Sell the Vatican, feed the world?

By David Waters Comedian Sarah Silverman says Pope Benedict should “sell the Vatican, feed the world.” Funny, but shouldn’t Christians … Continued

By David Waters

Comedian Sarah Silverman says Pope Benedict should “sell the Vatican, feed the world.” Funny, but shouldn’t Christians seriously consider it?

“What is the Vatican worth, like $500 billion?” Silverman says on her monologue, featured on Bill Maher’s HBO show and now a YouTube sensation. “This is great, sell the Vatican, take a big chunk of the money, build a gorgeous condominium for you and all your friends to live in . . . and with the money left over, feed the whole f—ing world.”

Actually, selling the Vatican probably wouldn’t generate enough cash to buy the whole world lunch.

According to the AP’s Nicole Winfield, the Holy See’s real estate was worth about $900 million in 2004 — before the real estate bust. That doesn’t include St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, but even if both brought holy sites brought in another billion, that wouldn’t come close to covering it. The UN reports that poor countries get $7.9 billion in agricultural aid each year, and will need $44 billion a year by 2050.

Some Catholics were understandably offended by Silverman’s bit, and not just by her profanity. “Silverman’s assault on Catholicism is just another example of HBO’s corporate irresponsibility,” the Catholic League complained. “Silverman’s filthy diatribe would never be allowed if the chosen target were the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem and the state of Israel.”

Other Catholics were intrigued. “Jesus started the trend by telling his followers, ‘If anyone wishes to be perfect, sell what you have, and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven (Mark 10:21),’” Rev. James Martin wrote on his blog for America magazine. “Perhaps Ms. Silverman, in her postmodern, potty-mouthed way is on to something. Like Jesus was. Sell the Vatican? Well, maybe not everything but perhaps a statue or two?”

Wouldn’t hurt. But as the Catholic League points out, “The Catholic Church operates more hospitals and feeds more of the poor than any private institution in the world.” Could it do more by selling its headquarters? What about all its branches worldwide? In fact, how much could the world’s two billion Christians raise if they sold all of their church-related properties and gave the money to the poor?

Coincidentally, last Sunday’s Catholic gospel reading was from the same 10th chapter of Mark, which includes this verse: “Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!’”

Note that he was speaking to his disciples.

About

  • justillthennow

    Loved Silverman’s bit, her wit and sarcasm were very tasty. Of course the proposition is silly and wouldn’t work for any organization, even for one that is ‘in business’ for the purpose of the betterment of society. What organization depletes it’s real value in order to realize a temporary fix for their goals? The organization and it’s infrastructure is weakened, which weakens it’s ability to pursue it’s purpose. It is a self inflicted wound for no long term benefit, from the perspective of an organization that seeks longevity and a continued presence.

  • bpai_99

    Let’s remember that the Church was not founded as an instrument to help the poor and downtrodden, but to be a vehicle to gain power over others under the guise of divine mandate. With that heritage, of course Silverman’s idea is unacceptable.

  • persiflage

    Good idea! Close everything but the souvenir shop – but then you’d have 800 unemployed priests, cardinals, etc. living on the streets of Rome….. but there is a Vatican-sponsored soup kitchen close by, so no problem!! Unfortunately, the Gospel Mission dormitory is run by pentacostals, so that won’t work ref. taking care of the housing issue. Just when you thought you had one problem solved, you’ve created another….

  • norriehoyt

    Her proposal might work if the Roman Church was Christian in practice, but since it’s not, it won’t.

  • coloradodog

    Coming up next week “ON FAITH” Huckabees rants and ccnl1 cuts and pastes about the Abrahamic immorality of naming your kid “Falcon”

  • ccnl1

    Since this is all about distributing wealth to the poor, how about the following individuals selling all they own and feeding the poor with the proceeds. Name Net worth (USD) Bill Gates III $40.0 billion ▼ Warren Buffett $37.0 billion ▼ Helú, Carlos $35.0 billion ▼ Lawrence Ellison $22.5 billion ▼ Ingvar Kamprad and family $22.0 billion The religions of some of the wealthiest top ten: “Bill Gates is thought to be an Agnostic. Warren Buffett is believed to be an Agnostic. Carlos Slim Helú is a Maronite Christian. Lakshmi Mittal is an adherent of Hinduism. Mukesh Ambani believes in Hinduism. Did not see any Pagan rich types in the top 100. Hmmmm, one assumes Pagans have taken a vow of poverty???

  • edbyronadams

    The assertion is amusing and it goes to the heart of the schism between Jesus’ message and the practice of same. Jesus revolutionary message is that salvation is open to everyone while the structures that promulgate that message necessarily have hierarchies and the more equal people those hierarchies naturally breed. However, there is another idea lurking behind Silverman’s notion. If you feed the hungry, do you solve the problem or merely make certain that more hungry get born. Certainly that is the result of providing food aid to cultures in which the women have no freedom of reproductive choice.

  • Mortal

    The Vatican is a treasure that already belongs to all of humanity. The Church merely is the caretaker, and in no conceivable way can be said to “own” it. The Church has no right to sell what it doesn’t own, but is only holding in trust. I for one am glad that it is in good hands. What would Silverman prefer? That Donald Trump turn it into a casino?

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    What is the median net worth of people believing in the Catholic religion? In the US? Worldwide? What is the median net worth of people believing in the Protestant religion? In the US? Worldwide? What is the median net worth of the Vatican’s art? What is the median net worth of the Vatican’s bank account in Vatican Bank of blood money stolen by 200 nazi priests running concentration camps? Said priests cut up living Jews, Serbs, and Roma (Catholic btw.), and deposited the loot in Vatican Bank. Vatican Bank refuses to settle with the heirs. What is the net worth of all the gifts and freebees the Vatican and Bennie receive?

  • kenk3

    The pope lives in opulence, a chateau in switzerland, fancy robes, gold crosses… Its exactly Jesus did, he accumulate wealth and lived large.

  • ccnl1

    Hmmm, will St. Peter’s Basilica be simply a museum in 25 years?? Considering the flaws in the foundations of the Catholic Church, the answer is Yes!!!

  • ccnl1

    Ironical???? “Wealth and organised religion A study in the United States, published in the Social Forces journal and conducted by Sociology researcher Lisa A. Keister while she was at the Ohio State University, found that adherents of Judaism attained the most wealth, believers of Catholicism and mainline Protestants were in the middle, while conservative Protestants accumulated the least wealth, while in general people who attend religious services achieved more wealth than those who don’t (taking into account variations of education and other factors).[1] The researcher suggests that wealth accumulation is shaped by family processes.[2] The median net worth of people believing in the Jewish religion is calculated at 150,890 USD, while the median net worth of conservative Protestants (including Baptists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists, Christian Scientists) was found at 26,200 USD[1]. The overall median in the dataset was 48,200 USD. Another study, published in the American Journal of Sociology (AJS) by Lisa Keister after she moved to Duke University from Ohio State University, found that “religion affects wealth indirectly through educational attainment, fertility, and female labor force participation” but also found some evidence of direct effects of religion on wealth attainment.[3]” Then there is the Mormon business empire: All told, TIME estimates that the Latter-day Saints farmland and financial investments total some $11 billion, and that the church’s nontithe income from its investments exceeds $600 million. “

  • salero21

    . I’m a hispanic who grew up catholic, I’m not catholic now. Have been Evangelical for many years. But since I don’t hold grudges against them (catholics), and this woman is very vulgar and low in her speech. I find to be a moronic thing to do to follow after her ideologies though they have some appearance of truth. Is totally worthless to comment about what she said. Whenever she decides to be sober and talk not like a lady of the streets, but like someone who could have been raised better. Then I’ll listen to her. .

