Video: The Vatican Museums and the custodianship of art

posted at 10:01 am on March 21, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

(VATICAN CITY) Readers may remember Fr. Mark Haydu, international director of the Patron of the Arts in the Vatican Museums, whom I interviewed in May 2011 on my last trip to Rome.  While here in Rome on business, I arranged another interview with Fr. Mark about the Vatican’s mission of custodianship for some of the most priceless treasures of the world, including the Vatican itself.  Given Pope Francis’ call for a “poor Church in service of the poor,” some interpreted that message as a shift in the Vatican’s approach to its collections. Fr. Mark disagrees, and notes that most of the revenue of the Vatican comes from the museums — which is why the Patrons program is such a necessity:

I’ve included a few pictures from my tour of the Vatican Museums in the video.  One of my regrets from the 2011 interview was the lack of proper equipment; I had been on vacation and hadn’t prepared to do an interview, but wasn’t about to turn it down, either.  This time the sound quality is much better and I was better prepared.

I joined the Minnesota-North Dakota chapter of the Patrons program last year, and highly recommend it.  Fr. Mark and his very kind staff arrange tours and social events for visiting chapters, and I’m hoping to return to Rome soon with our group.

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While in Rome on business is a good one… You are still expect us to believe that one Ed. ;)

Illinidiva on March 21, 2013 at 10:13 AM

In Rome on business.

Clearly I am in the wrong business.

Lily on March 21, 2013 at 10:32 AM

Ok , I’m seriously jealous now !

Lucano on March 21, 2013 at 10:58 AM

Good grief Ed!! Stop milking the Papal resignation for your own personal vacation time…..looks like HotAir corporate finances are going to take a big hit this year for “employee ‘business’ travel” expenses….

powerpickle on March 21, 2013 at 11:10 AM

There are lots of Catholics registered at Hot Air and many of us are interested in this kind of stuff. Plus Ed’s right that a big topic of conversation lately in churches is, what’s going to happen to the wealth of the Church now that Francis is here?

My two cents = uptwinkles on this one.

Eviva on March 21, 2013 at 11:27 AM

I have to admit that I have always had an uneasiness about the Vatican’s massive art and real estate holdings… It’s just me, I’m not asking them to change.

Fallon on March 21, 2013 at 11:31 AM

There are lots of Catholics registered at Hot Air and many of us are interested in this kind of stuff. Plus Ed’s right that a big topic of conversation lately in churches is, what’s going to happen to the wealth of the Church now that Francis is here?

My two cents = uptwinkles on this one.

Eviva on March 21, 2013 at 11:27 AM

We’re jesting with Ed good naturedly. I think that we have all appreciated his reporting from Roma and all his interviews. (And wish that we had his job.)

I highly doubt that Papa Francisco is going to start auctioning off everything from the Vatican Museum. It seems to me that there are much more pressing issues on his docket. It is obvious that he is going to be alot less formal and break with every single tradition that he can get away with. Newest Papa news is apparently that he is celebrating Holy Thursday Mass at a prison for juvenile offenders rather than at St. Peter’s.

Illinidiva on March 21, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Newest Papa news is apparently that he is celebrating Holy Thursday Mass at a prison for juvenile offenders rather than at St. Peter’s.

Illinidiva on March 21, 2013 at 11:56 AM

So, washing the prisoners’ feet (a Holy Thurs Mass thing) probably. That’s awesome :)

Eviva on March 21, 2013 at 12:02 PM

My comment went to purgatory I guess.

Conservation is labor intensive and expensive.

Basically cleaning those fresco walls repeatedly with a cotton swab and cotton balls.

Currently ancient churches in war zones are being defaced by Muslim insurgents & in Easter Europe & The Balkans Frescoes from as early as the 5th – 8th centuries are being cut out of walls to sell on the black market.

Sacred Art in these Churches are historic and well…Sacred.

workingclass artist on March 21, 2013 at 12:18 PM

Certainly wish I had known about the patron of the arts program at the Vatican before I visited the last time. I would have joined and enjoyed the perks. It’s a magnificent place in any case but sometimes not lining up with the great unwashed masses (where I naturally belong) is nice at my advanced age.

