Contributed by Glen Davis
On April 15 this year, the famed Notre Dame cathedral in Paris caught alight. The fire took hold, spreading rapidly, and the building suffered extensive damage.
Around the world, millions watched the event unfold. Some were shocked. Many intrigued. All viewers knew history was taking place.
This is a building that took over 200 years to construct, being finally completed in the late fourteenth century.
Such was the damage; it is estimated a rebuild will take over two decades. Its cost will be over a billion euros.
As we know, the Roman Catholic Church (the Church) is a wealthy body. Should be easy to do the rebuild. But hold your horses, it’s not that simple. The cost will be met by fundraising, be it via mobile giving or other means.
The church, apparently, has a special friend who is almighty, all powerful. Failing that, can the church meet the cost?
In France, it’s estimated the Church has over 700 million euros in assets. It owns over 5,000 buildings , including 3,000 churches. It also has a steady stream of income from rent, tax covenants, weekly collections wills and donations.
No one can put a figure on the wealth the church has worldwide.
The Vatican alone is estimated to hold between 10 and 15 billion euros. Add on their extensive art collections, as well as being the biggest land holder in the world, not forgetting many global investments. No one can calculate a figure close to their total wealth.
In many parts of the world, including Australia, thre Church pays no, or next to no tax. Yet they can’t meet the cost of rebuilding one of their own buildings.
But still, the church will not cover the bill for rebuilding Notre Dame.
Is it just me, or is there something wrong here?
Fine. Let’s rebuild Notre Dame. But the church can pay for it.