basilica Archives - St. Stephen's University

Museums, Churches, & Museum Churches

By | 2011, Europe | No Comments

After several escapades in Asia visiting temple ruins, shrines, and encountering many other sacred sites, I find myself the tourist in my own religion. Here in the heartland of the church, as I know it in Canada, Europe is proving to be an interesting challenge. With every new cathedral, chapel, basilica, or church I visit I find myself negotiating reverence for a holy place with academic and artistic curiosity. Does a basilica filled with tourists snapping photos and buying tokens of their visit cease being God’s house? Is it really just another museum? If I buy a postcard here or take a picture of a sculpture there, would I become one of those who Jesus shunned out of His Father’s house? And lets face it, at the end of the day I am essentially just another tourist. These are a few of the questions I find myself asking as I enter the magnificent places of history, craftsmanship, and faith here in Spain, in France, and in Italy. Perhaps my questions are not that far off from Luther’s own over 500 years ago. Now it is my turn to chose how to respond.