Sunday, April 16, 2006


The Vatican chose to celebrate Easter by condemning Dan Brown and asking that Sony attach a disclaimer to The Da Vinci Code. My favorite comment came from Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa during his Good Friday homily delivered in the presence of Pope Benedict XVI inside St. Peter's Basilica. Cantalamessa said, "Christ is still sold — but not any more for 30 coins, but to publishers and booksellers for billions of coins."

I love that. During the past few years, the Boston archdiocese has been the epicenter of the Roman Catholic Church's worst nightmare — the sex abuse scandal. In addition to the massive blows suffered in public relations, lawsuit settlements have drained the church coffers beyond its ability to sustain. So how did these wise and gentle leaders, these Christians, choose to solve their financial crisis? They closed churches.

They reassigned the priests and locked the doors. In some cases, parishioners tried to organize protests and sit-ins. They were families who had spent four generations worshipping inside these churches. They were told that they didn't own the buildings. They were told, "Tough luck."

You drive past some of these suburban churches, and they look like palaces. They're outfitted with beautiful masonry and lush landscaping and they're adorned with enough polished gold to blind geese. Did the archdiocese ask its most generous (read: wealthy) worshippers to sacrifice a bit of their opulence for the benefit of their less fortunate brethren? Of course not. They picked a couple dozen low-income parishes and locked the doors.

And the Vatican wants to look down its nose at Dan Brown, accusing him of using Christ to make a buck? What a joke. The word you're looking for, Reverend Cantalamessa? "Projection."


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