The Magaliesburg Marian Shrine and Pope Francis
Barbara Gregory, Johannesburg – I have it on good authority that the new Marian shrine to be built in the Magaliesberg is going to cost over R200 million.
Now I am astonished that such an amount of money can be spent on a shrine while we have thousands of people going to bed hungry every night of their lives.
Did not Pope Francis clearly state that the Church is to move away from magnificence of buildings etc, and focus its efforts and resources on the poor?
I do not deny that Our Lady deserves our attention — but, to be honest, that’s more for our benefit than hers! She has never, to my knowledge, requested a shrine of any sort, but rather our prayers, and our love for her Son and for one another. I actually have a little shrine to Mary in our home, where I pray to her and light candles for those in need of her prayers.
We need to become much more pastoral! We need to remember that the nucleus of Catholic social teaching is the dignity of man and the sanctity of life.
Rather use the land purchased for this shrine to build a community welfare establishment, where hungry mouths can be fed; untrained hands be trained; unemployed persons be assisted in finding employment, and where the homeless can spend the night off the streets, and out of the cold.
And even include traumatised families suffering from the ravages of domestic violence, natural disaster, or crime.
Perhaps even include a rehabilitation centre for young offenders, thus preventing them from destroying their lives, and maybe reducing the level of crime in this country.
I feel that this would be money better spent, and so I cannot, and will not in good conscience contribute towards the shrine.