2.28.2013

The Time I Saw The Pope

Let me start by saying that I'm not Catholic so if I got anything wrong, please let me know! Today is Pope Benedict XVI's last day. He gave his two weeks' notice after nearly eight years as Pope and is the first one to resign (instead of dying in office) since 1415. He said it was because of his age and health, but others wonder if there is a scandal. Whatever the reason, it is quite historic.

When Jacob and I traveled through Europe on our honeymoon, we spent a few days in Rome and toured the Vatican. We saw the Vatican Museums (Pio Clementino, Chiarmonti, Raphael rooms, Gallery of Candelabras, Gallery of Tapestries, Gallery of Maps), Court of the Pigna, St Peter's Basilica, and the Sistine Chapel. Since we were there over a weekend, we also saw the Pope.

Every Sunday that he is in Rome (which apparently isn't often in the summer) the Pope appears from his apartment window to give a speech in various languages (usually French, Italian, English, Spanish and German), the Angelus prayer, and a blessing. It lasts about 15 minutes and draws a huge crowd to St. Peter’s Square. Take a look!














Here's a little perspective for you:


Even though we aren't Catholic, I'm really glad we got to experience this. I mean, the Pope is one of the most powerful people on Earth! It was so interesting to see how the crowd reacted to him. There were a lot of tears. It sounded so beautiful and peaceful while everyone recited prayers with him. I was definitely moved during the blessing as well as inside the chapel and basilica.

I kinda couldn't believe the theme park feel of it though. There were gift shops and street vendors EVERYWHERE. You could buy anything with the Pope's face on it: playing cards, posters, aprons, stamps, spoons, post cards, hats, t-shirts, magnets, water bottles, books, DVDs, key chains, ornaments, everything. You could also get rosaries, crosses, crucifixes, medals, coins and other jewelry, but it was outrageously priced. There was some seriously expensive artwork too. I felt like I was at Disneyland.

Peace out, Benedict! 

12 comments:

Jodi said...

I'm Catholic but probably wouldn't even notice if you wrote anything "wrong." Haha! I've been there too but didn't get to see the Pope. It is a beautiful place. I agree it is a bit weird that they sell all that stuff. I don't really get that part of it. I hope he is actually retiring for the good reason of being old and tired of working and not due to scandal. The Catholic Church has seen WAY too much scandal.

SMD @ lifeaccordingtosteph said...

I'm a very very lapsed Catholic, I don't identify whatsoever with it anymore, but I would still go to see the Pope in a second.

Thank you for sharing your photos. Awesome.

Melanie Montgomery said...

Yea, Im a former Catholic, but even I get excited about the Pope!
I'm watching him leave the Vatican on the tv. I think maybe he's suffering from dementia or alzheimers and he feels like he can't do his dutys as Pope anymore.

Peace Love Applesauce- Terri said...

Oh man, that's a lot of people!

Jen said...

The whole situation is crazy to me. Very historic. I wonder what the real reason is. There is always south controversy surrounding the Catholic Church. John is catholic.

Kari said...

What a fun experience!

Gwen said...

I'm not Catholic either but we were there a few years ago and experienced the same thing you did. There were old ladies kneeling and weeping; there was a group of kids chanting "Benedetto" and clapping. Quite a spectacle, and I'm glad we saw it.

Misty said...

I'm fascinated by it, but obviously not Catholic. I had no idea it turned into a circus with vendors and stuff. Crazy!

Karen Peterson said...

I've never been to Rome, but I sure want to. And even though I'm not Catholic, I want to see the Vatican and all the cool things that come with it.

Sounds like the theme park thing takes a little something away from the spirit of the place, though.

Elle Sees said...

that's so awesome! i got to see the last pope's last mass at christmas(john paul). i'm not catholic either, but my mother's italian family is, so it meant a lot.

Tiffany @ Polka Dotted Cats said...

I love that even the pope has to give two weeks notice.

I'm an ex-catholic but PJP2 will always be my favorite pope. This one never sat right with me. He had a very unkind face.

I am not a religious person by any means, but this whole pope election process fascinates me!

Jodie said...

What an awesome experience!