January 18, 2022

A Look at This Year's Fucarazzo di Sant'Antuono in Brooklyn, New York

Sant'Antuono Abate, ora pro nobis
Revelers enjoying the protective flames of the bonfire
Our gracious hosts Stephen, Lucia and Salvatore
Brigante se more
In addition to Christmas trees, attendees took the opportunity
to burn old scapulars, church bulletins and palm
(L) DJ La Rocca's festive and atmospheric playlist. (R) Spirits were high
After our delicious pork dinner, we enjoyed some roasted chestnuts

Feast of the Chair of San Pietro Apostolo at Rome

Altar of the Chair of Peter by Bernini
Photos by New York Scugnizzo
January 18th is the Feast of the Chair of San Pietro Apostolo (St. Peter the Apostle) at Rome, a celebration of the Pope's first service in the Eternal City and the infallible chair (cathedra). Known as the “Prince of Apostles,” St. Peter is the patron saint of fisherman, sailors, bakers, bridge builders, clock makers and, of course, the Papacy. He is also invoked against fever, hysteria and foot ailments. Widely venerated across southern Italy, he is the principal patron of San Pietro al Tanagro (SA), San Pietro Apostolo (CZ), Riposto (CT), San Pietro Vernotico (BR), and San Pietro in Lama (LE), among others. In celebration, I’m posting a prayer to St. Peter. The accompanying photos were taken during my 2007 pilgrimage to St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.

Prayer to St. Peter

Pilgrim touching the foot of St. Peter
O blessed St Peter, head and chief of the Apostles, thou art the guardian of the keys of the heavenly kingdom, and against thee the powers of hell do not prevail; thou art the rock of the Church and the shepherd of Christ’s flock; thou art great in power, wonderful in thy heavenly bliss; thou hast the right of binding and loosing in heaven and on earth. The sea supported thy footsteps, the sick upon whom even thy shadow fell were cured of their ills. By the memory of that right hand which supported thee on the waves of the sea, lift me from the ocean of my sins, and by those tears which thou didst shed for thy Lord, break the bonds of my offenses and free me from the hand of all my adversaries. Help even me, O good shepherd, that I may in this life serve Christ Jesus and thee, that with thy help, after the close of a good life, I may deserve to attain the reward of eternal happiness in heaven, where thou art unto endless ages the guardian of the gates and the shepherd of the flock. Amen.

January 17, 2022

Feast of Sant'Antonio Abate

Sant'Antuono Abate, ora pro nobis
January 17 is the Feast of Sant' Antonio Abate, also known as Saint Anthony the Great, monk, hermit, and father of Christian monasticism. Patron Saint of livestock and fire, he is also invoked against demonic possession and contagious diseases, particularly skin maladies (e.g. shingles) and ergotism, a toxic condition caused by eating grains contaminated with ergot fungus. Also known as St. Anthony's Fire, ergotism causes gangrene in the extremities and drives its victims mad.

In Southern Italy huge wooden pyres called falò di Sant'Antuono, or the Bonfires of Saint Anthony (not to be confused with St. Anthony's Fire) are burned on the eve of his festival in public squares throughout the night. The purification ritual, which is meant to ward off evil spirits, also signifies the coming end of winter and the anticipation of spring. Local wines and delicacies are enjoyed, as well as fireworks, processions, music and other festivities.

Sant'Antonio's iconography includes the Tau Cross and the Holy Scriptures with flames shooting from the pages. The fire represents his gift to man (like the legend of Prometheus, Sant'Antonio stole fire for humanity). It also signifies the hardships he endured during his time as a hermit. Demons continuously harassed and tormented the Saint, who resisted their wicked temptations with prayer. 

The pig and bell are his attributes as well, though I've read conflicting theories as to why. Some say wild pigs are associated with the Devil, while others claim the animal symbolizes his ability to heal the sick. According to some, medieval apothecaries used pig lard to treat St. Anthony's Fire. The Antonites, a monastic order devoted to the Saint and caring for the sick, were founded in the Middle Ages (c.1100) by a French nobleman whose ailing son was miraculously cured by the Saint's Relics. The Hospitallers of St. Anthony supported its charities by raising swine, and bells, traditionally used to frighten demons, were put around animals' necks for protection.

