Marty’s photo of the day #4215: As has become my tradition on Christmas, I present a photo from inside a church. I shot this one in Madrid, Spain (September 2003), where, as I wrote in my first book, Cool Creatures, Hot Planet: Exploring the Seven Continents, “The Catholic Church’s long history of wealth and power was on display wherever I looked. Whether it was a store selling silver scepters, golden chalices, and precious metal accessories for the well-dressed priest or the extreme opulence in the cathedrals, all the gold and silver I’d seen in my life up to that point would be a mere speck compared to what I saw in a single afternoon in Madrid.”

Whenever I read news stories of Catholic churches declaring bankruptcies because of child molestation cases, I think back to that day in Madrid. How is it that Catholic churches are linked together in so many ways, yet when it comes to restitution for child abuse they are separated? Obviously, the Catholic Church has the collective wealth to take care of all their child molestation victims with just the gold they display in their buildings all over the world. Hmmm . . . What would Jesus do?