Catechism and Cheeseburgers

McDonald’s has opened a restaurant “within eyeshot” of St. Peter’s Square, and a cardinal has called it a “disgrace” that serves food “I would never eat.” A committee of local residents thinks it clashes with the architecture and traditions of the area.

The Vatican owns the building, and will collect $30,000 in rent every month from McDonald’s, which further complicates the issue.

I’ll admit that when I visited Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate in Berlin for the first time a few months ago, I was surprised to see a Starbuck’s nearby. Even though there was nothing flashy about the signage or lights, it stood out among the dull flat concrete walls of Cold War-era Allied embassies.

But it was also packed with tourists.

The McDonald’s near St. Peter’s fits in even better — its signage is reduced to demure gold letters set above seemingly unchanged doorways into an old building — and the area around it is filled with far gaudier restaurants and souvenir shops.

Check it out on Google Maps (the McDonald’s is set into the building on the right, though the image doesn’t show it).

I’m no theologian, but I don’t think burgers are mentioned in the Church’s teachings, and the bread in the Lord’s Prayer is a metaphor, not a bun covered in sesame seeds. Vendors hawking crap like “I visited the Vatican and all I got was this lousy T-shirt” look respectable when compared to the Church’s medieval retail history…

Read the entire essay at Linkedin