Daily Archives: July 17, 2013

Popemobiles In Historical Perspective

The car below is the Mercedes donated by Mercedes to Pope Pius XI. Custom built for His Holiness.

Mercedes Nuerburg 1930. Custom buit for Pope Pius XI. Donated by Mercedes.

Mercedes Nuerburg 1930. Custom buit for Pope Pius XI. Donated by Mercedes.

Far from considering the gift a horror for Renaissance Princes, Pope Pius XI received the car personally.

Yes, that one is the Pope... You Renaissance Prince, you...!

Yes, that one is the Pope… You Renaissance Prince, you…!

After the historic Concordate with Italy in 1929, Graham Paige, a now-forgotten US car producer, donated this splendid example to, again, Pope Pius XI. The gift was, I suppose, gracefully and gratefully  accepted. The car was also clearly not sold to give the money to the poor.


Graham Paige 837, donated by the firm.

Graham Paige 837, donated by the firm.


Not yet anything concerning Pope Pius XII.

If you have links to photos of the Pope in a Vatican car (not the guest car he used in Germany, say) please post in the comment section.


Pope John XXIII used a magnificent, breathtakingly beautiful Mercedes 300 Landaulet. The cost of even the standard version was prohibitive, this Landaulet’s must have been stratospheric.

Pope John XXIII in one of his Renaissance Prince moments...

Pope John XXIII in one of his “Renaissance Prince” moments…


Pope Paul VI also wasn’t particularly shy (or perhaps there was no poverty back then; one of the two). The leading car is the Mercedes 300 Landaulet we already know, but all the other cars are Mercedes sedans. Not very favela-friendly, then…


Spectacular Mercedes motorcade.

Rome: spectacular Mercedes motorcade.


Later, Paul VI switched to another Renaissance-like creation, and another custom built Mercedes Landaulet; this time, of the Model 600.

Pope Paul VI Mercedes 600 Landaulet

This car is just a show-stopper. I have seen in the flesh the standard version of it. A miracle of elegance, class and beauty. A fitting car for a Pope. Below is a photo of this wonderful vehicle in action


Tsk.. Tsk... what is next, a Beethoven concert?

Tsk, tsk… what is next, a Beethoven concert?


In the following years, Landaulet seemed to fall a bit from grace (for security reasons, I suppose), but the Vatican was equipped, thanks to Mercedes, with some rather impressive vehicles besides the usual and not very kingly white Papamobiles.

The one below is a Mercedes S500, with armour and glass rooftop. A platform allowed the Pope to comfortably but halfway securely greet the masses. The car has been in used until the present days. It is not known that its use ever caused widespread protests amongst the present poor. We are here in the Eighties.


Bishops must stay out...

Bishops must stay out…


A more expensive, rather impressive custom built example for more relaxed occasions is the one below: this is another Landaulet, though of a less spectacular sort than the Mercedes 300 and 600. The Mercedes S is the following version to the one above. We are here already in the Nineties.

Custom Built Spectacular

Custom Built, too…

The last couple of decades have seen the use of some of the present vehicles, but with – due to the omnipresent security concerns – the massive use of those familiar white 4×4 meant to let the Pope resemble a fish in the acquarium. I never liked those vehicles, and they won’t be allowed to be pictured here.

Fast forward to 2013.

This is the bishop of Rome’s latest vehicle.


This is a five years old (note the front: this isn’t the latest model) Ford Focus. In order to stress the splendour of the Church, it is a hatchback. We are not told if it has air-con.

Bishop Francis would be appalled at knowing that Pope Pius IX, one of the most notorious “Renaissance Princes” of the XIX century, had his own train car.

I say! Shameless!

I say! Shameless!


Allow me to conclude this little gallery with my personal suggestion for an appropriate vehicle for the Bishop of Rome, one that would allow him to stress the importance of poverty, to put the accent on the preservation of the environment, and to resonate with the poor of the Argentinian pampas…


Forget the landaulets! Emissions are completely organic...!

Forget the landaulets! Emissions are completely organic…!


I allow myself to suggest the name for this revolutionary change of mobility perspective:





Please Pray For Thomas Peters

Thomas Peters is seriously injured after a swimming incident.

Please pray for him.


Maria Miller Goes To Hell

Woof, woof!

Like many slow people, Maria Miller must think herself inordinately smart. The so-called same sex “marriage” legislation, now undergoing the final stages of a pretty undisturbed legislative procedure, will be hailed as a great victory, and a measure possibly fitting to catapult her to the real positions of power, instead of simply being the token woman of a token ministry.

