Posts Tagged “bankruptcy”

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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Crys-extThe drama surrounding the slow demise of the palatial “Crystal Cathedral” in Garden Grove, California continues to play out. The local Roman Catholic diocese purchased the “Cathedral” in a bankruptcy sale only a few months, ago, and I’d have thought things might have been resolved with creditors being paid off … but alas, it was not to be. The Los Angeles Times reports that founding pastor and televangelist Robert H. Schuller resigned from its rump board over money he thinks he’s owed (WebCite cached article):

Robert H. Schuller and his wife cited the “negative” environment at the church he founded when announcing their resignation from the Crystal Cathedral board.

“We cannot continue to serve on the board in what has become an adversarial and negative atmosphere especially since it now seems that it will not be ending any time soon,” Arvella Schuller said in a statement Saturday. …

The resignations are a result of a breakdown in negotiations over financial claims against the church that the Schullers filed in Bankruptcy Court.

Schuller; his wife, Arvella; their daughter Carol Schuller Milner; and her husband, Timothy Milner, allege that the church owes them money for copyright infringement, intellectual property violations and unpaid contracts.

Sorting through competing financial claims has delayed $12.5 million in payments to some church creditors and could threaten the church’s ability to continue its ministries, including the “Hour of Power” broadcasts.

That’s right folks. With tens of millions of dollars of debt owed to a large number of creditors — some of whom are small businesses who’ve gone unpaid for years already — the Schuller family is hovering over their church’s sad remains, fending them off and demanding to be paid first. That there isn’t any money left — and that the Schullers themselves caused their church’s pathetic financial condition in the first place — appears not to matter to them. They just want their money, and are willing to get in the way of everyone else’s interests, and storm out of the room, in order to get it.

What a wonderful brood, eh?

I still can’t figure what this kind of greed has to do with the man who founded Christianity and taught the virtue of humility and poverty … but hey, what could a cold-hearted, skeptical, godless agnostic heathen like myself possibly know about such things? If there are any Christians out there who can explain this to me, I’d greatly appreciate it.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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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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The Crystal Cathedral, Garden Grove, CAThe vast, lavish monstrosity known as the Crystal Cathedral, in Garden Grove, California (about which I’ve blogged a couple times already), is falling into the pit of America’s ongoing recession, and may be filing for bankruptcy. KCBS-TV reports on the shining edifice’s financial woes, which it is inflicting on others as it heads down (WebCite cached article):

Officials at the Crystal Cathedral say bankruptcy may be pending for the mega church, a one-time drive-in house of worship that grew into a worldwide television religious powerhouse.

Kristina Oliver told the Orange County Register that she lost her house to foreclosure because the church has been unwilling or unable to pay her the $50,000 it owes for renting camels and other animals for its holiday pageants.

Oliver had been sitting on a panel of creditors set up to negotiate with the church and help it avoid bankruptcy. “I honestly believed that the church was going to come up with an equitable plan to pay us all,” she told the newspaper.

“But I now know that all they wanted to do was string us along,” she added.

The Crystal Cathedral, of course, professes ignorance that anyone else is being harmed by its inability to pay its bills:

The son in law of Cathedral founder Rev. Robert H. Schuller told the Register he was unaware of the impasse between the church and the creditors until the panel of small creditors sent a letter to him Thursday.

I’m fairly sure that the Crystal Cathedral’s creditors aren’t going to let them get away with this too much longer. People generally put up with a lot of bullshit spewed by the heads of religious groups, but “The check is in the mail!” isn’t one of the lies they’re likely to buy.

Of course, I’m still trying to figure out exactly how the career of the man whose teachings included the Beatitudes, could possibly have inspired such a pretentious edifice as the Crystal Cathedral. Jesus, I thought, had preached humility, among other virtues. So an enormous, shining building doesn’t seem in his character. But then, I’m just a cold-hearted, cynical, god-hating agnostic heathen … so what the hell do I know?

For those Christians who may not be familiar with Jesus’ teachings on humility, you can find some of them in your Bibles, in the Gospel according to Matthew, chapters 5 through 7 and the Gospel according to Luke, chapter 6, verses 20 through 49 … among other places.

Update: The Crystal Cathedral has, in fact, filed for bankruptcy, as reported by the AP via Google News (cached article).

Hat tip: iReligion Forum on Delphi Forums.


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