I learned a lot of new things about cities and countries in the western Mediterranean because my wife and I took a two week cruise there in June. We shipped out of and returned to Barcelona, Spain. We visited Croatia, Montenegro, four cities in Italy (Venice, Naples, Rome and Florence), and Toulon, France.
We visited a number of churches, including St. Mary of the Friars (13th century) and St. Marc’s Basilica (7th century) in Venice and the Sistene Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica (16th century) in Rome. In Barcelona, we also visited St. Mary of the Sea Cathedral (14th century), the Cathedral of Barcelona (14th century) and the Church of the Sacred Family (20th century).
With one exception, all of these churches were built centuries ago, and all required decades of time, enormous effort and great artistic talent. With a few exceptions (including the Church of the Sacred Family in Barcelona) our modern societies don’t seem to have the same level of passion, patience and talent to build magnificent churches. It is clear that religion is not at the center of our life as it was to the people of past centuries.