Monday, January 09, 2012

Dislike

(This needed to be translated)

If ever Facebook needed a "dislike" button, it would be for this picture:   



... with the following caption:  GUESS WHICH ONE MADE A VOW OF POVERTY?

Well, I ask you, guess which one has no salary?  The right answer is:  Neither one.  The pope does not receive a salary.  All his needs are taken care of by the Vatican.  When he leaves on a trip, he takes out just enough money to cover his expenses, and that is all.  When the pope dies, in general, he leaves all his personal possessions to the Vatican, (with the exception of Pope Paul VI who left a few small items to his secretary).

What other world leader has no salary?  If Prince William wanted to buy himself a slick sports car for afternoon ballads in the English countryside, I am certain he would not hesitate to do so.  And yet, he too, lives off of money "donated" by his "faithful followers", (otherwise known as income tax).  I do not believe that the pope-mobile qualifies as a sports car, and it doesn't even belong to the pope anyway.

Yes, the Church is "rich" in possessions.  One could also say the same of museums, but I do not hear anyone ever complain because certain museums are full of priceless paintings and works of art.  I do not hear anyone complain either about the directors of said museums who may get dressed from time to time in a tuxedo to partake in important museum functions.  (Although, it is true, they have not made vows of poverty themselves), they are, after all, the REPRESENTATIVE of the museum.

The pope too, is the representative of something.  If it is not acceptable for the director of a museum to present himself at an important function in a t-shirt and jeans, it is not any more acceptable for the pope to present himself in a simple white robe (or plain layman's clothes - imagine that!) for important functions of the Church.  He has the duty to represent the richness and profundity of the Catholic faith in his person.  His vestments then, are almost as important as his actions.  A pope in a simple white alb (robe), (or even worse, jeans and a t-shirt) is a bit "cheap".

The riches in our churches are there because catholic people gave of their time and their money to embellish their place of worship, which also represents the richness of our faith.  The works of art are there to stimulate our faith, to aide us in our reflection and meditation.  Our churches belong to us, to all Catholics.  They do not belong to the priests nor to the pope.  When a priest leaves one parish for another, the possessions of the parish stay with the parish.  When the pope dies, the possessions of the Vatican are not divided among his closest relatives!

The churches and the works of art that are in them are a common good, exactly like in museums, but guess what?  Contrary to museums, churches are financed by Catholics (and not by the general population) but which one will charge you a sum to visit them?!  Yes, we Catholics are so generous, that we will share our common good with YOU.  Our most beautiful and grandest churches are open to the public, at no charge!!  What a deal!  All you have to do is behave with respect towards the building and its contents, and towards those who wish to pray, and you can enter there, whether you are Muslim, Jew, Atheist, Buddhist, even Anti-catholic, we won't kick you out!

There exist many beautiful and different catholic traditions and cultures, much of which has been lost in the last few decades, but which has been experiencing a revival, thanks to the internet and the catholic community there.  You can buy just about anything catholic online, from products (such as coffee) made by monks, catholic books and articles to help us pray or meditate, catholic toys for kids, decorations for Catholics, even catholic entertainment.  The catholic economy is running!  By buying vestments for the pope, the Vatican also helps the economy run.  After all, it is better to encourage people's work than to make a donation, is it not?  "Give a fish to a man, you feed him for a day, teach him to fish and..."

I am sick and tired of hearing people complain because "the Church is rich."  So what?  If you do not agree with that, and the same thing goes with the Church's moral teachings, if you disagree, you are in no way obliged to be a part of our community.  But you know what?  We will STILL let you come in and look at our works of art for FREE.  Isn't that nice?