I HEARTILY endorse the policies and principles advocated by Productivity Commissioner Robert Fitzgerald in your headline article, “Welfare Sector Starved – Churches called to new partnerships” (CL 1/4/07).
For many years now, as an average churchgoer, I have been inwardly questioning the “returns”, both spiritual and financial, we ordinary Catholics and the wider community are getting from our colossal real estate holdings (chiefly our churches).
As our places of worship get emptier and emptier – especially of young people – are we clinging to ever diminishing, or at least under-performing assets?
God might, at this stage in our history, be reminding all Christian Churches that His Son thought this way: Remember, “If thou wilt be perfect, go sell what thou hast and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me” (Matthew 19:21).
Mr Fitzgerald is absolutely right to challenge all Christian Churches, in the spirit of Jesus, to at least borrow against the value of our embarrassingly enormous real estate holdings, and use the money to eradicate and alleviate many social ills in our society.
Grateful governments of all persuasions would welcome such actions and no doubt finance this work.
Perhaps we have unconsciously fallen into the mentality of the “Selfish Giant” as described in Oscar Wilde’s beautiful fairy tale.
The giant kept his huge garden to himself and refused to allow the village children to play there.
As a result, the garden was barren and smothered in perpetual winter.
When the giant finally relented and invited the children in, the sunshine returned and the garden flourished.
The Catholic Leader is an Australian award-winning Catholic newspaper that has been published by the Archdiocese of Brisbane since 1929. Our journalism seeks to provide a full, accurate and balanced Catholic perspective of local, national and international news while upholding the dignity of the human person.
The Catholic Leader acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the First Peoples of this country and especially acknowledge the traditional owners on whose lands we live and work throughout the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.