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Miguel de Portugal's Rome Trip

at the end of 2000 - the actual turn of the Century

General observations in Rome during an "on command" trip to The Vatican by miguel de Portugal (*)

December 28, 2000 - January 1, 2001

The following are general observations which are intended to aid the reader in: (a) Placing the much touted 2000 Jubilee and other Catholic media hyped Vatican events in the proper perspective; and (b) Understanding the deep roots of some of the problems the Roman Catholic Church now faces.

1. It was estimated by Vatican authorities that over 25 million people have visited Rome in the year 2000 as part of the Jubilee events. On an average year, without a Papal visit, Fatima and Lourdes receive 5 million pilgrims each. Mostly between May and October.

2. Regarding the alleged throngs of people crowding to enter St. Peter's through the much mediatized Holy Door: On Friday, December 29th, this writer arrived at St. Peter's between 10:30 and 11:00 AM. Stood in line exactly the time it took to offer twelve (of fifteen) decades of a Rosary (that is less than 45 minutes) before entering through the Holy Doors.
No one else seemed to be praying in line. There was much general, and very worldly, conversation. Just as one expects at a line in an amusement park.

3. In spite of the large crowds, which, although not as great as reported, were ample – this writer had the opportunity to adore Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament in the appropriate chapel in St. Peter's. There was always plenty of room in that chapel (and little interest amongst “the faithful” to honor God in its Eucharistic presence). Those who came, stayed just briefly. [Was there anything else more important in St. Peter's than to page homage to Our Lord present in His Eucharist?]

4. Lines for confession at St. Peter's were small and manageable. Comparable with an off day in the Sanctuary of Fátima. Again – little interest in the Sacrament of Reconciliation by the so called “faithful”. But... what is new?

5. In the Arch Basilica of S. John of Lateran —the Mother of all Churches— the scene was not much different. Ample room to adore our Eucharistic Lord and little wait to partake in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, even though there were not that many confessors available.

6. In the Basilica of St. Mary Major, the oldest church ever dedicated to Mary and built as a request from Our Lady [in those days the Church Leaders did pay attention to the Mother of God], it was more of the same. Not much interest in Eucharistic Adoration and not an impressive interest in the Sacrament of Reconciliation – however, there were more penitents in St. Mary Major than at St. John's and St. Peter's.

7. At the Basilica of the Holy Cross the true relics of the Holy Cross are displayed for veneration. [They were brought back to Rome by St. Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine, the first Christian Roman Emperor.]

After much searching in the Basilica of the Holy Cross and, finally, asking, the Tabernacle of Our Lord was found... In the basement... In a little chapel... A chapel not even worthy of an oratory in a private home. A little light burned by it. The sporadic visitor was more interested in the tombs of yet another Cardinal or Bishop —they do seem “run together” in Rome— than in acknowledging the Divine Presence.

It was only after this writer started to offer a Rosary of reparation and consolation to our abandoned Lord that the people started to act more respectful toward their Creator and pay less attention to the “Occupant/Resident” Cardinal/Bishop buried in its vicinity.

[We regret the lack of proper identification of the prelate(s) buried in our surroundings but, frankly, we see their tombs and monuments as affronts to God. The ONLY monument and remembrance that the faithful should have of the past physical existence of those entrusted to Evangelize the world should be a faithful and God centered flock – which, of course in general, is non existent.]

Naturally, the areas containing the remnants of the cross and a portion of the sign nailed on the cross above the Head of Our Lord, through which Pilate proclaimed Him King of the Jews, were above ground in a well marbled and otherwise impressively appointed area.

Another example of how people continue to be taught, by example, to "adore" the cross and ignore the Crucified, Who after resurrecting and ascending to the Father, keeps waiting for us in the Tabernacle. [A “wait” which is short only when compared by the lengthy wait of the “victim of the robbers” laying by the roadside in the hopes that a Samaritan assist him/her – since today's priests and levites are no different than the ones Our Lord spoke about in the alluded parable. [Luke 10:30-37]]

8. Visited the Castello of St. Angelo. It is actually the Castle of St. Michael which has an enormous statue of St. Michael at its summit and another very large one in an inside courtyard.

It was interesting to note that such Castle, which was owned and used by Popes in past turbulent times, is now owned by the State and not by the Church. It changed hands during one of those turbulent periods.

It is even more interesting that most, if not all, of the Coat of Arms of several Popes that were carved in stone and which are in several areas of the Castle, were chiseled out or otherwise obliterated by the populace who took control of the Castle in years past, yet... St. Michael's statues continued to stand guard over the People of God undisturbed.

An ominous sign of the reality which we are living through and of what is to take place soon.

This writer “continued to make a spectacle of himself” by today's standards... Undaunted by the Country Fair grounds atmosphere, he offered the Chaplet of St. Michael before his imposing statue in the courtyard.

9. Finally – for those who might enjoy viewing male nudity, partial or complete, including anatomically correct AND complete youths and children, and want to do so with a completely clear conscience under the guise of prayer and piety (????) [Lord have Mercy!]: The Roman churches and Basilicas provide a treasure trove of such “holy” statuary. Holy women on seductive poses did abound too.

Why we even had to endure viewing John the Baptist as a child and nude with a hint of fur on the shoulder so that he could be differentiated from the other standing nude boy – Jesus Christ.

This seems to be the trend today. The shops in the Sanctuary of Fatima area are loaded down with stark naked young boys posing as John the Baptist and Our Lord.

But of course, the Church pedophilia scandals are claimed to be “...just a figment of the media's imagination and only a modern phenomena associated with Vatican II...”

Does anyone wonder why the homosexual community of the world reacts violently to the statements coming from The Vatican regarding their same sex preference? What they are doing is simply reacting to is Vatican hypocrisy, and that is normal.

You will not hear this writer criticizing the presence of classical Greek and Roman male and female nude statuary of Mythological figures, Olympic Deities, anonymous models, etc., in museums, public and private buildings, parks, etc. However, to bring this art into the Holy House of Our Father and pass it as Holy Art is a scandal, even if the artist was Michelangelo!

(*) This was Miguel's third trip to Rome, but the first one after his miraculous conversion in 1985.

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Second Part

Miguel de Portugal's Rome Trip during the Conclave that elected Benedict XVI

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