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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Comparing the Vatican Wall with the Temple Square Wall

You probably know that the Catholic Church’s headquarters are based in Rome, Italy. You probably also know that the Mormon Church’s headquarters are based in SLC, Utah.

I grew up in Utah so the Mormon's Church's presence and dominance in the city were well known to me. When I recently visited Rome, I expected to find the Catholic Church dominating Rome in a similar fashion to what I knew from my Utah experience. But I was not prepared for the dramatic and more intense prominence of the Catholic Church within that city. Part of the difference is that the Vatican is it's own country. Also, the Vatican has been around for a lot longer than the Mormon Church has been around in Utah. But still, the Catholic Church's prominence and dominance really did give me pause.

Let me give you an example. Here is a photo of SLC's Temple Square gate. I assume the gate and wall are probably ten feet high, or what is considered "one story tall":

Here is a photo that may help you visualize the scale of the temple square perimeter wall:
Here is a photo I took of the Vatican perimeter wall. It is probably 3-4 stories tall.

Here are people lining up to get into the Vatican Museum where the wall is even taller at this location.

I must say, the Catholic Church's dominance is much more overwhelming in Rome than the Mormon Church's prominence is in SLC, UT. There is so much more history and longevity of the Catholic Church in Rome and that has made a huge impact on the city scape.

I don't think there is any way you could visit Rome without seeing or feeling the presence and dominance of the Catholic Church within that city. It's presence is in everything; art, architecture, culture, history, and at time even the removal or suppression of some of the art, culture, history, that it may not have liked or approved.

The Catholic Church's influence is a very much a commanding force in that region and more so than I expected; probably about 10 fold more intense than the Mormon Church's dominance in Utah. With that dominating cultural influence, I found it rather surprising to also learn that Italy has the lowest birthrate in the WORLD. I was surprised by this fact since the Catholic Church doesn't believe in birth control and most Italians are Catholic.

In a way it would be like visiting Utah and thinking you won't be able to get a cup of coffee while you're there, but then discovering there is a coffee vending machine setup in every building so you can secretly get your coffee without anyone's knowledge. (Well, maybe it isn't a good comparison, but in my mind, it was that kind of a surprise).