Bernfp on March 21, 2013 at 12:25 PM

I have to admit that I have always had an uneasiness about the Vatican’s massive art and real estate holdings… It’s just me, I’m not asking them to change.

Fallon on March 21, 2013 at 11:31 AM

Why is that exactly?

Much of the land holdings were monastic holdings.

Ever consider how much Sacred Art…Churches & Land has been stolen from Catholics worldwide over the centuries?

Hagia Sophia was built by Catholics and is now a Muslim Mosque. They defaced the priceless interior, but couldn’t destroy all of the Christ Pantocrator Mosaics in the Dome.

Canterbury Cathedral was seized and defaced in the destruction of the Monasteries.

Eastern Rite Churches were seized by the Soviets and now the Russian Orthodox refuse to return them to their owners.

Currently historic Churches are under threat and lands are being seized in Africa & the Middle East along with Catholic homes and businesses that are in the communities surrounding these historic churches.

workingclass artist on March 21, 2013 at 12:28 PM

Newest Papa news is apparently that he is celebrating Holy Thursday Mass at a prison for juvenile offenders rather than at St. Peter’s.

Illinidiva on March 21, 2013 at 11:56 AM

ehemmm….not exactly.

Vatican City, 21 March 2013 (VIS) – On Holy Thursday, 28 March, the Holy Father Francis will celebrate the Chrism Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in the morning and then, at 5:30pm in the afternoon, will go to celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at the Casal del Marmo youth detention center instead of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, where it had been traditionally held in past years.

Traditionally, during this celebration, priests renew the promises they made when they were ordained. Also, oils that will be used in the Sacraments are blessed.

workingclass artist on March 21, 2013 at 12:49 PM

So there will be two Masses…One Chrism Mass at St. Peter’s (1600 Priests attended last year) and one at the Youth Detention Center.

March 21, 2013. (Romereports.com) In the first month of his Pontificate, the Vatican has announced that Pope Francis will celebrate Holy Thursday Mass with prisoners. On the afternoon of March 28th, the Pope will visit Rome´s Casal del Marmo, which is a jail for minors.

It´s actually the same prison, Benedict XVI visited back in March 18th 2007, when he celebrated Mass in the jail´s chapel.

Holy Thursday marks the Last Supper. It´s also the moment where Jesus washes the feet of his disciples, to teach them about the importance of service and humbleness. In fact, Pope Francis is planning of washing the feet of some of the inmates.

As the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio would usually celebrate Holy Thursday Mass in a prison, hospital or with marginalized groups. As Pope, he will continue this tradition.

http://www.romereports.com/palio/pope-will-celebrate-holy-thursday-mass-in-a-juvenile-detention-center-instead-of-vatican-english-9523.html

workingclass artist on March 21, 2013 at 12:57 PM

I think that there are always two Masses that the Pope does on Holy Thursday – the one during the day which you mentioned and the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper. I believe that that evening one usually takes place in St. John Latern, but they were going to do it at St. Peter’s this year. All I know is that this is a break with past tradition and made a little bit of a splash this morning.

Illinidiva on March 21, 2013 at 1:49 PM

My wife and I (both non practicing)were in awe and in cases moved to tears by what we saw while in Rome, the Vatican and in Florence at the Uffizi..

In cases it took my breath away as well as chills.

As an aside go to the top of St Peters Basillica… be advised you better have a good ticker, no fears of heights and not allow small spaces to get the better of you..

theblacksheepwasright on March 21, 2013 at 1:58 PM

Whenever I hear the Catholic church poor-mouthing, I think of my visit to the Vatican museums. Visitors come away overwhelmed by the extent and vast richness of the collection (and much, much more is stored out of sight). If the Church is really so in need of money, I suggest the Cardinals go down into the cellar and pick out a few objet d’ priceless art for the auction block. No one will even notice they’re gone. Surely the Roman church by virtue of its art and real estate holdings is the wealthiest organization in the world.

SukieTawdry on March 21, 2013 at 2:44 PM

The Vatican, btw, offers after-hours, private tours of the museums and St. Peters for 3,000 euros (at least that was the price a few years ago). I’m not one given to extravagant expenditures, but that’s one that would be worth every dime. A once-in-a-lifetime experience.

SukieTawdry on March 21, 2013 at 2:50 PM