I was rather taken by this from the Provost of the London Oratory, it is from a letter on St Mary Magdalen, our parish's Holy Patroness:
Recently the Oratory Fathers were taken to task at the end of a Sunday High Mass. An elegant woman marched towards the Provost through the lingering fog of incense and demanded to know what we Oratorians thought we were playing at. The causes of consternation included expensive-looking flower arrangements at the Lady Altar, vestments and golden vessels that had been spotted in the Sanctuary. Surely these extravagances were from funds that should have been given to the poor?
It was explained that the flowers were leftovers from a wedding the day before and that the silver gilt chalice and ciborium had almost certainly been picked up for a song in the 1850s when ecclesiastical Swabian rococo was not much in vogue. The vestments are thread-bear from a century and a half of use and, while still charming for their faded beauty, are too far-gone to fetch good money at auction. The dialogue ended in a slightly more serene atmosphere than it had begun and the articulate woman drove away placated in a gleaming new car which Google searches revealed to have cost £90,000.
I commend the Oratory on its "green credentials", recycling, "making do" with what is in its store rooms, and embracing poverty by wearing the threadbare, with a degree of grace and elegance.
I am not sure I would have the perspicacity to check the cost of the lady's car on Google, but it always tends to be the contented rich who say to the Church, "this could have been sold ... and the money given to the poor", then expecting the poor to pay up to fill the hole made by the hole.
How much money was paid out after the Council on refurbishments that were not called for and that impoverished the Church? And how much will have be paid to put things right? "Altar rails" and "turkeys" come to mind.
"A poorer Church", is fine but I think the Gospel seems to be encouraging a more generous Church and more generous Christians.
Picture source NLM