Sunday, April 23, 2006

Hand It Over

News from the Vatican about yet another problem. According to the Washington Post, the Catholic Church has launched a battle against gum and graffiti as it launches a year-long celebration of the 500th anniversary of St. Peter's. Apparently, many of the 30,000 or so basilica visitors each year leave their mark.
Visitor numbers have swelled further since the death of Pope John Paul II last April and thousands daily queue for hours to visit his tomb deep in the bowels of the church -- some of them dropping gum and scribbling on the marble as they wait.
I can't imagine what would inspire someone to scribble on the walls of a sacred space created by Michelangelo, Donato Bramante, Raphael and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Of course, it's hard enough for me to imagine chewing gum in any church. Thanks to my fine Catholic education, I learned that life-long lesson at a young age. If there was an 11th commandment, this would be it: You never chew gum in church.

Maybe the vatican should have retired Catholic school teachers stand outside the gates of the basilica with an outstretched palm and that "look" that says "Hand it over. Ditch the gum (and graffiti tools) right now!"

Problem solved.


At 1:33 PM, April 25, 2006, Blogger Liam said...

They do have nice young men in blazers making sure no one goes in wearing shorts or with bare shoulders. I agree that they should station Sister Michelle, my second grade teacher, at the door with a ruler and a stern expression on her face.

At 3:13 PM, May 03, 2006, Blogger Widening Circles said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 3:15 PM, May 03, 2006, Blogger Widening Circles said...

Got to admit, what I learned about gum in Catholic school was how to get rid of it--stick it on the bottom of the desk, the bottom of the cafeteria tables, and yes, even on the bottom of the pews in church. Not that I was chewing gum in any of those places, of course--just unlucky enough to find what others had left behind. Now, as an adult, I make a point to never touch the underside of any surface in church.



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