I do not know, and I do not care to know, whether the female professes to believe in God. Her actions speak very loudly, and surely show that she doesn’t. She must think – whatever she will say in public – that there is no God and when she’s gone, she’s gone, no fear of hell coming in the way of her self-sale. Alternatively, – and only if she is vastly thicker than expected – she might be one of those very deluded beings who think that there might be some kind of environmentally friendly, vegetarian, pacifist, “inclusive” Super Duper Entity over there; an Entity (probably called Super Miller) who will certainly look with sympathy at a bit of political prostitution for the sake of ego gratification and professional advancement.

This will not be sufficient – says the God of the Christians – to allow her to escape hell; she ignores Him at her peril, and the peril is huge. It is an illusion to think only Sodomites lived in Sodom. No doubt, there were a lot of Maria Millers there. Sodom and Gomorrah were, no doubt, both very progressive and inclusive.

Refusal and trampling of God’s laws will clearly not be forgiven in a woman who most certainly cannot claim ignorance of Jesus. Similarly, the open defiance of God’s laws in matter pertaining to natural law – a law that God has written in every heart, so that no one, no matter how stupid or self-deluded, can ever claim not to know that sexual acts against nature are intrinsically and gravely evil – do not allow her to hide anywhere.

No, let us not kid ourselves with non-judgmental rubbish, then we know the rules as well as she does: Maria Miller marches towards hell; she teaches her sons to do the same; she encourages her voters to follow her there; and there will she end one day, unless she repents. No more smug smiles on that podgy face, then.

She doesn’t see it, of course; or if she has a vague inkling of what would happen to her if the proverbial bus were to hit her she certainly doesn’t care. She will enjoy her three minutes of popularity in the shadow of her Prime Pimp and her stupidly smiling face will be in every trendy women’s magazine, whilst the men will very well know she is merely Cameron’s quota bitch: the overeating, tail-waggling lap dog of her coalition masters. She will enjoy her moment of popularity, though; and perhaps, perhaps, she will even think she is on her way to becoming relevant in the cabinet.

Maria Miller is, by way of her father, a daughter of privilege. Whether she knows suffering and humiliation is not known; that she does not know the fear of the Lord, is certain. She isn’t old yet, but like many of her age she is certainly set in her ways. Being Cameron’s bitch has brought her some advantages, and she must therefore think this is the way to go for the rest of her life. Stuff Christianity, she must certainly think. Let’s suck up to David and the electorate, whatever absurdity the former may want to order, and the latter swallow.

The clients come first, and the Prime Pimp must be made happy.

So Maria Miller will continue to march happily towards hell, probably leading there those she loves most in the process. All this, for the dubious satisfaction of being a very small, and in the end insignificant footnote in British history; a foot soldier remembered most probably for the absurdity, the ridicule and most importantly the impiety of the measure she sponsored, than as the smart woman she must think she is.

I must disagree. Bar an always welcome repentance, she will feel very stupid when the Big Drip catches up with her. There are no smarties in hell, then going to hell is the epitome of stupidity.

Therefore, smile your podgy face to hell, Maria Miller, if this is what you want.

You will see neither the oldest, nor the second oldest profession are of much use once you have died.


Salvation, Predestination, Reprobation, And Free Will.

Dies Irae, Dies Illa...

Dies irae, dies illa…

I wrote this comment very late at night, reacting to the request of a reader. It being very late, and not wanting to write a complicated piece, I managed to say all that is – I think – important in a way that can be read and digested rather rapidly. The advantages of being tired, and not having time.

I have re-read this, and found it in order. So much so, that I have decided to post it as autonomous post, and put it in my “Vademecum” (see the bar above). 

I hope you’ll find it useful. The text follows below, with little modifications for comprehension. 


Ah, that’s a complicated issue. I have wanted to write very often, but it’s very complex. It’s also very late, so forgive me if I say something stupid.

In three words, Calvinists (and in a way their Catholic fans, the Jansenists) believed that God makes some **to be damned**. Once born a reprobate, one is irresistibly screwed. End of story. There’s nothing he can do. He will go to hell, period. Sorry mate, yes, please go down that warm corridor…

Catholicism believes that God makes, said very brutally, two kind of people: the predestined and the reprobates. To the first He gives **efficacious** grace, meaning that they will be irresistibly led by Him toward salvation. To the seconds He gives **sufficient** grace, that is: a grace really sufficient to be saved, but that the reprobates nevertheless do not use, choosing of their own will to behave and think in a way that ends up meriting them hell.

No one, therefore, goes to hell who really has not himself to blame for it. At the same time, no one who avoids hell can boast of his goodness. All graces and all goodness come from God, so for every prayer, for every work of mercy, for every salvific act we do not really have the right to boast that “we did it”, though in a way we do really want to pray etc.

