Just got back from a trip to Europe, primarily in Italy. While I found the buildings and architecture beautiful, I was truly a bit stunned by how insanely opulent Catholic buildings were there, especially the Vatican.

St. Peter’s is insanely lavish with most of the ceiling covered in gold and priceless mosaics. Numerous structures build by past Pope’s are covered in marble that was so expensive, only Popes and Emperors could afford it. And of course the Vatican houses the world’s largest amount of treasure.

While I can appreciate the beauty of it all, I also felt a bit conflicted and disgusted walking through the Vatican. For a complex dedicated to the worship of a poor carpenter who emphasized the value of the poor and needy, I was truly astounded at how much money is wasted on those buildings. You could probably feed the entire world’s population for centuries just with the gold and marble used to build Saint Peter’s basilica. That’s not even counting the rest of the complex or the endless treasures housed in the Vatican museums and archives.

I just have a hard time reconciling the opulence of the Church with the teachings of Christianity, and walking through the Vatican actually bothered me.