Beth Mendenhall’s article regarding the Catholic Church’s “indulgences” comes across more as mud flinging than as a necessary concern.
Her claim is similar to that of the disciples who saw our Lord allow himself to be anointed by the woman with precious oils. They too considered such lavishness a “waste” and suggested such could be “sold and given to the poor.” Jesus’ reply was, “The poor you always have with you, but me you have not always.” If Jesus wasn’t disgusted then with such riches used for his honor, how can he be disgusted now?
God commanded the Jews of the Old Testament to give their best to him. They adorned the Ark of the Covenant and the temple with the finest ornamentation for his honor. Likewise, Catholics are obliged to give their best to God. Hence, the beautiful ornamentation found in churches and cathedrals. Those magnificent cathedrals of Europe were primarily funded by the generosity of mostly poor Catholics.
Today, parishes are shutting down and parochial schools are merging due to lack of funds despite this vast “wealth” Mendenhall claims. The vast majority of priests and bishops that live in wealthy dioceses live a self-sacrificing life devoid of excessive material possessions. Many popes have lived in poverty as well. You cannot judge the entire Church by a few bad examples. After all, even among the original 12 apostles, there was a Judas.
Mendenhall’s source “The Vatican Billions” is questionable as an unbiased source. The author, Avro Manhattan, is anti-Catholic with a reputation for stretching the truth to make his points. It’s proper for the Vatican to dress the pope appropriately according to his office. Would it be appropriate for our president to live in an ordinary house, wear cheap suits and ride in a bulletproof Honda Accord?
The Church’s duty is to provide for the spiritual well-being of the world and secondarily to assist with procuring the material well-being of people. Countless pastors, religious people and saints have preached relentlessly to curb avarice among the faithful and move the hearts of the wealthy to give to the poor.
How can Beth Mendenhall accuse the Church of withholding from the needy instead of rightfully praising it for what it has done?
– Stephen Austin, senior in civil engineering
– Michael Sellman, sophomore in journalism