http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/315853

Visiting the Vatican Gives Way to Moments of Awe Special

Posted Dec 9, 2011 by Romeo Marquez
Moments of awe had engulfed me once I set foot on this tiny enclave from where radiates man's temporal and spiritual powers over hundreds of millions of people the world over.
Armed with ceremonial swords  these Swiss guards are entrusted with security in the Vatican.
Armed with ceremonial swords, these Swiss guards are entrusted with security in the Vatican.
Once in Rome, the inevitable comes up, like a lightning visit to the Vatican, the land-locked city state within the Italian capital itself.
Though small in size - about 44 hectares enclosed by walls - it is a sovereign dominion from where radiates powers that are both human and divine.
That's because the Vatican is the center of world Catholicism, a church so huge and wide it has approximately 1.18 billion followers, or about the same population of China, the world's third largest country in land size.
Tourists and devotees gather at the huge St. Peter s Square in the Vatican. The tall structure on th...
Tourists and devotees gather at the huge St. Peter's Square in the Vatican. The tall structure on the right is the obelisk.
From my homeland, the Philippines, alone, Catholics are the dominant religious believers, comprising about 8o percent of the estimated 94-million population.
I was born and raised a Catholic. In recent years, however, my faith has significantly eroded.
I still could not reconcile humans as frail as anyone claiming spiritual authority over a vast number of people arrogantly taking advantage of their heavenly gifts, supposedly, to abuse our trust and confidence.
Scandals are not new in any faith but for one like me to believe in the immaculateness of Catholic priests and ranking leaders of the church is quite impossible to accept given the many scandals that gripped the church. It's personal because faith is personal.
The facade of St. Peter s Basilica facing the square.
The facade of St. Peter's Basilica facing the square.
And so for reason strictly confined to being a tourist and a journalist, I visited the Vatican. I was prepared to be impressed, and I was, the very moment I set foot on St. Peter's Square.
The feeling of wonder was sudden and immediate, even for a non-believer-in-the-making like me.
For a while I thought about re-igniting my faith. Perhaps my admiration for the majestic colonnades framing the square and the equally grandiose basilica was rubbing on me. That's quite superficial, I know.
But once there, it's difficult not to be awed and carried away by the physical structures that enclose the tiny enclave.
St. Peter s Basilica viewed from another vantage point.
St. Peter's Basilica viewed from another vantage point.
They are works of art perhaps intended to fire up beliefs in divine power, the same power that men on earth wield over other lesser mortals. Reflecting on the sad state of the church and what I see now, I decided the many reasons for my cynicism could be put on hold.
On the day of my visit, a long line of people queued up to see the interior of the basilica. I wasn't motivated to go in. Where I stood on St. Peter's Square was enough to let awe take over me.
The 25-meter tall obelisk  taken from Egypt in 37 AD  stands in the middle of St. Peter s Square.
The 25-meter tall obelisk, taken from Egypt in 37 AD, stands in the middle of St. Peter's Square.
Vatican: Regal papal apartment in the Apostolic Palace in Rome
Vatican: Regal papal apartment in the Apostolic Palace in Rome
The time indicated on this big clock is not the same as the time in the other clock at the other end...
The time indicated on this big clock is not the same as the time in the other clock at the other end of the building supposedly to confuse the devil.
Armed with ceremonial swords  these Swiss guards are entrusted with security in the Vatican.
Armed with ceremonial swords, these Swiss guards are entrusted with security in the Vatican.
The Vatican s mobile post office serving tourists.
The Vatican's mobile post office serving tourists.