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Calling all Roman-Egyptians: “Christ = neoPharaoh in several ways: Son of the Creator God: expressed (from Dyn.4 onward) as “Son of Re (i.e. the sun)”. From the Middle Kingdom (c.2000-1750 BC) this supreme deity was construed as Amun-Re, i.e. transcendent hiddenness expressing itself in the reigning principle of nature, singular source of all light. The fullness of the godhead: from pre-dynastic times, the Nilotic king was understood to be THE earthly manifestation of the cosmic lord Horus (whose name conveys something like “distant” and “above”). Incarnate Son of God: the epithet used to express this relation was “his (i.e. the creator god’s) bodily son”. When the king was referred to as incarnate god, the term used was “His (i.e. the god’s) Person”. Beloved Son of God: the previous could be further qualified thus: “his bodily son, whom he loves”. Great high priest: in Egypt, the King was theoretically the ONLY ONE qualified to represent humanity to the divine, and the divine to humanity. In local temple cult, the king’s role was delegated to priests, who were thus his proxies (like Roman Catholic priests are stand-ins for Christ in the Mass). Begotten on a mortal mother by the creator god (cf. conception of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahri, Amenophis III at Luxor). Baptised: Ritually lustrated with “living” water (a nice example at Karnak shows Ramesses II being baptised with ankh signs by Horus – principle of rule – and Thoth – principle of records). Crowned with many crowns: a common introductory epithet before cartouches is “lord (i.e. owner) of diadems”. Killed by the machinations of his demonic enemy (Osiris, the king-as-mortal, representing all kings in their death, murdered by the uncanny chaotic Seth.) Mourned by faithful women who attend his burial (the dead king Osiris lamented by Isis and Nephthys). Placed in a tomb and resurrected, emerging from the tomb to ascend to the sky (Pyramid Texts, Amduat, Book of Gates, Book of Caverns…etc.). One part of a divine triad: Osiris (static ground of Being) + Re (perpetual Becoming) + the king (mediator between earth and heaven, who, in life and death, represents god to humanity, and humanity to god) (see Amduat, Book of Gates, Litany of Re, Book of Caverns). Becoming joined to him leads to immortality: Every person, even the poorest, could be identified in death with Osiris, the paradigm deceased king, and thereby could overcome death, emerging from the tomb/grave just like he did (see Book of the Dead). If there is an “OT” for the divinity of Christ, it is not the Tanakh, but the funerary texts of ancient Egypt. Now, didn’t Moses and Pharaoh have something of a falling out? Christianity didn’t really take off among Jews, but was particularly popular in Roman Egypt. The way had been prepared… “

  • Mary_Cunningham

    The Vatican would be prevented from disposing of any of its art. Technically the works are owned by Catholics worldwide, actually they are the property of the Italian government which–after 19th and 20th century plunder–now forbids the export of its art treasures. Beyond that the EU would also act to prevent the dispersal of Catholic art, the foundation of much of its civilization, to countries outside Europe.

  • Mary_Cunningham

    Here is a partial summary of protected religious treasures and icons as listed by UNESCO: Greek Orthodox icons Stained glass windows Triptychs Wood carvings Medieval hand illuminated bibles The Book of Kells

  • elizdelphi

    Actually, another gospel story speaks much more directly to the issue of lavish spending for the sake of devotion to Jesus, vs the needs of the poor. Mark 2-10: (this takes place shortly before the Last Supper and Jesus’ Passion and death) “When he was in Bethany reclining at table in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of perfumed oil, costly genuine spikenard. She broke the alabaster jar and poured it on his head. There were some who were indignant. “Why has there been this waste of perfumed oil? It could have been sold for more than three hundred days’ wages and the money given to the poor.” They were infuriated with her. Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you make trouble for her? She has done a good thing for me. The poor you will always have with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them, but you will not always have me. She has done what she could. She has anticipated anointing my body for burial. Amen, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed to the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went off to the chief priests to hand him over to them.” A Bible note informs me that the woman’s loving action is “in view of his impending death and burial as a criminal, in which case his body would not be anointed.” Safe to say also, those who decry the Vatican’s costly buildings and art, would be some of the same who would want to destroy the Church and give the corpse no anointing. A similar story of a woman who pours costly perfume over Jesus is told in Jn 12:1-11, with Judas himself specified as the complainer, motivated not out of compassion for the poor but “because he was a thief.” Again Jesus vindicates the woman and notes that “you always have the poor with you” (in other words, the duty to the poor is an everyday duty). And, very often it’s the poor themselves who love God and know they need Him, and who love the Church and give their pennies to build it up: Mark 12:41-44 “He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.”

  • ccnl1

    Myths- “Typical characteristics The main characters in myths are usually gods or supernatural heroes.[11][12][13] As sacred stories, myths are often endorsed by rulers and priests (preachers, rabbis and imams) and closely linked to religion.[11] In the society in which it is told, a myth is usually regarded as a true account of the remote past.[11][14][15][12] In fact, many societies have two categories of traditional narrative—(1) “true stories”, or myths, and (2) “false stories”, or fables.[16] Myths generally take place in a primordial age, when the world had not yet achieved its current form.[11] They explain how the world gained its current form[17][18][7][19] and how customs, institutions, and taboos were established.[11][19]“. Story/myth/fable tellers have now been replaced by stand-up comics and late night show hosts making fun of said myths although we still tolerate the myths promulgated by kings, queens, priests, rabbis, preachers and imams. Big money to be made all of these “callings” with very few taking the vow of poverty. The Bhagawat Geeta, OT, NT, koran and the Book of Mormon are good sources of said myths with “pretty, wingie, talking thingies” and their clones being in the top ten category.

  • artistkvip1

    i am a fan butt…butt. when some one is correct that does not change the correctness maybe and why stop at the vatican why knoott naught not, all religions everywhere….. i myself do wonder what jesus would think about all the big emmpyty nice buildings built to honer his wisheses, in each nay-bore-hood while people are actually doing with out shelter and food and in many cases health care. do actually know what it feels like when you go to the emergency room or where ever and the dr. politely tells you in many cases if you have insisted upon waited and haven’t left which is thier first cure, disingenuously they don’t see anything there when they both know it is clearly something somewhere is wrong. and the horror and realizations comes that they do indeed know and have for reason you do not understand decide to pretend they don’t, ( it might take special training to make this effective in a business scenario) as.. a human being have decided ..knott, naught, not 2 treeet them and they walk away… i can only imagine what they think when they are taking thier sleeping pills tryng to get to sleepp at the end of thier good christian american freedom shelter and food for the people who don’t need it world..a loving health care oh by the way die where we cant see you approach to … fixing things.. i wonder who is actually vulger in this argument and who should actually show some shame actual works to correct.. things maybe sortas kind of and i used to tear apart actual sales and money and product numbers as a general manager for a million $ a year business and i would be very interested in how much actual …. food the charity’s bought.. 4 the starving people.. if my hunch is correct maybe we should all sell-E-brate thnx-taking day this year and as a change gorge ourselves and watch tv i could be wung i’m jest a hillbilly painter no preacher or eye-innn-stein type i hav ben told in tallahasse fl. i an’t 2 brite and shutup

