Inside St. John Lateran

One of my favorite parts of the Rome Experience has been visiting all of the major Pontifical Basilicas. This is a statue of St. Bartholomew holding his own skin (he was skinned alive) inside St. John Lateran basilica. This church is the most important church in the world, because it is the pope’s cathedral. Many popes before the construction of St. Peter’s made St. John Lateran their home. I think the statues of the twelve apostles in this basilica are the most beautiful in the world. They are about 20 feet tall and were designed by Bernini. They are inspiring to say the least. The other pontifical basilicas are St. Mary Major, St. Peter’s, St. Paul Outside the Walls, and St.Francis of Assisi, in Assisi. The largest is St. Peter’s. The grandeur and the beauty of the churches here in Rome reminds me of the importance of praising and worshiping God before all else. Some one asked me why the Church didn’t spend all that money on helping the poor.  Three things come to mind: the Church is primarily an instrument of salvation for all mankind; these beautiful churches are a testament to the faith of the men and women who built them, which should encourage us to believe as well;  these magnificent buildings are not honoring simply a man like one of the popes,  but the One True God,  and he deserves our very best.

–Ryan O’Neill

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