22 August 2009

The Splendor and the Scandal: The Story of St. Peter's Basilica...

'The power of the idea is transcendent, " concludes Ms. R.A. Scotti, in her article "The Splendor and the Scandal," the quick story of the building of St. Peter's Basilica, published 22 August 2009 in the Wall Street Journal. She also quotes the historian Edward Gibbon, that St. Peter's Basilica is "the most glorious structure that ever has been applied to the use of religion." It was both glorious and costly. Its cost was certainly one of the factors dividing Martin Luther and Protestantism from the Roman Catholic Church. And yet it was truly glorious.

It still is truly glorious, and I suppose it still is costly, too. Can religion, with its structures and overhead, ever completely justify its costs? The dome of St. Peter's is a dramatic symbol of what "overhead" really means! At its best, religious "overhead" inspires our heart and hands and feet, too. Pray for all churches with buildings.

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