Let me first point out that I'm not a cheapskate. I appreciate that the upkeep of churches and cathedrals can be expensive and when I visit a church or cathedral that's not my own, I make a contribution towards its upkeep. However, I am becoming increasingly concerned at the practice of charging an admission fee where churches are popular with tourists.
A church is not a museum or an art gallery, it is the house of God. Admission should be free to all whether they have come to pray or just to look. I believe that we receive a blessing if we enter a church in prayerful mood and charging or paying for that blessing is the grave sin of simony. Does anyone know if there are any pronouncements from Rome on this subject?
Yes I know you can avoid the charges by arriving at Mass time, but that is not the point. I have no objection to giving money to the church - I just don't expect it to be a commercial transaction. I have now taken to writing the the Vicars General of cathedrals in Europe where there is an entrance fee.
When we finally approach the pearly gates, we can have confidence that our entrance fee has been paid for us. Those who seek to charge us to enter our churches may find otherwise.