  • withouthavingseen

    The previous message, as well as this, are from Ryan Haber Kensington, Maryland (failure to sign resulted from lateness of the hour) p.s.: Elizdelphi, Your post was excellent. Thank you for it. Especially the quip about giving the corpse no anointing. And you are very, very right – the great cathedrals of Europe were built by peasants and craftsmen, engineers and kings – all social strata. It is almost commonplace to say that the peasants did the brunt of the labor, and that they believed most sincerely. It is often forgotten that they perhaps benefited the most: how many places might a Yorkshire yeoman see a great work of art, if he had not York Cathedral? It makes me think of Malcolm Muggeridge’s book “Something Beautiful for God.” That’s what the woman with the alabaster jar did. That’s what the peasants of Europe did. That’s what the immigrants of America did. That’s what Mother Teresa, and even Malcolm Muggeridge did. Tellingly, it was, in the gospel account, Judas Iscariot who disapproved of such extravagant displays of affection for God. Ryan Haber Kensington, Maryland

  • kert1

    I have a better idea, why not sell Washington. I’m sure we could get more money and it may actually do good!  While I am for smaller government I do think we need some government, both for the church and for the nation. This comment does seem to have a small dose of humor in it but it seems evident that this wasn’t given that way. She clearly thinks the Vatican is just a piece of real estate for someone to profit by. I don’t think she could be further from the truth. Besides the obvious reasons given in the article, there are other questions to ask. 1. Who would by the Vatican? 2 If someone can by the Vatican, why don’t they just donate the money to the poor themselves. 3. How are you supposed to sell an entire country? 4. Isn’t the Vatican really the property of all Catholics? I also see a real misunderstanding of what poverty is and where it comes from. Of course we could give more money to the poor but this doesn’t generally help things. Most poverty is caused by people themselves through wars, immoral behavior, oppression, and political unrest. Giving these people food often just allows these things to continue. This also ignores the fact that the Church fights poverty both with money and with teaching; the more important being teaching. They teach people how to live right and support themselves. That is why we in Western Civilization live in such Wealth and are able to help others. The Church should continue to help the poor by showing them how to live. I think people should understand the rest of the Bible in relations to the poor. We should understand Mark 14:1-9 when Mary anoints Jesus with Perfume worth a year’s wages. Jesus rebukes those who “wanted” to give the money to the poor. In fact we learn in John 12:6 that Judas actually objected in greed, since he wanted the money for himself. I think this shows why people are motivated to give others positions. In fact, we are told the poor will always be there and we can always give, but this beautiful thing was important. The Vatican is a beautiful display of God’s glory that is open to inspire and help us all. I suppose you could sell it but you would just need another property to replace it. Doesn’t really make any sense. We should continue to allow the place to offer inspiration to rich and poor alike and not judge because God has richly blessed this place.

  • mascmen7

    This is the best comment that Jews can attack Catholics with impunity and if we reply we are accused of being anti-semitic. Jews dominate and own most of the mass media from NY Times to Hollywood to ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC is controlled by Jews Immelt and Zucker. GE the NBC owner is more liberal than the Jewish owners of other outlets because of the irresponsible Immelt and Zucker. 3) She attacks the Catholic Church, as such, from her safe position as a Jew in a culture where criticizing Jews, as such, is taboo; a point that is especially appropriate because she gratuitously invokes a very modern slander against the Church – i.e., that it was complicit in the Holocaust – a slander that was explicitly denied and refuted by Jews contemporary to and victims of that same event. This is particularly cowardly and distasteful of her. I certainly believe that no Christian (like myself) should ever cheapen the Holocaust or scorn its victims by invoking it so casually; one cannot even imagine why a Jew (like Ms. Silverman) would want to do so. In any event, I’ve spilled too much ink over her dribbling. Ryan Haber Kensington, Maryland The Chief Rabbi of Rome during WWII became a Catholic as he was so impressed by the Catholic Church’s efforts to save Jews from the Shoah (Holocaust).

  • withouthavingseen

    A couple last notes about Ms. Silverman’s witty ideas. 1) She gloats about having a 48″ plasma screen TV; I reiterate my challenge to her to sell that and feed a single poor person. Heck, I challenge her simply to go to a soup kitchen and feed a poor person using someone else’s money, even. 2) She isn’t interested in helping anybody, let alone feeding them. She starts by asking, “How do I get these [hungry] people out of my living room?” Feeding them is unnecessary, though, if that is her only concern. She might sterilize them and let them die out. She might put them to sleep like dogs. Both those approaches, coincidentally, have been tried in modern history and are continuously in discussion among modern elites, to solve one problem or another – which is to say, to eliminate one undesirable group of human beings or another. But if it only her guilt feelings that Ms. Silverman wants to assuage, she might turn off her television. That option never seems to have occurred to her. 3) She attacks the Catholic Church, as such, from her safe position as a Jew in a culture where criticizing Jews, as such, is taboo; a point that is especially appropriate because she gratuitously invokes a very modern slander against the Church – i.e., that it was complicit in the Holocaust – a slander that was explicitly denied and refuted by Jews contemporary to and victims of that same event. This is particularly cowardly and distasteful of her. I certainly believe that no Christian (like myself) should ever cheapen the Holocaust or scorn its victims by invoking it so casually; one cannot even imagine why a Jew (like Ms. Silverman) would want to do so. In any event, I’ve spilled too much ink over her dribbling. Ryan Haber Kensington, Maryland

  • joe_allen_doty

    The early church in the 1st Century AD did not collectively own any property. They met in members homes for worship services. The “State of Vatican City” is a country. And the Pope is the “ex-officio” of that country. The Roman Catholic Church is the only religious institution that has its own country. Even the government of the USA recognized that the Vatican is a country and even sends an ambassador to it. But, our government doesn’t have ambassadors to any of the church denominations in the USA. That’s religious discrimination in my opinion. The richest religion-owned institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where I live, are the 2 mega-sized RCC hospital complexes. If the St. Francis Hospital put all of its properties together in the same place, it would probably cover more that 3/4 of a square mile. It even has a retirement complex with apartments and houses; but, poor people, those whose Social Security Retirement Pensions are at the poverty level, cannot afford live in them. When people without insurance go to the ER of either of those hospitals, they do treat them; but, they ask the State of Oklahoma to reimburse them through Medicaid. Financially speaking, the Roman Catholic Church is a very rich denomination. But, a lot of the funds for its charities comes from secular organizations and non-RCC churches.

  • Davidd1

    Silverman’s lack of credentials and anti-catholic hatespeech aside, say the Vatican is(realistically) worth $50B. Whoever’s able to buy it will be worth more than that; why not cut out the middleman and simply tax the bidders at 95% and use that cash to feed the hungry?

  • askgees

    Too bad we prevented Hitler from completing his mission.

  • Bluefish2012

    If irresponsible attacks a la Silverman didn’t happen, one would have to wonder if the Vatican was doing the right thing. She reassures us that all is right with what the Church does. Catholics understand why that is true. Man does not live on bread alone.

  • jemvbcarmagh06

    Silverman could make her point without the profanity. I suppose she thinks that using profanity generates a larger audience. As a Roman Catholic, I understand that the vatican, and many parishes throughout the world, have deep pockets, and in the case of Rome,it obscene wealth. At the same time, I recognize that the Catholic Church does more than its fair share to help those less fortunate. It might be a good idea, however, to tone down the pomp and circumstance, and perhaps if it doesn’t already do it, share with the world just how much that it does for the least of its breathern. Copy Silverman.

