Buckeye Back Road Tours cont… In Wapakoneta, Ohio, I talked with a real estate appraiser who works in about a 100-mile radius around here. He said in the aftermath of the housing bubble bursting, there is still a significant number of empty homes in this particular area (after foreclosures) that are also in various states of disrepair. I responded that we had recently done a campaign tour in Florida where one in 10 houses were now in foreclosure in that state. (We had met with one homeowner just outside of Tallahassee who hadn’t made a mortgage payment for quite some time, yet was still in his home — simply because the courts were so backed up with similar cases, he said.) I explained to the appraiser in Wapakoneta that our platform calls for some people to consider “house sharing.” That is, whether it’s two families sharing a home, or a family renting out a room in a home, or… You share the mortgage payment. You share heating, cooling, lighting… You share lawn equipment, appliances, and so on.. It simply makes sense, common sense. (Especially in the face of actually losing your home altogether.) The appraiser responded: “It depends on how big the house is…” And there’s the rub. Many of us in America have gotten more and more possessive about “our space,” especially in comparison to two-thirds of the people in the rest of the world who either live in slums or in tremendously smaller and more modest (by our standards) dwellings in general. At St. Joseph’s Church in Wapakoneta, shortly after this conversation, I picked up a book that contained modern-day, alleged messages (“interior locutions”) from the Blessed Virgin Mary to a priest, Fr. Stefanis Gobi, in Italy. An excerpt from one of these messages from Mary reads: “Humanity has distanced itself from the Lord in order to follow the idols of comfort and pleasure, of pride and money, of hatred and impurity…” Wouldn’t this ‘false idol comfort thing,’ for example, indeed be germane to us Americans wanting as much house space as possible, and as much stuff (nice furniture, all the modern appliances, wide screen TVs…) as possible filling those houses… in the face of such dire poverty elsewhere in the world? Note: Speaking of ‘space,’ Wapakoneta is the hometown of recently deceased astronaut Neil (“…one giant leap for mankind.”) Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. But was it a giant leap forward? That is, while we’re out trying to “conquer space,” one billion people live in these squalid slum conditions on this planet. Wouldn’t that money be better spent on helping them? If we’re paying attention to the gospel message, it would.