It is inappropriate to spend $45 million on a complex situated just blocks from Skid Row, the site of the most desperate poverty in Los Angeles. Cardinal Mahony says that the cathedral should remain in the inner-city core so that "a visible presence" of the archdiocese is maintained. This "visible presence" might easily be read as the official church's disregard of the poor.
The church seems to be acting as a willing arm of the city in its effort to further concentrate the poor into Skid Row. All decisions seem to have been made by wealthy directors of foundations. Cardinal Mahony spoke of them as modern Magi, bearing gifts to the church. However, the significance of the Epiphany does not lie in the lavishness of the Magi's gifts, but in the humility and wisdom of the three kings who recognized the presence of God in the person of a tiny homeless child. If these contemporary Magi were as humble and wise as the original, we would indeed have an epiphany with $45 million to lavish upon the Christ who waits in the person of the poor and homeless of Downtown.