the papal blessing on the spanish steps

I used to laugh at the stupid people who’d crowd and wait hours just to catch a glimpse of celebrity, and today, I became one of those stupid people myself.

I shivered two hours on the Spanish Steps for the occasion of the Immmacolata Concezione (feast day for the Immaculate Conception, the belief that Mary was conceived without original sin). On this day, the Pope will give a short public blessing.

The event was due to begin at 4pm; check out the crowd at 3.30pm:

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While waiting, the rosary was prayed over the speakers, and some hymns to the BVM were sung. Most people were just chatting though.

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Upper left corner of the second picture shows a plaque saying that John Keats (of Ode on a Grecian Urn, Ode on Melancholy) passed away at this house.

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Flowers dedicated to the Holy Mother

Anyway, those two hours in the cold culminated in a short blessing (piped out via speakers), and then the moment that everybody was waiting for –

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Did I really wait two hours in the cold just to watch a man in white drive by slowly? For a day celebrating a doctrine I don’t believe in? When I’m not even Catholic? (not that you’d be able to tell from the number of masses I attend) Just for ‘bragging rights’ to say I’ve seen the Pope with my own eyes? Why do people even do this?

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