Saturday, January 26, 2013

What if the Church went broke?

What if the Church lost all it's property, all of it's finances?
Milwaukee Archdiocese says it is going broke...
The Archdiocese of Milwaukee is hemorrhaging money on legal and professional fees as a result of its bankruptcy and will be unable to pay its monthly operating expenses beginning in April unless the judge suspends those payments, it says in court documents filed Thursday.

The archdiocese filed a motion asking U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan V. Kelley to allow it to suspend all payments to attorneys and consultants, except $125,000 for work on its plan of reorganization. And it would continue to pay its own attorneys to challenge sex-abuse claims with proceeds from its insurance carriers.

"Without it, we will be unable to continue operating. We've used all the money we had from savings, reserves, investment earnings and money budgeted for litigation," archdiocese spokesman Jerry Topczewski said. - Source
What if diocesan workers had no health insurance?  What if parishes had no community rooms?  What if there were no paid Religious Ed people?  No paid custodians or grounds keepers?  What if there were no paid office workers?  What if there was no heat in churches?  What if they couldn't even afford wi-fi?  What if?  What if the Church went broke?  What if Mass had to be celebrated in the biggest house of the richest parishioner, or in the community room of a condominium complex?  What if parish outreach meant actual evangelization rather than planning committees and fundraiser dinner-theatrics and walk-a-thons?

If the Church really went broke, would it really be so bad?  "They" can take away facilities, but they can't take away charity and love.  We can still do what Christ called us to do.  Being broke never stopped Catholics before.

Not only that, but what if it is God's will?



  1. I remember the days when the parish secretary was a volunteer and religious ed was all volunteer as well. When I think of all the damage done by the "professionals" I can't say the idea doesn't have some appeal.

  2. Father Joe8:24 AM

    It could be the best thing that ever happened to us.

  3. Perhaps this is why a certain someone upped his monthly goal to $4,000?

  4. Well....God's overarching Providence removed over 95% of the papal lands in a century and a half probably because God felt the Amish thing was a better "discourse" to use Foucault's terminology; and I suspect God might take Castel Gandalfo at some point since with air conditioning in Rome, the old rationale that Rome was too hot in August for the Pope is wearing thin as being a tad Mitt Romneyesque...not to mention that 98% of Catholic elderly worldwide do not have a second home for the month of August or for any reason....second mortgages yes...second Rahner said the Church in the future would get smaller and more faithful but traditionalists think we'll keep our marble. No...we've overused Christ's nard moment. He said the nard was for His burial. We missed that detail.

  5. Can't they just borrow more money?
    That's the American way.

  6. @bill, many europeans take the month of August off and go out of town so not wearing thin.

  7. @Nan, do they all have mansions in cooler towns that fit a German symphony orchestra in the foyer?

  8. The papal residence was built in the 17th c when it was normal to have room for a symphony orchestra. I would hesitate to ascribe changes to the Church's landholdings to God's preference for the Amish; look at the holdings lost in England under King Henry XIII. I don't think that was about God but about a greedy man named Henry.

  9. Nan,
    The overarching Providence of God can use defective people against the People of God and their culture if God wants to cleanse further the people of God. That's what the exile of the southern kingdom of Juda was about while the exile of the northern kingdom of Israel was less obviously therapeutic. God brought both about through infidels...Assyrians and Babylonians... for His purposes.
    Vatican II stated that the Church will only be perfect at the end of time. What is always Holy and perfect is the sacraments, approved liturgy and de fide dogma and it's equivalents. Catholic behaviour and historical choices whether papal or whether that of you and I is another matter. Such behaviour is not simply holy because it exists. Almost half of Spain's budget in the 16th century came from silver stolen from Peru according to Niall Ferguson's "Ascent of Money". I'm
    sure many Church buildings that went up in that century in Spain were grandiose and the result of South American blood
    money both the blood of slaves and the blood of indigenous slain people.
    The Eucharist is always perfect. It never increases in Holiness. The Church does increase in holiness which means some of its past choices were deficient even if we like those choices. Christ was poor and empathetic to the heretical Samaritans who changed a sentence in the Pentateuch and rejected the prophets. The saints of the first thousand years of the Church were mostly similar to Christ on both issues....not killing heretics but excommunicating them.
    Then as the Church aligns in the second thousand years with emperors and kings and builds similar buildings to "king" culture, violence appears under Church authority with Pope Innocent IV mandating burning of heretics by secular rulers under pain of excommunication ( see "Inquisition" newadvent). Clergy thereafter didn't kill heretics directly but indirectly by handing them over to seculars who were bound to execute them which clergy knew.
    So Christ made His most famous parable about a Good (heretic) Samaritan (Esra would not let them work on the
    Temple) and Christ cured ten lepers and pointed out to us that the only one to return and thank him was a Samaritan...who rejected the prophets.
    And for one thousand years we...especially Saints Hilary, Cyprian, Ambrose, Martin of Tours, Chrysostom....followed Paul and the Holy Spirit through Paul by simply excommunicating heretics not killing them ( I Tim1:20, Titus 3:10).
    Once we got more kingly in alliances and affluent culture in the second thousand yers, we as Church got violent after 1253 til 1816 when a Pope forbade torture in all papal lands. Yet after him, Pius IX kidnapped Eduardo Mortara from his parents based on a theology that includes coercion which Vatican II rejected hile not mentioning the Mortara case.

  10. correction: Edgardo Mortara


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