Thursday, 14 July 2011 09:42
ORANGE, Calif. (CNS) — Bishop Tod D. Brown of Orange asked a group of diocesan advisers July 6 to “explore possibilities” regarding the Crystal Cathedral, once the home church of the Rev. Robert Schuller, a noted television preacher.
The cathedral complex in Garden Grove was put up for auction earlier this year as part of the cathedral ministries bankruptcy proceedings.
The organization founded by Rev. Schuller, who is now retired, filed for bankruptcy last October. It was facing debt amounting to more than $50 million. Opening in 1970, the 3,000-seat Crystal Cathedral was one of the nation’s first megachurches.
According to the diocese, Bishop Brown “is concerned for the future of the landmark church remaining a functional part of the liturgical landscape for the region.”
The Orange Diocese does not currently have a cathedral to serve its 1.2 million Catholics. Based on the size of its Catholic population, Orange is the 11th largest diocese in the nation. The diocese covers Orange County, which has a total population of 3 million people.
“While we continue to develop plans for a cathedral in Santa Ana, it is prudent to evaluate the opportunity to engage in the pending auction of this property and to mitigate the chance that it cease to function as a place of worship, if acquired by others,” Bishop Brown said in a statement.
On July 5 Chapman University, a private liberal arts university in Orange, made a $46-million bid for the 40-acre cathedral site.
News reports have put cost estimates for building a new cathedral for the Orange Diocese at $100 million.