Sunday, October 04, 2009


Pope Benedict’s Catholic revival starts to reach local shrine
Of St John Neumann, the hard-working Bohemian (German-Czech) Redemptorist missionary priest in early-19th-century America and late Bishop of Philadelphia, at St Peter’s Church in Philly’s Northern Liberties section. The upper church with its nearly intact high altar (mensa pushed forward) is like what a kid imagines God’s palace looks like.

For about 15 years the saint’s shrine in the crypt church was horribly modernised (isn’t the adverb redundant?) with its beautiful altar literally hidden behind this mosaic and stained glass (at least they didn’t knock the altar down) and the bishop dressed revisionist fashion à la Novus Ordo:

Now the altar is back!

And St John Neumann is in fine 1800s-style vestments: lace, fiddleback and maniple.

I understand in the good old days the crypt church was not for those squeamish about being around lots of bones: many, many relics (cue xylophone music here for dancing skeletons).

At the same intersection, a sign from those days:

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