Naturally there are many miracles and stories attributed to Sant'Antonio, but one of the more fantastic tales involves a pig. According to legend, the Saint descended to the Gates of Hell and used an unusually troublesome and elusive piglet to distract the infernal denizens. While his squealing companion created a diversion, Sant'Antonio hid smoldering embers inside his T-shaped staff and smuggled them back to earth to provide fire for mankind. Alternate versions say the Saint distracted the demons while the pig ran off with a firebrand.

In celebration, we're posting a Prayer to St. Anthony the Abbot. The accompanying photo of Sant'Antuono were taken at the 2011 Feast of Sant'Antonio Abate in Astoria, Queens. Evviva Sant'Antuono Abate!

Prayer to St. Anthony the Abbot

Dear God, St. Anthony the Abbot accepted your call to renounce the world and to love you above all things. He faithfully served you in the solitude of the desert by fasting, prayer, humility and good works. In the Sign of The Cross, he triumphed over the Devil. Through his intercession, may we learn to love you better; with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds, all our strength and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. St. Anthony the Abbot, great and powerful saint, grant us also this special request [make request]. We ask this through our lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. One God forever and ever, Amen.

Photo of the Week: Sant'Antonio Abate Figurine in the Basilica Madonna dei Martiri Museum in Molfetta

Photo by Andrew Giordano

Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes at the Shrine Church of St. Bernadette in Brooklyn, New York

January 16, 2022

Viva 'o Rre! Happy Birthday SG King Francesco II of the Two Sicilies

b. Napoli, 16 January 1836 – d. Arco, 27 December 1894

In memory of Servant of God, King Francesco II of the Two Sicilies, we offer a prayer for his beatification. Francesco II, ora pro nobis.

O One and Triune God, Who casts Your glance on us from Your throne of mercy, and called Francis II of Bourbon to follow You, choosing him on earth to be king, modeling his life on the very Kingship of Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, pouring into his heart sentiments of love and patience, humility and meekness, peace and pardon, and clothing him with the virtues of faith, hope and charity, hear our petition, and help us to walk in his footsteps and to live his virtues.

Glorify him, we pray You, on earth as we believe him to be already glorified in Heaven, and grant that, through his prayers, we may receive the graces we need. Amen.

Novena to the Infant Jesus of Prague for the Nine Days Preceding the 25th of Each Month (16th–24th)

1. Eternal Father, I offer to Your honor and glory, for my eternal salvation and for the salvation of the whole world, the mystery of the birth of our Divine Redeemer. Glory be to the Father, etc.

2. Eternal Father, I offer to Your honor and glory, for my eternal salvation and that of the whole world, the sufferings of the most holy Virgin and St. Joseph on that long and weary journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. I offer Thee the sorrows of their hearts at not finding a place wherein to shelter themselves when the Saviour of the world was about to be born. Glory be to the Father, etc.

3. Eternal Father, I offer to Your honor and glory, for my eternal salvation and that of the whole world, the sufferings of Jesus in the manger where He was born, the cold He suffered, the swaddling clothes which bound Him, the tears He shed, and His tender infant cries. Glory be to the Father, etc.

4. Eternal Father, I offer to Your honor and glory, for my eternal salvation and that of the whole world, the pain which the Holy Child Jesus felt in His tender body when He submitted to the rite of circumcision. I offer Thee that Precious Blood which then for the first time He shed for the salvation of all mankind. Glory be to the Father, etc.

5. Eternal Father, I offer to Your honor and glory, for my eternal salvation and that of the whole world, the humility, mortification, patience, charity and all the virtues of the Child Jesus; and I thank Thee, and I love Thee, and I bless Thee without end for this ineffable mystery of the Incarnation of the Word of God. Glory be to the Father, etc.

