What is Tibi dabo claves?
1) A Disneyland attraction

2) A phrase establishing the primacy of the Church of Rome.

3) Latest tube of Tik Tok?

The answer, of course, is number 2.

The Latin phrase Tibi dabo claves — “I will give thee the keys” — is the cornerstone of the legitimacy of the Pope of Rome to rule the Universal Church.

So why are we talking about this?

Because today’s Magazine is really special — we’re talking about nothing less than the reopening of the Vatican Museums!

Vatican Museums Reopening
Reopening of the Vatican Museums

It was a one-of-a-kind experience, walking through those vast semi-deserted spaces chock.

It’s full of the masterpieces on which Western humanity and culture were founded.

One thing in particular struck me as surprising and moving.
What was it?

The Laocoon? Raphael’s Rooms? The Sistine Chapel?

None of the above, but I’ll tell you in a bit.

Speaking of the Sistine Chapel, I’ll say that it is here that you’ll find the wonderful fresco by Pietro Perugino.

It shows Jesus in the act of giving Peter the keys and saying that phrase.

Sistine Chapel Fresco by Pietro Perugino Tibi Dabo Claves
Sistine Chapel Fresco by Pietro Perugino

But it’s hard to give it its rightful importance.

Standing so close to the absolute icon of Western art, God’s two fingers conferring the energy of life to Adam, certainly does not help.

The viewer may already be suffering from a touch of the Stendhal syndrome, dazzled by Michelangelo’s figures.

You can have trouble giving the due attention to the frescoes on the nearby walls.

Michelangelo The Last Judgment
Michelangelo The Last Judgment

But we must admit that Perugino is in good company.

We also glance too quickly at the works of his fellow Umbrian artists initially brought in by Pope Sixtus IV Della Rovere.

These include great artists the likes of Pinturicchio and (Umbrian by adoption) as well as the Florentines who came after them.

Their names: Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Biagio D’Antonio, and Cosimo Rosselli.

Tibi dabo claves, “I will give to you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Sistine Chapel Fresco by Pietro Perugino
Tibi dabo claves Sistine Chapel Fresco by Pietro Perugino

Imagine how Peter felt.

The Keys of Heaven to him, a poor, ignorant fisherman.

To him, who on the evening of the Passion denied Him three times, and terrified, abandoned Him like all the other disciples except John.

Along with Peter, the Church was entrusted to Saul too.

He, before converting and becoming Saint Paul the Apostle of the Gentiles, spent his time merrily exterminating Christians.

Apparently, Jesus never looked at the evil one had done in the past, only considering the good they would do in the future.

Sarcophagus of Costantia Vatican Museums
Vatican Museums Sarcophagus of Costantia

These days the primacy of the church of Rome may seem nothing, already outmoded, but that’s not true.

To challenge the primacy of the Church of Rome, some wanted to see the tradition and texts of the Acts of the Apostles as a legend, maybe a nice little story.

Fortunately, the amazing work of the archaeologist and epigrapher Dr. Margherita Guarducci put an end to all this.

Her research has proven incontrovertibly the presence of the tomb and bones of St. Peter in the Vatican.

Saint Peter The Baldachin by Gian Lorenzo Bernini
The Baldachin by Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Relatively recently, the historical legitimacy of another matter that had been considered a myth or a legend, has been proven true.

It’s the sacred rite of the foundation of Rome on the Palatine, thanks to the work of Andrea Carandini.

We should take care with myths, legends, and traditions, always giving them their due importance.
They might be denied, removed, and kicked out of the house, but they will always come back in through the window.

We have to take them into account because they are in our blood, they are the roots without which even the grandest, most majestic trees dry up and fall down.

In our era, according to the System, a civilization can only stand on Science, Technology and, Money.

The harmful consequences of that belief are plain for us all to see.
OK, that’s it for my little theological/catechetical/historical/apocalyptic lesson.

Gallery of the Candelabra Vatican Museums
Vatican Museums
The Gallery of the Candelabra

Back to my incredible museum visit, I can only tell you that it was a one-of-a-kind feeling.
I had not gone inside the Vatican Museums for many years.

I often happen by Via Leone IV and must confess that the interminable line that can go as far as Piazza Risorgimento, has always put me off.

Artistically speaking, I don’t know what to say.

What is left to say that hasn’t already been said about the countless wonders in these museums?
Truly nothing.

Hall of the Chariot Vatican Museums
Vatican Museums
Hall of the Chariot

So, I’ll tell you instead about the thing that deeply moved me.

It was seeing a father with a distinct Roman accent teaching his son about techniques.

He explains the secrets of ancient goldsmithery, showing him the jewels in the museum, known as the Treasure of St. Peter.

He was a goldsmith. I had the chance to chat with this lovely person, and we realized that we shared the same impressions.

Being able to come into St. Peter’s so easily, in peace and quiet, was an indescribable feeling.

Apparently, we weren’t the only ones to think so.

In the museums, I came across four colleagues including antique dealers and artisans.

If there had still been those mile-long lines, that little Roman boy would never have been able to get into our St. Peter’s.

Maybe by time you’re reading this, the situation will have gone back to the old days.

Endless lines of tank tops, sweaty people, short shorts.

Red skin, holding crumpled slices of pseudo pizza, flip flops on their feet.

Many are awaiting their return like a gift from God, a solution to the vast unemployment and huge economic pain.

They are probably right.

But I’ll leave you with a question.

How did Rome and Italy at their finest, in the 1950s and 1960s, manage to have an economic boom without these invasions?
(whether barbarian or not)


Vatican Museums St. Peter`s Dome
Vatican Museums
St. Peter`s Dome