Why do we see such multimillion dollar cathedrals and wealth in the Church? I understand these things inspire awe and devotion and about “giving good gifts” (which is in far excess of just being “good”), but these things seem to be in direct opposition of Christ and His mission. Christ never cared to establish a material kingdom on earth, He chose to be born in a stable out of humility, spent His time with the low end of society, touched lepers, told the rich man to give up all he had to the poor, chose lowly fishmerment to be His apostles etc. How do you reconcile the two ideas?
You should probably search the forums about this. It’s not like this hasn’t been peddled before.
I think oftentimes we can get bent out of shape about the “wealth of the Vatican” because our notion of ownership is skewed.
Who owns all the treasures of the Church? We all do. It is there for anyone and everyone to enjoy for generations to come.
Could I ever afford such things myself? No. But I can enjoy the beauty and richness free of charge when I visit a beautiful Church.
You can’t stop people from wanting to give their best to God. You can’t stop talented artists from creating masterful works of art to give glory to God. And so what should become of such treasures? Do we sell them off to the highest bidder for a temporary economic boon so that the art can then be stashed away in someone’s private collection never to be enjoyed by the public again? That would be unconscionable.
The best explanation I’ve seen was actually on here; you’re giving the very best you have to God and it provides work for Artists, Stonemasons and Architects.
It’s an issue that comes up too in my denomination; some of us think there’s too much bling and not enough going into charity work, while others say we don’t want to turn a house of God into a hovel.
That said we don’t have anything quite as extravagant or costly as St Peters Basillica, that’s a whole other animal.
Yes he did.
He established governance and hierarchy in Peter and the Apostles. He commanded them to teach and that means writing as well as oral teaching. He commanded them to baptize and that requires a place to baptize. Acts of the Apostles shows the kingdom in action when the followers sold their possessions and laid them at the Apostles feet. Paul took up collections for the support of the Church. It’s all in Acts of the Apostles.
It is not realistic to think that the mission of the Church does not require infrastructure. The idea of the Church as wholly spiritual is not consistent with what we read in Acts of the Apostles.
Why would that be unconscionable? That would seem to give too much importance for that which is material. It was just as unconscionable for the rich man to give his things away.
Even though like you said, it’s not just like one individual owns it, but I feel IMO that it exceeds the boundaries of modesty and humility, which ironically the Church heavily promotes.
Even if such things do in fact inspire much awe and devotion, I feel that it is misplaced devotion, much like praying or doing good things for the rewards and good feelings of consolation. It sort of becomes a carnal pleasure.
Its hard for me to reconcile the servants living in more comfort than the Master.
Thats not the same as materialistic kingdom. Christ said if His kingdom were of this world, his servants would prevent His arrest. He affirmed His kingdom was not of this world.
Christ gave the best He had through His works and obedience, not through golden calves or through material objects.
Its the message of the Church that is important, not its appearance or fine art.
That’s true, but think about it like this; who is the average joe going to be more impressed by and be more likely to view as a figure of authority, a rather dry drab old Lutheran in rather plain garb in a wooden church or some enthroned bejewelled tiara-sporting gliteratti in a marble palace?
Ceremony and pomp does wonders for grabbing peoples attention, and once you have that you have an opening for preaching.
Think of it like how the soviets used to use propaganda posters, it’s an effective vehicle and method of delivery for the message
Tbh, I’m really just playing devils advocate here.
Meaning what? Christ’s Kingdom is not of this world but in it. As we are in it, we need adequate means to worship the Triune God in spirit and in truth, as He requires.
What is your recommendation?
Peter Kreeft, in his excellent book Jesus Shock has this to say,
They were technological miracles, far ahead of their time, like the American moon rockets of the sixties. In fact, they were very much like moon rockets: heavy matter taught to fly like angels… What in the world can explain these miracles? Nothing in the world. That’s what makes them miracles. Christ alone explains those cathedrals. Stonemasons did not build them; faith built them. His Real Presence built them, and His Real Presence was worshiped in them. They built to house not man worshipping, but Christ worshipped. (pages 59-60)
Adequate means? Yes. Multimillion dollar cathedrals are far im excess of simply “adequate” though.
It is still the house of God. God dictated to the Israelites that the Ark of the Covenant must be made out of Gold, (with statues of angles), and that his temple must be made out of cedar, etc. How much more does God dwell inside our Churches, inside the tabernacle?
Who do you suppose has the authority to sell the “Vatican” or the treasures housed therein, and elsewhere in Churches? The Current pope does not own Saint Peter’s basilica, and yes it would be a travesty to sell the art and the building (besides who would even buy it) it provides art and culture (and teaching) to those who can’t afford art, and even those who find museums out of their price range. I can go the Cathedral in my town, and look at some gorgeous marble statues, some great Rembrants and other art works (as well as stained glass), and architecture.
Much of the older art was given or donated to the Church, wealthy families patronized artists and then had the artists work for the Church. You seem to discount what the Church did for western civilization, by the preservation and encouragement of the arts (which included books!) and learning. (Whether by purchasing or accepting that art).
To follow Christs immortal words and His recommendation: sell it or give it to the poor.
Want to know whats more inspiring than fine, wondrous art? A Church that leads by example.
Multimillion dollar cathedrals in a country that is worth trillions, with memberships of 5-10 Million members each and more, funded by private funds donated together for a common cause.
Where and how do you live? An individual should lead by example for the Church to take note. Many people in the world can’t afford internet or a computer, why do you feel privileged to own one of your own?
In fact, let’s get rid of all our communal libraries, parks, and public spaces and use the money to take care of today’s poor - and leave nothing on wasted splendor for our children and their children.
Also don’t forget the Old Testament about Solomon Yahweh ‘commisioned it’ and it was extremely lavish lined in Gold of huge dimensions much bigger than St Peters Basilica I would think it gives the dimensions in the bible in cubits, but even St Peters is not lined in Gold. but clearly God the father asked for this to be built.
Your first paragraph seems to be allegorical, as God was most likely making a prophetic statement about the Blessed Virgin.
Also, Jesus would have no doubt preferred a humble house for worship and wouldve admonished people for making it a house of extravagance. Christ came as a servant to serve, not to be worshipped as a King.
Humble house? What’s that - many poor have no houses - sell that too.