What happens is that we do want to act freely, because God inspired us to, freely, act in that way. Think of a mother who knows her child so well she knows what she must do to motivate him to do his homework, though in the end the child really is the one who wants to do his homework. This subtle, but irresistible influence of the efficacious grace is called, if memory serves, “physical premotion” (in the sense, always if memory serves, that it prompts to real, physical action on our part).

The mystery of predestination (one flip of the coin) is therefore fairly easy to grasp: God gives us efficacious grace, and this grace – like the mother above – irresistibly motivates us to, so to speak, do our homework. We do want, because God wants. Still, we do fully want. When God wants one to be saved, He will take care that the chap does not die in a state of mortal sin, giving him the efficacious grace necessary to the purpose. Again, he (the chap) will have nothing to boast about: without God’s help, he would have been nowhere, or rather in hell.

Things become far more terrible when we see the other flip of the coin: the reprobates. The reprobates freely choose (operative word here is “freely”) to think and behave in a way that merits them hell (though they might not even believe in hell); and they do so notwithstanding the fact that they have sufficient graces (the operative words here is “sufficient”; actually, more than sufficient) to avoid hell. But they do not do it and God **allows** them not to do it, and to deserve their punishment. Punishment that is, then, fully deserved, and entirely merited by their own thoughts, actions or omissions.

Why does God do this? Why does he infallibly decide, out of all eternity, that Titius *has to* be saved and will therefore irresistibly be attracted toward salvific acts, and Caius will, out of all eternity, be **allowed** to damn himself? Why one is born a reprobate, and another a predestined? This is a mystery we will only know – and not in its entirety, not in the way God knows it – when we die.

Still, we can throw some light on it even in this life. St. Thomas Aquinas said that every goodness comes from God, because God is the very source of everything that is good. Therefore, those who are exceptionally good (like St. Francis, or Padre Pio) are exceptionally loved. Conversely, there is no other reason why some are better than the fact that they are more loved. Some, God loves so much that he will never allow them to go to hell (giving them efficacious graces), or He will in rare cases even allow them to become, **out of their own will**, great saints; some others, he will still love enough to give them more than sufficient graces to save themselves, but he will **allow** them to choose evil instead. St. Thomas said that this must be so in order for the goodness of God to be revealed. God’s goodness is both mercy and justice. In those whom he saves, he shows His mercy (remember: the graces are unmerited, and purely due to God’s love), and in those whom he damns, he shows His justice. He does not do any injustice to anyone, he simply gives more than it is just to the predestined, without being unjust in any way to the reprobates. Difficult to chew for our egalitarian society, but that’s how it is.

Think to David Cameron. He has all the instruments to decide. He freely chooses the path to hell. Unless he repents, hell is what he will have freely chosen and fully merited. But if he repents, this is because of the efficacious grace of God. If he doesn’t, this is notwithstanding the (fully, and more than) sufficient grace he has received.

“Fine (or rather not!)”, you will say. “How can one know whether he is a predestined or a reprobate?” Well one can’t, of course. If we could, we would know for certain who is sent upstairs and downstairs. But as we are each and every one of us fully in charge of our own destiny (herein lies the real, ultimate crux: that one is full in charge, and STILL nothing happens against the divine decree: the reprobates will go to hell, and the predestined to purgatory or straight to heaven) we can see in our lives signs of predestination, or signs of reprobation, that are indications as to the possible destination of a person. Being born and baptised a Catholic has always been considered a great sign of predestination, which is probably why Catholic countries have historically always been more relaxed about hell than Protestant ones. Praying every day is another sign. Having masses said for one is another one. Having prayers said for one’s own salvation is another one, as are works of mercy. Praying the Rosary devoutly every day is a great sign of predestination (which is why I always insist on it), and so on.

In the end, we are in full control of our destiny, but at the same time everything is already preordained by God from all eternity; then otherwise, God wouldn’t be God: he would be determined by our actions rather than decide himself things of infinite importance like the salvation or damnation of souls. If we are predestined God, like an omnipotent mother, will steer us toward salvation, motivating us to perform salvific acts, etc. In turn, one that performs these acts can see them as a reasonable indication that he is being steered toward a good death (“final perseverance”, the grace of all graces).

Yes, a mother would not allow her child to freely choose hell. But then, this is why we say “God the Father”, and know that the God of the Christian isn’t the sugary “get-out-of-jail-card for everyone” some Proddies would want us to believe He is. God is terrible in his punishment, and wonderful in His love. His justice and His mercy, together, are His goodness. We can’t fully understand the inner working of this goodness, because we … aren’t God. But that’s what it is. God never told us we only have to “luv” and everything will be fine. Actually, Christianity shows that the contrary is the case.


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