Wednesday, April 13, 2011

From Papal to Pay-pal, from Good to Evel: A Papal Cross' Journey

Papal donation from Paul VI to the United Nations
I caught this article online today and it sort of reflects the era we live in concerning our Church. The article tells of a papal cross and ring, encrusted with diamonds and pearls that was given by Pope Paul VI  to the United Nations in 1965 as a donation from the Vatican to be sold to raise funds to end world hunger. Perhaps a bit of the old argument "If the church cares so much about (insert cause here) then why don't they sell their treasures and help?" was at play?

The article says:
The donation to the UN was more than a canny fundraising strategy, though. Paul VI’s tenure coincided with most of the Second Vatican Council, which brought seismic shifts to Catholicism, including a new enthusiasm for engaging the contemporary world. Part of that, for Paul, included de-emphasizing what had become symbols of Catholic triumphalism, like the pectoral cross.

He also donated his papal tiara, the three-tiered crown symbolizing the pope’s authority, as a fundraising tool to the Catholic Church in America. It remains on display at the Basilica of the National Shrine, and none of his successors have been crowned with tiaras.
“The business of giving away objects of value that also symbolized power, it showed how Pope Paul spoke out a great deal for the poor and the Third World,” said the Rev. Thomas Worcester, a Jesuit priest and history professor at the College of the Holy Cross. “He really created a new style of the papacy.”

The cross somehow left the hands of the United Nations and ended up in possession of 70's daredevil, Evel Knievel.
Even though he had a papal cross, he relied on a rabbit's foot..just in case.
 Now the cross and ring are supposedly going up for auction on ebay. I wonder if those who would celebrate the church giving her wealth to the poor would also cry for those who would bid on the item to give as well? One such advocate of the poor comes to mind when it comes to treasures and the Church. A certain apostle who worried about the needs of the poor when Jesus was being treated liberally with rich oils. The apostle Judas Iscariot (Jn 12:5).