21 July 2019

Brescia; Sancte Paule Sexte, ora pro nobis

While at Gardone, we took a trip to the local Cathedral City, the ancient Brixia. Good to look round; but, despite (local boy) Catullus's elusive poem 67, very little survives from the late Republic. Fairly good floors and walls from the Empire. I found an obscene graffito which amused me rather since it was in the form of a perfectly formed elegiac couplet. They clearly had literate graffiti-composers under the Divine Tiberius. How educational standards do deteriorate.

The newer of the two Cathedrals intrigues. Within it, a 'shrine' to S Paul VI 'Brixiensis'. It contains, apparently, neither relics of the Saint nor an altar. Speculation arose in our group about whether this latter fact was a piece of subtle symbolism indicating his desire to abolish the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I strongly disagreed, arguing that his condemnation of 'Transsignification' showed that at least his heart, or part of it, was in the right place. And the evidence (Bouyer inter alios) indicates that the the worst excesses of 'his' rite can be blamed on Hannibal's deceptions.

My own theory is that the Bishop of Brescia at the time of the beatification or canonisation was a secret sedevacantist who simply, and honourably, wished to prevent the offering of Mass at a 'shrtine' of one whom he considered to be a non-Saint. (I shall not enable comments which suggest that I am a conspiracy-theorist whose fantasies exceed even those of Bishop Richard Williamson.)

I had been told that the metal sewerage fittings in Brescia all bore the name Montini, but I carelessly forgot to check this out. Could they be classified at tertiary relics? Ought they to be formally venerated?


Josephus Muris Saliensis said...

Are you, dear Father, not going to share the elegiac couplet so that we too may lament on the decline in educational standards?

Banshee said...

Apparently the main reason that St. Paul VI's shrine is in Brescia (besides the hometown connection), is that Paul VI had a devotion to Our Lady of Graces at the church, his cause was sited there, and that one of the post-beatification miracles was done there. It's a bit weird, because the lady whose unborn baby was in danger had actually gone on pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Graces, and so normally one would credit the miracle to Our Lady. But obviously some kind of detail is missing. (The shrine page in English hasn't been updated since he became a Venerable, although the Italian page has tons of info. Shrug.)

Anyway, the Italian webpages say they do have relics of St. Paul VI. There are pictures of some nice reliquaries. One relic looks like a shirt with some blood on it, while the other is a tiny piece of cloth. They also have relic prayer cards available if requested.

So yeah, I don't know why they didn't show the relics to your group. It might be one of those "we keep them in the sacristy safe, except on public viewing days" things.

(The other qualifying miracle was a lady in California whose unborn baby was in danger. An Italian nun friend placed a picture and vestment relic of then-Blessed Paul VI on the lady's belly, and the unborn kid miraculously got better. That's about as clear a sign as you can get. I don't know if it was one of the relic prayer cards or not, but I bet it was.)

Banshee said...

Okay, the Italian webpage says that the blood is from a scrape that St. Paul VI received when he was doing the kissing the ground thing in Manila's airport. The shirt was also kinda scraped up, so I guess somebody kept it unwashed or un-stain-removed, as a souvenir. One of those thinking ahead things. The reliquary looks like a round tabernacle in front, but with an engraved picture of the pope blessing people. The back is glass, so you can see the shirt. There's a small cross on top.

The other reliquary looks like a monstrance, except it's a bunch of curving grape vines on a stand, with a little glass-fronted relic holder instead of a host holder, and with a tiny piece of cloth and name label inside. Pretty nice work, actually.

No body parts!

Anyhoo, all this was at the Our Lady of Graces church webpage under the "Paolo VI" tab.

Banshee said...

Oh, and they've got St. Paul VI vestments on display too. (That's on the Italian webpage on the relationship between Paul VI and Our Lady of Graces. Boy, it's a little scattery.)

That's also the page that lists all the Masses and feast days and prayer times that are related to St. Paul VI.

I don't see any pictures of the actual Paul VI shrine, though. This webpage is clearly made for browsing, not for finding.

John Patrick said...

Interesting that the 2 miracles attributed to St. Paul VI involve unborn children. It seems fitting for the Pope who courageously issued Humanae Vitae in the face of the conventional wisdom (both within and without the Church) that it was time for the Church to "get with the times". Seems like God was sending a message here.

Alan said...

The "shrine" long predates St Paul's beatification or canonisation. It's certainly been there since the early years of this century at least.

I happened to visit Brescia a couple of weeks before the canonisation. The city was going completely over the top about the local boy wot dun good. I was rather amused by the juxtaposition of billboards announcing the impending canonisation and the elevating virtues of a brand of push-up bra. One might think that wearing this item of underwear would ensure that a lady's assets caught the eye even of a canonised Roman pontiff.

Even keener was the outer suburb of Concesio, where the parish church in which Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini was baptised had on display an array of saint's cassocks and other items.

Brescians unenthusiastic about St Paul's successors fiddling with the Lord's Prayer can go to Mass at the old cathedral at 11 a.m. or the anticipated Mass at 6 p.m. on Saturday at San Zeno al Foro ("forma extraordinaria") at neither of which they will be troubled by vagaries of Italian translation.