A Song Fit for a Pope: Charles Gounod’s Great Pontifical Anthem

So there is such a thing as a "Papal Anthem"? Who knew?! The Papal Anthem--more formally titled the Pontifical Anthem and March--is played to mark the presence of the Pope or one of his representatives, such as a nuncio, and on other solemn occasions. The first eight bars are played whenever the Vatican's flag is raised. Despite the title of the YouTube video I've included here, the Vatican does not call this a "national anthem." It is a composition, they explain, whose words and music "speak … [Read more...]

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Monday, June 29: Opening Day for Vatican’s New Secretariat for Communications

We knew that Pope Francis was planning a reorganization of the Vatican's wide-reaching communications offices. The nine-member Council of Cardinals, which includes Boston's Cardinal Sean O'Malley, had recommended an overhaul. I expressed puzzlement about it here, and I questioned how the reorganization would affect bloggers here; but I have to admit:  the sprawl caused by new media, from television to radio to print media to the new media giants Facebook and Twitter (including the Pope's Twitter … [Read more...]

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FAITH MEETS SCIENCE: Vatican Enlists Tattoo Removal Lasers to Clean Priceless Artwork

An intriguing report out of England: The Vatican has hired Lynton Lasers, a tattoo removal company in Cheshire, to remove dirt from its priceless statues and paintings. The company's infrared laser beams use a gentle heat to remove pollution and dirt from statues, many of which date back to the Middle Ages. Andy Charlton, the company's chairman, said that the lasers can also be used on frescoes and artwork--but that it's a sensitive process. "With artwork or frescoes," Charlton explained to the … [Read more...]

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