I am rich because I am Catholic: all the Catholic churches in the world belong to me, and everything in them. I have walked into churches all over this country and Europe without a word to anyone and joined in the Mass, and rejoiced in my universal heritage. I, and every Catholic, belong in those buildings; their wealth is our wealth. Not only does the treasure of the Catholic Church not belong privately to any pope or churchman; it actually belongs to you and me, bought and paid for to the greater glory of God by our forefathers and brothers in the Faith. We are one big family, and those are family heirlooms, those marble statues, pricey real estate and priceless paintings. By extension, they belong also to our separated brothers, and to all the world, along with the grace flowing out from Christ, through the Church to the full members of the Church, and out to all those who are members in less full and remote ways.
When any of it is sold, the money disappears instantly, and the need remains. Meanwhile, our art treasure becomes a good now private to some person or agency; a common good has been demoted into a private good.
Some of the motive behind this criticism is greed for the real estate, the paintings and items. Some of the motive is sheer prejudice and ill-will towards the Catholic church.