The church was sold late last year to the Diocese of Orange, for use as a Catholic cathedral. Why, I wonder?
On one hand, I applaud the diocese for trying to help a Christian ministry in trouble; the Crystal Cathedral corporation was in bankruptcy for an extraordinarily large sum of money. But what does the Church need with a monstrosity like that in its portfolio? And OK, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and this beholder thinks the place is just plain ugly — and maybe you don’t. Even if you admire the building, however, somehow it just doesn’t cry out, “Come celebrate the Paschal Mystery!” Isn’t that what a Catholic church is supposed to do, invite liturgical worship?
It’s astounding to some degree that the Diocese of Orange has the money to make this purchase — $57.5 million — with other funds needed for refurbishing, I’m sure. Perhaps this in itself is a cause for rejoicing, what with several other U.S. dioceses in bankruptcy proceedings because of lawsuits and other things.
Still, I can think of a lot better uses for the money: if they didn’t need it themselves, send it to some of the dioceses throughout the country where services have been radically cut and ministries eliminated because of a lack of funds. I’m hoping that at least an equal amount of money in Orange is being spent on social services for the needy of the diocese.
All this might just be my own personal outrage that the Church of the great cathedrals throughout the world — Notre Dame, Chartes, even the Cathedral Chapel of St. Vibiana in L.A. — would want to add the Crystal Cathedral to its ranks.
The one good thing in all of this, I suppose, is that at least for the Diocese of Orange, in its home parish, there will soon be greater transparency.