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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cathedral priorities

St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York is being renovated.


The $175 million restoration will take about five years and
will include what church officials described as a thorough
scrubbing: its 1,300 panels of stained glass will get protective
glazing, pipes from its massive organ will be cleaned and acid
rain and other deposits will be wiped away….


The Archdiocese of New York hopes to raise $125 million for
the second and third phase of the renovations from its 2.6
million members and other sources.

"It's difficult in this time because there are so many
needs... but we're asking people, to stretch a little to
beautify the cathedral and put it back to where it was," she [Helen Lowe, the executive director of development] said.”





Hmm. There’s a lot of ambiguity about how to count who is or isn’t a Catholic, but taken at face value $175 million is about $70 from each of the 2.6 million Catholics, or about $280 for a family of four.


I’m not a New Yorker, and on visits to New York it has never occurred to me to visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral. On visits to Europe I’ve visited some of those great cathedrals, but these are hundreds of years old and typically both architecturally and sociologically important.  American cathedrals aren’t as old, are mostly architectural throwbacks, and were never as important to the life of the community as, say, Chartres.


If the 2.6 million Catholics got to vote on this, I wonder if this was a way they would wish to spend their money?


Is it worth it? Some might say that this makes more sense than tax subsidized sports stadiums, but that cuts no ice with me since I oppose them as well.

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