Sunday 21 January 2018

Lise Hand: Phone jammers and giddy nuns at the Vatican

Nun pray while cardinals hold a mass at Saint Peter Basilica
Nun pray while cardinals hold a mass at Saint Peter Basilica
Lise Hand

Lise Hand

The interior of St. Peter's Basilica is little short of jaw-dropping. A soaring Renaissance triumph of gleaming gold, every apse peopled with marble cherubs and angels and stern fathers of the Church and the silent tombs of 91 popes.

From the outside, it seemed impossible that it could contain the endless queue of pilgrims and nuns,  priests, monks, friars and young seminarians which completely encircled St. Peter's Square and which had begun at 5.30am in the dark and the drizzle.

But just after 8.30am the vast crowd began to stream (or, as in the case of some eager nuns, run) up the wide steps and in through the huge doors of the basilica. And they just kept pouring in, without pause. There were sensible plastic chairs in the place of pews and even when the massive queue had tailed off, there were places to spare.

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