Category: Rome

Evidence Of St. Peter’s Prison Found

The prison, which lies beneath the Church of St. Joseph of the Carpenters facing the Roman Forum, was closed for the past year as experts dug up old floors and picked away plaster. They found and restored a 14th-century fresco of Jesus with His arm around a smiling St. Peter and an 11th-century fresco of Jesus with the oldest known image of the Campidoglio, Rome’s city hall, behind Him. Patrizia Fortini from the city of Rome’s department of archaeological heritage led the excavation and restoration project. She told journalists late last month that they found proof that the site had been a place for venerating St. Peter by the seventh century, lending support to historical accounts that he had been incarcerated there. The prison has two levels: the upper chamber called the “Carcer” and the lower chamber called the “Tullianum,” which was built in the sixth century B.C. In the “Tullianum,” Fortini said, they found “traces of a basin that must have been where water was collected – water which, according to tradition, sprang forth after St. Peter pounded on the stone floor.” Tradition holds that, after he miraculously made the water gush forth, he converted and baptized his two prison guards as well as 47 others while he was imprisoned there. Near the basin, archaeologists found a trough which, centuries later, the faithful may have used to sprinkle themselves with water, she said. The stone walls had been painted, she said, but time and humidity took their toll.    

Excessive Copyright Protection

A delegation of the Holy See told a gathering of the World Intellectual Property Organization that Pope Benedict is troubled by the “excessive zeal” with which rich countries have been protecting their intellectual property rights, especially when it comes to health care in developing countries, reports the ZeroPaid website. “On the part of rich countries, there is excessive zeal for protecting knowledge through an unduly rigid assertion of the right to intellectual property, especially in the field of health care,” Pope Benedict says in an encyclical letter quoted by the delegation at the 48th World Intellectual Property Organization General Assembly. The report said copyright holdings have become the bedrock of profits for an array of business interests, multinational corporations like those in the movie and music industry, in particular, and there has been an increasing push to protect them at all costs, even to the detriment of society and culture. “The raison d’être of the protection system of intellectual property is the promotion of literary, scientific or artistic production and, generally, of inventive activity for the sake of the ‘common good’,” said the delegation. “Thus protection officially attests the right of the author or inventor to recognition of the ownership of his work and to a degree of economic reward. At the same time, it serves the cultural and material progress of society as a whole.”   

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