Daily Rome Shot 64

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. ThePapalCount says:

    This is the beautiful and very ancient Church of St Lawrence Outside the Walls. Its an important basilica which is, as its title suggests, – outside the city walls. Its two churches in one. Over time two churches located here were “stuck together” to form one. And even today the church has two levels recognizing this amalgamation. Its a wonderful church to visit. The church contains the tomb bearing the relics of the deacon St Lawrence and the deacon St Stephen. So, for deacons this is a must visit whenever you are in Rome. In the crypt is the tomb of Blessed Pope Pius IX – Pio Nono. He’s the pope who called the First Vatican Council in the late 1800s and who declared the papal doctrine of papal infallibility in matters of faith and morals when teaching “ex cathedra” – from the chair of Peter. Pius IX was among the longest reigning popes and at the outset of his papacy he was much loved. However, in the mid 1860s Italian nationalism surged and the Papal States were under threat. Pius opposed the unification of Italy and became less loved quickly. When he died and his coffin was being taken to this church for entombment some insurgents attempted to stop the hearse to take hold of the coffin and toss it in the Tiber River. Fortunately, it did not happen and Pius rests at peace in his beloved Church of St Lawrence. But the Papal States were lost and beginning with Pius IX until Pius XI in 1929 no pope left the Vatican. They were self imposed “prisoners of the Vatican” refusing to acknowledge the usurption of the papal territories. Finally the new Kingdom of Italy and the Pope came to an agreement in 1929 and Vatican City State was created as a sovereign state and the papacy was compensated for loss of territories.
    During World War II the church was bombed. It was badly damaged and Pope Pius XII was outraged that Rome was a target for war-time bombing. His voice was respected and Rome wasn’t bombed again. A large statue of Pius outside this church commemorates the bombing and his visit to the bomb shattered area But, today inside the church you can still see shrapnel damage on the walls and some of the pillars.
    If you visit this church be sure to visit the sacristy and photo museum that depicts the war-time damages and reconstruction. And its truly important to visit the cloister. Its peaceful and calming. Its an excellent place to say some prayers or the rosary. And that’s important to do because as Catholics we should be in Rome as pilgrims not tourists.
    Next to the church is Rome’s great cemetery – Campo Verano. Many luminaries are entombed in the vast sprawling grounds including film stars, poets and politicians even Mussolini’s mistress is buried there. Many religious orders have tombs here also.
    Its easiest to get to by taxi and you can leave by bus as the bus lines are directly across from the church or take a taxi back. Be sure you only use official taxis with proper roof lights and door markings.

  2. Semper Gumby says:

    Thanks PapalCount.

  3. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Thanks for all the info. St. Lawrence is my confirmation saint, so this has long been a church i intend to visit should i ever get to Rome.

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