  • withouthavingseen

    The entire conversation, even my own comments, is ridiculous, except for the fact that it is taken so seriously. And it should be taken seriously because it is about a very serious thing. The conversation is ridiculous in the way it is ridiculous for children in one family to tell the adults of the next house how they ought to raise their children. Most of the people commenting here aren’t Catholic, aren’t a part of our family. Moreover, they do not know the slightest bit about the matter at hand. They think they’ve got the Catholic religion and church all figured out, when in reality they haven’t a clue. The part that is most truly ridiculous is how commentators hear and elsewhere typically think that what they think or say on the matter make one bit of difference. It doesn’t. A petition with a BILLION people signing it wouldn’t make a difference, any more than all the kids begging and pleading with daddy to let them eat sweets before dinner would make a difference (er, any more than it SHOULD make a difference). One of the numerous accusations that our detractors hurl at Holy Mother Church is that we are a democracy. In that accusation, they are correct. The Church is no more a democracy than a nursery is, because the Church is our (Catholics’) mother, and mothers (should) govern based on their experience – not on their children’s whims. A million billion “pleases,” recriminations, and alligator tears shouldn’t make a whit’s difference to a responsible parent as to whether the child must do what the child must do. The parent should consider the reasons and facts about the child’s authentic well-being. Likewise with the Church. Beg, plead, scream, or demand as you like, but it will not make a whit’s difference to the Church about whether she should ordain women, sell her artwork, give laypeople “more power,” or pat people on their woolly heads and tell them that things like contraception and abortion really aren’t so bad. That’s not how the Church operates. — As a last note, I wonder if anyone who opposes or chafes at the Church being “its own country,” has ever stopped to ask how that situation developed. There are historical reasons for it, and they were good reasons. The reasons have passed, and they passed perhaps earlier than the Church herself realized. And the Church is stronger spiritually for being weaker politically, militarily. Most of us in the Church, including the pope, recognize that fact. The reasons for the artwork and beautiful treasures and architecture are somewhat analogous… but those reasons have not yet passed away. And I do not expect them to. Go ahead, ask me. I’ll tell you if you do. Frankly, I think most detractors aren’t really interested in the reasons. They’re only interested, like Ms. Silverman, in hating the Church. Ryan Haber Kensington, Maryland

  • Bluefish2012

    I liked the idea herein that if the Vatican is to sell its treasures, the cash to do that already exists. So if it is cash that is needed to feed the poor, shouldn’t whoever has it be the ones that Ms. Silverman goes after? Or is she just hoping for a lifetime gig? I.e. hounding whomever has these treasures–one owner after another–to sell them and feed the poor?

  • flonzy3

    More hypocrisy from a rich entertainer who gives a minor drop in the bucket compared to her wealth away. She attacks one of the largest charity groups in the world; who gives more aid than Christians? This is more of the same silly clap trap about how Christians don’t care whey they are the main source of private charity in the world. I think someone might want to send her a copy of “Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism”; it is a real eye opener about how urban liberals are tight wads who barely give a dime to charity. I am not religious and I grow sick of religious bashing about money, why don’t all the hypocrites in Hollywood sell their cars, planes, mansion, and high end clothing and by some basics and move into a shack sized house? That is basically what they think organized religion should do. Put up of shut up I say you hypocrites! Beyond the stupidity of the comment the idea of selling off such historical treasures is nauseating to my intellectual side; it is like wanting to pull down Westminster Abby to create housing for the poor that is close to downtown. Maybe Israel should take down the Wailing Wall and sell off the pieces to feed the poor. Some people have no class.

  • Dodgers1

    Let’s assume that there is no God. When you die, it will be the equivalent of unplugging your TV: total darkness. When you die, you won’t remember your friends, your spouse, your children, your parents, your siblings, your career, your educational pursuits, your home, or your last vacation. There will be nothing. You will only be rotting flesh in a box six feet under the ground. That will be the totality of your life. All your dreams, ambitions, joys and pleasures will be gone. In a hundred years, nobody will remember you and even care.

  • LiberalBasher

    What about all of the Art the Vatican holds? How many billions does the Vatican hold in Art? Shoot, I like this idea just for the fact that some of what the Vaticans Art/Manuscripts have not seen public eyes in centuries. Normally I come down hard on people that bash organized religion. But this has merit.

  • Cthulhu3

    Why stop at the Vatican? Why shouldn’t the Jews of the world sell the Temple on the Mount; the Muslims sell Mecca; the Buddhists sell Lhasa; the citizens of the U.S. sell the White House and the Capitol (the President and the Congress could certainly conduct the government’s business out of a few fair-sized business parks); the Anglicans sell Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s; and all who profess to want to eliminate hunger in the world–including elite Hollywood celebrities with multi-million dollar mansions–sell all that they own? It is easy to expect another to sacrifice what you wouldn’t sacrifice yourself. I do not see Ms. Silverman giving up her fame and fortune to wear a hair shirt and eat locusts in the wilderness.

  • Skowronek

    Putting aside the vulgarity for a moment, it’s interesting to see how people respond. Particularly for those who may have espoused the belief that every single word in the Bible (in this case, it could be the Torah, or the Koran or the Guru Granth Sahib, or anyone other holy tome) is true and must be obeyed. But now there are those who are backpedaling, or spinning it to mean something else. Doesn’t mean they’re wrong to do so, just that I find it interesting watching those who argue against “picking and choosing” suddenly doing just that. Not directed at anyone on this thread in particular, just a generalized trend.

  • Cthulhu3

    Skowronek, I see your point, but I think you pass over another one. “Why point out the spec in your brothers eye when you have a board in your own?” In edition to oversimplification of an issue, Silverman engages in this classic hustle that Christ pointed out long ago: it is easier to find fault and expect from another than it is to find fault and expect more from yourself. She chose the Vatican because it is like throwing stones at a barn–an easy hit. What is more uncomfortable is for someone who is a wealthy entertainer (politician, mover and shaker, whatever)–any of us, really, of any means above poverty–to do what we say instead of expecting others to do what we say. heck, if the President flew coach and sold Air Force One, do you know how many more people could eat every day? If you didn’t buy that carton of cigarettes, that bottle or Merlot, that BMW–anything really beyond the necessities–how much good be done with the money that you saved an gave to the poor? Heck, why did you waste all that money or your kids’ college education when it could have fed thousands of people? Certainly,their lives are more important than a BA degree? You see where I am going with this–Silverman’s statement sounds all witty and moralistic until you realize that she is a product of the same absurdity that she criticizes–an organization or institution (in her case, American society) that is so wealthy that it spends money on frivolous things such as entertainment, comedians, concerts, etc., when it could be feeding the poor with all that wasted money.

  • ChuckFi

    Wow, rough crowd. No use trying to be funny in this room.

  • Sajanas

    When I visited the Vatican, I was immensely impressed. Michelangelo’s Pieta is just the opening act for worship hall decked with the combined wealth and art of several hundred years of European history. Certainly is the sort of thing that would be foolish to be broken up and sold away, and it certainly does leave one utterly floored by its beauty and history. If they were building it to day, sure, I’d rail against waste and spending and the like. But its not like the Vatican has been trying to build a 20 billion dollar super palace today. The point was made, and it is a valid one, that they are not a charitable organization. And, frankly, there are a whole mess of charities that keep 70 to 80% of their earnings to support themselves. The main difference is we have no idea what the Vatican books are like. We can cheer or boo, but I doubt it will be easy to just pronounce “they could do more” or “they are doing more than enough” just by looking at their churches.

