June 2, 2000




LETTERS: Los Angeles Cathedral

Issue: June 2, 2000

Los Angeles cathedral

While reading through the excellent issue of April 14, I noted that one of the major liturgies commemorating the 20th anniversary of the assassination of Oscar Romero was presided over by our Los Angeles archbishop, Cardinal Roger Mahony. Some might ask what he was doing in El Salvador March 24. What I was left with was a series of contradictions.

On the weekend of April 7-9, the archdiocese held its annual Religious Education Congress. While moving among the exhibitors, one could have happened upon a Catholic Worker booth. They had, among other things, T-shirts bearing the Oscar Romero quotation: "Our cathedral will not be completed [repaired] until all the needs of the people have been met."

I am not so much uneasy with the argument over spending $150-200 million for
another church structure or the way it came about without apparent discussion,
prayer and discernment. Rather, it is the atmosphere being created by such
disclosures as in the Los Angeles Business Journal of April 3-9: "Archdiocese
Promotes New Cathedral as Tourist Spot." When I first read it I recalled Jesus with the moneychangers. I wondered what my fellow Catholics would think or feel when reading, "Officials hope religious relics will draw record numbers of tourists from Catholic-heavy Latin American countries. The visitors bureau is working the church into its L.A. pitch." The president of the Convention and Visitors Bureau is quoted saying: "The cathedral is being built with the full realization that it's going to be a tourist attraction." This might seem like commercial interests only. However, if one reads on we are informed: "Clergy are fanning out across the country to preach the word of the new Our Lady Queen of Angels Cathedral. The new pastor of the church has been traveling the country delivering talks urging fellow Catholics to come see the new cathedral. Recently, in Kentucky, he gave a lecture titled, `Bringing God Downtown.'"

I don't know what to make of such a situation. It does not seem like a parish
arrangement I can relate to. I guess that problem lies with me.

San Gabriel, Calif.


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