Posts Tagged “bankrupt”

This 2011 file photo shows the Cathedral of St. Helena in Helena, Mont. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena filed for bankruptcy protection Jan. 31 in advance of proposed settlements for two lawsuits that claim clergy members sexually abused 362 people over decades and the church covered it up. (Photo: Ron Zellar, AP)For what I believe is the tenth time over the last decade, yet another Roman Catholic diocese has been forced to declare bankruptcy, in the face of allegations it allowed its clergy to abuse children. As USA Today reports, this would be the Helena, MT diocese (WebCite cached article):

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena planned to file for bankruptcy protection Friday as part of a proposed settlement of $15 million for hundreds of victims who say clergy members sexually abused them over decades while the church covered it up.

Diocese spokesman Dan Bartleson said the bankruptcy reorganization plan comes after confidential mediation sessions with the plaintiffs’ attorneys and insurers, resulting in the deals to resolve the abuse claims.

Those bastions of Christian charity managed to hand off most of the bill for this:

The church anticipates paying at least $2.5 million of the costs, with the rest paid by insurers, which were part of the settlement talks, he said. Bartleson said the diocese does not expect to have to liquidate any of its assets or close any programs because of the filing.

Gee, how convenient … no? In this case the Church managed, successfully, to prevent its personnel from being prosecuted, and avoided most of the payout to victims.

Photo credit: Ron Zellar/AP, via USA Today.

Hat tip: Peter at Skeptics & Heretics Forum on Delphi Forums.

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Late Thursday evening U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kwan issued the ruling, acknowledging the tremendous work put in by Chapman University, the diocese's competitor, which offered as much as $59 million for the 40-acre Crystal Cathedral campus. The diocese will get the property for $57.5 million. FILE: ANA VENEGAS, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTERI’ve blogged several times already about that monument to Christian ostentatiousness known as “the Crystal Cathedral” in Garden Grove, CA. Years of incredible profligacy left the C.C. teetering on the financial brink, and eventually the church had to declare bankruptcy. A bankruptcy court directed the sale of the property in order to pay off the colossal debts (something like $50 million). As the Orange County Register reports, it looks as though the Roman Catholic diocese of Orange (Calif.) will be the buyer (WebCite cached article):

A court hearing is in progress to confirm the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange as the buyer for Orange County’s iconic Crystal Cathedral property.

The Crystal Cathedral’s board decided Wednesday night to select the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange as its preferred buyer. The board last month named Chapman as its preferred buyer, but last night’s decision changed that stance. It is still up to the judge to decide who will eventually buy the cathedral.

Naturally, there’s some discontent in the pews over this. The C.C. is, after all, an evangelical Protestant congregation, with little fondness for those “Mary-worshipping Catholics”:

Many longtime congregants who have been attending the court hearings say they are shocked and disappointed by the board’s decision. Several who spoke in court Thursday stated they want Chapman to purchase the property so the ministry can continue its work and they can continue to attend their Protestant church at the iconic location.

What I still cannot understand is how and why, exactly, such an opulent edifice is an appropriate place to worship Jesus Christ, who taught the virtues of poverty and humility, and who explicitly opposed splashy displays of piety. Anyone out there care to explain … ?

Hat tip: Mark at Skeptics & Heretics Forum on Delphi Forums.

Photo credit: Orange County Register.

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I’ve blogged several times already about the colossal, glitzy, ostentatious edifice known as the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, CA. It was originally built by televangelist Robert H. Schuller to show off how pious — and wealthy — he and his congregation are. Since its official opening in 1980, though, it’s proven itself a massive albatross around the necks of the Schuller family and the Garden Grove Community Church which they govern and which meets inside it. The church had to file for bankruptcy in 2010 and has been unable to meet its financial obligations.

The Orange County Register reports that a prayer campaign to bring in $50 million dollars to pay off the Cathedral’s debts, is falling catastrophically short of its goal (WebCite cached article):

The Schuller family is coming up far short in its attempt to prevent the sale of the Crystal Cathedral.

A month after announcing a “miracle faith” campaign [cached] to raise $50 million by Thanksgiving, the congregation had collected $4,737.

That figure, the total raised as of Aug. 31, was buried in a report filed last week in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Santa Ana. The cathedral will update the report in two to three weeks, attorney Marc Winthrop said.

The Garden Grove landmark owes $50 million to its creditors, who plan to sell it — with or without the founding Schuller family’s consent — on Oct. 31.

The idea that a church could somehow wrack up $50 million in debts that it cannot settle through bankruptcy is staggering. Churches are spared the financial obligation of having to pay taxes and frequently get products and services donated to them or at a discount because they’re presumed to be “non-profit.” All I can say is that the Schullers’ profligacy must have been truly enormous.

At any rate, this sure puts the lie to the common believers’ assertion that “prayer works.” It clearly is not working for the Crystal Cathedral. About the only good part of this is that there are two entities who’ve expressed an interest in the property, and they will be able to pay the $50 million that’s outstanding. So the C.C.’s creditors should be made whole (or nearly so). What remains to be seen is who or what actually pays that immense tab.

Lastly, I challenge any Christian to explain to me how this colossal, shiny monstrosity has even the slightest thing to do with the teachings of their religion’s founder? He taught humility and poverty, not glamor and ostentatiousness. That’s absurdly obvious to anyone who has actually read the gospels. Sheesh!

Hat tip: Unreasonable Faith.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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