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A Shrine Tour

Boston.com has put together a quick photo-essay titled "New England's Catholic shrines" which features eleven different Catholic sites from New Hampshire down to Connecticut. The introduction reads:

They're titanic and tiny. They're tucked between Boston buildings and in the boonies. One stands tall to welcome planes to Boston, and another is home to a rosary that could be the world's biggest.They are New England's Roman Catholic shrines, places that dot the landscape, offering refuge to anyone seeking a place to rest, ruminate, or replenish the spirit. Here are some of the best known.

This article struck me as odd when I first saw it but I guess since it is the Easter season, it makes sense to put something like this together. I was just surprised to see it on Boston.com. It's nice to see some of these more historic sites gather a bit of publicity though.

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Physically these places are beautiful and when they are outdoors the settings can be irresistible. Although on a recent visit to the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington I found it rather gaudy and repulsive. http://www.nationalshrine.com/site/pp.asp?c=etITK6OTG&b=107986If the shrines did not make money they would not last more than one Christmas. Some even identify holiness with visiting shrines. Many still believe it is de rigeur to visit Lourdes every time they go to Europe.What it means is that the church is getting richer, not holier. With all the problems with children being abused and the sufferings of many, it is a wonder that more energy and money are not being placed in those areas. Medjugorje is a very curious shrine which is rather vehemently opposed by the Vatican. Insiders say it is a fight over control between the Franciscans and Rome. http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=200568We continually explain these scandals to the point where the import of the Magnificat is reversed and the rich are filled with good things while the hungry go away empty.

Overwhelmingly Marian.Why?If I were a stranger from outer space and introduced to these places, I would quickly come to the conclusion that Catholics worship a goddess.