"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
Chiesa Nuova (Santa Maria in Vallicella). Splendor arisen out of scandal and darkness.
When Santa Maria in Vallicella was rebuilt in the late sixteenth century (1575-1605), Rome was just emerging from a dark period of spiritual indifference, religious schism, and social decay. Many Renaissance popes had been worldly and corrupt, and the Protestant revolt had exploded throughout Europe, sending its soldiers to humiliate and pillage the Pope's capital (1527).
During the period from 1450-1550 the Church had suffered much. A string of pleasure-loving Renaissance pontiffs had corrupted the papacy and clergy, the people had been "paganized" by humanist culture and luxury, Protestant reform had snatched half of Europe from the Mother Church, and the Sack of Rome (1527) had reduced the Eternal City to rubble and ashes. Finally the Church responded with the Council of Trent (1545-1563), which redefined Catholic doctrine and reformed the clergy, and with several new religious orders, such as the Jesuits and Theatines, which by preaching and praying, educating youth and serving the poor, helped to bring about a Catholic revival.
The Institute of the Oratory was one of these new religious congregations, and its founder, St. Philip Neri (1515-1595) was perhaps the Counter Reformation's most appealing personality. St. Philip's tremendously popular Oratorians encouraged genuine piety, active charity, urban renewal-and above all, joyfulness and compassion among the Roman population.
Santa Maria in Vallicella, the center of Philip Neri's reforming activities in Rome, became a beacon of spiritual and social renewal. It was immediately dubbed "Chiesa Nuova" (New Church) by enthusiastic Romans. That is still its preferred name among the people today. June Hager, Inside the Vatican. More
Times have been worse in the Church. Hope springs eternal.