A Creche, B-16 & Your Opinion, Please

I tease you with a splendid picture (they get a little fuzzy with cropping/shrinking) from Rome in order to entice you into answering a question for me.

What you see there is perhaps the most exquisite little chapel in Rome, in the great, mostly-5th century Santa Maria Maggiore (St. Mary Major). The whole church is breathtaking (I am going to someday pattern my floors on the swirly designs therein), but this particular picture is of the Nativity chapel, designed by Arnolfo di Cambio. The chapel includes the tombs of Pope Sixtus V, St. Jerome and the great Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and St. Ignatius of Loyola said his first mass at that altar, in the 1500′s.

The statue of Pope Sixtus V, gazing in rapt adoration at the wood of the manger, is stunning; imagine sculpting lace out of marble! (I snuck a touch; it was cool and lacy).

Observe the tassels surrounding the pillow upon which the pope rests his hands, and its pattern! Doesn’t it all look so soft, and touchable, as if you could run your finger along the fringe and watch it run in waves? And the colorful inlaid marble that made up the walls, the stairways–it brought a sense of joy, energy, hopefulness.

For a crypt, it was a very “alive” place. I wanted to linger, far too long.

Now, here is my question: is the Word of the Day worth continuing?

I ask because as nearly as I can tell, only three people read the thing, myself, one person on twitter, and another gal who likes to make puns off of my words, although I think I have stumped her with this one.

So, please let me know what you think. Is it worth it scrounging up a new word every day, or should I let it go? Is it worth reading?

Should I end the Word of the Day?
Yes, it dumb.
No, I likee
pollcode.com free polls

Speaking of worth reading, let me give you a little lookaround, beginning with this appreciation of B-16:


1) Expect nasty rhetoric from the press while the pope is in England. But of course!

2) Is there a second miracle that can be attributed to the intercessory prayers of John Henry Newman? Sounds like! Tony Blair writes on the Pope and Newman.

3) Very worth reading: celebrating quiet heroes. And more grassroots appreciation here.

4) Oh, St. Clare: Pope praises courageous women

5) John Allen on Benedict
, stepping into the buzzsaw of dissent in the UK. This pope is as fearless as the last. A great quote on dissent here.

I frankly fear for Benedict’s safety, this trip, as I did not fear his going to Turkey.

Atheist polemicist Richard Dawkins has described the Pope as “a leering old villain in a frock,” while the author Claire Rayner has declared she has never felt “such animus against any individual as I do against this creature.”

“His views are so disgusting, so repellent and so hugely damaging to the rest of us that the only thing to do is to get rid of him,” Rayner has commented.

Here is a prayer for the trip.

And for something completely off-topic: An appreciation of the pulpiest of fictions

UPDATE: I love this story, coming from Deacon Greg’s place, about a man who is restoring and displaying old plaster statues from closed churches:

“It’s interesting how all the little things you learn to do can contribute,” he said. “You wonder why you’re doing things, then it comes in handy for something like this.”

McClung, who has been footing the restoration costs out of his own pocket, taught himself how to clean and repaint the pieces, as well as craft missing fingers and arms.

“My goal as an artist is to make the statues as realistic as possible,” he said.

The recurrent theme of my wonderings–how everything we do, everything we experience, for good or bad, everything we learn–comes with a purpose, whose value we will come to understand, if only we are willing!

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Anthony

    As an American Catholic living in London, I have come to the conclusion that anti-Catholicism is in the DNA here. The fact the British people gave up Protestant Christianity for the post-Christian muddle they believe now makes no difference — belief in God is gone, but the anti-Rome feeling remained.

  • AnnF

    About the word of the day–The poll doesn’t allow this explanation, so:

    The words are interesting, and I would love to ponder them in larger doses. Maybe you could make a regular feature of families of words based on the calendar? But to go off one more place to read more or less one thing doesn’t seem worth it. It is almost the opposite of the rich content you have here.

  • Patrick B.

    You mentioned that you were considering a button or link directly from your page to W.O.D. That would be very helpful, as we could go directly to the latest entry and then back to your blog.

  • Maureen

    When you post links to Facebook, those of us who aren’t on Facebook can’t see nothin’ but nothin’. (Unless the prayer starts with those Gospel words, “Facebook: Login”.) Could you please, please quote if you must link to Facebook?

  • Joe Odegaard

    Regarding the Pope in England; the Queen will be respectful at least. As for the rest, well you know you are over the target when you get flak.

  • Ellen

    I agree that anti-Catholicism is imbedded in the genes of the average Englishman. They are pretty well anti-religion and are ripe for jihad. When even the archbishop of Canterbury seems to think that Sharia law is just fine with him, I can’t help but think the island is toast.

  • Feeney

    Let the heathen rage. The Pope will be OK.

  • Janet

    You have a word of the day?? Where is it, I read you every day and have never seen it. I’d be interested in it if only I knew where to find it!

    [Check out the links! :-) -admin]

  • melissa

    I love the word of the day! Granted, I also love reading dictionaries, but I find it to be a treat in my day.

  • Patty

    Anchoress, I love the photos you post from your trip but are you just teasing us with a post named “the creche” and then don’t show us the creche? C’mon, cant’ you just give us a peek?