Thursday, February 22, 2007


Yesterday was Ash Wednesday. And on a day that the parishioners of Our Lady Queen of Angels church in East Harlem should have been “ashed”, they were not. The doors to Our Lady Queen of Angels are locked probably forever. The New York Archdiocese closed Our Lady Queen of Angels for “Lack of interest”. It will become part of the profitable real estate portfolio of the Catholic Church. However, many religious scholars believe that once an institution is consecrated, the blessing does not disappear with the stroke of an eviction order. Although the parishioners have the option of worshipping elsewhere, this place was their home. This is a community in fast transition. Once, an Italian enclave, it changed to a thriving Puerto Rican barrio in the fifties and sixties. East Harlem now stands on the edge again. This time gentrification. Of course the church stands to profit. The Catholic Church, once all her assets have been put together, is the most formidable stockbroker in the world. The Vatican, independently of each successive pope, has been increasingly orientated towards the U.S.

The Wall Street Journal states that the Vatican’s financial deals in the U.S. alone were so big that it often bought or sold gold in lots of a million dollars or more at a time. The United Nations World magazine estimates the worth at billions of dollars. The Catholic Church is the largest wealth accumulator, and property owner in existence. But still the doors of Our Lady Queen of Angel are closed. But those poor people continue to give every Sunday. The same law that threw the parish protesters in jail will never advocate against the Archdiocese. But the law of Christ that tossed the money changers from the temple just might. The Catholic Church may reap what it invests but it may also reap what it sows too.

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