V. The Word was made flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.

Let us Pray

O God, whose only-begotten Son was made manifest to us in the substance of our flesh, grant, we beseech Thee, that through Him, whom we acknowledge to have been outwardly like us, we may deserve to be renewed in our inward selves. Who lives and reigns with Thee forever and ever. Amen.

Source: Devotion to the Infant Jesus of Prague, TAN Books, 1990

Votive Mass of the Holy Name of Jesus at the Shrine Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament in Raritan, NJ

January 15, 2022

Feast of San Mauro Abate

San Mauro Abate, ora pro nobis
January 15 is the Feast of San Mauro Abate (Saint Maurus the Abbot), Wonder-worker and Healer of the sick. Widely venerated across Southern Italy, he is the principal patron of Viagrande (CT), Aci Castello (CT), San Mauro Castelverde (PA), San Mauro Forte (MT), San Mauro La Bruca (SA), and Casoria (NA), among others. 
In celebration, we're posting a Prayer to Saint Maurus. The accompanying photo of the Madonna and Child with San Mauro Abate by Francesco Solimena was taken at the Museo Civico di Castel Nuovo in Naples. Evviva San Mauro Abate!
Prayer to Saint Maurus
Grant, we beseech thee, O Lord, that the prayers of thy holy Abbot, blessed Maurus may commend us unto thee, that we, who have no power of ourselves to help ourselves, may by his advocacy find favor in thy sight, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

New Book: I Borbone Delle Due Sicilie/The Bourbons of the Two Sicilies

New title that may be of interest to our readers. Limited edition and numbered to 399 copies. Comes with 5 commemorative medallions with the portraits of the Bourbon Kings of the Two Sicilies. Available at www.scriptamaneant.com

I Borbone Delle Due Sicilie/The Bourbons of the Two Sicilies by Gennaro De Crescenzo and Salvatore Lanza

Publisher: Scripta Maneant

Publication Date: n/a

Paperback: €4,600.00 (from 460.00€ for 10 months without interest)

Language: Bilingual Italian - English

Pages: 248

Read description

Click here to see more books

January 14, 2022

The Mission of the Calendar

San Rocco, Paolo Gamba, chiesa di
S. Maria Assunta, Ripabottoni (CB).

Photo from I Principi Francone nel
Contado di Molise
by Gabriella Paduano
and Fr. Gabriele Tamilia
The 2022 calendar of the town of Ripabottoni, as conceived by Parish priest Don Gabriele Tamilia, contains rather beautiful pictures which distinguish each month of the year, unique iconic images which recount the history and architecture of the small Molise town. 

The purpose of the Calendar, is to raise funds for the restoration of the extremely valuable canvas painting of “Saint Rocco," patron saint of the town, which was created by local artist Paolo Gamba.

The Eighteenth century canvas is very deteriorated, has never been restored over time, and risks becoming irremediably lost.

The town Parish priest Don Gabriele Tamilia seeks through this Calendar to make the faithful aware of this problem and to save the altarpiece both from the artistic and religious point of view, as it represents the religious identity of all the Ripese. 

Tax deductible charitable donations of 10 Euros per calendar may be made to the Parish. All those interested in art history and devotees of Saint Rocco are kindly asked to support this initiative. For further information in the Americas please contact Il Regno or Cav. Charles Sant’Elia.

• January – The Parish Church of Santa Maria Assunta, a national monument, and eighteenth century building designed by the Neapolitan architect Ferdinando Sanfelice with the stone coat of arms of the Francone family, the feudatories of the town from the 17th to 19th centuries. 

• February - A partial view of the town immersed in nature.

• March - Particulars of stonework in the town.

• April - The fountain and an elderly woman bearing an antique copper basin on her head.

• May - The Palace of Prince Francone and an eighteenth century fountain.

• June - The main Square or Piazza of the town.

• July - A vintage photo of women at the fountain.

• August - The canvas depicting Saint Rocco, Patron of Ripabottoni, an Eighteenth century work by the Ripese painter Paolo Gamba, a disciple of the noted Neapolitan artist Solimena.

• September - “The fall of the rebellious Angels," a work by Solimena and a “Saint Matthew” by Paolo Gamba.

