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Bishop gets earful on new Cathedral
Oakland Tribune ^ | 08 May 2004 | Peggy Stinnett

Posted on 05/08/2004 11:44:19 AM PDT by MegaSilver

BISHOP ALLEN VIGNERON, shepherd of the Roman Catholic Diocese, heard something he didn't like from his flock about Diocesan plans for the 17-story Christ the Light Cathedral last week at a community meeting.

These were not sheep-like Catholics, and they knew the scriptures.

What the bishop heard was a respectful bleating. "Baaaaa ..."

Several who spoke said the $131 million price tag for building the cathedral complex should instead be spent on the poor and homeless as taught by Jesus Christ and the Bible.

The proposed soaring edifice would be a "symbol of wealth and the pride of man," said one critic, asserting he knew of no one who had been asked for an opinion about the building.

Another speaker said, "I will be ashamed to enter the Cathedral if $131 million is spent to build it. That's money that should help the poor and

homeless. Our priorities are wrong."

Vigneron seemed dismayed but not discouraged, and launched a defense that there's a need for a stronger Catholic presence in downtown Oakland to "sanctify, educate and serve."

Cost of the 110,000-square-foot site, previously approved by the city for an office building, was $30 million. The cathedral design calls for a glass veil to reflect sunlight and glow in the dark. Thirty-three existing trees on the vacant site will be removed and replaced with new ones.

An unusual use of the ground under the cathedral will be a mausoleum where deceased Catholics could be interred for $1,600. For those who prefer cremation -- permissible under new rules of the Vatican -- there will be 6,000 spaces for urns of ashes. The money will be used to offset cathedral expenses,

Underground mausoleums are common in Europe and in some older U.S. churches such as the California missions. But none has such large spaces reserved for the dead as this sizable underground cemetery.

The bishop said there is a need to establish a "strong identity and sense of unity" in the Diocese, which covers Alameda and Contra Costa counties with extremely diverse populations.

He maintained the cathedral will be a parish, as well as a gathering place for the 500,000 Catholics in the diocese. Vigneron said the cathedral will be completed in 2006, and the entire complex of buildings could be completed by 2007. Of the $131 million, $80 million is for the sanctuary building.

The complex will include a new rectory, chancery offices, a conference center, a 200-seat chapel, cafe and bookstore and a 200-car parking garage expected to create revenue of $300,000 a year. The present chancery office on Lakeshore Drive and the rectory on 21st Street will be sold.

After Vigneron left the session midway to prepare for a trip to Rome, John McDonnell, Oakland attorney and choir director of the celebrated St. Francis de Sales choir, answered questions. He was assisted by Lee Nordlund, both volunteers with the project. The two men are leaders of 150 select Catholics who have participated in the Holy Names committee, previously known under former Bishop John Cummins as the Cathedral Project.

As for the anticipated core congregation, Vigneron said members of St. Mary's/St. Francis Church on Jefferson Street will move to the cathedral and become the new parish. With such a spectacular building, many Catholic and non-Catholic visitors are also expected.

But an active parishioner of St. Mary's said most people who attend are poor Vietnamese who say they would feel uncomfortable worshipping in a grand building like Christ the Light. They prefer the old St. Mary's.

A woman who lives three blocks from Grand Avenue and Harrison Street declared she would never become a member of the parish, preferring to remain in her present parish, Our Lady of Lourdes on Lakeshore Drive, where the meeting was held. About 60 people attended.

Vigneron spoke of the Forest City uptown development of 1,000 residences yet to be started that will generate new members for the cathedral parish.

Anticipating questions about his decision to close three Catholic schools, Vigneron said the Christ the Light Cathedral is not being built at the expense of the schools. They are being closed because of the quality of education, changes in the community, low enrollment and financial instability, said the bishop. The two issues are completely separate financially, he said.

The project is on its way with $65 million already pledged by a foundation whose name the bishop said would not be made public until a future date.

On May 23 at 3 p.m., Bishop Vigneron will bless the ground at the Grand and Harrison site. Everyone is invited to attend.

E-mail Peggy Stinnett at pstinnett@angnewspapers.com.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; US: California
KEYWORDS: cathedral; cathedrals; catholic; catholicism; catholiclist; catholics; romancatholicchurch
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While $131 million does seem a tad high, I can't think that making the Church more visible in the Bay Area would be a bad idea.
1 posted on 05/08/2004 11:44:19 AM PDT by MegaSilver
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To: MegaSilver
The design for the new cathedral is hideous.

