The Diocese of Oakland embarked on a grand plan to raise funds to build a new cathedral following the loss of the Saint Francis de Sales church which had been the cathedral and official residence of the Bishop.
Prior to Bishop Cummins retirement plans were announced to build a church that would be named The Cathedral of Christ the Light. The name was inspired, so we are told, by the encyclical entitled Lumen Gentium by Pope John Paul ll. This Cathedral has been the center of much controversy since the plans were introduced due to the enormous expense involved - reportedly $131 million. To alleviate some of the controversy then Bishop Cummins promised to obtain a majority of funds from the corporate world, not the parishioners or the church collection plate.
However, the diocese has spent a huge sum of money on court costs and payments to those who were abused by priests and, apparently the diocese has also loaned a considerable amount to the building of the Cathedral.
We parishioners are now being urged to contribute to this monument to the ego of Bishop John Cummins.
My Missalette, the Magnificat for the month of October contains a reflection on the Sunday Gospel for October 21st. That gospel, from St. Mark, Chapter 10. has Jesus chastising his apostles for their desire to be “great among” the people. The apostles James and John had asked Jesus to be sure and place them at His right and left when He came into his kingdom.
The reflection, written by Father Vincent Nagle, focuses on what it means to be a Missionary. It tells a story of two people; one a priest who raised a lot of money to build a beautiful church to which he assumed the people would be drawn. The other person, a simple “religious sister” had no money, but she had a devotion to God and that devotion drew people to follow her example and come to Jesus.
The priest ran out of money for his church and so the beautiful stained glass windows that he bought were stored in a basement. The people whom the Nun had gathered shone forth the radiance of God’s love.
Arguments opposing the building of our new cathedral focus on protesting that the money invested in the cathedral could have/should have gone to feed and clothe the poor. Perhaps so, but Jesus also said the poor we will always have with us. So, rather than just providing for the secular needs of the financially poor I suggest that the money that the Bishop was able to raise (and, I’m assuming that our current Bishop Allen Vigneron is also raising funds) should have gone to “feeding” the spiritually poor members of our diocese. The schools could have been built up. The text books improved. The training for priests and the preaching of the true gospel of salvation should have been brought to the people. That might not have cost as much money as wood, and steel and glass, but it would have provided much more sustenance for the souls that cry out for God’s help. Mass often seems like it’s more Protestant than Catholic, more entertainment that worship
As it is our parishes are being taken over by pseudo religious groups who are preaching a religion of government control. They want to replace God with the state. What will our expensive Cathedral do to save our souls?