• October – A vintage picture of the town and its inhabitants.

• November - Monument to the Emigrants.

• December - “The Nativity” by Ripese painter Giambattista Gamba.

Santa Maria Assunta - Diocesi di (diocesitermolilarino.it)

Santa Maria dell'Assunta | Parrocchia Informa Morrone del Sannio e Ripabottoni

La Mission del Calendario 

Il calendario 2022 del borgo di Ripabottoni, ideato dal parroco Don Gabriele Tamilia, è caratterizzato da bellissime immagini che distinguono ogni mese dell’anno, iconografie uniche che raccontano la storia e l’architettura del piccolo paese molisano.

Il Calendario, ha la finalità di raccogliere offerte per il restauro della pregiatissima tela “di San Rocco”, patrono del paese, opera del pittore locale Paolo Gamba.

La Settecentesca tela è molto deteriorata, non è stata mai restaurata nel corso del tempo, rischia di andare irrimediabilmente perduta.

Il parroco del paese Don Gabriele Tamilia cerca attraverso tale calendario di sensibilizzare i fedeli a questo problema e salvare la pala d’altare sia dal punto di vista artistico che religioso, poiché rappresenta l’identità religiosa di tutti i ripesi. 

Donazioni fiscalmente deducibili di 10 Euro per calendario potranno essere inviate alla Parrocchia. Tutti gli interessati della storia dell’arte ed i devoti di San Rocco sono gentilmente pregati di appoggiare questa iniziativa. Per ulteriori informazioni nelle Americhe si prega contattare Il Regno o Cav. Charles Sant’Elia.

 • Gennaio - La chiesa parrocchiale di Santa Maria Assunta, monumento nazionale, edificio del Settecento dell’architetto napoletano Ferdinando Sanfelice e dal blasone in pietra della famiglia Francone, feudataria dal Seicento all’Ottocento del paese.

• Febbraio - Uno scorcio del paese immerso nella natura.

• Marzo -  Particolari in pietra del borgo.

• Aprile - La fontana e una anziana signora che reca in testa un’antica conca di rame.

• Maggio - Palazzo del principe Francone e una settecentesca fontana.

• Giugno - La Piazza principale del paese.

• Luglio - Una foto d’epoca con le donne alla fonte.

• Agosto - La tela raffigurante San Rocco, Patrono di Ripabottoni, opera del Settecento del pittore ripese Paolo Gamba, allievo del noto pittore napoletano Solimena.

• Settembre - “La caduta degli Angeli ribelli” opera del Solimena e un “San Matteo di Paolo Gamba”.

• Ottobre - Una foto d’epoca del paese e dei suoi abitanti.

• Novembre - Monumento agli Emigrati.

• Dicembre - “La Natività” del pittore ripese Giambattista Gamba.

Santa Maria Assunta - Diocesi di (diocesitermolilarino.it)

Santa Maria dell'Assunta | Parrocchia Informa Morrone del Sannio e Ripabottoni

Feast of the Infant Jesus of Prague

January 14 is the Feast of the Infant Jesus of Prague (Gesù Bambino di Praga), a celebration of the mystery of the Incarnation of Our Lord. Representing Christ’s kingship over the world, the Little King is portrayed with an ornate crown, flowing royal raiment and a globe topped with a cross in His left hand. Symbolizing the salvation He brings us, the children of God, the Christ Child’s right hand is raised in blessing, with three fingers held heavenward to denote the unity of the Trinity and the other two fingers bent to reflect Christ’s divine and human nature. In celebration, we’re posting a prayer to the Infant Jesus of Prague. Pictured, is a private shrine dedicated to Our Lord’s most holy infancy. Infant Jesus of Prague, have mercy on us.