  • Skowronek

    True enough. But without someone’s itemized 1040A in front of us, how much do we actually know about anyone else’s generosity? Religions in general would be much smaller targets if they (generally) weren’t more concerned about their club fees, club house and its trappings than with their message. Whatever their messages may be. As an example, the Amish tend to have a lot of valuable property, but as they also do not tend to flash their cash (so to speak), they are subject to a great deal less invective than their christian fellows. Nor do they have a religious seat that is its own country–just as an aside. They’re certainly criticized by plenty of people, but usually without the same level of hostility as is meted out to those sects with more wealth on display. It goes on and on, naturally enough. But I still find it interesting when those who insist that their holy book is infallible, direct from their deity, and not subject to change, criticism or intent suddenly backpedaling. It’s a very human response of course. People tend to like and support those ideas that are in line with whatever they espouse and that bolster their own (comfortable or relatively more comfortable) position. As I’m an atheist so I don’t have a dog in this fight. Although my very Catholic family no doubt feel otherwise. If I choose to give money away to various and sundry charitable organizations, I do so. And I do, not just for the tax write-off (but it doesn’t hurt!), but for whatever work performed that I see as worthwhile. Anyway, it is interesting to watch this unfold.

  • PhilThijou

    askgees has exposed itself as a Nazi, and therefore unworthy of inclusion in any civilized discussion. Has nobody here read Jonathan Swift?

  • Skowronek

    The Vatican IS beautiful and seeing those Michelangelo’s was an awesome experience. But making it (Vatican City) a sovereign state strikes me as being outdated and unnecessary. As a museum it’s something to write home about though. Oh, I dug this out just for reference. These are the passages that she’s using as the backbone for her skit and commentary, correct? 17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? 18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. 19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. 20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. 21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. 22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. 23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. Compare: Matthew 19:16-30; Luke 18:18-30

  • fishcrow

    Ah, but what to make of John 12:1-8? We will always have the poor among us.

  • Wallenstein

    Bluefish: You’re getting it. Unless you can eat a painting or a block of marble, selling art-work and what not only shifts existing assets around. It’s consumption that takes food out of the mouths of the poor. There are several hundred thousand mega-rich conspicuous consumers Silverman (most working as entertainers of some sort) could go after who are starving people. Bluefish2012: I liked the idea herein that if the Vatican is to sell its treasures, the cash to do that already exists. So if it is cash that is needed to feed the poor, shouldn’t whoever has it be the ones that Ms. Silverman goes after? Or is she just hoping for a lifetime gig? I.e. hounding whomever has these treasures–one owner after another–to sell them and feed the poor?

  • Anne12

    How on earth can the Post not remove the post by askgees? The Post has a duty to remove highly offensive remarks since they are against their own etiquette by spreading hate speach. I am ashamed of your socalled monitors.

  • bdc9977

    Modern religion is nothing more than a fairy tale used to get one group of people to attack other groups of people. All the while millions of people go hungry, live in squalor, and get killed, while others argue over who has the right interpretation of something written 1000+ years ago.

  • Homunculus

    I love Sarah Silverman her humor is delicious. Sarah’s idea is not new though, Mother Theresa was on that page for years. MT would give every penny away to the poor, everything leaving nothing for the maintenance of her church or the continuance of the charity. The head cheese in the Vatican finally stopped giving the old broad cash and sent food or clothes instead. The message lost in translation by MT was the ‘give’ a fish vrs ‘teach’ to fish proverb. But whatever. If Sarah runs for prez Ill vote for her. She can count on a donation any time.

  • blackmask

    I think the Catholic Church NEEDS all those gold plated toilets and baubles from the last century. They are so useful.

  • lmholot

    I’m tired of Sarah Silverman being given a pass to rant about whatever she wants simply because she is Jewish. I agree with a previous poster that perhaps the US could take all of the money that is wasted on Israel and put it towards the poor. Too bad that’s not politically correct….even though targeting the Catholic Church is, if you have Jewish immunity.

  • MillPond2

    900 million dollars would provide a whole lot of useful micro-loans to poor women in third world countries. The experience of those organizations who provide such loans show that women are better credit risks than their husbands, sons and brothers. I’m with Sarah Silverman on this one.

  • Monkaton

    Religion is the bureaucracy of spiritualism.

  • fmjk

    OK then, so how about just selling naming rights? The Frito-Lay Sistine Chapel? The Bank of America Dome? :-) Of course it’s awful. It was even awful when they did it to college bowl games. But I don’t think Silverman was being literal. She was simply pointing out the huge gap between what we say and what we do .. in every culture and every religion. We could feed the poor with the proceeds of a few Superbowl commercials or 10% of the take at a few blockbuster movies. Or how about a tax on CEO salaries over $1m?

  • ravitchn

    If the Catholic Church gave up its riches in art and architecture and gave the proceeds to the poor, the poor would be helped only briefly, very briefly. But the whole world would lose the precious artistic legacy of thousands of years. The Catholic Church would become as philistine as the Baptists: plain whitewashed buildings and no class whatsoever. I hope the Vatican ignores the ignorant recommendations of Sarah Silverman.

  • lufrank1

    Silverman, a little crude, but to the Point! I am so tired of seeing priests flying first class and riding in Luxury cars (just check San Antonio). More than that, I KNOW you will be shocked to learn how much USA real estate is owned by the Roman Catholic Church, and how much lower our deficit would be if they and the other “church” business had to pay taxes.

  • cprferry

    “Too bad we prevented Hitler from completing his mission.” Inappropriate. You were talking about the holocaust, right? Inappropriate! Now if you were talking about the Nazi plot to kidnap the Pope, ransack the Vatican and destroy Catholicism, then, it appears by you’d have some supporters among Silverman and others. That people even joke about Nazis and can not discern their utter and complete evilness is a statement for the need of the Church as a beacon for hope and truth in the world.

  • gratefolks

    Wow! If Ms. Silverman ever saw this (and man I’d marry her if polygamy was legal), she’d probably be laughing hysterically at all the analysis and citation. Those of you who are in the least familiar with her work recognize this parody as nothing new. She regularly lampoons Jews, as well as every other sensitive group. Toughen up if you’re offended, or seek a political state where criticism is banned.

  • likovid

    Some people just don’t know where to stop. There used to be, an unwritten reciprocal rule, that one should observe respect for the other’s religion if not only to show good manners but to keep the peace as among individuals (and as among nations). This woman is not funny, quite the contrary, she is quite offensive and completely out of line.

  • douglaslbarber

    Oscar Wilde wasn’t noted for his piety, but I suspect he has Ms. Silverman pegged when he notes that “A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing”.

  • Wallenstein

    The Vatican is not some playground for the Pope. It house some the rarest intellectual and unique artistic treasures of Western civilization. Almost of this value comes from age, rareness, and intellectual value. The intrinsic value of much of the stuff is quite low compared to its market value. And whoever could afford to buy the Vatican could just as easily give the money to the poor directly. Selling the Vatican does not create any new money.

  • jghynes

    Does anyone remember the novel and film The Shoes of the Fisherman? The 1968 film version (which shows up on TCM now and then) starred Anthony Quinn as a Russian archbishop and former political prisoner who becomes pope. It’s all pretty implausible to begin with, but it ends (as I recall) with the new Russian pope announcing that he will sell the art and other treasures of the church to end a famine in China, as a way to ensure world peace. I’m wondering if Sarah Silverman came across the film at some point.

