Offbeat: “JP2″ Nightclub opens up in Roman Basilica’s Crypt

It appears that papists visiting the Eternal City have a new watering hole to checkout!

The Wall Street Journal reported last week:

The crypt of the Basilica di San Carlo al Corso near St. Peter’s Square has boasted tombs of cardinals for centuries. Today it is taking on a livelier vibe.

Rev. Maurizio Mirilli, head of youth ministry in Rome’s Catholic Church, has converted a section of the crypt into a nightclub with a live-music stage and a bar stocked with beer, Prosecco and other wine. Father Mirilli has christened the new watering hole GP2, short for “Giovanni Paolo II,” as the late Polish pope was known in Italian.

… For Rome’s young and restless, GP2 is the prime destination for mingling, dancing or having “a drink with a bishop,” Father Mirilli said Saturday night. … Father Mirilli sees the club as a bridge to carry young Italians back into the Catholic fold.

… “This place wouldn’t exist if [the pope] weren’t OK with it.”

The full article is well worth reading, if the topic interests you. I like the concept, though it took some close reading of the article to warm up to the idea fully. This young priest is trying to create a place where young Catholics can come together to enjoy fellowship over a pint or glass of wine without being exposed to the drunkenness and sensuality that overrides the typical 20-something nightclub scene. If I lived in Rome I would absolutely check this place out, and I hope the local Catholics do decide to drop by sometime.

If an American Papist reader living in Rome does visit it soon, I’d love a first-hand report!

Photo: Nadia Cohen for the Wall Street Journal [slideshow here]



  • Joan

    I do think some people are taking this out of context. It’s not fair to compare this to opening a pub in the crypt of the National Basilica. That crypt has been consecrated a church — there’s no indication that this crypt has been. It seems to be just the church basement. Yes, a cardinal is buried nearby, but it’s not odd for a Roman church to have a basement that is not a consecrated space, and then have a crypt nearby with interred clerics.

    I think more churches should set up places like this, where Catholics can gather, young adults can meet other like-minded young adults, and Catholic culture can come alive again. We’re not Puritans — we can enjoy alcoholic beverages in moderation.

    Yes, Eucharistic Adoration is wonderful. (that’s an understatement) But is there anything wrong with having a beer with friends after Adoration?! I don’t think so.

    I’m not sure what Church you all belong to, but I belong to the Catholic Church, which invented beer, doesn’t condemn dancing, and certainly doesn’t ask us to spend every waking moment in church praying.

    And can we please stop assuming that every priest who wants to hang out with young adults is preying on them? Heavens.

  • SJG

    I hate to be cynical, but…

    Clearly the way to combat the image of priests as predatory closeted homosexuals is to invite handsome young clubbers to church and ply them with alcohol.

    There’s no way that this could devolve into something seedy and defiled!

    It’s so great that the Church has realized that Christianity just isn’t relevant anymore and has to introduce new ways of reaching out to people.


    Seriously, young people have always been drawn to tasteless music, and parties, and alcohol, and the company of bad friends. The Church has always positioned itself as a refuge and a stronghold away from such things. It does not make the Church “relevant” or “modern” or “cool” or anything of the sort to indulge the bad behaviors of people who should be coming in repentance for their sins or in thanksgiving for God’s greatness.

    Speaking as a 23-year-old guy, I can tell you that there are lots of venues for people to engage in moderately wholesome socialization of the sort that this “GP2 nightclub” is going to offer, but there’s a real dearth of actual opportunities for participating in the life of the Church as it has been practiced for two millennia. God forbid that we should invite young people into churches to pray, or to adore the Eucharist, or to venerate the saints! Am I supposed to believe it’s better that they just listen to Black Eyed Peas and the Village People in a room that happens to have a crucifix in it?

    Jesus went into sinners’ homes and social clubs to convert them, he didn’t lure them to his house and feed their vices. This crypt-club is extremely disheartening to me.

    • Irishtroubadour

      Again, SJG, people throw such a fit at this. Heaven forbid we allow Priests and seminarians to actually enjoy themselves in a safe and controlled enviroment. Tastless music, parites, alchol and company of bad friends have always been the refuge of people who allow themselves to be put in those situations. I would think people who study theology and philosophy might know a few things on how to be classy, elegant, and dare I say tasteful. And heaven forbid we lock our priest’s and seminarians away in recotry’s and seminaries and tell them to just stifle there emotions, instead of refining them. The church has always been the forefront at having the best music, the best alchol, even dancing at its best (being a superb artform) is a way of showing people that know longer does there need to be a culture of “bump and gride” but elgance and taste, or are we go to lable that as something priest and seminarians cannot do becuase it makes them look too much like a metrosexual. It’s time to take the culture back and brings some of that old fashioned charm it once has. And if a priest wants to swing and lady around the room (heaven forbid it be his sister) then let him. He’ll know when he’s opening himself up to sin (and so should that woman too). And as a practicing, Irish Catholic, I know we can throw one hell of a party, and guess what the priest enjoy it to! Why, becuase we have their backs to support and watchout for them like they do for us!



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