Another visit from the Tolerance Police?

Freedom of speech and opinion

  If you voice any disapproval -- discrimination? that's such a yesterday's issue! -- you'll never work another day in this town.  Nor in any other, if we can help it. http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/08/showbiz/tv/benham-brothers-hgtv/index.html?c=homepage-t And there will be defenders of diversity out there -- a surprising number of them -- who will find this not only untroubling but morally admirable.  Posted from Rome, Italy   … [Read more...]

“‘A little lower than the angels’?”

A painting located just a few hundred yards from where I'm typing. It seemed appropriate.

  Today's piece in the Deseret News: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865602624/A-little-lower-than-the-angels.html  Posted from Rome, Italy    … [Read more...]

Spirit and Flesh

Margarita Luti (aka La Fornarina, the Baker Girl)

  There's an odd cultural mix here, and always has been.  The same street vendors who sell pious photographs of Pope St. John XXIII and Pope St. John Paul II and (my favorite) bobble-head dolls of current Pope Francis also sell pornographic tee shirts.  The artist Raphael postponed marriage until, dying in his late thirties, it was too late.  His biographers think that he was holding out in hopes of being named a cardinal of the Church.  In the meantime, though, he was not … [Read more...]

Yesterday and Today in Rome (Sorry about the Nudity)

Bernini's David, showing him as he's just about the sling his stone at Goliath.  There's a look of fierce concentration on his face, which is a Bernini self-portrait.  (If you can't see it, find a larger photo online somewhere.)

    We spent much of yesterday afternoon at the Galleria Borghese (housed in the villa of Scipione Cardinal Borghese, [d. 1633], a a nephew of Pope Paul V) and then around the area of the Spanish Steps ("Spagna"). The Borghese Gallery is marvelous, and we've come to it at least three or four times over the years.  Be warned, though: You must have reservations.  It's marvelous, but it's very small. It's chiefly famous, I s … [Read more...]

A photo from President Obama’s and Secretary Kerry’s recent visit to Rome

Maybe my mind-reading skills are better than I had realized!

   Posted from Rome, Italy    … [Read more...]

My tastes in cultural things — old and safe?

Was this place safe?

  A small handful of my critics, who plainly regard mere religious disagreement as insufficient and who, consequently, seek grounds to support comprehensive and total disdain for at least some of those whose theology they reject, like to point in my case to my apparently safe and old tastes in literature, art, drama, and music. In Rome right now, I'm definitely wallowing in (and thoroughly enjoying) the old and the classical.  So perhaps it's time for a brief … [Read more...]

“Beehoven is a study in hope, healing”

Ludwig van Beehoven (d. 1827) (Click to enlarge.)

   An earlier treatment of a reflection that I mentioned in a post earlier today: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/765590762/Beethoven-is-a-study-in-hope-healing.html  Posted from Rome, Italy    … [Read more...]

Two Saints

San Paolo fuori le Mura (St, Paul Outside the Walls)

  Pictures of the late popes John XXIII and John Paul II -- now newly-minted saints -- are common about Rome these days.   Large pictures, as one might expect, are particularly plentiful in the neighborhood of Vatican City.  But every vender of postcards across the city is selling images of the two canonized popes, who reigned, respectively, from 1958-1963 and 1978-2005. I remember John XXIII somewhat, and John Paul II vividly.  My wife and I were married in 19 … [Read more...]


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