The Lutheran-confiscated Benedictine Monastery still has Catholic statue of St. Peter. (1:31)
Expropriation of Church Property
Forgiving can be difficult
Over the centuries, the Catholic Church has had large pieces of real estate taken from its possession and placed in private hands or turned over to other uses. The Church has always protested such expropriations and has sought through every means available to recover its losses. It is difficult simply to let go and to begin again when our property has been taken from us. When it comes to money and other assets, the Church has a hard time to forgive.
In ages past and in other regions of the world, the Church and some of its elements have come to own buildings and lands. Religious orders sometimes were given large tracts of land so that they could support their missions and their works of charity with the income derived from those properties. Schools, hospitals, orphanages, chapels,and even parishes were at times endowed with real estate or with security investments in support of their ministries. When hostile governments came to power, the Church was often deprived of these holdings.
In Ireland, for example, most of the ancient cathedrals and parish churches that had been built before the Protestant Reformation were simply turned over to the Church of Ireland (Protestant), and the Catholics had to rebuild when they were granted the freedom to do so. In the Ukraine, the Communist government under the old USSR had taken all the churches belonging to the Eastern Rite Catholic Church and turned them into warehouses, museums, or Orthodox churches. Today, the Catholics want their churches returned to their possession and their use. (By the way, this issue presents one of the major obstacles in our relationship with the Orthodox churches throughout the world.)
In England, during the reign of Henry VIII, in France during the French Revolution, and in many other countries, the Catholic Church has had to begin all over again after having been stripped of its properties. The Church as a whole and its component parts have often been limited in the good it can accomplish when it has lost all of the assets on which it depended to fund its work. Severe pain and deep resentment have often accompanied all such efforts. People will almost always resist any effort to forgive. We cry out for justice!
What would it be like for you and the other members of your parish if your buildings had been taken unjustly and given to a rival group or a competing religious organization? Where would you find the resources to begin again, to forgive also?
ECHOING GOD'S WORD – © 2017 Rev. Clement D. Thimbodeau (1932-2017); Used with permission.
Compass Classroom — (1:51)
EWTN — (4:05)
ROME REPORTS - (2:27)