We arrive in Salerno to visit the bones of St. Matthew, apostle of Jesus and (supposed) author of the Gospel of Matthew. Scholars are very doubtful that Matthew wrote this gospel.
Based on her reading, Karen says that the Christmas story, as told in the Gospels, was added hundreds of years later and that there was no census requiring Mary and Joseph to travel to Bethlehem. “It doesn’t make any sense to force people to go somewhere for a census,” she says. “There’s no historical record of a census.”
I agree that a Roman census would have resulted in documents that could be studied by modern historians. I tell her that the story is what counts.
“Stories have power,” I tell her.
We view the main altar at the Basilica of St. Matthew.
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