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I am a Third Order Franciscan of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Carlos Santana misses the point

In a recent interview, Carlos Santana voices his opposition to the papacy, saying:

"I'm not afraid of Bush and I'm not afraid of the Pope," he says. "I don't consider them to be adversaries, I consider them to be obstacles, like Nixon and LBJ."

Now, leaving aside the ridiculousness of comparing any Pope with Nixon or LBJ, the comment I found most telling was this:

"If Jesus would appear, like he said he would in the Bible, parts the sky like a zipper and - shazam! - come to Earth, the first thing I think he would do is go to the Pope and say, 'you built all of this stuff in my name?! It's worth $3 trillion? Tell you what: I want you to feed the world for the next 100 years in my name, and you can keep the other half.'

First of all, why is it that wealthy musicians and artists always feel that they have the right to condemn the Catholic Church for wealth but never seem to want to put their own ideas into practice. So, Mr. Santana - consider this a challenge. Please donate half of your income to feed the world for the rest of your life and please urge your other musician and artist friends to do the same.

Secondly, statements like these make good press but they are so woefully ignorant of reality. Let's assume for the sake of argument that he is correct about the current net worth of the Catholic Church. Let's assume, again for the sake of argument, that the Catholic Church agrees to sell 1/2 its assets. So we now have $1.5 trillion to spend. Let's say we divide that money among the 3.2 billion people that are currently defined as living in poverty - i.e. making less than $2 a day. This means that each person will get over the next 100 years a grand total of around $469 or about $47 a year. After which they money is gone - unlike the churches which would still be standing. Note that they are still making less that $2 a day and are still, therefore, poor. Note that even if the Catholic Church divested itself of all its income and gave it all to the poor, they would still make less than $2 a day and would still, therefore, be poor. I leave aside the fact that the Catholic Church dedicates far more of its time and resources to the poor than Carlos Santana and his fellow travelers do.

Thirdly, why is it that when some people look at beautiful churches, beautiful art, beautiful liturgical vessels - the first thing they want to do is to sell them all and get rid of the money. The usual complaint is that of Judas - "Why could this not be sold and given to the poor?" I'll tell you why it isn't - because the poor already own it.

The pope does not own St. Peters Basilica - it is owned by the faithful not just of today but by all those working poor who labored long hours to build it and all the other Churches in devotion and honor to God. They loved their faith, they honored it and wanted to show their love in the way they built their Church. So when I look at a beautiful chalice, I don't think "Why don't they sell that chalice and give the money to the poor." I think "What a love of God these people have."

Why do you think that many Catholics get so angry when their parishes are closed? It is because they and their fathers and mothers and their fathers and mothers sweat blood to build those churches, to leave something of themselves and their faith for their children.

Yet, some, like Carlos Santana find it so easy to spit on that devotion, to spit on that faith. They worship only themselves and turn their homes into temples devoted to self-idolization. Indeed, if there is an obstacle to helping the poor - it is attitudes like those of Mr. Santana.

When a couple purchases wedding rings - do they say to themselves, "We should just get some cheap plastic rings"? No, they go out and buy the best quality that they can afford. Many willingly go into debt to purchase these rings. It's not the rings themselves that interest them, but the rings are a sign of the importance of their marriage, of the depth of their love. In the same way, when a faithful people builds a house of worship for themselves, they will spend a great deal of money and effort to ensure that it shows both their love of God as well as their love of their neighbor - all those that will come to worship in that holy place.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having listened to the words of Carlos Santana on many occasions, and having heard him speak of kindness and love, I feel that you perhaps have misunderstood his thoughts.

It says in the Bible to give to the poor, which the catholic church certainly does, but the catholic church could help a lot more if it did away with all of the unnesacary trappings of the religion, such as beautiful buildings and costly robes etc.

I am fairly certain that the early Christian churches were not decorated at all, which is appropriate as the main point of Christ's teaching is to be humble, kind, meek, etc, not to put on a show of wealth.

The Bible states that we should not store up our riches here on Earth, but rather store up our riches in Heaven.

I am a homeless person, by the way. And when I see a fellow human asking for money I give what I can as the Bible teaches that if a man asks you for one loaf of bread give him two.

My point is that the money that goes into the catholic church and is used for beautiful and yet costly ceremony could instead be spent to feed and shelter God's children, and I think that would bring great joy to our creator . . . . after all Jesus said "do unto others as you would have them do unto you", and also taught us all to love our neighbors as ourselves, even to the point of laying down ones life for a friend.

These are only my thoughts. I mean you no disrespect and I have prayed for you to receive God's beautiful blessings in your life.

With Love,
Dave DeHart.

12:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

p.s. my e-mail is if you wish to respond.

peace, love, and balnce,

Dave DeHart

12:11 AM  

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