The federal government of Portugal needs to change its indifferent attitude -- and be more compassionate -- with respect to a dilapidated church building it owns in Lisbon.
Hundreds of people attended Mass at Santo Antonio Church last Sunday (October 17, 2010) wearing construction helmets to protest the building's run-down condition. Some worshipers even believe that the helmets are necessary for protection, since part of the church's roof has already collapsed once.
The church's pastor, Fr. Joao -- also wearing a helmut at the Mass -- said that the government wants to sell the church building to the congregation, so that it will not have to provide financial support to correct the building's deficiencies.
The fact is that the government has a responsibility -- one that is moral as well as financial -- to improve this church structure quickly. Failure to do so indicates that the Portuguese government sees nothing wrong with being a "slumlord" -- even when it is dealing with the Body of Christ.
The Portuguese government, then, is more concerned with holding onto its money than it is with providing for the safety and well-being of its worshipers. This is a sad priority. Moreover, it is a priority that conveys disgrace, disrespect, and indifference on the part of the Portuguese government.
Indeed, it would behoove the Portuguese government to take immediate action to remedy this horrendous situation as soon as possible. To neglect it any longer, will only increase the anger and negative feelings of the church parishioners -- as well as the general population in Portugal -- toward a disgraceful government.