A conservative news and views blog.

Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Thursday, September 01, 2005

You Want Fries with that Eucharist?

Due to the pedophilia scandals, the Catholic Church needs money, and lots of it. Recently we have seen massive parish closings here in St. Louis (my old grade school and church closed, for instance)and the parishes which have closed have been those with high commercial appeal. The Archdiocese is selling off it`s best properties to raise money. This suggests that we may have another wave of accusations against clergy on the way.

As a result, the traditional architecture and style of Catholic Churches is being sacrificed for buildings with higher commercial appeal.

Perhaps the most appealing aspect of Catholicism has always been it`s reliability; the Church has always been a rock, and people have always expected it to act as a force for stability. What message does it send when your community Church may become a Jack in the Box restaurant in a few years?

It hardly encourages confidence.

Below is an article proving the point:

Today's Church, Tomorrow's Treasure

XPQwire (August 29) "WE'RE BUILDING for the future," claims Los Angeles
Archdiocesan Projects Manager Msgr. Bud Bradelstad. The man who directs its
long-range planning explained that California's largest Catholic diocese designs its
churches with a view to future use -- as warehouses, fast-food outlets, or
even skating rinks.
"We estimate between 40 and 70 percent of our properties will be sold in ten
years' time," said Bradelstad, "just to pay the buggery bill. So resale value
is hugely important to us. Now if you sell a church that can be easily
converted into a Wendy's, say, or a Jiffy-Lube, you're getting maybe 80 cents back on
your construction cost dollar, compared with 15 cents for a gothic-style
Bradelstad has little patience with critics who prefer traditional church
architecture. "It's like marrying a dumb fashion model," he snorted. "Sure she's
pretty, but can she cook? And brother we NEED buildings that can cook --
probably $200 million worth of cooking all told. I mean, what can you do with a
traditional church except use it for another traditional church?
"Look," he continued. "I like the old-style buildings myself. They're cute.
But to build a nave-and-sanctuary prayer-machine in today's world is grossly
irresponsible, pastorally speaking. It's a dog. And in the end it's the seller
who pays for the makeover."
Recent bankruptcy court decisions in Oregon and Washington have made diocesan
real estate more fungible and increased the need for a functional "turnover
strategy," according to Bradelstad.
"Take our new cathedral. We could've gone the ritual and worship route and
got stuck with an old maid. Instead we went with maximum second-owner
flexibility: a poured-concrete mega-box that'll bring in big bucks come market time. I'm
thinking frozen foods, I'm thinking cineplex, I'm thinking long-term storage,
I'm thinking foundry or medium-industry manufacturing. Hey, we've already had
interest expressed by General Motors and Lockheed. It's a winner."
Monsignor Bud expressed the hope that the archdiocesan laity would eventually
become reconciled to reality and accept that fact that massive legal payouts
were part of the "price to be paid" for the advantage of being served by a
fully renewed clergy. "You can't keep the kids away from the candy," he said,
"and candy costs plenty in the courts. Figure a million three for every Father
Hollywood on the job. All I'm trying to do is ensure that there'll be a Father
Hollywood in your future."
Mention of the aesthetic value of European Catholic churches is something of
a sore spot with Bradelstad, goading him to exasperation:
"Everybody comes whining to me: Look at Chartres Cathedral! Look at Chartres
Cathedral! It's so beautiful, so prayerful, so lovely, blah, blah, blah. Well
let me tell you I've BEEN to Chartres Cathedral. There isn't even a place to



Blogger StaticNoise said...

How interesting you should post this at this time. It just so happens that my nearly one hundred year old Church has been on the archbishop's chopping block for years. They finally closed the school this year.

For fifteen years they sent us one lousy priest after another. Priests with accents so thick they could not be understood. Then there was Father Tom, a man I truly loved, but he could'nt administer his way out of a wet paper sack.

The average age of a parishioner is now over 65. The young people have left for suburban parishes that are alive.

By the way, we just spent $300,000 dollars fixing up the place. Oh yeah, before I forget, the point of this comment - they just rented out the school building for cold hard cash.

8:37 PM  
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8:01 AM  
Anonymous David Leech said...

I cannot believe that this was a serious article or that any priest would say things like "just to pay the buggery bill", even in Los Angeles. BTW, a Google search on the name "Bradelstad" turns up only that article and a couple of blogs (including this one) that make reference to it.

It is my feeling that the article was probably intended as some kind of parody.

2:43 AM  

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