Re: Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches

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And here we have an interesting little after dinner speech which tells us who paid for the restoration of the Pauline Chapel:

Salutation for the Patrons of the Arts in the U.K.

Dinner at the Royal Academy Senate Rooms

London – Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Thank you, Sir Tom Farmer for your kind remarks and also for your exemplary leadership as Chairman of the Great Britain Chapter of the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums.

• I am especially grateful to the Archbishop of Westminster, His Eminence Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, and to the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Faustino Sainz Muñoz for joining us here tonight.

• It is a great pleasure for me to make my first visit to London as President of the Governatorato of Vatican City State, in order to attend this special occasion for Great Britain’s first chapter dinner in London.

• It is an honour to be here at the Royal Academy in the Senate Rooms. These distinguished surroundings breathe so much history. I understand that in the 19th century the University of London used these rooms for lectures and examinations, and more recently, it was home to the British Museum and the Museum of Mankind.

• But this evening I am not going to give you a lecture on what you know better than I: the task of a more engaging speech I will leave to Professor Arnold Nesselrath, one of our finest curators at the Vatican Museums, (in fact, he wears many hats, as he is the Director of the Byzantine, Medieval and Modern Art Departments, in addition to being a Professor at Humboldt University in Berlin!). Professor Nesselrath will bring you up-to-date with our current projects in a moment or two. But I want to thank our friends at the Royal Academy for their kindness in sharing this splendid venue, and I look forward to collaboration in the future between the Vatican Museums and the Royal Academy.

• It is my duty and pleasure this evening to express the Holy See’s sincere gratitude to our Patrons of the Arts in the United Kingdom. They have been amongst our most generous Patrons. The chapter is a young one – barely three years old – and yet it undertook one of the most ambitious projects: the restoration of the Pauline Chapel located in the Apostolic Palace, with its marvellous frescoes by Michaelangelo – the last two works he completed in his lifetime.

• The restoration promises a pleasant surprise once complete, when we may contemplate the frescoes in their original splendour, free from the retouching of successive interventions that once obscured them.

• The Pauline Chapel represents a rich artistic history and it continued to be used as a private chapel by the Pope. In fact, a few weeks ago the Holy Father visited the Chapel in order to inspect the restoration for himself. I think he was very pleased with how the work is proceeding and expects to be able to celebrate the Sacred Liturgy in the chapel once again in the year 2009.

• Several Patrons have visited the Chapel too, they have climbed the scaffolding, as I myself have, to inspect the frescoes up close, and in many cases, have actually touched the work – they have been able to actually see and feel Michelangelo’s brush strokes from centuries ago. These moments are somehow moving. They connect us, not only with this great artist and hundreds of years of history, but with the Creator. I cannot help but think that these great art works of centuries past, capable of moving us today, are not without inspiration from above, an inspiration that guides human talent and energy here below. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that those great artists aimed not only to give proof of their craftsmanship and artist ability, but to give witness of their faith, with some very specific personal insights.
• Our work in the Vatican Museums never ends. We have thousands of precious works of art in all its wonderful forms. There are always important restorations to undertake. The UK Chapter has also funded a second project, for which we are very grateful: the restoration of a monumental tapestry by Raphael which was originally designed for use in the Sistine Chapel. It is now in our conservation laboratories being restored to its former glory.

• Our Patrons are an essential part of our work in the Vatican. We have twenty chapters in North America and now also in Europe. I am trying to visit as many of them as possible, but I also enjoy the opportunities to welcome the Patron chapters to Rome every year to see the progress of the projects which they are sponsoring. Their participation in this work is important – their enthusiasm and their expertise from different careers and backgrounds enriches our every day experience in the Vatican.

• In closing I would like to thank my hosts, Sir Tom Farmer and the British Chapter of the Patrons, some of whom I have already met in Rome this year and are here this evening. I would like to thank the Royal Academy for their generous hospitality and for the splendid setting in which we have been welcomed. I would also invite those of you who are not yet Patrons to consider membership in this wonderful organisation. You can bring valuable resources to our work: it is also my firm conviction that you will indeed find – at the same time – a not-so-small reward in your cultural and maybe even your spiritual lives. I gladly invite all of the distinguished participants here tonight to visit us in the Vatican, in particular the palace of the Governatorato, headquarters of the government of Vatican City State. I am confident that we will strengthen our mutual knowledge and establish new bonds of friendship.

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