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Food Courts at Churches

September 13, 1998

I read with interest the plans that the Rev. Robert H. Schuller has to add a food court facility on the grounds of the Crystal Cathedral, and I commend him for taking this step (Sept. 6).

Over two years ago, while in the initial planning for the new Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, we decided that it was essential to include a food and beverage facility within our complex. We expect to welcome many visitors as well as churchgoers, and with a beautifully landscaped, 2 1/2-acre, open plaza fronting the cathedral, we know that many people will enjoy the beauty of this outdoor space.

Making available food and beverages is a sign of Christian hospitality, and this invites people to linger and to enjoy the beauty of both the cathedral and its grounds.

Many of our Catholic parishes are putting in "gathering areas" precisely to allow people some time for hospitality and building community. These new, informal spaces are where people gather after Mass for coffee, doughnuts and conversation. They have become increasingly popular across the archdiocese.

I'm delighted to see other churches such as the Crystal Cathedral taking the leadership in creating warm and welcoming spaces on their property.

CARDINAL ROGER MAHONY

Archbishop of Los Angeles

* When I started reading the article about the new food services center at the Crystal Cathedral church, I thought it was going to be about feeding the poor, the way Christ would have done it. Silly me.

No, the food complex will be an upscale eatery for churchgoers. It will also honor "Christian capitalists" and "entrepreneurial religion." Add some movie theaters and it will be just like Universal CityWalk, with preachers taking the place of the live performance artists. Why not? Somebody has to feed all those camels trying to squeeze through the eye of the needle.

Two factors are obvious to anyone but those involved in the new selfishness theology. One is that "entrepreneurial religion" is an oxymoron in the language of Jesus. And the other is that somebody out there apparently isn't quite sure which is the religion: the Christianity or the capitalism?

DONNIE DALE

Hollywood

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