Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Almost run over by Pope motorcade, call my lawyer!

If you are a Christian you will have heard of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, Pope Pius IX proclaimed that Mary was born without sin and therefore was pure enough to be the mother of Jesus. Up to 1860 this was a Catholic belief, you could subscribe to it or not, however in 1860 the Pope was feeling a little insecure, the Italians had revolted against his rule as Head of State of central Italy and Garibaldi was marching on Rome with his army. So the Pope did two things, first he proclaimed that he was infallible, meaning that when he speaks he is never wrong, it is the same as if God himself spoke. Not a bad trick really when you think of it. The second thing he did was to make the Immaculate Conception church dogma, so you now have to believe it, it is dogma, no discussion period.

So today 8 December is the Immacolata, a major Roman Catholic Church Holiday, it is the first day of Xmas shopping for Italians and the day all the religious congregations in Rome gather on Piazza di Spagna at the Spanish steps to put flowers at the foot of the column to the Immaculate Virgin Mary, sex should be this clean in other words. The column itself is located between the designer Valentino's HQ, the Sacred College for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Royal Embassy of Spain to the Holy See (see photo) with banners bearing the Coat of arms of His Most Catholic Majesty the King of Spain and the Pope. At the foot of the column you have statues of these nice Jewish patriarchs deep in reflection, Ezechiel, Moses, King David, Isaiah who are considered de facto Roman Catholics.
So we went to Piazza di Spagna to see the congregations and other religious orders with their banners and hear them sing and pray to the Virgin Mary on top her column, noticed that FIAT the car maker had sent a large bouquet of flowers, so did other large Italian manufacturers and also the Rome bus and metro company ATAC. We went to lunch and at 3:30pm we walked back towards Piazza Torre Argentina however there was one small problem, from the Tiber River all along Via Tomacelli and through Via Condotti barricades had been set up by the police of Rome. The Officer informed us that we could not cross at all, the Pope's motorcade was coming. So I looked down the street towards the river at Cavour bridge and then look up towards Piazza di Spagna and saw at the end a wall of humanity in the Piazza and all up the grand staircase, thousands all waiting for the Pope to arrive. The streets in this area of Rome are large enough for a big carriage and 4 horses, a narrow area. We still had 30 minutes before the Holy Father would pass by, so we decided to walk towards the river, in front of the Mausoleum of Emperor Augustus there was a break in the barricades and few people around, would the Pope stop his motorcade at the mausoleum to bless Augustus who was made a God by the Senate of Rome, he lived at the same time as the Virgin Mary, not likely, but we did cross the street quickly while the police was not looking and avoiding the approaching Pope mobile with the 6 beefy Swiss guards running alongside.

Now when Jean-Paul II was pope he use to get into the cherry picker basket and he was hoisted all the way to the top of the column to deposit his flowers, nowadays Pope Benedict sends a nice Vigili (firemen) up to do the job. We did make it to the theater on time.


  1. I almost got run over by a Studebaker once,but that's not quite as glamorous.
    Hope you enjoyed the theater!

  2. loll !! I just love the way you write ! such delicious irreverence! LOLLLLLL