There were a couple of recent LTEs that dwelt on the recent remodeling of the St. Joseph Cathedral.
While both writers were right, to a certain extent, there is a lot more that needs to be said. If congregants feel that they can only truly worship God in a grandiose cathedral fit for a king, they are missing the point.
Gilded, showy, ostentatious temples, churches and cathedrals is not what God is about. All those millions of dollars -- whether donated or not -- could have been put to much better use doing God's work.
While many religions put great emphasis on money, the Catholic Church has practiced the art of "fundraising" to the extreme.
For centuries, tithing has made it possible for bishops, archbishops, cardinals and popes to lead princely lives. Only our current pope gets it -- he chooses to live simply and plainly within the confines of the Vatican.
The Vatican -- the ultimate tribute to God -- is so opulent that it would blow one's mind. There are enough riches there to feed all the hungry children in the world forever.
Whatever religion you are -- if the ruling body of your religion be it a synod, consistory or council told your church that from now on we will take every penny you bring in from offertories, fundraisers, donations or special collections and we take our "part" out of it and then "loan" you the money back that you need to pay bills and support your schools -- what would you think?
Now, down to the nitty-gritty. Anyone who knows Father Ignazio Medina knows he did not use that $300,000 for his own personal use. The money was a donation to St. Stanislaus Church, and it had been in safe-keeping for years -- basically to keep it from being confiscated and used poorly. The Diocese has painted a picture of Father Medina as an embezzler and the very public castigation of Father Medina was meant to send a message to all priests and congregations -- "Don't mess with our money."
Father Medina is a beloved, well-respected priest -- a true people's priest, and he still has my love and respect. Nuff said!