Church abandons the poor of Baltimore

March 12, 2012

The closure and sale of St. Peter the Apostle Church on Poppleton Street is, indeed, a great loss, both historically and architecturally ("Second-oldest Catholic church in city is being sold," Jan. 28). However, the ultimate tragedy is the insight this decision gives into the state of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. For the past 12 years, the Archdiocese has closed churches and schools in poor areas of town, while allocating money to "important" building projects (remember the "Heritage of Hope?"). The question arises, why don't these poor communities deserve Catholicism?

Historically, the Catholic Church has fed the hungry, clothed the needy, sheltered the homeless, and educated even the poorest of peoples throughout the world before any government or philanthropist could so do. Theologically, it is the poor, the minority, and the estranged people who most need the beneficence of the Church. Vatican II reminded the clergy that they existed to serve the people, not to become little princes.

Obviously, there exist people around Poppleton Street who want a church, thus the bids for the building. Why can't the Archdiocese proselytize them? The answer is simple: Preaching to the poor, teaching the poor, and evangelizing to the poor is hard work. It is the work of saints, not little princes.

G. Stewart Seiple, Houston, Texas

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