churches

Rhetorical question: why do churches have the best property locations (and views)?
Wherever I’ve been, from St. Patrick’s Cathedral on 5th avenue in New York city to the Basilica church of Heliopolis and St. Mark’s church in Cairo, to the 359 Catholic churches in Malta (not that I’ve visited them all but after the first 100 you kind of get the feeling), to St. Mary and St. Anselm churches on Michigan avenue in Chicago, Catholic churches’ locations are in realtor terms “prime”, to put it humbly.
The views I’ve seen of some – in tiny Malta where view is practically a word with no meaning anymore (from overbuilding) – are just marvellous.
Only cemeteries can compete with their views.

Not only with the best views and locations, but the Catholic church is also the third biggest property owner in the world.
The world’s total land mass has nearly 37 billion acres of inhabitable land.
According to The Statesman the Catholic church ranks third in land ownership, only after the Queen of England (who practically owns Canada and Australia, too) and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

But as I’m saying, it’s a rhetorical question for at least one self-evident explanation and one fact:

  1. The church’s location means that people can flock as easily as possible. A “don’t-give-me-an-excuse” proximity.
  2. Many believers, when they died, would have left all their inheritance, including property, to the church, as a means to buy off their sins. A “ticket” to heaven.

On the other hand, it’s not a rhetorical question for at least two reasons:

  1. How has the church convinced people to give away all they’ve worked so hard for? Isn’t that deception through soft politics – give and you shall be forgiven – while the church can’t be blamed because the person donates his all in free will? It’s beyond me to understand that people can be influenced to such an extent. I respect the believer and won’t argue with him, but I don’t understand the part where you give so much to an institution that has a wild CV with vast experience from atrocities to theft to rape. The Catholic church at least that is. I mean, these guys should be the ones to try and buy their own “ticket” to heaven.
  2. Catholic churches have such prime locations that you might miss them for Bloomingdales or Neiman Marcus. Thankfully I can still distinguish the symbols of one house of worship from the other. But then, why are monasteries, for example, built in such secluded and hard-to-get places? What if churches were to be removed from their current locations and shoved somewhere as difficult to get to as the Ostrog monastery in Montenegro? Or as the Solovetsky monastery on the unforgiving waters of the White Sea, not far from the Arctic Circle? Or as the Metéora monastery in Greece? It may become a little more attractive to non-church goers, mountain climbers and other curious creatures, while the current churches’  prime locations could be used for the development of green parks and recreational activities (that can keep our kids away from TV).
    Question mark.
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