Ostentation in the Catholic Church


#1

It seems to me that the ostentation, the richness, the triumphalism of the Pope, and His Vatican Curia, the Cardinals, the Bishops are in direct contradiction to the teachings of Christ who while God humbled Himself and was humble in deed and in appearance; He spoke severely of the Pharisees who paraded themselves as being better than others; Jesus’ friends were simple people’ particularly sinners; He taught us to serve one another not ‘lording it over’ others.

 I find this a greater scandal than the paedophile priests.

.
I suppose that Christ would rather seek such sinners than perhaps live in the Vatican. We defrocked them, abundant them and shamed them. Isn’t that the same as the Death Sentence that we speak against?

 I believe that they belong to the Church of Sinners for whom Christ came into the world. Why do we have to pretend that our Church is for the virtuous and the pure; instead of courageously owning them, the bishops covered-up, giving these failing priests opportunity to spread the evil to more innocent souls? Didn’t Jesus call the Pharisees ‘whitened sepulchres’? 

  I believe the Church should own them, they are part of the Mystical Body ...spiritually sick maybe (who can judge moral culpability except God!) and as such we make sure that the life-giving Blood will flow to them as hopefully it flows through us sinners keeping us united in CHRIST. 

  What can we do about it? 
  What did Christ do about it – He *SHAMED*  them!

#2

Why did you post this in the Traditional Forum?

Why call out an entire religious system due to the misdeeds of a few (and percentage wise a VERY FEW) priests and bishops.

Ostentation? You think the pope thinks he is holier than thou? How presumptuous of you!

Certainly you understand that man is a social creature that can only function under social systems that have pyramidial structure?

It is built in to our human nature to have leaders.

A truly humble servant Bishop only appears Ostentatious to people who are shallow enough to heckle from the balcony while refusing to meet and get to know the true people they are heckling.

It is the office in the church that gets the honor…not the individual who is in the office. Like calling a Judge your honor and how dare they parade around in their black robes…talk about ostentation.


#3

So you would prohibit people from making beautiful things for God? From offering beautiful worship to God?


#4

Looks like the Neocatechumenals have gotten into the OP’s head.


#5

OP has a misunderstanding of the beauty we create for God through God by equating it with a feeling of superiority to other human creatures. The Church is made of sinners, all.

In Christ,
mp


#6

<<It seems to me that the ostentation, the richness, the triumphalism of the Pope, and His Vatican Curia, the Cardinals, the Bishops are in direct contradiction to the teachings of Christ>>

Yes, it does stand in sharp contrast to big pop-evangelical mega-churches with their extensive plants, gymns, spas, and highly paid pastors, doesn’t it?


#7

For one thing the Pope and most Bishops in fact own very little of their own. Pope John Paul 2 reportedly literally had no personal property to leave in his will.

Most of what they have is

a) Church property. Part of the cultural heritage of the community, as places like St Peters and the Vatican certainly are, attracting lovers of art and architecture from around the globe. Well beyond merely being part of our Catholic heritage.

b) Gifted, either from devout Catholics wishing to honour God or from other members of the wider community which is served by the Pope and Bishops. Even if surplus to requirements, gifts can’t be refused and can’t be sold. How would you like to give a gift and find it on ebay the next day? How DO you sell something like the Sistine Chapel ceiling? :shrug:

May I point out that Mary and Joseph certainly didn’t say ‘no thanks’ to the gold, frankincense and myrrh? Nor did Jesus rebuke the woman who poured expensive ointment on his feet? Rather He rebuked those who criticised her.

It’s got nothing to do with believing that one person is better than another, rather that the Church and the God that person serves is worthy of worship and worthy of the finest we can give.


#8

I hear what you’re saying. But Pope Paul VI was criticized severely for donating the Papal tiara to the “poor” and the Church has suffered a few financial setbacks since Vatican II, indicating some unnecessary squandering of one’s wealth, which Christ also preached against. Try spending over a billion dollars razing communion rails, confessionals, high altars, statues, shrines, etc., revolt against all Church traditions, and be able to face God and tell him you’ve given Him your best.


#9

I personally like the 1 million dollar+ ($1000000) bullet proof highest end Mercedes Benz SUV (The Pope’s Auto). It is probably the worlds best SUV with an AMG-built supercharged 5.5L 24-valve V-8 engine, almost 500 hp @ 6,100 rpm, and a net torque 516 lb-ft @ 2,800 – 4,500 rpm.

Also: ‘For even higher, off-road adventure, its three locking differentials, standard 4-wheel drive, AMG suspension, and driver-adaptive 5-speed automatic transmission are always eager to perform.’

Authoritative, powerful, and unmistakably Mercedes Benz.

Definitely one of my favorite vehicles.


#10

I find your perspective to be coming from a very ‘interesting’ angle. I am sure it is not unique, but I think it does not give Glory to God. I just received a newsletter and I think you may find it very interesting. It may be found online here.

