In one of the great spectacles of Christendom, yesterday's PopeStop at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (homily) saw the unleashing of the botafumeiro -- the Spanish shrine's famous 5-foot-tall mega-thurible, suspended from its ceiling and said to reach top speeds approaching 70 kilometers an hour (42mph) as it swings across the sanctuary, peaking at an arc of some 200 feet....
Here, the moment in full:
While the tradition of a large swinging censer at Santiago dates to the 11th century, the botafumeiro used yesterday first took flight in 1851.
Centuries earlier, in one of the device's many mid-swing accidents, a prior model flew out a window of the cathedral, which was dedicated in 1128.
One of global Catholicism's most prominent chroniclers, Rocco Palmo has held court as the "Church Whisperer" since 2004, when the pages you're reading were launched with an audience of three, grown since by nothing but word of mouth, and kept alive throughout solely by means of reader support.
A former US correspondent for the London-based international Catholic weekly The Tablet, Palmo's served as a church analyst for The New York Times, Associated Press, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, BBC, NBC, CNN, National Public Radio and many other mainstream print and broadcast outlets worldwide.
A native of Philadelphia, Rocco Palmo attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. In 2010, he received a Doctorate of Humane Letters honoris causa from Aquinas Institute of Theology in St Louis. In 2012, he was named an at-large member of the Pastoral Council of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia by Archbishop Charles Chaput OFM Cap.