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The wrath of Pope Benedict — CURT YEOMANS

Curt Yeomans covers government for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at via e-mail at cyeomans@news-daily.com. 

Curt Yeomans covers government for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at via e-mail at cyeomans@news-daily.com. 

Forgive me, holy father, for I have sinned.

OK, technically, it wasn’t a sin in the way the Bible defines that term.

I actually just violated the law of an overzealous theocracy-based nation-state sitting like a hump on the back of Rome.

This humble world traveler and occasional Catholic broke the cardinal rule of the Vatican when I visited the closest thing to Heaven I’ll probably ever see during a 2010 vacation in Italy.

I took a photograph of the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling.

Well, it was a contraband photo. The camera had to be held down at waist level and zoomed in a little to keep unwanted tourists out of the shot. Then the shutter button had to be pushed with no idea what was in the frame.

That produced a few crooked photos of God reaching out and touching a naked Adam.

In some shots, Adam is almost entirely cut out.

Others left him with nothing below the abs. That could actually be construed as the photographer framing the first man in such a way as to accommodate for modesty.

Meanwhile, Michaelangelo was rolling over in his grave while all of this was going on.

All of that is apparently a big “No-No” in the Vatican.

It’s hard to understand why that’s the case but apparently some pope somewhere along the line penciled in an 11th commandment which states, “Thou shall not compete with the gift shop by photographing the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling. We need the money.”

Anyone who has seen the ceiling fresco after its recent “restoration,” however, would agree the “no photography” rule makes no sense.

The ceiling now looks like Michaelangelo was resurrected by the pope and ordered to repaint the ceiling in the style of Andy Warhol.

It is just not a pretty sight.

It’s actually kind of blinding to the naked eye.

As soon as you walk in the chapel, you keep hearing the Vatican security guards repeatedly telling people not to take photos of the ceiling. And no, I’m not talking about the Swiss Guards. I’m referring to the less impressive guards who look like overgrown private school boys.

If they didn’t know any English before they came to work for the pope, the first phrase taught to them was “No photo.”

It’s all visitors hear them say, and they keep saying it every five seconds.

“No photo.”

“No photo.”

“Nooooo photooooo.”

One of the guards eventually got caught me preparing to take a photo and pushed my camera lens down.

As if that is supposed to stop this intrepid photographer.

Oh no, the guard pushed my lens down, how will I ever be able to ... to ... Oh, I can just raise it back up and take the photo, regardless of what he said.

Pushing the camera lens away from the ceiling tends to be their half-hearted way of stopping people from taking pictures. They have to do it a lot actually because nobody listens to their commands.

In a way, it’s sort of like an elementary school teacher trying to tell her students to sit in their chairs and keep their eyes pointed forward.

Not a single one of those students is going to listen and obey.

So even though I haven’t been excommunicated yet for my transgression, I am expecting to burn in Hell for eternity for it.

Well, maybe not Hell.

And probably not for an eternity either.

Perhaps it’ll just be a cup of scalding hot water for 20 minutes while a choir of angels sing “You broke the law and the Lord won” after death comes.

Curt Yeomans is the Senior Reporter for the Clayton News Daily and an avid traveler. He can be reached at 770-478-5753, ext. 247 or via e-mail at cyeomans@news-daily.com.