Recently, my grandmother and I visited St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City after attending the Broadway show, Wicked. The site of the church takes up a whole city block, bounded by East 51st Street to the north, Madison Avenue to the east, East 50th Street to the south, and Fifth Avenue to the west. As we entered the holy house of prayer, our astonishment took over. The interior of the marble cathedral oozes with artistic vision such as the Saint Michael and Saint Louis altar, the chancel organ, in the north ambulatory, or the bust of Pope John Paul II, located in the rear of the cathedral. As our sightseeing came to an end, and my grandmother and I made our way back to the entrance of the cathedral, something horrid beamed in my peripheral vision. At first, I wasn’t aware of its origin, but as my brain processed the sight of a pre-pubescent girl walking away from an area of the Neo-Gothic building carrying with her some loose bills and a bobble-head of our Savior dressed in Kanye-West shutter glasses, a Statue of Liberty headdress, and a booger-green football foam finger, I came to a murky realization; St. Patrick’s Cathedral, sight of some of the most sacred funerals such as John Maguire and Joseph Flannelly, operates a very cheap and very offensive gift shop. How in God’s name can anyone justify soiling a house of prayer for a cheap buck, especially when they have the nerve to own a banner saying, “Some proceeds will benefit the Roman Catholic Church.” In the Bible, Jesus and his disciples travel to Jerusalem for Passover, where he expels the money changers from the Temple, accusing them of turning the Temple to a den of thieves through their commercial activities. This is the only account of Jesus using physical force in any of the Gospels. This means that the only time that Jesus lost his temper was when he witnessed profitable gain in his father’s house…yet, this church seems to believe that these stories’ morals don’t apply to it. Don’t soil one of the few holy places the Earth has left; get rid of the gift shop.
House of God
December 5, 2011