Saturday, July 3, 2010

Catholic Financial Wisdom

"Under canon law, it is absolutely forbidden to dedicate a church if there is any debt remaining on it" — a tidbit gleaned from this visually stunning post — Westminster Cathedral at 100.

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Blogger Robert Badger said...

You may be interested to know that under the 1917 Code, it was absolutely forbidden to dedicate churches made of any other material than stone or brick. Wooden churches could only be blessed, as could churches who had debt on them. Also, at a minimum, the high altar had absolutely to be made of stone with no exceptions.

The 1983 Code no longer makes these distinctions. Thus, you can dedicate a church with a wooden main altar now. However, the ban on dedicating churches with debt on them still remains.

The archivist of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, whom I met a few years ago, was once the pastor of the Mision San Buenaventura in Ventura, California. When it was built, it had a wooden high altar, and therefore could not be dedicated but rather merely blessed. As the parish's bicentennial neared, he successful got Timothy Cardinal Manning to solemnly dedicate it, as now one could have a high altar made of something other than stone. It may be one of the only California missions to have been dedicated rather than merely blessed.

1:11 AM  
Blogger Stephen said...

Alas, I can find nowhere in the 1983 Code of Canon Law, nor in the Rite of Dedication of a Church, that forbids the solemn dedication of a church with outstanding debt. It appears this salutary norm was abandoned in the "reforms."

11:33 AM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

Your mention that "it was absolutely forbidden to dedicate churches made of any other material than stone or brick" brings to mind one of the most beautiful church buildings I have ever visited, San Marcos Cathedral in Arica, Chile, designed by Gustave Eiffel and built entirely of steel.

11:57 AM  

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Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.