26 August 2013

Crystal Cathedral Still In The News

Over a year ago I thought I had posted here the last of a number of observations about the Crystal Cathedral bankruptcy. But here's a new item from the Huffington Post (thanks to University of Illinois VAP Pamela Foohey) about the anger of those who had contributed in memory of a loved one whose name had been engraved on a brick that "Cathedral founder Robert Schuller sold ... for up to $3,000 each, promising they'd remain for centuries." Well, what's a couple of hundred years or so between friends?

The Roman Catholic diocese of Orange County, which bought the building and land out of bankruptcy, plans to remove the memorial bricks. That the diocese has every right to do so is elementary bankruptcy (and property) law. The donors had at most a contractual obligation from the original Crystal Cathedral ownership and contract claims are discharged in bankruptcy. Had they purchased a brick and the plot of land beneath it, they could have stood their ground because property rights emerge unaffected from bankruptcy.

Whether the diocese should remove the bricks is another question. One might hope that it would show some Christian compassion and leave the bricks where they are or at least move them to an area open to public view. Mercy triumphs over judgment as the Lord's brother observed. (James 2:13)

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