… to feed the poor?
Geez, I used to say that myself in my former life as a Protestant – when I was an anti-Catholic. Actually, if you added up all wealth and property of the Protestant churches and organizations it would FAR exceed that of the Vatican or all the individual dioceses around the world! Since it is often Protestants who make this challenge, do they ever suggest Protestants should sell all their land, buildings, pastors’ fancy cars and the mega-church $ millions?
Most people don’t realize that most of the Catholic Church’s “wealth” is in property, hospitals, schools, social services and churches. We are the largest health care provider in the world. To learn more about this, watch the fantastic video put out by www.CatholicsComeHome.com here. Click on “Epic Commercial.” This video make me PROUD to be a Catholic!
But, should the Catholic Church sell everything to feed the poor? No, first it shouldn’t and second it can’t. To find out why, read this article from Zenit (provided below). It was written several years ago but it is the same cogent argument and needs to be repeated often.
Pope Cannot Exchange Vatican Treasure for Food: Cardinal Explains Complications of Facebook Proposal
By Jesús Colina
The president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum … commented on the online petition titled “Exchange the Vatican’s Treasures for Food for Africa. Do You Want to Sign a Petition?”
The cardinal noted that, apart from the ideological aspect of the proposal, the Pope cannot consider it because he is prevented from doing so by international law…
Alberto Juesas Escudero of Spain launched the initiative, which now has more than 40,000 supporters. Escudero claims “it is a shameful to see the Vatican’s riches and then watch the news.” He explained that what motivated him to issue this invitation was that he believes the Vatican “does not admit its errors. […] It does not preach by example. Jesus was born in a cave and lived in poverty.”
The youth concluded: “The Vatican is a disgrace! The Catholic religion is a disgrace!”
In answer to ZENIT’s questions, Cardinal Cordes explained that he has heard similar proposals for the past 40 years, and that before it was even much more frequent.
When John Paul II called him to Rome to work in the Curia, he observed that “the climate against the Vatican was very strong.” He explained, “I had looked into [the status of the Vatican’s holdings] and found out that the Church cannot do what it wants with the works of art that are in the Vatican.”
Duty of the Church
In reality, he said, the Church “has the duty to conserve the works of art in the name of the Italian state.” He affirmed, “It cannot sell them.”
The prelate recalled an incident in the 1970s when a benefactor made a donation to renovate the Collegio Teutonico inside the Vatican, and the residence director wanted to give this person a small statue — of a meager value compared to the others in the Vatican Museums — as a gesture of gratitude.
The German benefactor had a lot of problems with the Italian state, as he was accused of taking goods that Italy was charged with safeguarding. “In every country there are a lot of measures for the defense of works of art, because the state has a duty to maintain them,” Cardinal Cordes added, noting that the Holy See treasures are also part of Italian cultural history.
The Cor Unum president underlined the work of the Catholic Church in health services and education in various regions in Africa. “When they come to meet the Pope, the African presidents recognize this,” he said.
Without the Church, he affirmed, a huge part of those afflicted with AIDS would be abandoned, because the Church, with its network of hospitals, is the organization that cares for the largest number of people affected by the virus.