There is another book I have been pecking away at for some time now. I don’t know why I haven’t dispatched it yes, since it is utterly charming, beautiful penned, and fascinating in its details. I mean, of course:
A Papal Chamberlain: The Personal Chronicle of Francis Augustus MacNutt
The book was given to me by a friend. He had originally found a copy in the used section in the basement of The Strand. Having been thoroughly amused, he dug up some copies for friends in order to share the joy. Because of his enthusiasm, the book might be a little hard to find right now. Check your libraries, too.
Francis Augustus MacNutt, a convert to Holy Church, was an American who wound up as an important figure in the papal court of Leo XIII, Pius X and Benedict XV. He knew, quite simply, everyone and he abounds with amazing anecdotes. He wound up taking over and living in the Palazzo of the Pamphili on the P.za Navona, now the Brazilian embassy.
The preface is by G. K. Chesterton, written just before his death.
Here is an example of what you get from the book. I’ll leave aside where they found a skeleton walled up in a closet of their palazzo.
The true Roman says: “Nihil innovetur!”
In a time when frequent Communion was not the norm, MacNutt’s last words: “I want to receive Holy Communion once more.”