Raleigh News & Observer reporter Yonat Shimron wrote this story shortly after My Cousin the Saint was released in May 2008. She is a teriffic reporter and writer.
Posts Tagged ‘popes’
John L. Allen Jr of the National Catholic Reporter profiles Garry Wills, whom he says “Wills is hardly just a ‘Catholic writer,’ but one of America’s most distinguished nonfiction writers, period, whose horizons are far broader than the church.” The profile is here.
Journalist David Robinson, who covers religion for the Main Line Times in Armore, Pa., just outside Philadelphia, writes a long and thoughtful review of My Cousin the Saint in the current issue. The review is here.:
“Catanoso weaves his story of My Cousin the Saint with threads from Padre Gaetano’s life amid the villages of southern Italy, and the American story of Carmelo Catanoso (the author’s grandfather and a cousin of the saint) who fled Italy in 1903 and never looked back. Equally compelling are the author’s confessions as he seeks to understand his God, church and the river of questions that dilute his faith.”
The spector of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the great 17th-century Italian sculptor and painter, is evident all over Rome — on bridges, buildings, piazzas and in the city’s finest museums. Perhaps nowhere is his artistic genius more evident than in St. Pater’s Square, where he designed the arching collonade, which defines the world’s most glorious public space, and is topped with 144 saints carved in travertine (St. Gaetano Catanoso is not up there, but his sainted Calabrian predecessor, St. Francis of Paola, is!). All this emphasis on gathering huge crowds overlooked by a communion of saints is entirely fitting: that is the primary place where canonizations are held — and where saints are named.
I’ve seen many, many Bernini masterpieces during my visits to Rome, including the incomparable “Ecstacy of St. Teresa” in a tiny church near the Piazza Repubblica (shown above). I really wish I could visit the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, where a traveling exhibit of Bernini’s gorgeous marble busts are making their only American appearance. The story is here.
An excerpt: “The cloth ripples. You would swear it does. Call this the ultimate form of illusionism: making marble look as soft as cloth or as delicate as lace. The hair, the skin and the lips on Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s portrait busts are just as logic-defying.”
We know so much about Pope John Paul II, one of the most internationally famous and beloved popes in Vatican history. But what about his predecessor, Pope John Paul I, the Italian with the sweet smile and brief papacy? John Thavis, the Vatican bureau chief of the Catholic News Service, writes about JPI here, just prior to the 30th anniversary of the pope’s election to the throne of St. Peter.
An excerpt: “It was one of the briefest pontificates, but it left a lasting impression. Many inside and outside the Vatican felt that a man of extraordinary humility and goodness had passed their way — like a meteor that light up the sky and then disappears quickly, as one cardinal put it.”
Pope Benedict XVI has named a new prefect to lead the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, the Vatican-based office in charge of receiving and vetting causes for sainthood. Unheralded and overlooked for centuries, the office well known (and sometimes criticized) and Pope John Paul II because of the rules changes in 1983 and the shear volume of sancitifications — 482 saints, 1,100 blesseds — more than all popes combined in the previous 400 years. There are reasons for this, as I’ve discussed here and in my book. It is not likely that Archbishop Angelo Amato will draw the same attention, not under Benedict.
Vatican officials said today that the beatificaton of Pope Pius XII, the controversial pope of World War II, is not imminent. There is debate still about whether Pius should have taken a stronger stand against Hitler’s known atrocities, but there is also ample evidence that he did what he could to shelter thousands of Roman Jews during the war.
This much about the Italian pope is not controversial. On September 11, 1941, he met briefly and privately with a future saint, Padre Gaetano Catanoso. I detail this meeting in Chapter 4 of my book — a regal and humbling moment. The old priest had a big favor to ask because he had a huge problem to solve. But he couldn’t do it, simply saying: “I ask only your blessing, Holy Father, for me, my nuns, the children of my institutes, and those who are dear to me.”
More on Pope Pius XII here.