Religion: The Vatican's Noisy Family

When a multimillion-dollar Vatican building program reaches completion next winter, it will add a boldly modern look to the city's architecture, as well as to a few Roman Catholic traditions. Chief among these is the peculiar spectacle known as the Pope's general audience. Since its beginning during the first decade of the 20th century, this event has usually taken place in St. Peter's Basilica, a resplendent setting that is unfortunately characterized by slushy acoustics and poor visibility. Centerpiece of the current Vatican construction is a sleek new papal audience hall designed by Pier...

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