Reflection on Pope Benedict XVI death and the Vatican city

Reflection on Pope Benedict XVI death and the Vatican city

Among the many things that set apart Europe as a continent and to be particular, Italy is is the history of Roman Catholicism and being a domicile of Vatican city. The Vatican, though considered a city state of its own, lies right within Rome, Italy and acts as the seat of papacy. So much detail exist about and around the origins and spread of Roman Catholicism. But one thing that will stand out in all is that it is the largest branch of Christianity at present with adherents being just over 1.3 billion globally. A few weeks ago, December 31, 2022 to be specific, the 265th Pope since St. Peter-Pope Benedict XVI passed on and his death provides us with an opportunity to reflect on Vatican city and its religious significance especially among the Roman Catholics and Christians at large. 

Pope Benedict XVI’s coffin closed-fare thee well

The Vatican mourns yet another Pope-Pope Benedict XVI

Among the Catholics, the Pope who resides at the Vatican and presides over masses at St Peter’s Basilica. The recent event in which Pope Francis presided over the requiem mass of the departed Pope Benedict XVI shines the light on how orderly and organized the church is in general and the great detail followed over years at the Vatican city. 

The Vatican city lies within mainland Italy but operates as a state of its own with the Pope as head. So, the death of pope Benedict XVI on one hand is of a retired pontiff. But over and above, he had an aura of a former leader of state too. The Vatican therefore not only provides religious orientation but also serves a mute political role which could explain the many trips that Pope Francis has made across the world. The pope even surprised the whole world by visiting Iraq and making statements about the instability in Afghanistan

The Vatican refines the identity of Papacy

Even as the entire religious family mourns the Pope, great memories of his role in championing for human rights and religious freedoms come teeming. The pope put himself in the forefront of advocating for unity, cessation of arms conflict and promotion of diplomacy in resolving all forms of impasse.

Reflection on Pope Benedict XVI death and the Vatican city
A Catholic mass ongoing

The legacy of Pope Benedict XVI draws us to reflect on the Vatican. The Vatican helps us to trace the life and times of the Pope being a place whose flag he got to hoist high as a pontiff. Lying only within a space of approximately 100, the Vatican city is so powerful. To quote the Bible in Hebrews 4:12,  the word of God is Sharper than any double-edged sword which explains why the Vatican being a seat of religious authority bears so much significance. 

Outstanding facts and distinctions about the Vatican City

Already so much information abound about the Vatican city. Some consider it a pilgrim destination while others just know it as the home of the Pope just like Buckingham Palace is to the Queen and King. But, there comes more to this religious city than what we already know.

Vatican city is the smallest of cities in the entire the world 

The city, considered  a sovereign, independent territory covers only a land area of 100 acres. Ordinarily, is a city within a country rather than a country in itself. Nonetheless, the Vatican City smallest as it may be is a state with the tiniest population of around 1000 people. Having a tour around the city will take just a short while and of course with the fascinating views you wouldn’t grow weary. 

A city where one can explore the world heritage 

To Christians and Catholics to be precise, the Vatican City comes across as simply a holy place where the Pope and his assistants live. However, the city provides critical and important points for those interested in learning world heritage, especially as regards religion being that Roman Catholicism is the oldest Christian faith. 

Vatican City displays one of the most famous cultural and historical gems including museums and churches. The Vatican also acts as the chief custodian of the Latin language, the official language of the Holy see. 

Criminal acts too occur in the Vatican city

Someone may imagine that being a city of the Pope, human evil never manifests in the Vatican. Far from it, the opposite is true. Pick pocketing, phone snatching and petty offenses still happen in the Vatican. How this happens in a place of less than 1000  residents can be baffling but it happens. But the crimes witnessed at the Vatican have much to do with the  high number of  tourists who come there.

Again, crime reporting is based on the registered population of the Vatican which does not account for guests visiting. This would only mean that the reported crime rates per capita becomes the highest than in any other country worldwide. 

The Vatican has some of the best  wines for  people with taste buds for liquor 

Something controversial about the Catholic faith is its lack of disdain for drinking wine and alcohol. Maybe this could partly explain why, despite being regarded as a Holy city where nothing secular abides, wine lovers always have something to clear their guts. 

Any wine lover would like to visit Vatican City. Reports have it that regular residents of the Vatican city consume up to about 75 litres of wine annually. This amount accounts to a double consumption of wine as compared to wine-prime countries of  France and Italy. Also, in Vatican City,  wine is sold duty free and the residents love sharing meals together in large masses. 

The language of Vatican residents 

The official language used in Vatican City is Italian. Italian is also the lingua franca, common to everyone and used in every domain except for the Holy see who uses Latin as the authoritative language.

No prisons in the Vatican

It may sound as the opposite of expected that despite reported cases of petty crimes in the Vatican, it doesn’t have any prison. Someone may then ask if really the city condones crimes or what informs the choice not to have a prison there. Critics go even further to characterize the Vatican as a lawless nation. But the truth is that crimes don’t go unpunished. Once a convict is sentenced, he/she serves their jail term in Italian prisons. It is however amusing that the Vatican government cover the imprisonment cost

No citizenship by birth in Vatican

Being a religious city, so many notoriously religious people would love to have citizenship in the Vatican. But lo and behold, it is not possible to have citizenship by birth there. Only those designated to work within the city acquire its citizenship.  In brief, citizenship in the Vatican  is only granted upon designation of work in different sectors usually under the authority of the Holy see. The good thing is that the citizenship is also granted to the other family members including the parents and spouse who live together.  Once the work contract expires, the citizenship ceases and gets  effectively terminated.

Important Landmarks to explore when at the Vatican city

People coming to the Vatican may overly say that they are on a religious mission but far from it, a lot of guests come from across the world just to visit. It is no bad thing to just travel over and explore the Vatican city, experience adventure and connect with this so awed city among the Catholics. Check out the following. 

St Peter’s basilica

It is recorded to be the world’s biggest church covering approximately 21000 square meters. What makes it unique is the tomb in which Peter, believed to be the first pope, was buried in just beneath the high altar of the church.

Reflection on Pope Benedict XVI death and the Vatican city
St Peter Basilica Vaticano, Vatican City

Sistine chapel

This is the permanent residence of the pope.  It is indeed a treasure trove with the wide collection of renaissance art being displayed. These paintings are believed to be of renowned artists to have ever lived in the world.

 St Peter’s square

Apart from its massive size, St Peter’s square displays statues of the 140 saints initiated by the followers of Bernini

Vatican museums 

Vatican museums contain several art galleries displaying extensive renaissance arts. This collection of art was accumulated by the popes in the 17th century. Of course they are priceless masterpieces from famous artists in the world.

Cupola di san Pietro

This is the dome shaped covering of the St Peter’s Basilica and from the top one can easily have a relaxed view of the city and its environs. 

Vatican necropolis

This is an archaeological site found beneath St Peter’s Basilica with impressive and massive sculptures, masterpieces of art and wood work among other fascinating things.

other interesting views to watch include the LA pieta, Baldachin no di san Pietro, the monument to Alexander VI, Porta Santa among so many other attractions

Indeed, Vatican City is a one stop place you wouldn’t want to miss out on.