Cathedral just a building, it's people who matter

It will take $15 million to upgrade St Mary's Cathedral in New Plymouth.
Andy Jackson

It will take $15 million to upgrade St Mary's Cathedral in New Plymouth.

OPINION: Isn't it good that there is now an air of confidence about raising the $15 million to get the Taranaki Cathedral sorted?

The project has started with a good framework of getting the money whether it's from a squillion dollar grant to a simple gold coin donation from those who can scarcely afford it. Mark 12, 41:44 springs to mind.

Now I am certainly no theologian but in the words of Crocodile Dundee; "Me and God are good mates."

I love heritage and to understand the history of this building is to understand who we are not only as a city but as a province. It has a unique place not only in Taranaki's history but also that of New Zealand as an emerging nation. On that score there's no doubt whatsoever that as an historic building it needs to be kept, the question is, does it need to be saved?

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Keeping the building means no work is done yet the building remains as it is now, a symbol of the unity that founded Taranaki. After all, nobody's going to knock it down or take it away are they? Saving it means the $15m is spent so the cathedral itself complies with the building code plus capital improvements are made to other buildings annexed to the cathedral.

What makes me ask is that ours is no different to the Christchurch cathedral and begs the question of what matters most, buildings or people? I ask this because the church, any church isn't a building at all, the church is people and the building is a distant second to the needs of those living in poverty or otherwise needing a helping hand.  

In reality we don't need a cathedral to pray or praise God; that borders on idolatry because a prayer made in the Peace Hall, the poor cousin over the road yet just as worthy a building, is as good as a prayer made in the cathedral. We've just commemorated Passchendaele where half a million men suffered, no doubt a lot of those did so in prayer with no building in sight so would God have turned a deaf ear?

The bottom line is when we get to the gates of heaven, the Pearly Gates, call it what you will, would it be better to say we saved a building or we fed and clothed the poor and hungry?

 

 - Stuff

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