From the Herald Tribune Bureau. ROME, August 19 – A pistol duel between two Romans for the honor of a lady that has taken place over the past two weeks has provoked a long and slightly troubled article in the Vatican newspaper “Osservatore Romano”.

All it takes to complete a “clinical” picture of the social grievances of the post-war period is a duel to win back one’s favor, the Vatican organ claims. Virtually every other physical and mental illness, from tuberculosis to alcoholism to immorality, is already thriving in the wake of the conflict, the paper says.

What was encouraging about the Rome duel, which should be noted, however, is that the “Osservatore Romano” points out that the duel did not take itself very seriously as a threat to human life. The only person who got to the hospital was the man who rented the guns, and what he noticed was a car on the way home. The gallants missed each other.

“The ridiculous” is probably the best way to fight such duels, the Vatican newspaper states ironically.

The duel flourished in Italy two generations ago, recalls the “Osservatore Romano”. At that time there were around 250 to 300 such fights a year. June through August was the busiest time of year, when the military, journalists, lawyers, and students were most likely to work on the field of honor. The mass warfare had diminished the dueling instinct in the intervening decades, so that a revival is not really likely, it says in the Vatican newspaper.

Sports competitions, so the paper, are the best form of dueling. As an exception to this rule, however, the “macabre American-style boxing sport” should be mentioned. The Vatican has long been fighting duels. Catholics are automatically expelled from the church when participating in duels.

– The International Herald Tribune, August 20, 1946.