  • kare1

    I thought this was a wonderfully insightful skit for Ms Silverman. The Catholic Church which I grew up in does wonderful things around the world. I have traveled to many countries with Cathlic Relief Services, and am always stunned at the wealth and prosperity at some of residences of Church leaders. We stay in huddles that are often disgusting while doing our work, however the Priests whos vows include poverty life ostentagiously. Ever seen the Vatican or the Cardinal residences. There was a time, and I am still angry when we are requested to TITHE extra for the maintenance of these properties. I keep my money for the poor I visit.

  • Mary_Cunningham

    ” Mary therefore took a pound of ointment of right spikenard, of great price, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. Then one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, he that was about to betray him, said: Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence and given to the poor? Now he said this not because he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief and, having the purse, carried the things that were put therein.” John 12: 1-6. Gleefully divesting Catholics of their religious heritage whilst giving not one penny, not one dollar of their own to the poor, hoisting that tired canard that blames Catholics– Catholics! –for the Holocaust, as if millions of Catholics did not die themselves at the murderous hands of the Nazis..Oh Yes! well done Sarah, well done David.

  • pgr88

    At first I thought “ON FAITH” was satire or just silly, now I am beginning to think the editors are, through their modernist, PC delusions, are actually promoting evil. Your choices of articles range from the ridiculous “Would Jesus Support HR3200″ to the stupifying “We Should All Be Forced To Have Vaccines Because It Is Moral.” Now you put the foul-mouthed Silverman, whose claim-to-fame is talking in great detail about her excretory organs, in a forum to lecture the Catholics and the Catholic Church. ON FAITH is like watching a car-crash. A tragedy to see, but I just can’t look away.

  • catherine3

    I agree partially with what she has to say. No need to be all or nothing here. The Vatican could stand to divest itself of so much luxurious glittering wealth, it is an old-fashioned throwback to the days of kings and queens. Almost all of the countries of the world have gotten past their days of having royalty in over-the-top splendor and it is time for the Vatican to follow suit. In addition it is time for all of us to live more simply and less materialistically and help the poor of the world.

  • ATrueChristian

    OK, say the Church sells the Vatican at today’s prices. In 10 years, the value of the Vatican doubles. Then everyone would pile on the Church that it sold the Vatican “too soon”. No pleasing anyone. I find it more telling to look at the average wages of the clergy. About 12 years, or so, ago the Wash Post ran an article showing the average wages of clergy from various denominations. The Catholic Church’s priests were the lowest paid clergy, while Baptists were the highest paid. Which I already knew because in Falls Church or McLean a Baptist pastor built a HUGE house near the Powhatan Nursing Home for his personal residence (this was long before “Mcmansions” started being the norm in that area). And yet people look down on the Catholic Church for not giving up worldly possessions.

  • sailmaker1943

    Fine. Sell the Vatican. At the same time, I’m expecting to see the Dome of the Rock, the Ka’aba, and the Wailing Wall also up for sale. Idiots generate idiot ideas. Silverman’s a comic, but this isn’t remotely funny, certainly not helpful.You’re wasting good editorial space here.

  • Mary_Cunningham

    Look folks–and Ms Silverman–the Vatican would never be permitted to sell any of its art– the Italian government, the European Union, and the large Catholic Latin American countries like Brazil would never allow it. These religious works are, quite literally, priceless and they belong to all Catholics. All Catholics, not just the hierarchy in Rome. Ms Silverman can yell feck to her heart’s content, it won’t happen.

  • ccnl1

    Hmmm, more NT “thumptations” without due diligence??? Matt 28: 16-20, Professor JD Crossan, an On Faith panelist, after an exhaustive review of all the NT passages and related scriptures, concluded said passage was not uttered by the historic Jesus but was simply more embellishment by the NT authors to make the simple preacher man into something he was not. And also this commentary from another NT exegete: “Gerd Luedemann Matt 28:16-20 The description of Jesus’s appearance is minimal, as attention is focused on the content of Jesus’ message to the Eleven. Luedemann notes that “the historical yield is extremely meager.” He accepts the early tradition that various disciples had visionary experiences, most probably located in Galilee, and that these experiences led to the founding of “a community which preached the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus as the Messiah and/or the Son of Man among their Jewish contemporaries.” [Jesus, 255f.] ” For a discussion of the historic nature of Mark 14: 55-59 see:

  • terencef100

    Yet more ignorant, profane anti-Catholic bilge by this idiotic woman. The Catholic Church is the Vatican, yes; it is also the poor missionaries in every corner of the world, including DC, existing at the same level as the rest of the flock. Remember that many ordinary people, as well as wealthy merchants, built the church’s infrastructure as a way to glorify God and to give thanks. They serve as examples of faith to others. Obviously this is a concept this idiotic Silverman person cannot understand. And shame on the Post for further publicizing her inane comments.

  • patrick3

    Give the $3 billion dollars plus a year the U.S. gives to Israel to maintain the world’s largest open air prison to the hungry instead and make an even bigger dent in the problem.

  • TerryMcT

    In your article you cite a response by The Catholic League. You know, of course, that The Catholic League isn’t any sort of recognized representative of US Catholics, right? It’s one man running the group out of his house. Please don’t take his responses or opinions as any sort of real reflections on Catholic America.

  • ccnl1

    John 12:8 “We will always have the poor among us”. This passage only appears in John’s gospel making it a single attestation and therefore historically unreliable.

  • iampdavis2

    hmmm, asking the premier spiritual organization in the world to divest itself of worldly trappings so that millions of people do not go hungry or die of starvation… My bet is that they keep their worldly trappings and solemnly shake their heads in solidarity with the world’s poor and hungry. (Luke 18:22-23) Nothing to see here, folks, let’s go, just move on … Ms. Silverman obviously doesn’t know human nature.

  • zickzack

    I’m willing to live without the Vatican if the Muslims will live without Mecca.__I’m not willing to do a unilateral surrender of holy places without in-kind participation from the ENEMY, and, make no mistake, Islam is THE enemy.__End the terror state of Saudi Arabia and free its millions of oppressed women NOW.

  • FergusonFoont

    Didn’t any of you ever watch the movie “The Shoes of the Fisherman,” starring Anthony Quinn? That’s precisely what the author advocated way back then. I was rather astonished that it didn’t receive more airplay after the death of John Paul II, as it specifically involves the highly controversial elevation of a non-Italian Cardinal to the Papacy. It is unfortunate that Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, is not the sort of guy who would advocate any such radical solution. He seems more intent on moving the Roman Catholic Church back to an era when intolerance and penurious greed characterized the Holy See.

  • coloradodog

    The Vatican would simply declare bankruptcy like Delaware’s Catholic Diocese of Wilmington which filed for federal bankruptcy protection on Sunday night, on the eve of a civil trial in a high-profile sex abuse case against the diocese and a former priest. Apparently the “anguish” Pope Benedict has in his heart for the victims isn’t enough to stop his lawyers from engaging in this fraudulent tactic to avoid justice or to put in prison or defrock it’s pedophile priests. Catholics who deny, hide, aid, abet and otherwise try to snivel out of their responsibility over this (usually by saying, in a shrill adolescent voice, “Other people do it, too”) are no more “the Brothers of Christ” than Jeffery Dahmer or John Wayne Gacy. May the karma of those who protect pedophile priests, including the Pope and his Cardinals, be that they are brutally raped by their clergy in their next life. 14 would be a good age – it was young enough to terrorize me pretty well. The only difference for me was the priest was not part of my clergy – I was visiting CYO with my Catholic friend because young Catholics and Protestants had to stick together in oppressive, intolerant Mormon Utah.

