Vatican Notes & Quotes

Vatican's Patrons of the Arts Director Picks Top 5

DETROIT FREE PRESS, August 9, 1998—Fr. Allen Duston, Director of the Vatican's Patrons’ of the Arts spends much of his time in the United States raising money for the Vatican's art collections and museums. Ninety-five percent of the money is raised in America, said the Detroit Free Press.

But that gives him the chance to see select works of art in a different light, “both literally and figuratively,” he told the paper.

The newspaper asked him to name his five favorite works of art in the Vatican collection. His answers follow:

• “St. Matthew and the Angel” (Guido Reni, 1635-40): In the painting, “there is a palpable sense of mutual affection, admiration, and tenderness between the two” subjects.

• “The Vision of Saint Helena” (Veronese, circa 1580): Though it depicts the saint asleep, “Veronese manages to…suggest a surprising amount of action.”

• “The Annunciation” (Virginio Ciminaghi, 1967): Mary and the angel Gabriel “almost seem to be dancing around in a vortex.”

• “The Penitent Magdalen” (Guercino, 1622): “…one of the great painters of the [Baroque] age,” Duston said.

• “Eros of Tespia” (Unknown Roman sculptor, Second Century): This Roman copy of a Greek bronze statue has some oddities — the quiver has been turned upside down — but “that can't take away from the extraordinary beauty.”

Peter's Net

ASSOCIATED PRESS August 10—With the Pope's plans to go live on the World Wide Web in the news, the Associated Press listed these facts about the Vatican's growing Internet services.

• By 2000, Vatican programmers hope to have “all the teachings” of this century's nine popes available on the Internet, said the article. That includes the 20 thick volumes of John Paul II, who is one of the most prolific popes in recent times, said the report.

• Other plans include direct hookups giving bishops and Vatican nunciatures direct access to the Vatican's computers through private phoneline connections that don't rely on the regular web access. The report said this would provide direct and secure lines of communication about everything from persecution to doctrine.

• The Web site started in 1995 by giving the Pope's Christmas message of that year, according to the report.

• Hackers try to break into the Vatican's computers six or seven times a day, officials there said. So officials no longer reveal the names of the computers in their network. The original three — Gabriel, Raphael, and Michael — take their names from archangels who, unlimited by time or space, bring God's message to the world.