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Thursday, October 29, 2009


Dave Mueller

He's a head case as a pitcher, so this doesn't really surprise me. His heart seems to be in the right place, at least.


I don't know what else we could expect, its like asking my grandma about the UFC.


Also worth noting: a not insignificant (but also probably incalculable, for practical reasons) quantity of the Church's material wealth is not alienable. Land, artwork, churches, funds, etc. are often the subject of conditional gifts or transfers in some manner of limited estate. In these cases the Church could not sell or otherwise transfer the goods in question even if there were a potential buyer.


African archbishop John Olorunfemi on why "selling the Vatican is a stupid idea"


That's African archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, sorry.

Brian English

I add the deprsssing note that Mr. Lidge played baseball at Notre Dame.

Also, I wonder if Mr. Lidge ever looks around at the baseball stadiums he plays in and wonders how much money could be raised if people spent the money for tickets, food and beer on helping the poor instead.

I also suppose the money spent building the stadium could have been used to help the poor. What about tearing the stadiums down and selling the real estate to raise money?

David Charkowsky

Apparently, in all his careful study, he didn't consider the witness of John 12:4-6:

But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, "Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year's wages." He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

Mr Aukema

Carl, in many churches, the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in a broom closet. Needless to say, devotion to the Blessed Sacrament is almost nill at those parishes.


Right, Brian...and considering Lidge probably makes a few million a year, I wonder if he lives in a modest $100,000.00 home and is giving the rest to the poor.

Christine the Soccer Mom

Also, once the Church sells her treasures (to whom, I might ask?), and feeds half the world once, then what?

In the meantime, as you (and Thomas) said, She is doing that already. If everyone acted the way the Church tells us we should, we'd have no problems like hunger.

And, incidentally, missionary work in Africa aside, just how much of his own wealth is he keeping? Is he only keeping enough to keep his family above poverty?

I'm not saying he's not, but his ideas are misguided. And a lot of Catholics say the same thing. When our parish in Florida built a magnificent church (the pastor called it "Something Beautiful for God"), there were some who complained that the money would have been better spent on the poor. However, that same parish topped the Bishop's Appeal every year, and collections did not drop in other areas while the church was being built and paid for. (And it wasn't the wealthiest parish in the diocese, either. Our parish ranged from some millionaires right down to families on free lunch programs at school.)

These aren't said as a matter of pride. I mention it because this view is a "one or other" view, whereas the Church has a "both/and" view. We can care for the poor AND build magnificent buildings for the Lord. We can make something beautiful for God, worship in a magnificent place like St. Peter's, and then go out and feed the poor and clothe the naked.

Christine the Soccer Mom

I'd like to add that I hadn't read the link to the bishop's comments ("To whom would we sell it?") until after I posted my first remark. :) It just occurred to me that it's an awful lot of artwork, and who's got the money to buy it?


Lidge played baseball at Notre Dame? Go figure. Now we know where his incendiary ideas come from. Brad Lidge, as a lapsed catholic, sourly reflects the formation he received during his post high school years. Notre Dame is a lapsed catholic too.


Lidge is making over 6 million a year, and the way he has pitched this year he should give most of that back based on the fact that he seems to acknowledge stealing to be a sin! Sorry, this comment is dripping with Phila. sarcasm!


Here are the comments from Cardinal Cordes, as reported on the Zenit news site (March 16, 2009), in response to questions about the selling of Vatican art works. He stated that the Church "has the duty to conserve the works of art in the name of the Italian state. It cannot sell them." Ergo, legally, the works cannot be sold unless the Italian government allowed it, and probably there's some European Union body that would also have to okay it. So really, it is the secular institutions that forbid the Vatican from selling the art contained in the Vatican Museums, St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, etc...
Oh, and Lidge's comments about the Sistine Chapel - how exactly would you sell the Sistine Chapel? The "wealth" in the Sistine Chapel is the painted ceiling and walls. How do you sell that?


Lidge is a sincere man I believe, and I would expect him to sell all of his possessions and empty his back account to feed the poor of Philadelphia. For all his possessions to be sitting there ( in a bank, in investments) is a crime I think.

Corey F.

"'If you've seen the Sistine Chapel and you see the amount of wealth amassed there . . . if they decide there is a time when they really want to use that for God and Jesus' cause, they could spread that,' Lidge said."

Brad Lidge apparently rakes in $12,000,000 a year. (Source:

Pot? Kettle.

These arguments are always so tedious and silly. Until such petulant folks as Lidge are willing to literalize Mark 10:21, perhaps they should focus on undertaking their own corporal works of mercy rather than criticizing the Church.