The new cathedral in SF and planned one in Oakland could accurately be described as the abomination and the desolation.
2 posted on 05/08/2004 11:51:13 AM PDT by Canticle_of_Deborah (The day the Church abandons her universal tongue is the day before she returns to the catacombs-PXII)
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To: Canticle_of_Deborah
The new cathedral in SF and planned one in Oakland could accurately be described as the abomination and the desolation.

A doctor does not come for the well, but for the sick...

3 posted on 05/08/2004 11:54:04 AM PDT by MegaSilver (Training a child in red diapers is the cruelest and most unusual form of abuse.)
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To: Canticle_of_Deborah
The design for the new cathedral is hideous.

Though I must agree with this statement. Architecture isn't what it used to be nowadays.

4 posted on 05/08/2004 12:14:01 PM PDT by MegaSilver (Training a child in red diapers is the cruelest and most unusual form of abuse.)
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To: MegaSilver
Perhaps it is time we have a married Catholic clergy. If the good Bishop had about 6 or 8 kids(maybe 10-12 as a real good Catholic)to support he would have a better sense of money and know what the poor schmucks sitting in the pews would have to sacrifice for this monstrosity.

My sainted Mother, a convert to Catholicism, always said the priests were very good at spending other people's money.

5 posted on 05/08/2004 1:03:07 PM PDT by The Great RJ
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To: MegaSilver
a "tad" high? $131 million - probably end up costing $250mm. A lot of sexual abuse cases could be settled with that money.
6 posted on 05/08/2004 1:03:29 PM PDT by mcenedo (lying liberal media - our most dangerous and powerful enemy)
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To: MegaSilver
Catholicism as a living faith is just about dead in all of California, and especially in the Bay Area. This sounds like a very expensive tombstone for it. Perhaps the bishop could include space for a pricey restaurant to serve the post-Christians who prefer to spend their Sunday mornings having brunch.
7 posted on 05/08/2004 1:09:49 PM PDT by madprof98
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To: Canticle_of_Deborah
St. Mary's reminds me of a washing machine agitator.
8 posted on 05/08/2004 1:25:44 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (There are people in power who are truly stupid.)
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To: madprof98
Catholicsm isn't the only Christian faith on the critical list. Anyone can say what they will, but when you see a picture in the paper of a "priest" homosexual/pedophile these days, he's in shackles or a body bag. Not the golden robes of Gay Gene. It is very much like the article said, the people are no longer willing to remain silent. If they really need a new church out there, they should just buy one from the Boston Archdiocese. They're holding a fire sale on parish churches.

As far as the schools go, that's the new threat for Catholics. Bring back Catholic education before children forget how to read and write without spellcheck.
9 posted on 05/08/2004 1:25:54 PM PDT by ishabibble
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To: madprof98
Catholicism as a living faith is just about dead in all of California

And your evidence for that statment is?

10 posted on 05/08/2004 1:27:51 PM PDT by stop_fascism
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Comment #11 Removed by Moderator

To: madprof98
Catholicism as a living faith is just about dead in all of California, and especially
in the Bay Area.


As a fly-over country Protestant re-located to Southern California, it doesn't
seem that way here.

While the sex scandals have revealed obvious lack of institutional control by
Mahoney and the sad fruits of seminaries actually becoming a conduit for
future gay priests going after underage children...
it sounds like a fair number of the parishoners are "standing fast" and
pushing for fixing problems...not heading for the exits.

I know my comments are naive as I'm not Catholic...but I get the feeling that
there will be a strong Catholic presence here...as long as there is a California.
And there will be ups and downs, just like for any chruch body.

Oh, and a side-note. The Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine actually wrote a fairly
respectful article about "traditional" (Pre-Vatican II) Catholics in Southern Cal.
It appears that sector, while small, is growing.
12 posted on 05/08/2004 1:53:12 PM PDT by VOA
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To: MegaSilver
The bay area needs to build an edifice to bring religion to all of the perverts there and to accommodate the Catholic church pedophile priests too.
13 posted on 05/08/2004 2:01:36 PM PDT by hgro
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Comment #14 Removed by Moderator

To: Canticle_of_Deborah
I have to agree with you. I've been to the Cathedral in San Francisco, and it is an atrocity. So is this new Oakland cathedral:

Yet another liberal bishop surrounded by trendy liturgist and trendy advisers, completely without taste, seeking to be remembered as the great founder of a great building.

