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Practicing Mercy in Times of Budget Cuts

October 11, 2002

Re "Priests Stand Up to Cardinal on Budget," Oct. 8: I have been arrested twice for protesting the gross expense of Cardinal Roger Mahony's new cathedral (climbing his bell tower and occupying his bulldozer), and I'm delighted to hear the priests speaking up for the needs of our struggling sisters and brothers of color, the incarcerated and their victims, gays and lesbians and those in need of religious education.

Not telling the regional bishops about this pending financial crisis and announcing decentralization without any plan to hand over ministries is irresponsible. Sounds like someone wants a thousand points of unpaid light.

As a church we try to form community, with all its ups and downs. We seek to figure out how to share our resources; to make sure no one has too much, and no one has too little. We tend to the needs of the suffering before ourselves. We pray together, reflect on the word, break bread and wish one another God's peace. We proclaim that message to the world, primarily by how we act.

The cathedral is a hollow sign until the cardinal leaves the cozy fund-raisers, gets out of that comfortable chair on the altar and personally practices the works of mercy and justice by serving the poor.

Eric DeBode

Los Angeles Catholic Worker

Los Angeles


Msgr. David O'Connell stated that Cardinal Mahony gave reasons for axing key ministries in the archdiocese, but "didn't feel the pain." Narcissists rarely, if ever, feel the pain of others. Hopefully, the political pressures of the priests and laity will reverse some of Mahony's bad decisions.

Mark Day


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