Following our visit to the Scavi we made our exit through the Vatican Grottoes emerging under the arch at the northern end of the facade of the basilica. We were then able to re-enter the basilica through the narthex. The nave was somewhat crowded but we were able to make our way to past the high altar to where mass was about to begin at the Altar of the Cathedra. Mass was largely sung and in Latin so that we were able to actively participate. Some of the music was provided by what appeared to be a visiting choir of boys and men who, sadly, did not appear to know the chants of the mass. At the Communion they sang the Cesar Franck "Panis Angelicus" - which I confess is not one of my favourite pieces. After mass I had hoped to venerate St Peter's statue but was left in little doubt by one of the stewards ( I don't know the proper title of these gentlemen) that this would not be tolerated.
In fact there seems to be a deliberate policy of keeping people away from the statue as the barricades in the photo above will confirm. Here, as I have remarked elsewhere, things seem somewhat changed from my last visit in 2000. On the other hand it is good to know that Confession is still called the Sacrament of Penance here.
Before leaving St Peter's we were able to see the monument to the Stuarts- the tomb of James III and Henry Benedict the Cardinal Duke of York.
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