worship of God but there is no reason why the Vatican museums and art galleries should not be disposed of to
the Italian Government or
anyone else prepared to buy them.
The Vatican financial investments are a different matter. Particularly at the present juncture in history when we seem to he moving however slowly towards a greater de-centralisation of Church government, it is hard to see that it would be a responsible course for the Vatican to dispose of its financial investments and the income derived from them.
In perhaps 50 years' time many matters, including the appointment of bishops and
t h e administration o f church law and the rules of the liturgy, may all be dealt with at the level of the local Church. If and when this does happen, then less money will be needed at the centre and there will be a stronger case for disposing of the Vatican's financial assets, but of course, granted such a devolution, we are going to need much more cash at local levet.
Paradoxically enough. while we seem to be passing from an age of great centralisation to one of more devolution in the government of the Church, the Vatican itself seems to need more, not less, money.
The future development of liturgy and canon law and the rest may eventually mean less in the way of committee meetings at the centre but, after so many centuries of ever-increasing centralisation, the reversal of this process has so far implied more journeying to and from Rome than ever before. All this needs to be paid for and, while the recent sad disappearance of Burns & Oates reminds us that the "aggiornamento" has not been uniformly kind to the publishers, the airlines can have little cause for regret.
The Vatican could dispose of its art treasures at once but, until all these international committees finish their work and unless we end up with a much less centralised s y s t e m of Church government, t h e need for hard cash will remain as great as ever.