Saturday, March 1, 2014

Pacelli's Rome 5

After he completed his secondary education and made his retreat at the basilica of St Agnes, Eugenio Pacelli went to the famous Collegio Capranica where generations of diplomats, bishops and popes began their careers.  Founded in 1457 by Cardinal Domenico Capranica, Pacelli walked through its doors on the piazza of the same name, a short walk from the Pantheon and Pacelli's parents' home on Via Vetrina.  Later last year I did the walk in just under ten minutes.

Pacelli spent one year at Capranica.  The generally accepted reason for his brief time at the college was put down to his indifferent health.  From 1896 until his ordination in 1899 Pacelli continued his priestly formation in the family home.  This was a highly unusual, but not unknown, situation.

The young Pacelli also attended courses in languages and history at Rome's primary civil university, La Sapienza, canon and civil law at the Ateneo Pontificio di Sant’Appolinare founded by Pius IX in 1853, and the pontifical university, the Gregorian, for philosophy and theology.  By the standards of late Tridentine Catholicism, Pacelli enjoyed a full and well-rounded education.  By all accounts he was an able and gifted student.

Above: Sant'Apollinare; below: La Sapienza as Pacelli would have known it.  Both photos were taken in 2000 on film.  The dates indicate when I copied the originals with my digital (and forgot to remove the date stamp!)

On Easter Day 1899 he was ordained priest in the basilica of St Mary Major.  Plaques commemorating the event adorn the basilica walls along with plaques for Pacelli's silver jubilee of episcopal ordination in 1942.

Santa Maria Maggiore

Above: The Borghese Chapel where Pacelli was ordained.  
Below: plaque commemorating Pacelli's ordination on the occasion of his 40th anniversary as a priest - 1899-1939.

Above: The ikon of Our Lady, Health of the Romans, which occupies the place of honour over the altar in the Borghese Chapel.  Pacelli celebrated his first Mass at this altar.

Below: Pacelli's ordination card.

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