dimanche 16 juin 2013

Buenos Aires - 3. The McDonald's of Churches

Every large, Indo-European city worth its weight in gold has a number of historic cathedrals and churches. Do you know what I love about the Roman Catholic church? It is like the McDonald’s of churches. No matter what city you are in across the world, no matter the date, or time, or season, you will find exactly the same mass, or service, going on inside of the church that is going on at every other church across the world. There is a set reading. There is a set format. First the Old Testament reading, then the New, then the Priest’s reading, then the homily or sermon, then the collection, then the shaking of hands, ending with the eucharist or breaking of bread. In every single church. The exact same menu.
   This is why people love McDonald’s too. You know that no matter where you are in the world, here you can get something you recognize. Something that is similar to home, plus a clean toilet.
  There is something very comforting in a set menu. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the language; that you have no idea where you are on the map. You can take solace in knowing that you recognize this one little bit of the culture, of the city you find yourself within. Here it’s familiar.
   In Catedral de Buenos Aires, we found this and celebrity. In one week’s time, following our visit, the Pope, the actual Pope, ‘Papa Francisco’, will be holding mass inside of the church we were sitting. How amazing is that? To think that in just a few days time, it would be THE Pope that would be serving us ‘the bread’! Just for safety’s sake, I bought my Aunt a chaplet from this Pope’s church. It says, “I was here in a church like any other across the world, and I brought you back this chaplet from the Pope.” She’ll like that. After all, who wouldn’t want a ‘Big Mac’ from Buenos Aires?

    Taking a stroll down through the Museum of Modern Art we also saw a very familiar form – realistic portraits made of lamb and lama wool by Mondolo. It was a gift for cousins Jane and Will Elliott, who make their lives’ work of creating original wool dyes and structures out of the material. Jane, this portrait of Fogwill, made entirely of hand-dyed woven lamb’s wool, is for you:

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