  • cprferry

    Perhaps the United States should sell the Smithsonian and all its holdings to feed the poor? The real estate alone in downtown DC would cover a lot. Then all its treasures can be packed up, held in warehouses, hidden away from all those that draw strength and inspiration from the rich history and art. And, then, since it’s not being seen, maybe the Smithsonian treasures can be sold off to private owners to do as they wish. You see how ridiculous it is to suggest an institution like the Vatican, especially one instrically tied to the faith of over a billion people, to shrink out of sight? On the insistence of the evil that plagues HBO and modern media, including Silverman’s many bits? Every dollar that goes to the collection plate does a lot more than those sold to HBO or taxed by the government.

  • hbc1

    I suppose some of you get indignant about the old “Take my wife…please” joke. How dare he treat his wife as an object to be traded away? Doesn’t he know that he has to file divorce papers before this can happen legally? It’s okay not to find the clip funny, but it’s baffling that so many here are taking Silverman’s suggestion at face value. No, she has not looked into the legal possibilities and financial opportunities associated with this endeavor. Nor does she seriously expect anyone to follow her suggestion, nor does she think this is the easiest way to get poor people out of her living room. It’s a JOKE. Like I said, you can find it unfunny and offensive, but it demonstrates a complete lack of intelligence to miss its humorous intent.

  • ccnl1

    Before getting too carried away with the “thumping” passages, Mark 2:10, John 12:1-12 and Mark 12: 41-44, you might want to see what some of the contemporary NT exegetes have to say about said passages. Hmmm, Mark 2:10 in my NT: “But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” The “perfumed” story at Bethany is actually found in: (1a) Mark 14:3-9 = Matt 26:6-13 (2a) Luke 7:36-50 (1b/2b) John 12:1-8 (3) Ign. Eph. 17:2 Professor Crossan’s analysis: Item: 192 Stratum: II (60-80 CE) Attestation: Triple Historicity: These perfume stories are true and said passages about the anointment were said in some form by the historic Jesus. However: “Luedemann [Jesus, 94] comments on the Mark passages: The historical yield of the tradition is nil. But it does reflect the closeness of Jesus to a probably notorious woman of Galilee (cf. on Luke 7:36-50). In his comments on the Lucan version, Luedemann suggests that Luke knew the Mark story yet deviated from his usual practice of following Mark closely in the passion account in order to bring this story (in an amended form) to an earlier location in his Gospel. He notes the addition of explicit mention of the sinner status of the woman in vss 37 and 39 (and the forgiveness of her many sins in vss 47, 48, 49). He then concludes: If the story of the woman who was a sinner must be regarded as a mere development of Mark 14:3-9 it is unhistorical. But as the encounter of Jesus with a prostitute comes from the Lucan special tradition, this may be historical. For the contact of Jesus with shady people is a fact. The historicity of the encounter of Jesus with a prostitute is supported by the criterion of offensiveness. (p. 308)” And Mark 12:41-44 = Luke 21:1-4 from:

  • withouthavingseen

    I wonder if it has occurred to Ms. Silverman, or to any of the commentators here, that they might sell their own possessions and distribute the proceeds in order to feed the poor. The Catholic Church was not established in order to feed the poor, nor to improve society. Those things are noble, and they are natural consequences of her mission, but they are quite secondary to the mission. The mission of the Catholic Church is the very same one given by Jesus Christ: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age,” (Mt 28:19-20). And from that day to this, the Church has been received precisely as Her Lord was: “And some stood up and bore false witness against him… Yet not even so did their testimony agree,” (Mk 14:57-9). Our enemies accuse us of being socialist revolutionaries and of shoring up the status quo. We are supposed to be superstitious for believing in some miracles after careful testing, but hardheaded skeptics for not believing every scientific theory before it’s even been tested. We are accused of divinizing one woman and of denigrating all others. We are accused of collaborating with nationalist governments because we teach the duty of people to be good citizens, and we are accused of trying to tear down national governments because we insist that people are also citizens of the world. We are accused of speaking too softly against the despicable killing of the Jews (and despicable the killing was); but we are also accused of speaking too loudly against the killing of unborn children, and they never ask what their own parents or grandparents said against the killing of the Jews, or why they sit by so passively during the killing of the unborn. They accuse us of hoarding valuable art while people in remote lands starve, and they accuse us of huckstering when we ask them to give to the poor. Our accusers are so breathlessly eager to accuse us that they cannot even be bothered to get their accusations straight: any stone will do, as long as they can hurl it at the Church, even if it smashes their own glass house. The Catholic Church was established by Jesus Christ to continue his salvific mission in the world – she does this by teaching the world in word and deed about the great love of God for us his creatures, and teaching the world to glorify Him and find peace in doing so. In consequence of the Church’s intention to show God’s love to the world, she serves it as best as her clunky old body (us) will let her. In consequence of her desire to praise Him, she has always set aside beautiful places and things for use in His worship.

  • Skowronek

    “Lk 18:28-30, “And Peter said, “Lo, we have left our homes and followed you.” And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no man who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive manifold more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.” Ahh, so Jesus and his apostles condone abandoning spouse(s) and children. Terrific. Again, I don’t have a dog in this fight. I find literalists rather amusing. Particularly those who insist that there are no contradictions or errors in their holy book(s).

  • ccnl1

    Hmmm, apparently Counterww is still suffering from the Three B Syndrome i.e. Bred, Born and Brainwashed in Christianity. The cure: The following references- as found in the books of contemporary NT exegetes: 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm — the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the titles of their over 100 books on the subject. 2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/ — a list of early Christian documents to include the year of publication 30-60 CE Passion Narrative 40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q 50-60 1 Thessalonians 50-60 Philippians 50-60 Galatians 50-60 1 Corinthians 50-60 2 Corinthians 50-60 Romans 50-60 Philemon 50-80 Colossians 50-90 Signs Gospel 50-95 Book of Hebrews 50-120 Didache 50-140 Gospel of Thomas 50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel 50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ 65-80 Gospel of Mark 70-100 Epistle of James 70-120 Egerton Gospel 70-160 Gospel of Peter 70-160 Secret Mark 70-200 Fayyum Fragment 70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs 73-200 Mara Bar Serapion 80-100 2 Thessalonians 80-100 Ephesians 80-100 Gospel of Matthew 80-110 1 Peter 80-120 Epistle of Barnabas 80-130 Gospel of Luke 80-130 Acts of the Apostles 80-140 1 Clement 80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians 80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews 80-250 Christian Sibyllines 90-95 Apocalypse of John 90-120 Gospel of John 90-120 1 John 90-120 2 John 90-120 3 John 90-120 Epistle of Jude 93 Flavius Josephus 100-150 1 Timothy 100-150 2 Timothy 100-150 Titus 100-150 Apocalypse of Peter 100-150 Secret Book of James 100-150 Preaching of Peter 100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites 100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans 100-160 Shepherd of Hermas 100-160 2 Peter continued below:

