The funny blog post published on Father Z’s site prompts me to some not so obvious, not so politically correct, and not so kind considerations. Read the post first if you want to avoid the spoiler below.
The particular building mentioned in Father’s post was built after a public appeal. The money collected was such that there was a lot to spare, which led to the extensive alabaster decoration inside. Put it simply, the Archbishop only had to ask, and it was given to him much more than he had asked. Even, I add, for the godless monster he then built to show the world how godless he was (and is, because the man still lives). You will also remember Cardinal Dolan mobilising around $140 millions in no time to restore the roof of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan.
Moral of the stories: the Church has limitless resources. It’s not about how much money is in the bank account. It is about how much money can be received just for the asking.
What does this tell us? That you don’t need to be afraid that good priests will ever starve, or there will be no money for the restoration of Catholic patrimony. However, this does not mean that you should finance a monster like the Los Angeles Cathedral, or atheists like Cardinal Mahony.
My suggestion is this: starve the bad parishes and give your money to the good causes. The good causes may well be distant, the bad parish may well be near. It doesn’t matter. You help what is right, not what is near.
The way a Catholic should react to the current confusion is to cause the closure of bad parishes and the thriving of good ones. Yes, up to a point wealthy donors will keep bad parishes alive; but only up to a point, as we keep seeing that whilst it is very easy to mobilise big money for big or prestigious projects, parishes out in the “peripheries” keep being closed.
There is, obviously, no guarantee this will end well. A bad bishop might be so stupid that he closes the thriving parish to keep the bad one open; but I bet most of them aren’t as dumb as that, because they understand the risks this involves. They know that in the modern world a Catholic will not hesitate to send his money to worthy Catholic causes in other nations, even on the other end of the earth, but punish him for closing down the good parishes. Not will he be able to mobilise his rich donors in every circumstance. For the Cathedral, easy. For the ugly Sixties church with no bell tower, not so much.
The faithful do that (and you should do that) because the traditional idea that your parish should be helped first cannot stand in an age when your parish sabotages, rather than helping, Catholicism. Do they starve you of sensible, sane Catholicism? Starve them of their means of survival. Again: Cathedrals always find rich donors. Ugly parishes in the suburbs, not so much.
Let your money talk. Do not be afraid that the Church might ever remain without money for the roof of the cathedrals, or for the restoration of old, beautiful churches. There will always be money for the indispensable, the very beautiful and the very visible. Give your money ad hoc as much as you can to minimise the risk of misdirection (e.g. money for single, nominated projects: the new traditional vestments for the priests; for sanctuary renovations bringing them back to the old glory; for the new monstrance or tabernacle, etc.).
But starve the horrible parish with the horrible liturgy. Make the bad priests unemployed (yes, a priest can be unemployed). Vote against V II with your wallet. Make the parish go down in flames. In time, the unavoidable shrinking of the Church will see more sane parishes surviving and a more than proportional extinction of the bad ones.
Your cathedrals will not crumble. But you will contribute to the regeneration of the Church by voting with your wallet.
Do not be impressed by the whining of your V II priests that the parish is dying. He had it coming, and so did the army of lecturer, assistants of the assistants, busybodies of all sorts, and their applauding (in church) smug audience.
Let them go the way of the Dodo. Make them see that their own stupidity has ended in self-extinction.
Church of Stupid must die. It is better to have less parishes, but with a greater content of Catholicism, than help V II to survive;
and your local dumbo priest be damned.
Besides being one of the most shameless hypocrites on earth, Cardinal Mahony must be truly terrified.
Clearly sensing further humiliations might be in store for one of the poster boys for the stupidity, inefficiency (and perhaps worse) exhibited by too many shepherds in the matter of homosexual sex scandals, our friend hastens to lavish the Pontiff with suspiciously loud praise; a brazen captatio benevolentiae that would sound strange in normal times, but is simply pathetic in the particular situation in which the Cardinal finds himself.
Let me say beforehand that I do not like at all this sudden infatuation of the entire Catholic planet for the newly rediscovered “return to the simplicity of the Gospel”. It seems to me that it smacks of easy populist slogan in the best of cases, and demolition of the prestige and authority of Church and Papacy in the worst. I do not doubt all those enthusiastic “new Franciscans” will not stop being stunned at the lavish richness of Roman churches and palaces, and at the magnificence the Church still so often displays in her activity. I actually notice most of this newly found admirers of poverty have nothing against ermine Mozzettas, very seldom seen on Francis’ shoulders (on very cold days, perhaps?). I do admire the astounding beauty and shameless splendor of the Church, and therefore avoid waxing lyrical about this “return to the original spirit of the Gospel” (or however it is called). Still, if a clergyman has the credentials to praise the new “Franciscan fashion” without appearing a hypocrite, more power to him.
But wait, is this the case of Cardinal Mahony?
Isn’t this the very man who built a huge, horrible monument to his own vanity? An unwatchable bunker with nothing to tell a casual observer it is a Cathedral (Modernists don’t “do God”), but otherwise huge?
How about the decoration? 5.6 acres of ground, 33,500 sf of alabaster (world record), an organ with 6,019 pipes and the man tells us “so long, ermine and fancy lace”? Can you imagine how vast a surface of 33,500 is, all made of alabaster? Is this “encountering Jesus without trappings”?
How about the cost? $189.7 of total cost, how is this “LOW and humble church”?
Seriously: how can the one lavishing praise on Pope Francis’ “simplicity” be, of all people, the man mocked all over the planet for his megalomaniac passion for ugliness and waste? How can he have the brazenness of launching himself firmly on the side of the black shoes and the simple cassock?
Again, the man must be terrified, and ready to face the ridicule he perfectly well knows will fall on him, for the hope the new Pope will be somewhat moved by his utterly shameless adulation, and persuaded to spare him further trouble.
Seriously, this man is a walking provocation.
P.s. Mahony tweets courtesy of Father Ray Blake’s blog.