When the dust settles, he will be remembered as a pig on an ego trip who left a hugely expensive abomination behind him. Maybe with good luck it will collapse in an earthquake (preferably not on Sunday) and the diocese will be able to replace it.

15 posted on 05/08/2004 2:11:32 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: sartorius
Thanks for the voice of reason.

Not a problem.
I've lived through the pain and confusion of church upsets, having grown up
in the mainstream Churches of Christ while the splinter group International Church
of Christ (ICOC) broke off.
The ICOC thought it had a cure to the somewhat sterile legalism of the mainstream group,
but the ICOC has finally started to crumble due to the overzealous push for near-maniacal
discipleship, bordering on mind-control. Some reconciliation between the sane
minds of both groups are now underway.
But all this created about 25 years of confusion and sadness for many people.

Thus you can see...even if Catholocism isn't my religional "cup of tea",
I feel your pain.

And following 9-11 and an increased exposure of the histories of Christianity
and Islam...I just have to thank the Roman Church for the fact that I'm
alive and not writing in Arabic and saving up to make a pilgrimage to Mecca!
16 posted on 05/08/2004 2:17:16 PM PDT by VOA
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To: Cicero
It looks like something out of a sci-fi movie.
17 posted on 05/08/2004 2:18:30 PM PDT by MegaSilver (Training a child in red diapers is the cruelest and most unusual form of abuse.)
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To: MegaSilver
$1200/ sq. ft. Wow.
18 posted on 05/08/2004 2:20:36 PM PDT by Paul_B
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To: sartorius
Religious sisters from India, for example, are already coming to America and working with the poor and despised...........

I look for them when the despised get together in Boston this summer.

19 posted on 05/08/2004 2:22:08 PM PDT by breakem
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To: MegaSilver
It looks like something out of a sci-fi movie.

Oh well, add a minaret and it will make a fine mosque.
20 posted on 05/08/2004 2:24:12 PM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: MegaSilver; madprof98; Carry_Okie; VOA; Canticle_of_Deborah; Cicero; sartorius
Here is what they want to build...

Looks like the shark from Jaws getting ready to devour the faithful.

21 posted on 05/08/2004 2:26:43 PM PDT by pbear8 (Over 100 years in California, and I pay the taxes to prove it.)
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To: Cicero; ninenot; m4629
Yet another liberal bishop surrounded by trendy liturgist and trendy advisers, completely without taste, seeking to be remembered as the great founder of a great building.

I thought Vigneron was a conservative. You mean there's trouble in paradise?

This thing will cost more than the Taj Mahoney before it's finished, you watch. And it looks just as hideous.

Catholics are tired of this extravagance in church buildings. It sounds as if he won't have much of a parish for this Cathedral, as it will be a kluge pulled together of Vietnamese and poor congregations.

22 posted on 05/08/2004 2:36:51 PM PDT by sinkspur (Adopt a dog or a cat from an animal shelter! It will save one life, and may save two.)
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To: pbear8
"Looks like the shark from Jaws getting ready to devour the faithful."

Well, like many big projects, it more likely will go for the wallet (not saying such
projects can't be a good thing).

But it's a shame that all that money will be spent and not even get a space-age
prayer tower that would make NASA jealous.

http://www.oru.edu/secondary/about.html
1. Click for Campus Tour
2. Then click Take A Campus Tour (on the new screen)
3. Click #14 Prayer Tower

PS: There are many good folks at Oral Roberts University, but some of the
"George Jetson" architecture on the campus is almost like a "blast from the past AND
from the future"
23 posted on 05/08/2004 2:42:50 PM PDT by VOA
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To: sinkspur
Vigneron may be a conservative in some regards. But this project doesn't strike me as conservative.

Some bishops are hard to type. Cardinal Law always seemed to be theologically sound and conservative, but look what happened to him. He wasn't conservative enough to use elementary common sense in dealing with a pederast priest.
24 posted on 05/08/2004 2:43:14 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: sinkspur
Catholics are tired of this extravagance in church buildings.

Extravagance is fine, as long as it's Hagia Sophia- or Notre Dame- style extravagance.

These space-age buildings are just ghastly to look at.

25 posted on 05/08/2004 2:50:08 PM PDT by MegaSilver (Training a child in red diapers is the cruelest and most unusual form of abuse.)
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To: Cicero
Vigneron may be a conservative in some regards. But this project doesn't strike me as conservative.

It's not. But, it appears that he inherited this project, and that planning was well down the road.

OTOH, he appears to back it, fully.

