Inspiration from Rome

VATICAN WARTIME POPE

I think we can say that the Obama administration will not recognize the right of unborn babies to be protected from violence.

holderI think we can say that the Obama-Holder Justice Department will try to limit—if not eliminate–the right of medical personnel (and medical institutions) to refuse to participate in acts of violence against unborn babies.

On Sunday, the Holy Father went to the minor Basilica of St. Lawrence Outside the Walls, the burial place of St. Lawrence the Deacon Martyr. The church also houses the relics of St. Stephen and Blessed Pope Pius IX.

The occasion was the 1,750th anniversary of St. Lawrence’s martyrdom and 50th anniversary of the death of Pope Pius XII.

lawrence-fuori1Pope Benedict said:

This monumental basilica…speaks above all of the glorious martyrdom of St. Lawrence, archdeacon of Pope Sixtus II and his right hand in the administration of the goods of the community. I came today to celebrate the Holy Eucharist to be united to you in honoring him in an altogether singular circumstance, on the occasion of the Jubilee Year of St. Lawrence, convoked to commemorate the 1,750 years since the birth to heaven of the holy deacon. History confirms how glorious is the name of this saint, around whose sepulcher we have gathered. His solicitude for the poor, his generous service to the Church in the area of social welfare and charity, his fidelity to the Pope, which led him to want to follow him to the supreme test of martyrdom and the heroic testimony of his blood, spilt a few days later [i.e., a few days after Pope Sixtus was himself martyred], are universally known events.

san-lorenzo-interiorIn a beautiful homily, St. Leo the Great thus comments on the atrocious martyrdom of this “illustrious hero.” “The flames could not conquer the charity of Christ; and the fire that was burning him on the outside was weaker than that burning within.” [St. Lawrence was burned alive.] And he adds: “The Lord willed to exalt his glorious name to such a point throughout the world that from East to West, in the very vivid brilliance of the radiant light of the greatest deacons, the same glory that came to Jerusalem by Stephen also touched Rome by Lawrence’s merit.” [St. Stephen, one of the Church’s first deacons, was the first Christian martyr.]

pius-xii
Statue of Pope Piux XII outside the Basilica of St. Lawrence, commemorating the WWII Pope's visit to the bombed-out neighborhood
Coinciding this year is the 50th anniversary of the death of the servant of God, Pope Pius XII, and this brings to mind a particularly dramatic event in the centuries-old history of your basilica, which took place during World War II, when, precisely on July 19, 1943, a violent bombardment inflicted very serious damages to the building and the whole neighborhood, spreading death and destruction. Never will the memory be erased from history of the generous gesture carried out on that occasion by my venerated predecessor, who ran to help and console the harshly affected people, among the still smoking ruins.

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