Letter: What’s the point?

In defense of Lisa Markalunas’ letter Tuesday titled “Expansion not supported by all” (The Aspen Times, Aug. 25), prior to any further pedestrian discussion of doors, walls and windows, it must be asked: “What is the actual, underlying purpose of the church building itself?”

“In the beginning,” the Rev. John Hilton announced that “Aspen is secular and wealthy,” and his proposed program intends to present a Christian spirituality as an antidote.

Hilton’s initial error is in failing to understand that the Western Slope of Colorado cannot be likened to the Front Range of Colorado (evidently his lifelong domicile).

The St. Mary Parish controversy in this matter concerns the now-deep divide between long-term Aspen Catholics and those newly arrived (say, post-1980).

As a consequence, Hilton has, in effect, divided his parish rather than having united it, as he said was his intent.

Further, even pagans with a healthy social conscience realize that Aspen is no longer a “community” as such.

Aspen is a “market” — everything is for sale, including its people.

Thus, long-term Aspen locals might walk into the Ute Mountaineer in search of a new ice ax or a pair of crampons.

The new Aspen resident (Catholic included) shops at Gucci, Christian Dior and Donna Karan — retailers wholly unsuited to mountain communities.

And it would not be a stretch to say that such newly arrived Catholics are not even aware that their expensive homes are located near the ecologically fragile White River National Forest, which has suffered extreme damage due to the arrival of these suburban people.

Further, for Hilton to declare that the Third Person of the Holy Trinity has, in effect, cast this project in concrete is an affront to every educated Catholic and an abuse of theological thought and expression.

Finally, the funding that Hilton has been pledged for “his” program exceeds, perhaps in one check alone, a lifetime of effort for one Aspen wage-earner.

This “idea” is an absurdity and an insult to anyone, Christian or pagan, capable of Platonic right reason.

Art Allard