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]



  • Michelle

    kinda like theology-on-tap but way cooler!

    • Gabe

      Michelle, you need to take a Moral Theology class because if you think this is “cool,” you would probably also think it is “cool” to have theology-on-tap in an adoration chapel. A moral wrong does not excuse “good intentions.” Sacrilege–setting up a bar with dancing, live music, and alcohol in a holy place–does not make the good intentions of getting youth out of immoral bars of Rome correct.

      • Michelle

        Let’s not forget that Jesus’ first miracle was making more wine to continue the celebration with family and friends. The key is: all in moderation. And this might be the best place to teach that. Sometimes you have to meet people where they are at.

        • Anthony OP

          Michelle, you are missing the point. Nobody (I think) is concerned about the presence of alcohol or the risk of drunkenness. We trust the supervising priest and staff to maintain good order.

          The problem is that they’ve built a pub in the crypt of a church, where the bodies of dead clerics are interred. This is a sacrilege of the highest order – turning a place that has been consecrated for a sacred purpose into a profane one desecrates it.

      • Dan

        haha, way to take things WAY out of context Gabe. And adoration chapel? Oh heavens no! The church is actually trying to meet people where they are at. Wake up.

  • Gabe

    One more thing. Catholics who have no problem with this need to go back and take Moral Theology 101. Something morally wrong, in this case sacrilege, never can make good intentions morally right.

    Would we here in Washington think it is okay to close down a chapel in the National Shrine and convert it to a bar with alcohol served, dancing, and live music in the National Shrine just because we had the good intentions of getting a place where young Washingtonians and morally confused Catholic University students could go as an “alternative” to bars in Washington, DC?

  • Gabe

    This is a sacrilege. A bar where young people can get drunk with friends in a holy place, with live music and dancing? And some Catholics have no problem with it? How about setting up bars in all the churches or even in front of the tabernacles if “fellowship” is the key?

    Also, it masks the problem of alcoholism in the Church. Far too many priests and those who would consider themselves good Catholics are alcoholics, even if they don’t realize it. They can’t have a good time without a “drink.”

    This story shows what is wrong with the Church today. In one of the holiest places in the world, they set up a “nightclub”?

    • Irishtroubadour

      Gabe, no offense, but are you a priest or a seminarian? Have you talked to priest’s and seminarians about this? Do you know most seminaries have bars on campus, and though, yes, human nature can kick in and people can get drunk. But people also know that its a great time you can have. To talk about theology and philosophy outside of a classroom enviorment is so much more not boring than in the classroom.

  • Benjamin Baxter

    I warmed up to this just enough not to worry. Too much.

  • Giovanni A Cattaneo

    I am surprise and ashamed that something like this is happening in the Church, had I not read it correctly I would of thought this was another Anglican attempt at staying relevant.

    Truly sacrilege has no meaning in our times.

  • Grace

    Yes, I read VERY closely as well! But it does seem like a nice idea, like someplace I’d like to go!



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