After three weeks of resting, we flew to Italy to join my parents in my father’s native village. I spent most of the summer of my youth there and it felt like I was coming home. I had to get over the shock that I was in fact no longer seventeen (yeah, it hurt a little) and that I had two children to chase around. But we relished in the mountain air, the pizza and the ice cream.
My husband and I took a night off for a lover’s vacation to Rome. We walked for two days in the heat along with the thousands of tourists and saw most of the piazzas, the Colosseum, and we stopped by the Vatican. The line up to get in spanned at least a couple of hours and since we had both been there before, we didn’t enter. It always felt more like a museum to me than a place of Worship. I look at the Vatican and what stands most prominent are the two statues in front: Peter and Paul. It is essentially a shrine to Peter and Paul and this girl will not bend the knee. Sorry. There is a statue of Jesus way on top amongst all the others, and basically no women amongst the throngs of other statues. Anyhow…
My husband went to sleep early, suffering a little from heat stroke. I decided to go out again to St-Peter’s. Seeing the basilica at night was a different experience. It felt quieter, more joyous, like it had to stop pretending… As I walked around I noticed stones at my feet. On the ground around the obelisk, were the cardinal points with the names of the winds associated with them.

North

 

East

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South

 

West

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also found a line of stone with the sign of the zodiac and the solstices. The holy site was showing me a different side that I had never knew. I went to the north wind and started to walk my circle. I went to the east and before me rushed the great boulevard which made it’s way to the gates. I could picture the sun rising up the boulevard as the city bustled slowly to life. I continued  around to the south, invoking the strength and courage of Michael. As I walked the few steps from South to West, I heard the following phrase in my head: Whatever rises must set. As I looked up, I saw the Vatican standing in all its glory. Whatever rises must set. Something rumbled deep inside me. Some things must not be allowed to go on. Some things must not be excused. Some things cannot be endorsed. Some things have to stop.
I was never one to take on a violent approach against the Church or the Church doctrine and I never will. But more and more, I am conscious of it. Where I used to be more nonchalant about it, feeling that it was just the way it is, I am starting to stand up and think: No, it shouldn’t be like this. We shouldn’t buy dogma for truth if it was made up by popes dead for hundreds of years (and some not even that). We can buy dogma for symbolism, teaching or mythology, but not for absolute truth. No amount of politicizing should justify actions that go against our Christian morals, like cheating, lying or stealing. The Church should help its people stand up and shine, not crush them under a rule of guilt and shame. Some things have to stop.
I’ve said before that I would never have a hand in destroying the faith of millions and I stand true to that. I had a discussion with a priest about the history of the Church and its Dogma. He is a little bit of a revolutionary (I pick my guys!) I asked him: ‘So, what do we do? Do we listen to the Pope on everything that comes out of the Vatican?’ He looked at me: ‘You have to listen to your conscience.’ Being in Rome, on St-Peter’s square, that’s what it boiled down to. Stand by your conscience.

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