Vatican views


Better late than never? The title and template was uploaded last month and I have no idea what I originally had in mind for "Vatican views", reason being that recent weeks have been dedicated to foundation projects in Florence, namely When In Florence Tours and Eternal Tours Florence. Dreams of an early return to newly adopted country Ukraine always seem to be broken by Russian invasions, crashed economies, wild women, so on and so forth, so in between managing tourism projects here, there, and everywhere, writing articles has become some kind of normality check in between Rome, Przemyśl, and Lviv.

Pope Francis, self-styled saviour of lapsed Catholics, has already made great strides in tackling backyard corruption and subversive activities in the wider church. The anti-fracking socialist-activist from Argentina will visit Philadelphia, USA in 2015 and no doubt waddle on into the unknown thereafter, chiselling into tradition with his progressive ideals about homosexuality, abortion, women priests, and clerical celibacy. His "open-arms" approach to same-sex couples is currently being blackballed by Rome-based cardinals, while candid remarks to the media have attracted millions of morally ambiguous, left-wing part timers who call themselves Catholic whenever there is an argument to be had. He tows the line of "perspective" in the context of morality and calls for a "new understanding" of the Gospel, but antics akin to a willingness to sidle up to outspoken atheist Eugenio Scalfari's La Repubblica undermine his credibility in the eyes of staunch believers. The Scalfari Syndrome will out. For now, however, both men are under intense scrutiny. Needless to say, their recent "2% of global Catholic clergy are paedophiles" interview did not go down well with the die-hards.

Moving on from the Dark Ages (religion), I am having total recall about the original purpose of this article. Projection in August was to look at why tourists make their way to the Vatican most days of the year. Do they want to be closer to their God? See jaw-dropping art and architecture? Perhaps cling to the high walls which encircle and protect Pope Francis as an alternative to playing dodgem with Roman traffic? Rome tourism professionals pay assiduous attention to such details day in day out, it's the Vatican factor, and it causes stress, strain, a little pain, and a great many sleepless nights.

Some low-level experience of working in tourism tells me that the overwhelming majority of tourists go it alone inside the Vatican Museums and St. Peters' Basilica. Intrepid souls, however, take the plunge. Vatican Gardens, Vatican Necropoli (the official, restricted access, in high demand "scavi", not those beneath Via Triumphalis or other halfway house sites which are promoted as the real deal, when in fact they are just satellite excavations), and the cupola (dome of St. Peter's Basilica - 551 steps, or 320 + elevator) - all in a day's work.

A small number of organized tourists approach the Vatican voucher in hand having pre-booked tours online. Perhaps an equal number of indecisives stumble into the sticky net of Vatican gatherers and end up on a tour if they like it or not. This is the Vatican demographic, the Vatican way of doing things, or at least the way of doing things around the Vatican. Just another Vatican view.

Published on September 30th, 2014
© When In Rome Tours, article provided by Cajes.

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