Prayer to Infant Jesus of Prague

O Infant Jesus, I form the belief that I shall be granted forgiveness of sins and place it into the hands of Your most Holy Mother Mary; I commend myself to all and every Holy Mass that is celebrated this day and all over the globe, and I offer all this on behalf of the poor Souls in Purgatory. Amen

Second Sunday After Epiphany at Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Jersey City, New Jersey

January 13, 2022

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

January 13 is the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. The Octave day of the Epiphany (Jan. 6), it commemorates Christ’s Baptism in the Jordan River by St. John the Baptist. 
In celebration, we're posting a Prayer for the Baptism of the Lord. The accompanying photo of Gerolamo Starace-Franchis’ painting Battesimo di Cristo was taken at the Museo Civico di Castel Nuovo in Napoli.
Prayer for the Baptism of the Lord
Almighty ever-living God, who, when Christ had been baptized in the River Jordan and as the Holy Spirit descended upon him, solemnly declared him your beloved Son, grant that your children by adoption, reborn of water and the Holy Spirit, may always be well pleasing to you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Solemn Requiem Mass at Holy Innocents Church in New York City

January 12, 2022

New Book: La Storia Dell'Italia Unita

New title that may be of interest to our readers. Available at Amazon.com

• La Storia Dell'Italia Unita by Enrico Fagnano

Publisher: Independently published

Publication Date: May 11, 2021

Paperback: $12.18

Language: Italian

Pages: 214

Read description

Click here to see more books


For more on La Storia dell'Italia Unita and Enrico Fagnano

• Enrico Fagnano e quegli artefici nascosti che portarono all’Unità d’Italia [www.lavocedinewyork.com]

• Quello Che Accadde Al Sud Dopo Il 1860: In Arrivo “La Storia Dell’Italia Unita” di Enrico Fagnano [www.quicampiflegrei.it]

• “La Storia Dell’Italia Unita” di Enrico Fagnano [www.cinquecolonne.it]

The Catechism Lectures with Fr. John A. Perricone at St. Josaphat Church in Bayside, Queens, New York

Viva 'o Rre! Happy Birthday King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies

b. Napoli, 12 January 1751 – d. Napoli, 4 January 1825

In memory of King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies, we pray for the happy repose of his soul. Viva ‘o Rre!

Eternal rest grant unto His Majesty, O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen

Viva 'o Rre! Happy Birthday King Ferdinando II of the Two Sicilies

b. Palermo, 12 January 1810 — d. Caserta, 22 May 1859

In memory of King Ferdinando II of the Two Sicilies, we pray for the happy repose of his soul. Viva ‘o Rre!

Eternal rest grant unto His Majesty, O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen

January 11, 2022

Neapolitan Tradition and “Neapolitanism” According to Francisco Elias de Tejada

Francisco Elías de Tejada y
Spínola Gómez (1917-1978)
Translated by Cav. Charles Sant'Elia with permission from Destra.it

By Domenico Bonvegna

I had promised in conclusion of the evocative study Francisco Elias de Tejada, “Traditional Monarchy” to develop the theme of the last chapter Regno di Napoli (Kingdom of Naples). De Tejada, a Spanish scholar and philosopher, as well as an exponent of Spanish political Carlism, lived in Naples for seven years, among other things marrying a Neapolitan woman.  In the end of his book, published in Italy for the first time, by Edizioni dell’Albero in 1966, deals with Naples’ traditionalism, which in some measure is a hymn to napoletanità. It is a study that Tejada had already touched upon in his earliest years. It was a call of the blood that had urged him “to seek news of that azure and golden land in which the memories of my ancestors and the curiosity of a magic spell wove legends," in spite of everything he had not set foot in via Toledo. He already felt himself Neapolitan in his heart. His ancestors left Naples three centuries ago in the time of King Philip IV, settling in Estremadura.

Tejada returning in 1956 to Naples,  pointed out that he had found another city with respect to the image his parents had passed down to him. “It was not the Kingdom of Naples, but a province dependent upon masters who governed it from Rome, where the official language was Tuscan and the soldiers wore Piedmontese uniforms. It was not the capital of the first of the states of the Italian peninsula […].”

The only thing that was left in Naples “was the popular gracefulness, but unfortunately this gracefulness was scorned by the Neapolitans themselves, the leading actors in the dramatic collective suicide that was reducing Neapolitanism to ‘folklore.’”