  • ccnl1

    3. Historical Jesus Studies, faithfutures.org/HJstudies.html, — “an extensive and constantly expanding literature on historical research into the person and cultural context of Jesus of Nazareth” 4. Jesus Database, faithfutures.org/JDB/intro.html–”The JESUS DATABASE is an online annotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament.” 5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm 6. The Jesus Seminar, mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria 7. Writing the New Testament- mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/testament.html 8. Health and Healing in the Land of Israel By Joe Zias joezias.com/HealthHealingLandIsrael.htm 9. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998. 10. The Gnostic Jesus (Part One in a Two-Part Series on Ancient and Modern Gnosticism) by Douglas Groothuis: equip.org/free/DG040-1.htm 11. The interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical Commission Presented on March 18, 1994 ewtn.com/library/CURIA/PBCINTER.HTM#2 12. The Jesus Database- newer site: wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?title=Jesus_Database 13. Jesus Database with the example of Supper and Eucharist: faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb016.html 14. Josephus on Jesus by Paul Maier: mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm 15. The Journal of Higher Criticism with links to articles on the Historical Jesus: mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm 16. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/ continued below:

  • ccnl1

    17. Diseases in the Bible: etd.unisa.ac.za/ETD-db/theses/available/etd-08022006-125807/unrestricted/02dissertation.pdf 18. Religion on Line (6000 articles on the history of religion, churches, theologies, theologians, ethics, etc. religion-online.org/ 19. The Jesus Seminarians and their search for NT authenticity: mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria 20. The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT ntgateway.com/ 21. Writing the New Testament- existing copies, oral tradition etc. ntgateway.com/ 22. The Search for the Historic Jesus by the Jesus Seminarians: members.aol.com/DrSwiney/seminar.html 23. Jesus Decoded by Msgr. Francis J. Maniscalco (Da Vinci Code review)jesusdecoded.com/introduction.php 24. JD Crossan’s scriptural references for his book the Historical Jesus separted into time periods: faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan1.rtf 25. JD Crossan’s conclusions about the authencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the conclusions of other NT exegetes in the last 200 years: faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan2.rtf 26. Common Sayings from Thomas’s Gospel and the Q Gospel: faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan3.rtf 27. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books by title with the complete translated work in English :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html 28. Luke and Josephus- was there a connection? infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/lukeandjosephus.html 29. NT and beyond time line: pbs.org/empires/peterandpaul/history/timeline/ 30. St. Paul’s Time line with discussion of important events: harvardhouse.com/prophetictech/new/pauls_life.htm

  • ccnl1

    continued from above: 31. See http://www.amazon.com for a list of JD Crossan’s books and those of the other Jesus Seminarians: Reviews of said books are included and selected pages can now be viewed on Amazon. Some books can be found on-line at Google Books. 32. Father Edward Schillebeeckx’s words of wisdom as found in his books. 33. The books of the following other On Faith panelists: Professors Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and Bishop NT Wright. 34. Father Raymond Brown’s An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY, 1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur. 35. Luke Timothy Johnson’s book The Real Jesus,

  • withouthavingseen

    Skowronek, Read the next verses. Mt 19:25-6, “When the disciples heard this they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”" or Lk 18:26-7, “Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” But he said, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”" The passage isn’t primarily against ownership. There are plenty of people to whom our Lord said nothing about forfeiture of wealth. Wealth is a terrible distraction and temptation. Anyone pursuing material accumulation is certainly risking a great deal. Better not. Better not. Still, the simple possession or even acquisition of material wealth is not itself a sin. How could it be? At what point would it become sinful? When one goes from having $99,999 to having $100,000 in the bank? Why not a dollar earlier, or a dollar later? The passage is more about God’s providence, and especially that God has a different criterion for judgment than we do. Both Matthew and Luke continue: Lk 18:28-30, “And Peter said, “Lo, we have left our homes and followed you.” And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no man who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive manifold more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”" or Mt 19:27-30, “Then Peter said in reply, “Lo, we have left everything and followed you. What then shall we have?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of man shall sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. But many that are first will be last, and the last first.” Our Lord certainly praises voluntary poverty. It is a way to more perfectly emulate him. But it is not a commandment. There’s no picking and choosing going on here. Jesus is not commanding abstinence from materiality – that’s impossible. He asked the rich young man to follow him, and that man’s riches were an encumbrance. He looked to his stuff to make him happy. Good luck. Stuff can’t do that, let alone win eternal happiness. What wins and predicts eternal life is unexpected: neither wealth, as the Pharisees thought and taught, nor prominence in civil or religious life, as the Sadducees believed. Following Christ Jesus brings happiness on earth, and following Him to the cross and beyond brings joy hereafter. Praised be His Holy Name for it! Ryan Haber Kensington, Maryland

  • ccnl1

    From: Gregory Jenks

  • ccnl1

    Presumably Jesus was no less aware of these issues than other spiritual masters of various times, so there is no real justification for attributing so much of his sayings to anonymous sources or the generally undistinguished Gospel writers who show themselves to be such lesser souls in these matters. In this particular case, there is the added consideration that the saying about the eye of the needle seems only to make sense as an aphorism created in Aramaic – not the language of Mark the gospel writer. The present Greek is possibly a garbled version of an Aramaic proverb (which may or may not have been created by Jesus) as follows: It is easier for a [camel] rope to be put through the eye of a needle, than for a wealthy person to enter God’s domain. Rather than elaborate on the confusion of the Aramaic gemla (meaning camel, but also rope [made of camel hair]) and the Greek kamelon (camel), let me just point to one web site that discusses this in more detail. The possible Aramaic origins of the saying argue against creation by Mark, while the implicit critique of traditional assumptions of wealth as a sign of divine favour also suggests a more insightful creator than canonical Mark. The preachers’ false tale of a small gate can be traced back to the ninth century, but has no basis in fact despite the reports of Victorian visitors to the Holy Land who claimed to have seen such a small doorway. It is possible they were misinterpreting the exceptionally small door to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem (see photo below). The original large door has been reduced in dimensions on a number of occasions to prevent people driving carts into the church and filling them with treasures. The remaining very small entrance is sometimes known as the “Door of Humility.”

  • Counterww

    There is nothing that anyone could point to that would make you believe CCNL. Putting your faith in Crossan and others. Talk about putting your money on the wrong number everytime.

  • Maerzie

    OMG! It isn’t ONLY the Vatican where the Catholic Church has squandered billions. There are other Churches around the world that are housing tons of GOLD! I thank God for my Faith and the excellent Catholic education I have had, but none of it made me blind to the facts and the sinfulness within the Church itself. I have no doubt it is the True Christian Church because it is directly traceable to Christ handing down His authority to St. Peter! Greed is probably the biggest sin of all because it is the sin which has caused the demise of all the other virtues which used to be sacred! Mandatory celibacy is only enforced because wives and children cost money. Catholic schools have been closed because there are not enough priests, directly related to the foolishness of celibacy. Does mandatory celibacy create holier priests. I would guess from the hundreds of priests I have known in my life that maybe ONE of them out of a hundred was a holier person! The others are miserable, squelching their entire sexual appetite, a gift from God, so that the Church can become more wealthy! Oh yes, we are told it is so that they have more time to pray and do their priestly duties, but other Churches ministers have just as many duties and sometimes are even more faithful in doing them, BESIDES having time for their families! Drastic changes better be made within the Church’s phoney rules or the Church will be its own demise. It is time for it to go back to the laws of God and ask themselves: What would Jesus do? because they are MILES away from anything Christ would have tolerated, and are failing miserably in teaching the true faith and morals, which has been the death of personal conscience development! So now the bishops blame the parishioners and the fallen away Catholics when they have never even learned anything to fall away FROM!!——–

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