A visit to the smallest country in the world

June 22nd, 2008


Last month Gema and I spent a few days in Rome. One of the amazing things about Rome is that no matter where you turn there are Roman buildings.

We decided to take a tour of the Vatican. Strangely enough, despite my heretical ways, I did not burst into flames as soon as I set foot on holy ground (but I brought bottles of water to pour over myself just in case).

Something bothered me throughout the whole tour, though.

Was it the notion that men who had taken a vow of poverty and who preached that it was “easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven”, chose to surround themselves with all the trappings of royalty?

No.

Was it that all the beautiful works of art and sculpture seemed to be monuments to the egos of popes rather than to the glory of God?

No.

The tomb of Pope Alexander VII. Was it God, God, God, God, God! or Me, Me, Me, Me, Me!

Was it the seemingly incongruous presence of defensive fortifications designed to protect popes from angry Romans (rather than from foreign invaders, as one might assume) by pouring boiling oil on them?

No.

The Sistine Fort, showing the openings through which boiling oil could be poured on revolting Romans.

Was it the question, as I passed through the Sistine Chapel that if the Pope really was God’s representative on Earth, why was he elected by a group of men, instead of picked out by a beam of golden light?

No.

Was it that an ancestor of Sylvester Stallone’s was, apparently, a cardinal?

No.

But a blog entry by Michael Nugent on how the Vatican became a country made it click for me…

The Vatican is made of Lego!

2 Responses to “A visit to the smallest country in the world”

  1. Geri Atricon 25 Jun 2008 at

    Crikey, I never knew that! Is the pope made of play dough? Or was that just in a dream I had about religion being man-made?

  2. Declan Chellaron 25 Jun 2008 at

    I got the impression while I was there that he is made of gold, Geri.

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