The Catholic Hypocrisy
Sitting at a traffic stop on my way home from work, I happened to glance at the church on the southwest corner of the intersection. While admiring the ornate traditional French architecture, landscaping and living quarters I noticed a billboard on the property. It was a petition for funds to renovate the steeple. It reads something to the effect of "help us meet our goal".
The local newspaper reported "A major renovation of the tower to deal with the rotting wood was previously planned to start in mid-2008 and was expected to cost $1.5 million to $2 million. With repairs to exterior brickwork recently added to the project, the renovation cost is now estimated at $3 million."
The parish has about $400,000 raised, which will cover the removal of the spire and belfry. About 70 per cent of the $3 million has to be raised before the diocese will permit the restoration to start.
What puzzles me about this undertaking is the lack of involvement on the part of the Church itself. Why is the church petitioning the public for support to repair a facility that is owned by the Catholic Church? Every Sunday worldwide,donations from parishioners are collected for God's work. Don't get me wrong, I am a God fearing Christian man, but, should not the church be responsible for maintaining itself, namely the Vatican, the head of all things Catholic? Then I thought, if I write this piece I'm really going to get skewered, oh well, here goes.
United Nations World Magazine reported the Vatican's treasure of solid gold has been estimated to amount to several billion dollars. A large bulk of this is stored in gold ingots with the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, while banks in England and Switzerland hold the rest. But this is just a small portion of the wealth of the Vatican, which in the U.S. alone, is greater than that of the five wealthiest giant corporations of the country. When to that is added all the real estate, property, stocks and shares abroad, then the staggering accumulation of the wealth of the Catholic church becomes so formidable as to defy any rational assessment. The Catholic church is the biggest financial power, wealth accumulator and property owner in existence. One of the greatest possessors of material riches than any other single institution, corporation, bank, giant trust, government or state of the whole globe. The pope, as the visible ruler of this immense amassing of wealth, is consequently the richest individual of the twentieth century. No one can realistically assess how much the church is worth in terms of billions of dollars. Is becoming a financial superpower God's work, is that what he envisioned for the world?
Some idea of the real estate and other forms of wealth controlled by the Catholic church may be gathered by this remark made by a nationally syndicated Catholic priest,
"The Catholic Church,' he said, 'must be the biggest corporation in the United States. We have a branch office in every neighborhood. Our assets and real estate holdings must exceed those of Standard Oil, A.T.&T., and U.S. Steel combined. And our roster of dues-paying members must be second only to the tax rolls of the United States Government."
The Vatican Billions
Avro Manhattan 1983
I had occasion to visit the Detroit Institute of Arts in 2000 to see an exhibit entitled, Angels of the Vatican. When I entered I was overcome by the beauty of the masterpieces adorning the walls of the museum, the pungent smell of the incense entombed in the tapestries filled the room. At that time I had no idea what I was looking at other than the works of the masters, Rembrandt, Michaelangelo and Divinci. Today I am stunned that the Roman Catholic Church hordes such wealth and flaunts it while millions of people around the world are poor, suffering and dying,filling the pews of Parishes worldwide, praying fervently and donating billions annually while worshipping a man who is supposed to be God's representative on earth. Jesus, the founder of Christianity, was the poorest of the poor. Roman Catholicism, which claims to be His church, is the richest of the rich, the wealthiest institution on earth. Their actions are diametrically opposed to the very teachings they espouse. The early Christians, following upon the example of the Apostles and the first and second generations of Christ’s disciples, upon conversion obeyed Christ’s commandment to the letter and disposed of their possessions. These they either sold or gave to the Christian community, the latter using them for communal benefit, so that all members would partake of them in equal portion.
Last Easter Pope Benedict XVI says fasting is important for modern Catholics because it helps make them aware of the deprived state in which many people live.
Benedict says that through fasting "we make a statement that our brother or sister in need is not a stranger."
The comment released by the Vatican was part of the pope's traditional message for Lent, the time the Church sets aside for fasting and prayer in preparation for Easter. The pope urged parishes and other communities to encourage private or communal fasts during Lent.
While the Church continues to amass incredible wealth on the backs of its followers, how does one follow the doctrine of an institution that can't obey its own teachings? Let them fix their own steeple.