How Did Florence’s Medieval Builders Construct the World’s Biggest Dome?

Florence - Duomo

The Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (in English, the Basilica of St. Mary of the Flower) is the mother church of the Archdiocese of Florence, in Italy.  Constructed in the 14th century, it replaced a fifth-century church on the same spot which was crumbling with age.The Basilica, with its tall Baptistery of St. John adjacent to the main church, is one of the world's largest houses of worship.  Particularly noteworthy is its Duomo (Dome), which was for centuries the largest dome in the wo … [Read more...]

Should the Catholic Church Sell St. Peter’s Basilica to Help the Poor?

St Peters Basilica in Rome

"I looked up at the great basilica, and I had two reactions:  First, I appreciated its beauty and reverence; but then I thought, 'What corruption caused someone to spend so much on this building when people are hungry'?" *     *     *     *     * I made a new friend on the train this week.  Mark described himself as a Christian but not a Catholic.  As Amtrak #358 sped along the track from Chicago, where I'd been attending a conference, to Dearborn, Mark and I chatted about a lot of things:  abo … [Read more...]

Fictional “Pope Joan” Listed Among Twelve Women Who Helped Shape Christianity

Mary the Mother of God

This morning I was flummoxed to read in The Tablet a list of twelve women who supposedly "helped shape Christianity."  Numbered among this august group, according to writer Peter Stanford, are a prostitute, an excommunicated ex-nun, and an imaginary heroine who never even existed.Where on the list, I wondered, is St. Catherine of Siena, who had the political boldness to "speak truth to power" and who counseled Pope Gregory XI to return to Rome from Avignon and resume leadership and … [Read more...]


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