Dan LaHood

who could gaze upon The Last Judgement and think "how much money?". That's another blown save.

Sven Gregory

If the Church were to sell Her treasures, She would have to sell them to another entity (whether an individual or organization). Would not that entity's resources be better spent feeding the poor than buying pricless artwork from the Church, according to Mr Lidge's logic? These treasures support the mission of the Church, and make Her charitable works possible. Ever wonder why Communist are so terrible with charity? Look at their ugly buildings!


Also, more from John Allen Jr.. I like the comparisons to Harvard U and Oprah.

"The Vatican ... is rumored to be swimming in loot, but its annual budget is less than $400 million. For comparison, consider that Harvard University’s is more than $3 billion. The Vatican’s portfolio of stocks, bonds, and real estate comes to roughly $1 billion. For a slightly whimsical frame of reference, Forbes estimates that Oprah Winfrey, all by herself, is worth $2.5 billion. The great artistic treasures of the Vatican, such as Michelangelo’s Pietà, are literally priceless; they’re listed on Vatican books at a value of 1 euro each because they can never be sold or borrowed against."

By keeping its artistic treasures, of course, the Church preserves them for all future generations. Donating them to a museum would not feed the poor, and selling them to private collectors would not guarantee their preservation and availability to the world.

fr richard

In light of Mr. Lidge's comments, I deeply regret that the reporter did not ask a most important question: Why did Mr. and Mrs. Lidge go to the Vatican?


I wonder if Brad Lidge ever considered the obscene salaries being paid to professional athletes. Perhaps they could work for minimum wage and the rest of their salaries given to feed the poor.


I heard that between Mussolini giving back little of what he took and a major accounting scandal in the 1960's, the Vatican isn't so wealthy these days.

Excuse me if this sends twice. The browser didn't seem to cooperate.

Bill Granger

Mark 14 4-07

4 Now there were some that had indignation within themselves and said: Why was this waste of the ointment made? 5 For this ointment might have been sold for more than three hundred pence and given to the poor. And they murmured against her. 6 But Jesus said: Let her alone. Why do You molest her? She hath wrought a good work upon me. 7 For the poor you have always with you: and whensoever you will, you may do them good: but me you have not always.

M. Jordan Lichens

Every time I hear someone that wants to strip churches of their art and architecture I immediately ask them which rich, white bourgeoisie liberal would they prefer own the art? Or for that matter, why do we focus on churches when we have plenty of national parks that could be exploited for resources to build a house for each impoverished citizen of the United States.

Thomas Mellon

Please stop using the phrase "cradle Catholic".It's clerical and pietistic and only contributes to the Catholicism as nationality rather than faith which is perhaps part of the problem.


What does this guy think about what God commanded in Exodus? Here are some snippets (from Exodus 25):

"You shall make an ark of acacia wood, two and a half cubits long, one and a half cubits wide, and one and a half cubits high. Plate it inside and outside with pure gold, and put a molding of gold around the top of it. Cast four gold rings and fasten them on the four supports of the ark, two rings on one side and two on the opposite side. Then make poles of acacia wood and plate them with gold. You shall then make a propitiatory of pure gold, two cubits and a half long, and one and a half cubits wide...Make two cherubim of beaten gold for the two ends of the propitiatory...Of pure gold you shall make its plates and cups, as well as its pitchers and bowls for pouring libations."

That's a lot of gold! Doesn't God know that it could be sold and given to the poor!? /sarcasm


So much talent wasted playing a boy's game. So sad. And all those poor, misguided people who pay upwards of $100 a ticket to watch grown men play a boy's game. All that money could feed the poor...and Sarah Silverman.

Carl E. Olson

Thomas: Your complaint and request makes no sense whatsoever.


Excellent points made Carl,especially your final point .. a home run!!

Helen Reilly

Thomas, the term "cradle Catholic" is neither clericla nor pietistic - whatever you mean by that. It merely refers to aomeone who was born in a Catholic family and baptized as an infant, as opposed to someone who converted to Catholicism. IT's a neutral term - merely descriptive.

Thomas M. Loarie

The Pope and the Vatican are keepers and guardians of the Catholic brand. Unfortunately, mainline and not-so-mainline Protestant sects do not have a brand guardian and the result is that the "Christian" brand has been watered down and confused. Having our headquarters on the grounds of St. Peter's burial and having this sacred area represent the best in man honoring God is part of OUR brand. We should never be embarrassed by building beautiful Cathedrals to worship in and to honor God. We have just consecrated a new Cathedral in Oakland and I have heard these very same complaints. Years from now, future generations will be grateful that we built Catholic center for all the parishes in the East Bay.