It was the Naples of the realism of Salvatore Di Giacomo, “in that disgraced Peppenella that walks the sidewalk without bread or water.”

Tejada is aware that now the Neapolitan people does not know its past, when Naples was free and independent, the Naples of today is wrapped in an Orientalizing fatalism. It is interesting to cite the words of the Spanish philosopher who tallies forth in a tough and unbiased indictment of modern Naples. “Now its middle class, drunk with Garibaldinianism, seeking personal advantages, continues to wonder in the black legend forged in the XIX century against traditional Naples; the fallen and decadent aristocracy, oscillating between the frenzy of denying its own past glories so as to be more in harmony with the times and a deadly isolation; the clergy engaged in Vaticanism of the Democristian brand that dreams of a Guelph republic in which Naples does not count.”

In this chaos Tejada notes that “a few are socialists and others Savoyard monarchists, a few Papalists, a few are Garibaldini, a few look toward Moscow and others toward the Vatican…but nobody thinks of Naples, nobody is Neapolitan.”

Indeed, Tejada arrives at the point of writing that for seven years in the Parthenopean city he felt like a wild beast in a cage, an isolated animal ready to pounce, but sustained by the heritage of his blood (hidalguía) and by the oath made to his ancestors to explain the Neapolitan passion, in what consists the Neapolitan tradition, that is, the soul of my adored Naples.

In brief, Tejada sets forth the history of the Kingdom of Naples starting from the XVI century, from when it began to exist as a social entity, thanks to Ferdinando the Catholic, who “subdued the rebellious nobility and placed the Neapolitan common good above the political ambitions of infinite almost omnipotent little kings, capable of selling the Kingdom even to the Turks, as more than once they had thought of doing.”

Tejada often repeats that Naples is a Kingdom and not a monarchy that sails like a ship without an oarsman. At this point our scholar refers to several passages of the dynasties that ruled the kingdom  clashing with the rebellious nobles and princes. Therefore, for Tejada “the Kingdom of Naples acquired a solid structure when its kings subdued the rebellious nobility […] that is, when the Neapolitan kingdom entered into the confederation with the Spains.”

The most evident sign of this political entity above the anarchy of previous epochs were “the presence of the public representatives (procuratori popolari) at the meetings of the ‘Cortes’ introduced by Alfonso the Magnanimous as a Neapolitan adaptation of free Catalan institutions.”

The representative of the Catholic King preferred to have recourse to the Neapolitan people and convoked the people immediately to the “Cortes.” “With the formation of the Kingdom Neapolitan tradition was born, because there was taking shape a political institutional body which would permit Naples to differentiate itself from the neighboring states, not as a heap of anarchical feudal sands,  but rather as a political body endowed with a robust and permanent structure”. Tejada is precise in his description of the composition of the political system of that time: “The viceroy, the Sacro Consiglio Collaterale, the Corte della Vicaria, the chancellery organized by Ferdinando the Catholic in 1505, the parliaments with popular representation, the seggi (assemblies) of the Capital endowed with deliberation power, wove a coherent fabric that was the best that one could set in place at that time at those junctures.”

In practice there existed a strong alliance between the Crown and the people, to such a point that when the nobility fomented the uprisings in 1547 against don Pedro of Toledo, they were not revolts against the King of the Spains, but against the injustices of the petty lords, in fact Masaniello’s rebellion, “was a reaction against the abuses of the nobles, as Paolo Antonio di Tarsia testifies to in his ‘Tumultos de la ciudad y reyno de Napoles’, when on one hand he points out that the Neapolitans ‘showed themselves loyal vassals to their King, even amidst the impetus of the revolts and uprisings’ and on the other hand that they rose up due to the ‘highhandedness perpetrated by the powerful upon the poor people.’”

Here is Tejada’s intent to show the existence of a Kingdom with an autonomous political body, with its own institutions, with a particular right, with councils and Court separated, modeled by Ferdinand the Catholic and reinforced by his successors, always in a profound union between Crown and people.  

