for it to be preserved as a listed building nearly 200 years later. This is in Southwell, Nottinghamshire in England, and was built in 1829.
So dominant is this modernist outlook (and all other forms of ugliness that arise from it) that we have the absurd situation that even churches are designed in such a way that their stylistic features don’t take into account fully the fact that man is spiritual as well as material. If ever there was a building that should be designed with elevating beauty in mind it is a church...surely! The saddest aspect of the last hundred years of architectural history is that so many believers, to judge from the ugly designs of churches we see in recent times, allowed cultural Marxism, rooted in its narrow-minded materialism, to set the style for our places of worship along with other kinds of buildings. It wasn’t that they lost the battle; they were so woefully misguided that they enthusiastically encouraged this. There was no battle. All involved might pay lip service to spiritual needs, but the designs they commission say the opposite, undermining the very purpose of a church - to house the worship of God.
|Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain|
Here is a Gothic drawing by Villard de Honnecourt, a mason from 13th century France.
– The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described, by Adrian Fortescue and J.B. O’Connell, updated by Dom Alcuin Reid
Fr Berg ends his term on as Superior General on a high note, with news of two new apostolates given to the Fraternity, on opposite ends of the United States. His Excellency Thomas Tobin, bishop of Providence, Rhode Island, has welcomed them to the church of St Mary, one of the oldest parishes in his episcopal city; the church is located at 538 Broadway, close to a highway which makes it easily accessible for most of south-eastern New England. The Fraternity will arrive at the church on August 1st; we will post further information about the Mass schedule as soon as we have it.
As reported on Corpus Christi Watershed, and the website Angelus News, His Excellency José Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles, has established a personal parish dedicated to the traditional Mass at the church of St Vitus, located at 607 4th St in San Fernando, and placed it under the pastoral care of the Fraternity. It was offically opened on June 25th; click here for the schedule of services.
|Palm Sunday at St Victor, the church which has hosted the FSSP in Los Angeles hitherto; from our first Palm Sunday photopost this year.|
Matthias Scheeben, Nature and Grace. Trans. Cyril Vollert. xxiv + 361 pp. Originally published 1954. $18.95.
The exposition will be as profound and comprehensive as I can make it; nature and grace must furnish the basis for a reasonable chart of life and growth. My cherished aim is to bring out the supernatural character of the Christian economy of salvation in its full sublimity, beauty, and riches. The main task of our time, it seems to me, consists in propoupding and emphasizing the supernatural quality of Christianity, for the benefit of both science and life. Theoretical as well as practical naturalism and rationalism, which seek to throttle and destroy all that is specifically Christian, must be resolutely and energetically repudiated.Thus writes the great 19th-century theologian Matthias Scheeben, a vibrant, original, and poetic author who re-opened the enchanting world of St. Thomas to new generations of Catholics in a period marred by the desiccated rationalism of the Enlightenment period in its last rays before the darkness of modernism. In the new Thomism that has emerged in recent decades as the superficial sloganeering of the postconciliar Church evaporates, Scheeben makes for essential reading.
John Farrow. Pageant of the Popes.420pp. Originally published 1942. $18.85.
This history of the popes documents both the highs and lows of the Church. From St. Peter to early in the reign of Pius XII, this book provides historical, theological, and personal accounts of this rare group of mortals who have reigned as Vicars of Christ. Without inflationary praise or discrediting zeal, Farrow manages to convey something of the sweep and drama of papal history, bestowing praise where praise is due, while not shirking from unsavory periods. A fine book for our current times, when there is so much ignorance of the nature and limits of the papacy.
F. Brittain. Latin in the Church: The History of Its Pronunciation. 98 pp. Last edition 1954. $9.95.
A fascinating, obscure, and slightly eccentric book about the many different ways in which Latin has been pronounced and spelled over the centuries as it traveled from its ancient seat to far-flung regions of Europe and beyond. The author makes the case that we should not be too fussy or insistent on a "correct" way of pronouncing the language, given that every context has its own justification, and that even scholars are not always sure about their own theories. An entertaining read for Latin lovers.
