Tuesday, November 22, 2011

San Francisco indulgences

Helped clean out the AAR book exhibit, then rather improvidently schlepped a heavy shoulder bag full of books all over San Francisco, SOMA to Embarcadero and up to the Coit Tower, with its marvelous views and murals; the ones below are Suzanne Scheuer's "News- gathering" and Bernard Zakheim's "Libraries": one paper reports on the destruction of Diego Rivera's murals in New York, and a man in green reaches for a book by Marx), past endless Italian cafes and the City Lights Bookstore (I could buy no more). I hadn't intended to go so far but for a walker this city is irresistible, especially on a bright clear day like today, and to see the water you just need to climb and climb. Worth it, though!
I also stumbled on a second remarkable Catholic novelty, the 2008 replica of Saint Francis' Porziuncola (3/4 original size), next to the National Shrine to the patron saint of this city. No photos allowed - this one, complete with spectral St. Francis mannequin, is from their site
- because it is a Holy Site, one of only five in the world so designated by the Vatican, which grants plenary indulgence of sins. I'd love to give this text to students with the directive, "Discuss." An interesting mix of authenticity and authentic replication - one stone inside the Porziuncola Nuova is original, and theothers are exact scale models; the marble floor surrounding is from a medieval church in Assisi, recut for this new use... Why shouldn't a 13th century pope's pledge to one place be extended by a newly indulgence-friendly papacy to another in a different continent and millennium?
Ended the day in Oakland,enjoying seeing the Cathedral of Christ the Light (where Benedict XVI's voice lives in reproduction, helping reproduce Christ's peace) in late afternoon and evening light, before the red-eye flight back home.

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