Rome in Flames

I don’t know if you kept abreast as to the demonstrations occurring in many parts of the world yesterday. It is all part of what we in the US are callingĀ “Occupy Wall Street”.

Yesterday, in Rome, there was bedlam to say the least. It all turned violent on the Via Cavour and also in front of St. John Lateran, the cathedral of the diocese of Rome. People began to vandalize buildings and cars.

Chiesa Santi Marcellino e Pietro

There is an 18th-century church right next to John Lateran named the Church of Saints Marcellino and Peter. The mobs vandalized it. They smashed in the front door, took a large statue of the Virgin Mary and smashed it in the streets, broke into the sacristy door and vandalized a large crucifix, according to Fr. Giuseppe Ciucci, pastor of the parish.

The Vatican has condemned the violence.

Sanctuary of the Chiesa Santi Marcellino e Pietro

I have been to John Lateran on several occasions, and am familiar with the environs of that basilica. I am so glad that it was not vandalized, even though I am stunned that the crowds in some way thought to desecrate a church.

I don’t see the connection between what they are protesting — economic policies and, in Italy’s case, the recently narrow endorsement of Berlusconi’s government — and a Catholic church.

What is clear is that there is a great deal of unrest among the common person in today’s economic times. Rome has always been a place where large manifestazioni have taken place, but usually they are just noisy events without violence. When I lived there over 35 years ago, I had no fear walking the back streets of that city even at night. I don’t think I would do so today.

You can read a report of this at:

Let us pray for peace and a more just world.


About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota.
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