The Catholic church will be spending a whopping $41 million on a new cathedral set to be built in Raleigh, North Carolina, according to a recent report by the Associated Press.
The Catholic diocese of Raleigh has confirmed that the local church will be building a cathedral that can seat 2,000 church-goers, seven times more the seating capacity of the presently used church building. It will be built on 32 acres of land in Raleigh, and will replace current diocese offices and the Cardinal Gibbons High School.
Bishop Michael Burbidge led the groundbreaking ceremonies of the planned cathedral last week. Speaking with reporters before the ceremony, Burbidge described the cathedral and its intended purposes.
“We are building a worthy drawing place for God — a home for all the faithful in the diocese. A beautiful and spacious church whose doors will be open to all. A place where sacred music will be heard and lectures will be conducted.”
Burbidge says the cathedral will take about two years to complete, and was originally supposed to cost twice as much as the current budget.
Burbidge said, “I promise we will build only what the people of God will allow us to do. No loan, nothing beyond our means. Faithful stewardship.”
The costly project drew criticism from atheist groups. Some atheists opined that the huge amount of money intended to be used for the cathedral ought to be diverted to charitable works instead. On Reddit’s /r/atheism, the $41 million Raleigh cathedral story features more than 2,000 upvotes, bringing the post to the front page.
Other atheists defended the project, pointing out the fact that the Catholic church actually spends billions of dollars a year in charitable activities. Some say the project does not come close to the Latter Day Saints’ $2 billion mall complex in Utah, which generates approximately $200 million every year and houses upscale stores such as Louis Vuitton.
Redditor bluefire37 added, “As a structural engineer, I’m going to point out that this isn’t actually that much to build a commercial building. I worked on a hospital that had a $380 million price tag, just for construction (so that doesn’t include all the furniture, medical equipment, etc.). There was a high school in my home town which desperately needed to be replaced, and the price tag for that was $70-80 million (for on average 1200 students). To you an me, $41 million is a LOT of money. To people who build buildings, it’s pretty much chump change.”
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[Image from tnk000/Flickr]