Most people today ooh-and-aah when they experience or envision a trip to Rome.
It was not always so. Until the era of modern tourism, trips to Rome were rare, undertaken only by the wealthy. For devout Protestants, encountering Catholicism’s Eternal City could often induce more revulsion than admiration.
In light of all this, it should come as a surprise that today there is a plan afoot, recently approved by Rome’s city council, to create a “Martin Luther piazza” in Rome. The site selected is on hill-top park area that overlooks the Colosseum. The impetus has come, of all places, from Rome’s small community of Seventh-day Adventists, an American Protestant denomination that traces its roots back to the Millerites, who among other things believed that the world was going to end in 1843.
Surprisingly, the Vatican has reacted positively to the news, issuing the following statement: “It’s a decision taken by Rome’s] city hall which is favorable to Catholics in that it’s in line with the path of dialogue started with the ecumenical [second Vatican] council.”