Alvamir Pinto

Strange that nobody ventured to ask how much the Church spends to maintain and preserve all those works of art, a patrimony of humankind.

Tim OD

Just one question: Would Jesus feel at home among the opulence of The Vatican? Jesus was a pious Jew who was bent on reforming the Jewish Temple system which had come to exploit the common Jew by "commercializing" the sacrifice of animals and created wealth for the institution instead of adding to the spirituality of its' people. Jesus preached about "The Kingdom of Heaven", which he claimed was found within each man; "For you must know the kingdom of God is within you". (LK 17:21)

To think Jesus envisioned or desired such a powerful, opulent and at times, ruthless institution seems seems an extreme distortion when measuring the religious institution against the historic Jesus himself. It's hard to square the humility and simplicity of Jesus with the opulence and pomp of Rome. In this respect, I think Mr. Lidge makes a worthwhile point.

True, the wealth of the church allows for much good to be done in the world. True selling off Vatican wealth is impractical. But to true followers of Jesus, as opposed to mere adherents to the belief system created in his name, (which Lidge seems to be) the vast wealth and the grandiose titles the leaders bestow on themselves seems in direct contrast to the teaching and example of leadership set forth by Jesus.

Carl E. Olson

Tim OD: Yes, Jesus was a pious Jew. But Catholics also believe he is the Son of God, the Incarnate Word, the Lord of Lord, King of Kings, the Alpha and the Omega. He did not come to simply "reform" the Jewish Temple system, but to completely transform it. While there has been a lot of scholarly debate about the phrase entos hymon, the better translation of Luke 17:21 is "For look, the kingdom of God is among you" (or, "in the midst of you"). This is in keeping with Jesus' other teachings about the kingdom, which is rooted in his person, identity, and mission.

Your appeal to the "simplicity" of Jesus is ultimately simplistic, as should be evident from a serious reading of the Gospels. For example, you write: "It's hard to square the humility and simplicity of Jesus with the opulence and pomp of Rome." And yet the Book of Revelation depicts Jesus in this way:

"Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden girdle round his breast..." (Rev. 1:12-13)

Later, in chapters 4 and 5, John the Revelator describes the overwhelming beauty and opulent glory of the throne room of heaven. In the midst of this splendor stands the Lamb of God:

Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!" And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all therein, saying, "To him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might for ever and ever!" And the four living creatures said, "Amen!" and the elders fell down and worshiped." (Rev. 5:11-14)

Any fair and reasonable assessment of the "opulence and pomp of Rome" has to take seriously the Catholic belief that Jesus is worthy to receive power and wealth and honor and glory. Orthopraxis is rooted in orthodoxy, so renouncing the practice without addressing the belief is of little or no value.

Tim OD

Carl: Quoting extensively from Revelation doesn't exactly answer the question I put on the table. Trying to impress with superior knowledge of this book in particular (Revelation) demonstrates how dualistic the teaching of Jesus has become. My quote from Luke comes directly from The Jerusalem Bible, a Catholic approved interpretation. Your interpretation supports your point of view and proves nothing. It only states your opinion regardless of the condescending tone you use.

Your intolerance, depicted by your insults is precisely what Jesus railed against and it does Catholicism a disservice. You sound like the pharisees of old with your scripture quoting and narrow view of Jesus and his message. I suppose you can find support in Revelation for The Crusades and The Inquisition as well.

Of course Catholics believe Jesus is The Son of God. Thing is - Jesus said I am also a son of God.... and so are you!

Bless you and may God relieve you of your intolerance and open your heart to the true meaning of Jesus which lies beyond the trappings of a dogmatic belief system. Catholicism is a wonderful start to gain community with God, but don't let it stand on your path. Religion, (especially one "started" by THE Son of God) is supposed to be transformational, not transactional. Memorizing words is the most base form of religious/spiritual practice of our species; if the words don't transform the mind and spirit to become closer to God, then they do more harm than good.

Carl E. Olson

Tim: Oh, please. If name-calling, misrepresentation, misdirection, and ad hominem attacks are the best you can muster, take it elsewhere.


Tim: You obviously can only think in narrow human terms and protestant standards at that. All those wonderful churches, cathedrals with their truly priceless art works were inspired and created for the adoration of one God. They would not even be ours to dispose of. As a personal thought here, I believe the total lack of artistic merit of most modern sacred buildings has at its root the blase' and lukewarm faith of those very architects and their ecclesiastic "bosses" , who cobble those places together.

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