A small bit of the article:

**[FONT=Arial]As a rebellious teenager, I thought the Catholic church should stop wasting its money on expensive churches. We ought to sell them all and buy food for the poor, I argued.

Funny thing. Jesus, who cared much for the poor, did not have this attitude. As an adolescent he yearned to spend time in Herod’s sumptuous Temple (Luke 2). As an adult, he defended its integrity against the moneychangers (John 2). Francis of Assisi, who gave away all his possessions, begged for money to buy materials to restore ruined churches which he rebuilt with his own hands.
[/FONT]**

May the Peace of Jesus be with you and I pray that you will be able to focus more on Him and His desire for you,

Kelly


#11

Not a new perspective. Not only is it very “protestant” in nature, we also see this sort of criticism happening in OT times. I think it’s an attack on God-given authority hiding under the mask of piety…
(Numbers 16:1-3)
Now Korah the son of Izhar, son of Kohath, son of Levi, and Dathan and Abi’ram the sons of Eli’ab, and On the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men; and they rose up before Moses, with a number of the people of Israel, two hundred and fifty leaders of the congregation, chosen from the assembly, well-known men; and they assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said to them, "You have gone too far! For all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them; why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD?"
These folks didn’t wind up doing to well…
(Numbers 16:32-33)
and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the men that belonged to Korah and all their goods. So they and all that belonged to them went down alive into Sheol; and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly.
And it’s relevant in the Church as well, we are warned of such in the New Testament:
(Jude 1:11)
Woe to them! For they walk in the way of Cain, and abandon themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error, and perish in Korah’s rebellion.
Further, for our immediate time, a pope saw this widespread attitude even infecting the Church…seems to be tied up somewhow in the warnings of Fatima:
Pope Pius XII (before his elevation to the Papacy:
"I am worried by the Blessed Virgin’s messages to Lucy of Fatima. This persistence of Mary about the dangers which menace the Church is a divine warning against the suicide of altering the Faith, in Her liturgy, Her theology and Her soul. … I hear all around me innovators who wish to dismantle the Sacred Chapel, destroy the universal flame of the Church, reject Her ornaments and make Her feel remorse for Her historical past.
(Quoted in Msgr. Roche, Pius XII Devant L’Histoire, pp. 52-53.)

I’m not sure what you think the scandal was - defrocking them or not defrocking them. Shaming them or not shaming them?

Which is it?

DustinsDad


#12

Jesus did shame the pharisees who were self-righteous, but we shouldn’t shame the pope as he himself hasn’t done this. There are many Catholics with a lack of understanding of the papacy. This results in their proclaiming him to be the holiest Catholic in the world.“None can surpass him in any respect.” He made mistakes like everybody else, but we shouldn’t condemn him just because others overly exalt him. This goes for anybody.


#13

Sincere thanks to all who replied to my entry. Rereading it, it does seem to be quite harsh and insensitive and certainly in the wrong forum. However I never wanted to imply that the Pope, the Cardinals and the Bishops are not holy, poor and humble in the sight of God (for all I know). What I wanted to say is that as Justice should not only be done but also seem to be done, so in the Church these virtues should also be visible as the Church is the Light on the candlestick proclaiming the Gospel in word and in deed. I speak only of the External Forum, as God is the judge of the Internal Forum.
Jesus said learn of me because I am meek and humble of heart – He is the yardstick. We have to admit that in the American psyche the show of wealth and luxury are sign of success, something to be proud of but to me the Gospel seem to speak of a different life-style. Again we identify easily with the strong, the winners and have little consideration for the losers. We tend to eliminate from our mind those who have fallen by the wayside. On the other hand Jesus seems to favour the weak, the stranger and the sinner; those who consider themselves self-sufficient need no doctor -He did not come for them. Dear friends it seems to me that we have to think and love deeper than exchange niceties and deal in casuistry.


#14

Sincere thanks to all who replied to my entry. Rereading it, it does seem to be quite harsh and insensitive and certainly in the wrong forum. However I never wanted to imply that the Pope, the Cardinals and the Bishops are not holy, poor and humble in the sight of God (for all I know). What I wanted to say is that as Justice should not only be done but also seem to be done, so in the Church these virtues should also be visible as the Church is the Light on the candlestick proclaiming the Gospel in word and in deed. I speak only of the External Forum, as God is the judge of the Internal Forum.
Jesus said learn of me because I am meek and humble of heart – He is the yardstick. We have to admit that in the American psyche the show of wealth and luxury are sign of success, something to be proud of but to me the Gospel seem to speak of a different life-style. Again we identify easily with the strong, the winners and have little consideration for the losers. We tend to eliminate from our mind those who have fallen by the wayside. On the other hand Jesus seems to favour the weak, the stranger and the sinner; those who consider themselves self-sufficient need no doctor -He did not come for them. Dear friends it seems to me that we have to think and love deeper than exchange niceties and deal in casuistry


#15

I want to approach this from an historical point of view. Specifically, I want to talk about Ireland. When the western Roman Empire fell in 450 AD, all of Europe with the exception of Ireland (at that time) fell victim to the onslaught of the barbarian tribes. Ireland preserved the knowledge of HMC until it was able to start sending missionaries back into Europe.