In the third paragraph the Spanish author highlights the characteristics of Neapolitan Culture. It is interesting to read these pages, because one discovers an unknown world of literati and scholars wholly part of Italian culture: the best poet in Tuscan living in Naples was Benito Gamet, born in Barcelona, much more learned than many other well-known poets. Tejada mentions some names: Bernardino Martirano, Fabrizio Luna, Benedetto di Falco, Luigi Tansillo. These Neapolitan writers according to Tejada, “lived in the hope of seeing all of Italy around the throne of their King, and they aspired likewise to the universal monarchy of Charles V.”

From a first habit of employing Tuscan, they then arrived at a subsequent anti-Tuscan offensive, as one may deduce from the writings of other authoritative scholars.  

Neapolitan culture is present in the field of Law, juridical science, a characteristic of Naples, in the XVI and XVII centuries, beginning with Andrea d’Isernia. To better know the various Neapolitan schools Tejada invites one to read his Nápoles hispanico (published in Italy, in six volumes by Controcorrente).

“In order to identify the intellectual energy of so many legal minds who made Naples the cradle of juridical science. Thus emerge a series of schools which comprise the richest mosaic of juridical studies in recorded memory, surpassed neither before or after by any people.

This Neapolitan culture was possible because the kings of the Spains were “steadfast in their traditional credo of respecting the historic personality of the kingdom, even when suggestions from Neapolitans themselves incited them to Castilianize the Neapolitan Kingdom.” Tejada brings up the example of Tommaso Campanella who advised Philip III in his Monarchy of Spain to “Spanishize” the Neapolitan Kingdom with the imposition of the language and customs and the laws of Castile. The good King of the true Naples refused this advice. 

With the cultural independence in letters and law the Neapolitan Kingdom had a historical mission: “to defend the Catholic truth of Christ against the enemies from the north and the south, against Protestantism and Islam”. Tejada observes that one is dealing with a task which he calls, “intellectual war," but which one may well understand as a “battle of ideas.” Whatever the case Tejada clarifies that even if it is difficult for some to comprehend this “war," certainly, the historic genius of the period “saved Christendom from being devoured by its enemies, thanks to the sacrifices of the other peoples of the Spanish Confederation, my ancestors courageously faced.”

Tejada at this point can write that those people federated in the Spanish monarchy were instruments of God. “If Protestantism and Islamism were not able to close the circle which would have crushed that Christendom which was still surviving the anthropocentric European revolution, it was because God availed Himself of our peoples as an instrument of His Glory and because our ancestors were able to consecrate themselves completely to the undertaking of fighting the battles of the Lord in the legendary ‘tercios’ or in the cathedras of Trento, in the war fleets or in the publishing of books.

Tejada’s is a fascinating juxtaposition: “the greatest glory of the Neapolitan tradition is this missionary sense, this intellectual war against Islam and against Europe. To overlook it or to deny it is to want to consciously overlook or deny the essence of the Kingdom of Naples.”

A clarification is useful, the Europa that Tejada contrasts is the one born from Enlightenment ideas, from the French Revolution, the ideas of Voltaire and of Rousseau.

Nevertheless, the greatest Neapolitan writers, an infinity of names proposed by Tejada, have opposed the various founding fathers of Europe, from Luther to Machiavelli, up to Bodin, to Hobbes. In fact, the typically European absolutist mentality unknown in the Spains, theorized by Jean Bodin, “was incompatible with the mentality of traditional Naples.” Therefore, he concludes the paragraph maintaining that “Neapolitan political thought, like the Spanish one in general, was anti-European, anti-Lutheran, anti-Machiavellian, anti-Bodian, openly frankly to the Counter Reformation. Islam and Europe were the national enemies. Up until 1700 the Kingdom formed a block with the rest of the peoples of the federated Spanish monarchy defending the intransigent theocentrism of Christianity against the new anthropocentric European civilization.”

After these affirmations one better understands why in history books the combatants of this federated monarchy, to whom the Spanish author refers, were derided and for centuries considered outcasts of humanity. 

