When in Rome, we visited St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, the headquarters of the Catholic Church. Here is a reflection that I wrote for my Religion class.
While I was in Rome, I visited St. Peter’s Basilica. I had dreamed of going there for years, ever since I had learned all about it in my high school art history class. I couldn’t believe it; here I was in Vatican City, the world headquarters of the Catholic Church! What an amazing experience. La Pieta, Michelangelo’s famous sculpture was so beautiful; everything I imagined it to be and more. Bernini’s towering baldacchino that stood above the altar was even bigger than I imagined. The interior of St. Peter’s was very ornate and intricate, with lots of gold and bronze; there was not one inch of undecorated space in that building.
We also visited the crypt, where all of the previous popes had been buried. There was a crowd of people around the tomb of Pope John Paul who died in 2005. Many seemed to be mourning and placing flowers on his grave and some were even crying. It was interesting to compare this to the graves of our previous prophets. They are buried in much more humble circumstances and do not usually have many visit their gravesites. Seeing all of the popes’ graves made me ponder on the process of papal election. When one pope dies, all the cardinals debate about who should be the next pope. When they come to a decision, smoke signals are sent through a chimney to tell the news.
I was comparing this to the way a new prophet becomes the head of the church when the previous one passes, just as President Monson did a few years ago. The process seems to rely on God and is very structured and just seems to make sense. The quorum of the twelve works together and agrees; they are all men of God that are inspired to lead the church. St. Peter’s was beautiful, and I was so grateful for the amazing opportunity I had to be there, yet every time I visit another church, I am even more grateful for our temples and churches and the truth that I know.