Tuesday, April 2, 2013

10 Reasons The Catholic Church Should NOT Sell Her "Riches" And Give Them To The Poor

There are many who ask - why doesn't the Catholic Church sell all her paintings, buildings, expensive decorations, etc. and give them to the poor (and it is a good question to ask). The answer below.

10 Reasons The Catholic Church Should NOT Sell Her "Riches" And Give Them To The Poor
  1. The Catholic Church is not as "rich" as some might think. Most of her "riches" are tied up in assets that were given as gifts. More on this below. 
  2. What happens after all the money is gone? Then where does that get us? The poor are still poor and now the Church's art, buildings, etc. are in the hands of those that might not appreciate them or steward them as well as the Church. 
  3. The "Church" isn't just the hierarchy, it is all of us. The art, buildings, and even money is controlled by certain people, but belongs to all of us. The Pope and/or Bishops can't just sell everything off because they think it is a good idea. 
  4. The People of God have provided the Church with the riches she has. Therefore the people have a right to be able to have the intent of their donations honored. If I gave the Vatican a priceless work of art to preserve and they sold it to the highest bidder, I would be royally miffed. 
  5. Has anyone asked the poor if they want cash for church assets? If I were poor and gave my widow's mite to build a church and then you went and sold it without asking me I might just go apoplectic. Ask a poor and pious Catholic the next time you get the chance. 
  6. The Catholic Church does more to aid the poor than any other private organization already. This points out that the argument isn't about the poor or what the "riches" of the Catholic Church, but about the heart of men. Remember that many religious brothers, sisters, and priests take a vow of poverty and renounce everything for God. But, not all are called to this.
  7. The issue of poverty isn't about an amount of money (there is plenty to go around), but about personal greed, corruption, injustice, governmental problems, economic systems, etc. 
  8. The greatest need is spiritual poverty - not material poverty. Thus, the Church should use the gifts she has been given to erase this poverty first. 
  9. Worship of God is the first justice issue. We owe God our worship before we owe any other human anything. Thus, if art, buildings, gold vessels, etc. can aid us to worship God, then we are fulfilling the requirements of justice. 
  10. The total Vatican budget is about $365 million. Most large universities have this budget several times over. The Church's wealth wouldn't do much more for the poor. 
As you can probably see, the argument is quite simply answered by the following quote from Jesus:
"The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me." -Matt 26:11 
The purpose of serving the poor is to show your love of both God and man. What better way of showing love to both God and man, but by loving both in the person of Jesus Christ?


David Wagner said...

Jesus told the rich man to sell all he had and give to the poor. The Lord didn't mean this as a universal or something like Kant's Categorical Imperative. It is literally impossible for all people to sell what they have and give to the poor. If every single person on earth attempted to sell all they had and give to the poor, who would buy it and then who would we be giving it to?

Deltaflute said...

Not to mention but asking for donations to see the priceless art work would I imagine generate more funds for the poor over time. Furthermore the Vatican creates jobs through restoration and preservation. It would be silly to just make it all private as you explained so well.

Seraphic said...

Well said. And beautiful churches mean that the poor have beautiful places to sit and be quiet and speak with God. Those beautiful treasures that the rich give to the Church in honour of God can be seen by the poor along with everyone else.

The welfare state has done much to eradicate hunger in places like the UK, but it hasn't done very much to alleviate spiritual and cultural poverty. Beauty does. The poor deserve beauty as much as they deserve bread.

Pedro Erik said...

I prefer the description of John (12:2-7) for the same fact.

Stef said...

Thanks so much for this!!

The Filozopher said...

I am not impressed by the Church Opulent. The problem is in its being a follower of the commercial markets & not a leader towards a free market that works the same way as the birds in the air & the lilies of the field.

Dumb Ox said...

Well said Pedro. For those who don't have a NT handy, it is the passage where "Mary took a pound of costly ointment of pure nard" and anointed the feet of Jesus, wiping his feet with her hair. Only one of the twelve was worried at the extravagance of this act and complained about how it could have been put to better use by "giving it to the poor".

Any guesses who you are in league with when you make this false argument about the Body of Christ? That's right, you would be right there with 'ol Judas himself.