I have two objects I wish to submit for consideration. The first is the Book of Kells (completed around 800 AD).

images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://employees.oneonta.edu/farberas/arth/Images/109images/Insular/kells/chi_rho_large.jpg&imgrefurl=http://employees.oneonta.edu/farberas/arth/ARTH212/book_of_kells.html&h=1473&w=1077&sz=483&hl=en&start=1&um=1&tbnid=QaAfiuPo4EFcgM:&tbnh=150&tbnw=110&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dbook%2Bof%2Bkells%2Bchi%2Brho%26svnum%3D10%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG

Click on the expand image icon to get an eyefull. The Book of Kells is the four Gospels. You cannot tell me that the four monks who made this book did not live austere lives. Yet, they created a masterpiece which was done Ad magnum gloriam Dei (To the greater glory of God).

Or the Ardagh chalice:

http://www.myirishjeweler.com/images/sce/ardagh2.jpg

Pretty much the same time period. Now neither of these two objects are in custody of HMC but they are in public museums wgere they bear witness to the faith of our ancestors.

There was a book which came out when I was a teenager (1963) - The Shoes of the Fisherman by Morris L. West. It is fairly prophetic in that it postulates a Slavic pope who sells all of HMC’s patrimony to alleviate a famine in China.

Noble sentiments, indeed. But it is the entire idea of patrimony which has to be addressed. Yes, HMC “owns” an enormous amount of art work. But this art work was not created for HMC but for God. As such HMC is the steward of the bounty which belongs to God.


#16

Naw, you posted in the right forum. In this forum you might hear some good answers.

First, it was God who commanded the Israelites to build Him the Ark of the Covenant with pure gold. He also commanded them to build Him the tabernacle with its designs.

There’s a difference between making a display of wealth as if to say, “Look at me, aren’t I the best?” which is certainly prevalent in American culture, and displaying art which is designed to lift people’s heart and mind to God. For instance, if I’m a multimillionaire and build a huge mansion and fill it with artwork that might be ostentatious the public would not be able to see the art. The Church’s art is for everyone to see. Ironically, the idea that we should sell off this art just so we can give it to the poor is materialistic. It assumes that the material aspect of our lives is the most significant, as if we don’t have souls that need to be inspired by great art and architecture.

Further, selling off the Church’s art would ultimately backfire for the poor. It might help some individuals temporarily, but it seems as if denuding our Church of beauty in her liturgy, art, and architecture does nothing at all for vocations. So we’ve seen the collapse of vocations in every area, and especially so with nuns. Thus, in real practical terms that means fewer people dedicating themselves to the religious life which often means fewer people able to dedicate themselves to helping and educating the poor.

Lastly, why did God give people like DaVinci and Michelangelo great artistic talent? Just so they could say, “Oh well, God gave me this talent for no good reason since I can’t use it for anything, guess I’ll go do something else I’m not talented at.”


#17

And donated. Thank you Daimler-Benz GMBH.


#18

I admit to having had similar thoughts to OP from time to time. I agree with the various comments that if the Church sold off its art and libraries and so forth it would not be able to preserve them for future generations. I cannot agree with the comments that the Pope and other high ranking Church officials are really poor and don’ t really own anything. I agree that the Pope technically owns nothing and leaves no estate. But by any rational definition of the term he must be considered one of the wealthiest men on the Earth. He lives in a palace, and summers in a castle. He has a giant staff, personal servants, ostentatious clothing and all the other trappings of wealth. This is not a problem for me per se, I think he should have the things that are appropriate to his station. But sometimes it seems a little over the top.


#19

See this article about recent renovations. They were long overdue, as you see from this small bit from the source:

The renovation, the workman related, was long overdue. The architects said they were surprised at the poor state of the apartment.

For one thing, the electrical system was not up to code. Some rooms still used old 125-volt electrical outlets, which were phased out years ago in Italy in favor of 220 volts. The water pipes were encrusted with rust and lime, and the heating system was approximate at best.

Above the false ceiling, workers discovered big drums placed strategically to catch the leaks from the roof; some were nearly full of water.


#20

“over the top”? “appropriate to his station”? What is his station then? The man is Christ’s vicar on earth. Spiritual leader of a billion Catholics - one-sixth of the world’s population.

Who of all people deserves more honour than the Holy Father? Is there any King, Queen, President or Dalai Lama who is more important or influential? How can anything in the way of gifts or service be ‘over the top’ when it comes to acknowledging Our Lord’s supreme representative?


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