In sum, for Tejada traditional Naples fixed itself on three points: “the intransigent defense of Catholicism, the passionate maintenance of the liberties of the Kingdom understood as a perfect and total body politic, the heartfelt service to the King, captain of the undertaking of the Counter Reformation and paladin of missionary Christendom.” It was evident that a Country with this curriculum could not but be opposed by the extollers of the European Revolution. 

Therefore, the history of the Spanish peoples of the last three centuries “would be the fight of the respective Spanish traditions against the foreign European spirit.”

In fact, for Tejada, even the development of the Kingdom of Naples, “would be identified with the polemic around its tradition assaulted by French absolutism of the XVIII century, by liberal Garibaldianism in the XIX century and by the ‘Roman’ one of Fascism in the XX which would succeed each other with one fighting the others without ever allowing for an authentically Neapolitan solution.”

The XVIII century saw the triumph of European ideas over the divided and carved up Spains. Even the Neapolitan national soul was tormented. Tejada writes: “the heroic idealism of the defense of Christendom became replaced by the vulgar pragmatism fashionable at the court of Versailles.” Literary men like Genovesi, Beccaria, Filangeri, Pagano, “scorn their history in order to kneel at the feet of their idol Voltaire.” Even in Law, Naples now aped foreign formulas. “Only the people protests and continues to speak Neapolitan, that Neapolitan that the erudite disdain, as they disdain Neapolitan letters, philosophy and jurisprudence,  competing with each other to complete a true and proper national suicide […].”

Tejada, applies the sad words of Ferdinando Galiani and glimpses a collective furor of the Neapolitans in renouncing their own traditions. A part of the Neapolitan people abandoned to itself sought to continue to be Neapolitan, among these Giambattista Vico, who “represents the last traditional voice with its aversion to modern culture, with its fight against European thought, faithful to the common Spanish tradition, faithful to Francisco Suarez […] the enemy of Hobbes and Machiavelli, those impious men, destroyers of justice, scandals of thought […].” Giambattista Vico, the final name in Neapolitan Tradition.

Tejada is not tender with the Bourbons, because they caused the loss of the Neapolitans’ love for the Spanish monarchs, precisely due to Neapolitanism, “which remained misunderstood by the French Bourbons.” Back in 1799, Vincenzo Cuoco was able to say, “the people no longer loved their king […] they still loved their religion, their fatherland, and they hated the French.” Tejada again maintains that in the XVIII century “Neapolitan tradition loses its sense of authentic monarchy, but feels nostalgia for Spanish liberties, continues to hate Europe, and believes in the traditional reality of Naples. Its battle cry will be long live the “Holy Faith” and the ‘Neapolitan people.’” So that Antonio Capece Minutolo, the Prince of Canosa, rather than a monarchical solution (harnessed in absolutism) was wishing for an aristocratic republic in union the “knights of the City.” Prince Canosa’s aspiration was to have“a Naples faithful to the national tradition of the Spanish times, tradition rather intuited than known […].” But all those thinkers in Naples as in Spain that wished for a traditional government, based on concrete liberties, not suffocated by liberalism and absolutism, remained unheeded. Therefore, in 1860 declares Tejada, “the liberals triumphed over the absolutists and the Piedmontese replaced the French. Naples was not dying then, it was already dead for 150 years when it had exited the monarchical confederation of the Spains.”

Now of the ancient great ideals, the Neapolitan people conserve only the Catholic faith, and the stupid political minorities, are working to tear down the only bulwark that remains of tradition.

Tejada’s study concludes with a symbolic walk on the old via Toledo, the preferred itinerary of many thoroughbred Neapolitans. And also here strolling with his fraternal friend Silvio Vitale, the last Neapolitan traditionalist, he continues the polemics against those Neapolitans that ignore Neapolitan tradition and even boast of it. Among these Tejada places Commander Achille Lauro who did not create cathedrals, centers of culture, publishing houses, research grants, for a true spiritual revolt, to save the salvageable of Neapolitan tradition. It is the usual deficiency that one finds in all of the so-called policies of the right and pseudo right. 

Contact: domenico_bonvegna@libero.it

Also see:

Forgotten Master/ The Traditional and Federative Monarchy of Francisco Elias de Tejada