1855. Absolutely not. They want to surreptitiously snap a picture with their phone of the Pieta, and later that morning take another picture of the Sistine Chapel, so that they can post it to their Facebook page, and their friends can “like” it and be reminded that they are in Rome today, and are going to Madrid at the end of the week.
1856. The point is that the Vatican uses those famous works of art to generate a steady stream of cash, accumulating endless amounts of money because of the population on the world’s intense desire to travel and to see famous things, and go home and impress their friends with their good fortune. It has nothing whatsoever to do with religion, or the purpose those works of art were created to serve. It is one thing only, the economic engine of the tourist trade.
1857. When Christ does return, his first job is going to be, to whip the tourists out of the temples, where they have no legitimate business. But meanwhile, without them, churches like myself are destined for destruction, unless we can contrive some way to get those tourists to file in here and have a look at something mentioned in a guidebook published by Fodors.
1858. I found the conversation of this Church so interesting that I was delighted when she invited me into an interior room just off of the kitchen of the institution, and asked me if I would not like to sit down and have a cup of coffee with her. She disappeared into the kitchen, and I sat down at a small table. Soon she returned with a small try on which was one of those very old-fashioned tin coffee pots the French used long ago and two very antique cups covered with very fine tiny brown cracks, and some Anisette Toast.