Does the Diocese of Orange Want to Buy Out the Crystal Cathedral?

If there's one thing people should know about the Catholic Diocese of Orange, it's that the crazier the rumor, the more likely it's true. Men of the cloth abusing boys and girls? Of course! Bishops covering up said abuse? That's religion! Siccing attack dogs on abuse victims? Damn straight!

I'm sure I've used that intro for a blog post in the past, but whatever: it's true! So when there's buzz going around Marywood that a movement's afoot by the Orange diocese to buy out the Garden Grove properties of the Crystal Cathedral, you know something's a-brewing.


A group of priests, lay people, and others in the circles of Orange Bishop Tod D. Brown are trying to convince him to ditch what Brownie wants as his legacy: Christ Our Savior Cathedral, a massive project up the street from South Coast Plaza that's been a vacant lot for nearly seven years. Brownie has been going around town, increasingly desperate to raise the funds from wealthy donors, groveling for some bank loans–but no one really thinks it viable to spend upwards of $100 million in this economy, in a county that already has a cathedral.

Instead, goes the argument, Brownie should sell off the Orange diocese's Marywood headquarters, gather other sources, and buy the Crystal Cathedral. The Schullers, of course, are aching for cash and are also dealing with a rapidly shrinking congregation. Doing so would save the Orange diocese millions of dollars, save the Schullers from further financial insolvency, create an immediate cathedral for Orange County's million-plus Catholics, and fulfill Brownie's need for an Ozymandian edifice–okay, so that last thought is mine, but the rest is what Brownie's retinue are telling him.

That plan, as wild as it sounds, actually makes financial sense–plus, Brownie could sell off that vacant lot for the proposed Christ Our Savior Cathedral and score some cool, immediate cash. Of course, “sense” and “Orange diocese” go as well as “Matt Cunningham” and “the truth.” Heckuva job, Brownie!

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