Vatican Impressions

Vatican Impressions

Vatican Impressions

Vatican Impressions

Excerpt

Gathered here in one place and bound in one swatch of buckram are the spoils of innumerable hours of reading in the literature of the Papacy. Most of these selections I have read many times, with a pleasure proof against the narrowing tolerances of middle age, and I have thought that they might be talismans of equal delight to those of my fellow mortals who enjoy the local color of Catholic life or who share my affection for the baroque glamor of papal Rome.

Anthologists are supposed to identify the inspiration which moved them, or to mention some gap in the library shelves which their book will fill. I am anxious at the outset to explain what I mean by the title I have chosen for this collection. My purpose is not to offer a dogmatic or devotional tract, nor to make any but quick and rheumatic obeisance to the Muse of History. I have attempted to assemble here a bookful of descriptive reading on the Popes, something on their personalities and public occasions, but more on the climate of custom and folkway in which the papal monarchy has flourished since the first century. "Vatican" here means what it means in the newspapers: not only the fabric of St. Peter's and the Apostolic Palace, not only the wearer of the Triple Crown and his court, but the four-square mystery of the papal fact, the Romanitas of the Church of Christ.

The reactions of some fifty writers to the unique vitality of Rome are recorded in many accents and attitudes, and in styles . . .

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