I wrote here a while back about the capital campaign our parish has going for the purpose of refurbishing the main church in the parish, which, in fairness, did legitimately need some maintenance (roof repairs, repairs to the lead holding the stained glass windows together before the glass fragments fall in on somebody's head, etc.) However, in addition to these necessary items, a lot of work is being done that in my opinion is window dressing, designed solely to increase the grandeur of the church. Much of what the current pastor does seems primarily intended to feed his own ego, which makes me profoundly glad that we attend a different church in which he rarely presides over Mass. At any rate, this repair work has been going on for some time now, and we hadn't been the target of any fundraising appeals since the tone-deaf letter in which the pastor (who doesn't know us from Adam) told us that we should be considering a donation in the 20-40 THOUSAND DOLLAR range. Ha.
Until yesterday, anyway.
Another letter: this one serving as an update on the current status of the renovation project and asking for more money, since the $2 million-plus they raised on the first go-round wasn't enough for the extras that they now want to add on to, and I quote, "add to the quality of the worship experience and the grandeur of the building."
The pastor now wants to add a chapel, change the flooring in the center aisle, (and this is what really got me) add decorative painting throughout the church. Bearing in mind that this place is a large older church (circa 1900) with pretty much every decorative bell and whistle you can imagine already, it is difficult to envision a more clear-cut case of lily-gilding. And they are asking for an additional $300,000 to get this all done.
I get that a lot of people attend Mass in this church and that repairs are necessary to preserve the building and avoid lawsuits. What I don't get is that a church, of all things, which theoretically should be deeply and profoundly aware of what good can be done, how many people could be helped, with that kind of money, wants to blow it on a decorative paint job (not simple repainting of walls, to be clear) and some new floors. Makes me sick to my stomach. Pretty sure that if Jesus were to walk in there right now, he'd be less than impressed.
Damn, it's hard to separate the faith from its official custodians some days.