Along with the history and piety of Rome, hypocrisy runs amuck with fervent vigor. When entering a place of worship where cameras and mouths should remain quiet, the peaceful atmospheres are tainted by men in suits screaming, “shut up!”
Personally, I don’t carry a camera, and within the United States of Catholic America, I was never once told to be quiet when entering a place of worship. Somehow, it was merely implied by a honed glance from a parental figure, or receiving the Holy Slap from one of your siblings.
When entering the Sistine Chapel, the men in suits, or armed guards, were allowed only one weapon: A microphone. The microphone kept you in line like a surly whip wishing it was on vacation. My wife and I kept our respectful mouths and cameras to ourselves, but the other members of our unchosen flock did not acknowledge the signs prior to entrance. As though written with a quiet smile, the signs read, “Please, refrain from talking. Thank you”. Those oblivious to the signs clicked and talked away like they were at a Nascar track. It was at these moments when a medium, dressed in a tie and sporting a loud speaker, would scream at the top of his Holy Lungs, as though he were God or Michelangelo, “SILENCIO!”
With no chance of resurrection, it scared us half to death. After standing in line for two hours to enter the Chapel, it took only five minutes before were were silently running for the exits.
Next stop: Gelato Land……our own camera and mouth friendly place of worship.