Tag Archives: vatican

Lucrezia and Family

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Borgia, that is…wow!  We have been watching the Showtime mini series The Borgia’s and have gotten through Season 1 and Season 2.  Season 3 is coming up beginning this April.  It’s been an interesting tale, full of intrigue, deceipt, lust, and power.  As I’m sure you know, I love stories of Renaissance Italy.  I’m always drawn to that era, but I don’t think I would have liked to have lived through it.  Human life didn’t seem to have much value back then.  If someone got in the way of someone else, whether it was for wealth or love or jealousy, they were conveniently taken care of.  Even siblings and family members were not exempt to revenge!

imagesCALGKWN2The story of the Borgia’s follows the life of Pope Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia).  He was a Spaniard of common descent who rose to power within the Vatican.  He had many mistresses and, prior to becoming the Pope, fathered four children.  The male children were given roles of power within the Vatican, while his daughter Lucrezia was marriedimages[6] off to wealthy and prominent families in order to gain more power for his papacy.  The success of the papacy depended on how much power he could wield to get what he wanted, and his daughter was a tool he could use to build alliances with various ruling families. The head of the Borgia clan was an interesting dichotomy of a man. Both ruthlessly ambitious and utterly devoted to his family, he used his position in the Catholic church to acquire power, influence, and wealth. He was incredibly shrewd and managed to outmaneuver his rivals at every turn. He took care of anyone that got in his way.  He enjoyed the carnal pleasures of life, particularly the company of beautiful women, and this left him open to his enemies.   It didn’t seem like the main focus of being a Pope in those days was to do God’s will…and the Popes were not what I would consider holy!  They seemed to break every commandment…and merely confessed their way out of it!

According to this mini-series, which I’m sure has been embellished for the sake of creating some excitement, portrayed each member of the Borgia family as being ruthless if someone got in his or her way, or if the family’s honor was at stake.  They were all tortured souls with hidden demons.  I’m sure some of the facts are true and therefore give us a glimpse into life in Italy during this period.

The show is gruesome at times, with stabbings and tortures at every turn.  It’s love-making scenes are, at the least “R” rated, if not “X” at times!  The depictions of the grand Italian cities and architectural elements within the Vatican and the palazzos are beautiful, and hopefully fairly realistic.  Jeremy Irons, with his “regal sneer” is the perfect actor for the role.  He portrays a man of extreme power, and his voice has that perfect snobbish air to bring home the point!

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I am anxious for the new season to begin to see what treacheries are in store for Lucrezia and family…

Dear Dan Brown…I Have a Storyline for You!

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Dear Dan Brown,

Since your Vatican mysteries, Angels and Demons and The DaVinci Code, are such great novels, I have a new storyline for you.  This is full of Vatican mystery, conspiracy, Mafia…all the elements of a great Dan Brown mystery!  But this story is a real life drama…a mystery that’s been unsolved since 1983…when the young 15 year old daughter of a lay Vatican employee vanished on her way to music lessons.  Her name was Emanuela Orlandi.  Her disappearance has been unsolved for all these years, but perhaps may finally be figured out.  Her kidnapping was at one time linked to the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II, but nothing had ever been proven.

In 2008, a new chapter was opened in the case when a woman came forward to claim ther her ex-boyfriend, a mobster by the name of Enrico De Pedis and his gang, the Magliana’s, kidnapped the girl.  The order for the kidnapping had come from Archibishop Paul Marcinkus, the late U.S. prelate responsible for heading up the Vatican bank and who had been linked to a huge Italian banking scandal in the 1980’s.  At the time, the Archbishop and the Vatican said that the claims were absurd and they did not pursue the investigation.   There were allegations that the Vatican did not fully cooperate with the investigation – were they hiding something?

Enrico De Pedis was murdered in 1990 and was buried in the Sant’Apolinare Basilica, adjacent to Piazza Navona…and near some very important Catholics…a rather unusual resting place for a reputed mobster!

Over the years, stories have surfaced that the young Emanuela was buried alongside of him. In 2005, an anonymous caller said that the answer to her disappearance lay in De Pedis’ tomb.  Just today, with the approval of the Vatican and the De Pedis’ family, the mobster’s tomb was  opened.  In it lay only one body….but nearby in the ossuary lay about 200 containers containing bones.  These bones were removed and will be tested over the next few weeks to see if they belong to the missing teenager.  The Vatican has given its full authority to exhume the bones and to carry out this investigation in the hopes that the mystery of the girl’s disappearance may finally be solved after all these years.

Mr. Brown…I have no question that you can make this real life story into another great novel and one that would be a page turner like all the others that you have given us!  I hope that you consider my suggestion for your new book!

Humbly,

Il Mio Tesoro

Blessed Pope John Paul II

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As many of you know, Pope John Paul II was beatified in Rome yesterday before more than one million faithful followers.  St. Peter’s Square was filled to the brim and many of those present were dignitaries, royalty, and heads of state.  Lech Walesa, the leader of the solidarity movement in Poland, was also present.

Pope Benedict XVI declared that Pope John Paul II is blessed, and will be canonized once a second miracle can be attributed to him.  The first miracle was the cure of a nun in France who had been suffering from Parkinson’s disease, the same affliction that the late Pope suffered from.  She awoke one night, after having prayed to him for his intercession, completely cured of her symptoms.

Pope John Paul II performed many wonderful deeds during his 26 years as the head of the Catholic Church, but his greatest achievement was most likely his involvement with the fall of Communism in his beloved Poland and the rest of the countries behind the Iron Curtain.

I never had the privilege to meet the Pope in person, but I do have family members that did.  They described a feeling of knowing that they were before a very spiritual person while in his presence.  His demeanor and mannerisms were “holy”, and he truly exuded something indescribable.  Here a couple of pictures of my cousin and his visit with the Pope.  You can see how much he loved the children 🙂

A bit of Pope John Paul II hit close to home yesterday while attending Mass at St. Anne’s of the Sunset Church in San Francisco (this was where I attended elementary school) .  There was a chair sitting on a side altar which hadn’t been there before.  It was adorned with gold cords and on it was a plaque that the Knights of Columbus had placed.  Evidently, back in 1972, while Pope John Paul II was still a cardinal, he visited St. Anne’s and sat in that very same chair.  If and when he becomes a Saint, that chair will be a Holy Relic that will remain at St. Anne’s.  BIG NEWS for this little neighborhood church!!!  The priest couldn’t help but show it off during the homily!  He was so proud!