Agema Publications

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St. Peters Basilica

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Deacon
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St. Peters Basilica

Post by Deacon on Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:16 pm


Today my wife and I attended mass at St. Peters. It was eye-opening to walk in and immediately see two monuments dedicated by the very Pope I'm playing in game 3. There is something about playing a character that makes the history seem so much more intimate!

Does anybody else experience this when they travel?
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Deacon
Emperor
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Number of posts : 1382
Age : 54
Location : Portland OR, USA
Reputation : 38
Registration date : 2010-04-13

Re: St. Peters Basilica

Post by Deacon on Mon Oct 29, 2012 6:11 pm


Did an after hours tour of the vatican today. Something very cool about going into the cabinet of the masques, the private audience room of clement XII, the guy who would be pope in game 3 if Benedict XIII wasn't still clinging to life. Then we go into a private chapel and there is an altar dedicated by Benedict XIII in 1725!

I'm too much of a gamer, because my first thought was "awesome! I did that."


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Re: St. Peters Basilica

Post by Guest on Tue Oct 30, 2012 12:16 pm

It is a different world, isn't it!?

It can be hard for us to appreciate just how different the power and influence of the Church was in 1700 (or even in 1900) compared to today, the dominance of the hierarchy and its reflection in the architecture.

In pre-Vatican 2 days the priest really did have an incredible hold over his flock. In Ireland a priest would walk round the village after mass, sending families into a state of panic, hiding the Sunday newspapers (which they were discouraged from reading), taking in the washing, etc. Often if things got out of hand at the local pub, the police would not be able to stop it, but as soon as the priest appeared, that was it. And if they hadn't been to confession before mass the following Sunday, the drunks were in trouble. Nowadays if a priest goes parish visiting, he is more likely to be seen as interfering, but it was expected even 30 years ago in rural Ireland.

Despite being a Catholic I have never visited Rome. I don't think I would cope with it very well. I can admire the history and the art, recognise its place in the transmission of faith and marvel at the vision of those responsible for creating it, but I've never been completely at ease with its reflection of the faith. I suppose the question is Would the church build the Sistine Chapel today? For me, the answer is no. Not because it couldn't, but because it doesn't need to: it wouldn't have the same meaning today as it did then. There is a similar problem with the buildings of the Foreign Office in London: superb Imperial edifices from which we ruled the best bits of the world, but when you are inside them you are perhaps reminded of how much things have changed. I don't feel the same effect when say visiting Blenheim as the Duke of Marlborough doesn't rule the country. But there is something different when the buildings are being used by the institution which designed them. And a very big difference when it relates to faith.

Although I'm a traditionalist, English Catholicism has been heavily influenced by the Reformation (when of course former Catholic churches fell into the hands of the heretics), so many new churches had to be built and the stereotype of simple Protestant vs ornate Catholic churches doesn't really apply. There is, however, a huge spiritual difference when you walk into an Anglican (former Catholic) church. I can't describe it very well, but I think it stems from the sense that a Catholic church is created as a house for God according to his design, whereas an Anglican church has been created as a place for man to worship God in ways that man feels comfortable doing. Although the architecture remains, the buildings are as likely to be hosting an exhibition of modern art when not 'required' for a service.

If you would like to try the complete opposite religious experience then you could always go to Lourdes and attend mass in the underground car park (Basilica). I found it quite dreadful the first time, and on subsequent visits rather comical. Far more spiritual was the simple shepherd's hut and the church on the hill at Bartres.

Quite what I'd make of Versailles if I ever visited that is anyone's guess?!

I hope you enjoy the rest of your holiday.



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