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Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Fortunate Mistake

 Somewhere I picked up the notion that a good author to read was John O'Neill.  I didn't really find any fiction books that looked interesting, except one, The Fisherman's Tomb.  It promised to be the story of finding Peter's bones under the Vatican.  I pictured an Indian Jones thriller or a mystery.

Much to my surprise, The Fisherman's Tomb by John O'Neill is non-fiction. The book tells the background history of St. Peter. The scene is set by Nero, Diocletian, and Valerian. Constantine settles the climate with his Edict of Milan.  When Peter was crucified, his body was tossed in a trash heap.  Fellow Christians rescued his remains, minus his feet, because the executioners couldn't be bothered to pry the nails out of Peter's feet to take him down from the cross.  So they hacked off his feet.  

The entire project was underwritten by money from George Strake, a Texas oilman.  It is to him, that we owe the success of the project.  Credit also goes to Margherita Guarducci, archeologist extraordinaire.  She found the true bones and truly is the heroine of the project, overcoming the misogynist academia of the time.  God found a way.

The diagrams and photos are a bonus.  They explain what word descriptions can not.  I consider my first inquiry a happy mistake because I learned and reviewed history and enjoyed the story.

                                                                        Papal Necropolis

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