Cathedra Gets Its Crystal for Half-price

By Fr LW Gonzales On November 18th, 2011

Crystal_CathedralJae C. Hong/AP

Diocese of Orange wins bidding war for Crystal Cathedral

Orange, Calif., Nov 18, 2011 / 12:04 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- An bankruptcy judge on Nov. 17 ruled in favor of the Diocese of Orange’s $57.5 million offer for the iconic Crystal Cathedral over a bid from Chapman University.

Bishop Tod D. Brown vowed on Thursday that the diocese will “protect this wonderful structure as a place of worship and will soon provide our Catholic community with a new cathedral, pastoral center, parish school and more.”

The Crystal Cathedral will meet the needs of the 1.2 million Catholics in Orange County, the 10th largest diocese in the nation.

Judge Robert Kwan made his ruling at 7 p.m. on Nov. 17 after a grueling, week-long case that ultimately disappointed Chapman University which aimed to buy the property as a satellite campus.

Bishop Brown expressed sympathy for cathedral founder pastor Robert H. Schuller who filed for bankruptcy last October, after creditors sued for payment.

“We sincerely regret the difficult circumstances Dr. Schuller and his ministry have encountered,” the bishop noted. “Despite these wonderful results, we are nonetheless saddened by the events that led us to today’s award and offer our respect to Dr. Schuller and his ministry.”

Under the terms of agreement, the bishop said that occupancy of the building “will not be immediate” and that the Crystal Cathedral Ministries can continue to use the church and other campus structures for a period of up to three years.

“During the same period a diocesan pastoral center will be established on the Garden Grove campus and nearby parish school and church eventually transferred to the new location,” he explained.

Since July, the diocese had upped its bid from from $50 million to $53.6 million and finally $57.5 million on Nov. 14.

Although it has been planning for over 10 years to build a new, 2,500-seat cathedral in Santa Ana, the diocese had only hired an architect for the project and began to consider converting the bankrupt church into a Catholic cathedral.

Purchasing the Crystal Cathedral was an attractive option for the diocese because it provides an instant solution to its building needs and would cost roughly half the $100 million price tag for the planned Santa Ana cathedral.

The liturgist for the Orange diocese, Monsignor Arthur Holquin, said July 26 that several changes will need to take place in order for the Crystal Cathedral to become a Catholic worship space.

Along with a central altar, a tabernacle and a baptismal font, the building would need a “cathedra” or bishop’s chair. While renovations are needed to the building, “not much deconstruction would be required and the iconic personality of the original architecture and design would, for the most part, be retained,” he said.

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3 Responses to “Cathedra Gets Its Crystal for Half-price”

  1. Used to be Protestants and other Heretics walked in the footsteps of the Magisterium.

    Looks like now the Bishops walk with them.

    This building is not worthy of the Blessed Sacrament, nor for catechizing the Faithful in tradition.

    As a Novus Ordo wreck-o-vation site for souls, I guess it’s perfect.


  2. My beef is not so much with the opportunity to transform a space from one use to another as it is with the reliability of the physical structure itself. We currently make use of the Pantheon and have, in the past, made use of other pagan Roman structures that have been converted to Catholic worship. The CC structure, however, hardly represents the Catholic ethos of permanence, for one. A glass house?! in California? As a fellow west coaster living in earthquake country, it seems absurd to think this will be a good investment. Get insurance – fast! Maintenance and climate control costs are also concerns, issues which have drained financial resources from Schuller’s operation and have been a considerable burden.

  3. On Thursday, a U.S. bankruptcy judge ruled that the Diocese of Orange would be able to purchase the 40-acre Crystal Cathedral campus for $57.5 million. In his decision, Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kwan in Santa Ana rejected a higher offer of $59 million from Chapman University in Orange, which was the other top contender for the Garden Grove property.
    Under the diocese’s plan, the ministry will be able to lease the core buildings – including the glass-walled sanctuary and its shimmering tower – for three years, at $100,000 a month during the first year and $150,000 for years two and three. They also will be able to lease back the Crystal Cathedral school building for $10,000 a month through summer 2013.

    This sounds more like the Heretics are receiving a Catholic bailout.

    In three years all that needs to be said is the Catholic Church has changed its mind and sell it back to the Protestants for $25 million.