30 September 2008


Another clip from "Non Ci Resta Che Piangere", Massimo Troisi tries to explain an elementary rule of the card game "Scopa" to Leonardo Da Vinci:

29 September 2008

Alt! Chi Siete? Un Fiorino!

One of my favourite Italian films is "Non Ci Resta Che Piangere" with Massimo Troisi and Roberto Benigni. This clip is a classic from that film. Still brings me to tears with laughter, every time.

19 September 2008

A Duty to Die

This is so outrageous that it defies words, but is worrying because deep down, you just know that there are people out there who will agree with this argument.

Some woman who I have never heard of, Baroness Warnock, has said that people suffering from dementia should be allowed to die because they are a burden to those who care for them, and as they are suffering they obviously cannot be enjoying their life. She said people suffering mental decline have a "duty to die". They are wasting people's lives because they have to care for them, and should be allowed to die. Not only are they 'wasting people's lives' they are also a drain on the resources of the NHS.

Very disturbing, especially the last part there. With the way economies around the world are crumbling, I can see that people will accept such an absurd argument, and people with debilitating mental illnesses will be encouraged to die, as a duty to the next generation. They will be encouraged to relieve the financial burden on their families, do the 'right thing' and kill themselves. Once that has been accepted you can look at any person who is handicapped, because they will be a financial burden too, and also impact on the lives of those who have to care for them. Then we can look at people who smoke. They are a financial burden on health resources, too. If finance is a reason to kill someone off, then why stop there? Why not kill anyone who becomes ill. No ill people, no need for carers, so they can toddle off and enjoy their quality of life, no need for a health service, the country will save billions!

The idea is totally crazy, and the fact that someone can even suggest it as a valid argument shocks me to the core. We're walking the slippery slope, folks. I just hope we realise, before it is too late.

The Miracle of San Gennaro

Today is the feast day of San Gennaro. San Gennaro is a Bishop and Martyr, and the Patron of Naples.

There isn't a great deal known about the life of San Gennaro, he is certainly more famous now for the blood miracle that is celebrated three times during the year. On the 16th December it celebrates his patronage of Naples, and the Saturday before the first Sunday in May is for the unification of his relics. The 19th September is in celebration of his feast day.

It is said that if the blood miracle does not happen then the City of Naples will be left without the protection of San Gennaro. For example, in 1980 the blood did not liquefy before the earthquake that took 2,000 lives. One of the earliest recordings of the blood miracle comes from as far back as 1389, with the records officially starting in 1649.

From what we know about the life of San Gennaro, he was from a rich family, and at 15 became a local parish Priest. He became Bishop of Naples at 20 years old, and of his acquaintances was Juliana of Nicomedia and St Sossius. During the persecution of Christians by Emperor Diocletian, he hid his fellow Christians and prevented them from being caught. Unfortunately, while visiting Sossius in jail, he too was arrested.

He was placed in a furnace to be cooked alive, he came out unscathed. He was pushed into the Flavian Amphitheater at Pozzuoli to be eaten by wild bears, who had not eaten in days. Yet the animals refused to eat them, instead licking their toes. Januarius was beheaded along with Sossius and his companions at Solfatara.

The Feast of San Gennaro is a major occasion in Italy, and thousands of Neopolitans will be packing into the Cathedral today to witness the miracle. In defence of the blood miracle of San Gennaro, St. Alphonsus Liguori wrote:
"The Neapolitans honour this saint as the principal patron of their city and nation, and the Lord himself has continued to honour him, by allowing many miracles to be wrought through his intercession, particularly when the frightful eruptions of Mount Vesuvius have threatened the city of Naples with utter destruction. While the relics of San Gennaro were being brought in procession towards this terrific volcano, the torrents of lava and liquid fire which it emitted have ceased, or turned their course from the city. But the most stupendous miracle, and that which is greatly celebrated in the church, is the liquefying and boiling up of this blessed martyr's blood whenever the vials are brought in sight of his head. This miracle is renewed many times in the year, in presence of all who desire to witness it; yet some heretics have endeavored to throw a doubt upon its genuineness, by frivolous and incoherent explanations; but on one can deny the effect to be miraculous, unless he be prepared to question the evidence of his senses.

John Henry Cardinal Newman also attested to the veracity of the miracle of liquefaction:
I think it impossible to withstand the evidence which is brought for the liquefaction of the blood of San Gennaro at Naples.

15 September 2008

Nothing Going On

There's nothing much happening these days. I'm getting into Bible study, the deeper I dig the more I find and the more fascinating it becomes. Apart from that there is little to say, life is just ticking over, day by day. To brighten an otherwise dreary blog post, here's a relaxing picture.

03 September 2008

Pope Benedict's Rosary CD

I saw this posted on Fr Z's blog here and Mark's blog here. I ordered the CD's and they arrived today. Surprisingly quick service, past experience with Posta Italiana hasn't always been so good!

There are four CD's, each with the Pope reciting the Rosary in Latin for the Luminous, Sorrowful, Joyful and Glorious mysteries. There is also a booklet listing the prayers and mysteries in Latin. At the back of the booklet there is a paragraph taken from the Apostolic Letter "Rosarium Virginis Mariae":

The Rosary, though clearly Marian in character, as at heart a Christocentric prayer. In the sobriety of its elements, it has all the depths of the Gospel ,essage in its entirety, of which it can be said to be a compendium. It is an echo of the prayer of Mary, her perennial Magnificat for the work of the redemptive Incarnation which began in her virginal womb. With the Rosary, the Christian people sits at the school of Mary and is led to contemplate the beauty on the face of Christ and to experience the depths of His love.