Thomas Walsh. The Catholic Anthology: The World's Great Catholic Poetry. 602 pp. Last edition 1932. $25.95.
The Catholic Anthology is intended primarily as a selection of Catholic poems written by Catholics and bearing the impress of Catholic dogma, tradition, and life; so that the editor has purposely chosen the completely Catholic utterances of his poets in preference, sometimes, to their pieces of general aesthetical charm.The purpose thus avowed by the editor is carried through in this massy volume with singular thoroughness. I do not know quite how many poems are packed into its pages (it is a vast number), but I can testify to countless hours spent paging through this book over the years, discovering quite a few gems—one of which was the first poem I ever set to music, "I See His Blood Upon the Rose" by Joseph Mary Plunkett:
I see his blood upon the rose
And in the stars the glory of his eyes,
His body gleams amid eternal snows,
His tears fall from the skies.
I see his face in every flower;
The thunder and the singing of the birds
Are but his voice—and carven by his power
Rocks are his written words.
All pathways by his feet are worn,I have lost the music, but not my affection for this and many other poems in Walsh's collection. It would make an excellent homeschool resource for literature and poetry memorization. The book also features detailed author and title indices, a biographical glossary of poets, and a wrap-around cover with stained glass images of the four evangelists.
His strong heart stirs the ever-beating sea,
His crown of thorns is twined with every thorn,
His cross is every tree.
We are very happy to share with our readers the following photos of a first Mass in Slovakia, ordination in England done for the Ordinariate, and two Masses in New York, one of which was celebrated by a new priest. It is the season for ordinations and first Masses, and we will be happy to receive more such photos if any of our readers care to send them in.
|The Fall of Simon Magus, by Benozzo Gozzoli, 1461-62|
Church Fathers even earlier than St Maximus, such as St Justin Martyr and Arnobius, knew of the tradition that Simon Magus, who sought to buy the power of the Holy Spirit from St Peter (Acts 8), was in Rome at the same time as the Eternal City’s founding Apostles. The apocryphal Acts of St Peter tell the story that Simon sought to win the Emperor Nero to his teachings, which he would prove to be true by flying off a tower built in the Forum specifically for this purpose. As he was lifted up into the air by the agency of demons, Peter and Paul knelt on the street and prayed to God, whereon Simon was dropped, and soon after died of his injuries.
In the unintentionally hilarious 1954 historical epic The Silver Chalice, Simon Magus is played by the great Jack Palance, wearing what is perhaps the very worst super-hero costume ever made. (Palance, by the way, was born Volodymyr Palahniuk, to a Ukrainian Greek-Catholic father and Polish mother, in Pennsylvania mining country. This movie saw the debut of another world-famous actor, Paul Newman, whose performance earned him a Golden Globe nomination; despite this, Newman himself once called it “the worst motion picture produced during the 1950s.”)
The legend goes on to say that the enraged Nero arrested Peter and Paul and threw them into the Mamertine prison before their execution. There they converted the two wardens, Processus and Martinian, in whose acts it is told that St Peter caused a well to spring up from the ground so that he could baptize them. The site has been venerated as the place of the Apostles’ imprisonment for many centuries, and pilgrims can still visit it to this day; a plaque near the door lists the famous Roman prisoners, such as King Jugurtha of Numidia, who were killed there, the Saints who suffered and died within its walls, and the later Saints who have come to venerate the site.
On the opposite end of the Via Sacra, the principal street of the Roman Forum, Pope St Paul I (757-67) built an oratory dedicated to Peter and Paul, nicknamed ‘ubi cecidit magus – where the magician fell.’ This oratory contained as its principal relic the stone upon which St Peter knelt to pray for the defeat of Simon Magus and the vindication of the Christian faith. It was later demolished, but the stone itself is preserved in the nearby church of Santa Maria Nuova.
|Photo by JP Sonnen. The Italian inscription above says “On these rocks St Peter set his knees when the demons carried Simon Magus through the air.”|