Savoring the Splendor of the Church at St. Peter and the Vatican Exhibit

Savoring the Splendor of the Church at St. Peter and the Vatican ExhibitOn March 13-14, over 100 supporters and friends of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio to view the St. Peter and the Vatican Exhibit that will be showing at the Cincinnati Museum Center through April 18. Families and supporters came from Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas.

The program began on Saturday evening when Mr. Mario Navarro da Costa, director of the TFP’s Washington Bureau gave a presentation on the exhibit. Mr. da Costa has had a life-long interest in and devotion to all of the beautiful traditional ceremonies and ceremonial objects used by the Church over the ages. His presentation was most informative since he pointed out not only the very important objects that are in the exhibit but some of the historical and other errors made by the exhibitors.

Mr. Mario Navarro da Costa points out that the Vatican Exhibit should strengthen our faith in the Church

Mr. Mario Navarro da Costa points out that the Vatican Exhibit should strengthen our faith in the Church.

Mr. da Costa began by making the observation that this exhibit helps one see the indefectibility of the Church. The Church has gone through so many crises throughout history, and is obviously experiencing the greatest crisis in Her history today. However, seeing all of the magnificent vestments, chalices, relics, monstrances, tiaras, miters and other objects, one’s faith is strengthened to see the fulfillment of Our Lord’s promise that, “the gates of hell shall not prevail.”

Gold-crested reliquary on exhibit in Cincinnati

Gold-crested reliquary on exhibit in Cincinnati.

Being Lent, Mr. da Costa also tied in the Passion and Death of Our Lord by pointing out to those in attendance that this great Catholic civilization came about as a result of Our Lord’s Passion. Our Lord’s Passion, in a sense, became the seed of these magnificent developments in the Church.

Mr. da Costa commented that while the exhibit overall was favorable to the Church, there were a number of misrepresentations of history or the real purpose of various liturgical or ceremonial objects on display. It was sad to see some of the beautiful items that were once a normal part of the ceremonial surrounding the papacy relegated to the past instead of being a living part of the Church today.

One of the common explanations was that objects were discarded out of consideration for the poor. If one visits some of the most beautiful churches and basilicas in the world, one can observe that they were built not only by wealthy donors but also by the poor, who desire that God’s House be adorned in accordance with the dignity proper to the Real Presence and to God’s representatives, whether Pope, bishop or priest.

Papal Tiara on exhibit

Papal Tiara on exhibit

The weekend was full of animated conversation both in anticipation of the exhibit and afterwards at the inspiration young and old experienced upon seeing such glories of the Church. On a sadder note there was a small gallery at the end with some of the contemporary objects used today. The contrast could not have been starker between the grandeur of the past and the ugliness and banality of the

On Sunday afternoon, Mr. da Costa accompanied all 113 to view the exhibit, giving extensive commentary throughout the exhibit. The halls of the exhibit were very crowded and one of the supervisors stated that they have had much larger crowds than they had anticipated. That is a good sign, indicating that there are still people who have a thirst for marvelous and beautiful ceremonies and the accompanying beautiful objects that are capable of inspiring genuine piety.

After spending an average of two and a half hours together, all departed, inspired to do all that they could to continue to fulfill Our Lord’s promise of indefectibility and to restore the grandeur that has been sadly abandoned today.

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