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Pagan Symbols, Large Hosts &
St. Joseph the Worker

Pagan Symbols at the Vatican?
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Hello TIA,

I have a protestant friend who was just about to convert to Catholicism, but he found out that there is an obelisk in the center of St. Peter's. He now has his doubts.

Can you please help me find an explanation for this. I know that it was moved to that site in the year 37 AD, according to the Wikipedia search result.



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TIA responds:

Hello J.S.,

The Catholic Church has a long-time custom of taking pagan temples, purifying them and transforming them into Catholic churches. The most expressive example of this is the Roman Pantheon - an edifice made to honor all gods - which was transformed into a church, Santa Maria ad Martyres. Doing this, the Church manifests her triumph over paganism.

Likewise, other pagan symbols were transformed into pedestals to hold statues of Our Lady, such as a Roman column in the front square of Santa Maria Maggiore that bears a beautiful bronze representation of Mary Most Holy, placed there by the express order of Pope Paul V. Indeed, that Pope took the column from a pagan temple dedicated to Emperors Maxentius and Constantine and placed atop it a statue of the Mother of God carrying the Divine Infant as a manifestation of the triumph of the Catholic Church over the old paganism. Appropriate words proclaiming that victory were carved at the base of the column.

The obelisk in St. Peter's square

The base of the obelisk in St. Peter's square
The same custom was followed regarding the obelisk in the center of St. Peter's Square mentioned by your Protestant friend. It was brought from Egypt to Rome during the term of Emperor Caligula as a trophy of the Roman conquest over Egypt. At the end of the Western Roman Empire, it was placed in the Vatican gardens in secondary places. In 1586 Pope Pius VI ordered that it be set in the center of St. Peter's Square as a symbol that the old glory of the Pharaohs, conquered by pagan Rome, had been in its turn conquered by Catholic Rome born from the Blood of Christ.

Clearly the placement of that obelisk in St. Peter's Square was intended to glorify neither the Pharaohs nor the Roman Emperors, but rather the Cross that was placed in triumph on top of it. At the base of that obelisk the Pope ordered these words to be written: Ecce Crux Domini, fugite partes adversae. Vicit Leo de tribu David, which translates: "Behold the Cross of the Lord. Flee ye adversaries! The Lion of the Tribe of Juda has conquered." Therefore, this obelisk clearly makes no concessions to paganism, but instead stands as a trophy attesting the victory of the Catholic Religion over paganism.

Accordingly, many other obelisks can be seen in Rome ' in front of the ex-Pantheon, on the other side of Santa Maria Maggiore, in front of St. John Lateran, etc. You can find the complete list here.

To imagine ' as many Protestants do ' that the placement of those obelisks in Rome shows a complaisance with paganism is as absurd as to suppose that the Catholic iconography representsing the Immaculate Conception smashing the head of the serpent would promote the cult of the Devil.

If your friend is truly touched by divine grace, he should leave aside those crackpot Protestant objections that are as ludicrous as they are foolish.


     TIA correspondent desk

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Large Hosts
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Dear TIA,

As I was reflecting on your images of the "large hosts", this image came to my mind: a scene from the movie, The Passion of the Christ, where Our Lord was chained to the pillar and was being scourged. As the scene progresses, Our Lord begins to bleed because of the numerous flogs to his body applied by the Rroman guards. The implement of torture was the Roman flagellum, a short ox-hide whip knotted with pieces of zinc, lead and bone, which removed swaths of the victims' skin with every stroke. Our Lord's Body and Blood fell to the ground, with the guards and most of the Jewish observers showing absolutely no concern.

This is what happens as the "large hosts" are broken and distributed at the Novus Ordo Mass: pieces of our Lord are left on the ground, on the hands of the persons receiving, and I'm sure in other places.

     Our Lady of Good Success, pray for us,

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Benedict at the Wailing Wall
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Dear TIA,

Once again, you provide your readers with shocking pictures that say more than words ever can. I refer to the picture of Benedict XVI at the Wailing Wall and at the Dome of the Rock. What is a good Catholic to say and think? This is the Pope, the Vicar of Jesus Christ?

He announced that the Church no longer seeks to convert the Jews. Implicit in this is that the Jews don't need to be converted in order to be saved. That is of course heresy.

I can only wonder how much further down the road of self-destruction the good Lord will allow his Church to proceed.

     In Christ,

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May 1st - Catholic or Communist?
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I noticed that some traditional Catholic groups, while nevertheless moving St. Joseph's feast day to May 1st and referring to it additionally as "St. Joseph the Worker" (as well as including the traditional appellation), use the non-Bugnini traditional propers formerly used on the Wednesday of the Second Week after Easter Octave.

Was there a short period of time (maybe a year) where the date was changed to May 1st but the Masonic Bugnini's rather obviously inferior propers hadn't yet been put into place?

     Thanks for your help!


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TIA responds:


The day of St. Joseph the Worker was established by Pius XII in 1955. As far as we know, this feast did not exist before. At that time Fr. Bugnini was already inspiring the liturgical reforms of Pius XII that preceded those of Vatican II. However, we don't have any information whether Fr. Bugnini was also behind this new feast day.

Since the late 19th century, labor unions have chosen to celebrate the workers' day on May 1st under a predominant socialist and communist influence. This commemoration started in the U.S., but soon spread all around the world.

Regarding putting the feast day of St. Joseph the Worker on May 1, a variety of opinions exists. Some think that the feast was instituted to meet the demands of workers protesting the capitalist statu quo of society and thus favored Socialism and Communism. Others think that it was done to steal the banner from the communists and socialists.

We have no definitive opinion on the topic. We just keep celebrating St. Joseph on March 19, his traditional feast day.

We hope this answer helps you in some way.


     TIA correspondence desk

Blason de Charlemagne
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Posted June 2, 2009

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The opinions expressed in this section - What People Are Commenting -
do not necessarily express those of TIA

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catholic   Traditionalism Infiltrated

catholic   The Great St. Joseph

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