26 posted on 05/08/2004 3:03:59 PM PDT by sinkspur (Adopt a dog or a cat from an animal shelter! It will save one life, and may save two.)
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To: pbear8
At first glance, it's reminiscent of the Sydney Opera House. But looking at more closely, a sea creature might be a better
description. Or possibly a Cylon from the old Battlestar Galactica series.

But architecture goes through phases. I remember a WSJ article on the then new AT&T building. It was supposed to
remind people of a chair. I guess the furniture motif was the big thing ~25 years ago.

Maybe they want to remind us that we're all Jonahs now? Or whathisname, Quint?

27 posted on 05/08/2004 3:14:37 PM PDT by Calvin Locke
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To: Calvin Locke
But looking at more closely, a sea creature might be a better description.

Maybe it the whale which swallowed prophet Jonas? :)

28 posted on 05/08/2004 3:16:31 PM PDT by A. Pole (<SARCASM> The genocide of Albanians was stopped in its tracks before it began.</S>)
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To: MegaSilver
Oakland needs God bigtime, but this cathedral has more to do with what man wants, than with what He wants.
29 posted on 05/08/2004 3:21:27 PM PDT by Drango (A liberal's compassion is limited only by the size of someone else's wallet.)
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To: MegaSilver
Another speaker said, "I will be ashamed to enter the Cathedral if $131 million is spent to build it. That's money that should help the poor and homeless. Our priorities are wrong."

As it is said in the Gospel:

"Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.
Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him,
Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?
This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein."
(Saint John, 12:3-6)

30 posted on 05/08/2004 3:22:22 PM PDT by A. Pole (<SARCASM> The genocide of Albanians was stopped in its tracks before it began.</S>)
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To: Drango
Oakland needs God bigtime, but this cathedral has more to do with what man wants, than with what He wants.

Still, I can't understand why ANY man would want to look at that horrible building.

31 posted on 05/08/2004 3:23:16 PM PDT by MegaSilver (Training a child in red diapers is the cruelest and most unusual form of abuse.)
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To: A. Pole
Excellent point.

But if they want to anoint Christ, couldn't they at least do it with something that doesn't blind people as they drive past?
32 posted on 05/08/2004 3:24:22 PM PDT by MegaSilver (Training a child in red diapers is the cruelest and most unusual form of abuse.)
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To: Cicero
Vigneron is NOT a liberal. Your take is about 180 degrees from the truth, which prompts the question: are you a Catholic, a schismatic, or a Prot?

If you're either of the latter two, why are you opening your mouth?
33 posted on 05/08/2004 3:36:18 PM PDT by ninenot (Minister of Membership, TomasTorquemadaGentlemen'sClub)
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To: sinkspur
Catholics are tired of this extravagance in church buildings. It sounds as if he won't have much of a parish for this Cathedral

None of this bothered Rembert the Poofterwonk when he spent $60mill simply wrecking the interior of the existing building and adding 'garden spaces.'

And I don't recall you objecting to Rembert's expenditure--not that it matters.

34 posted on 05/08/2004 3:39:45 PM PDT by ninenot (Minister of Membership, TomasTorquemadaGentlemen'sClub)
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To: ninenot; Cicero
Cicero's a Catholic, ninenot. And you ought to be ashamed for your reaction.

You don't think this is destined to be Taj Mahoney II?

It certainly mimics the LA Cathedral, complete with columbarium and bookstore.

35 posted on 05/08/2004 3:42:02 PM PDT by sinkspur (Adopt a dog or a cat from an animal shelter! It will save one life, and may save two.)
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To: ninenot
I didn't know a thing about Weakland's renovation. I still don't know much about it.
36 posted on 05/08/2004 3:42:51 PM PDT by sinkspur (Adopt a dog or a cat from an animal shelter! It will save one life, and may save two.)
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To: A. Pole; sinkspur
Expense for the glorification of God and the edification of the Faithful should not be spared.

Since I don't have a vote, nor more than a passing interest, it's not relevant--but I'd like to see a bigger pic of the proposed building.
37 posted on 05/08/2004 3:43:24 PM PDT by ninenot (Minister of Membership, TomasTorquemadaGentlemen'sClub)
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To: Paul_B; sinkspur; m4629
Your math must be the "new math."

I take 110,000 sf and divide it into $100 million (that's the building, not the land)and come up with $909./sf.

That's still a cockamamie figure based on Milwaukee standards--here a commercial building is about $125./sf.

So there's something missing. Even if this building were WILDLY extravagant, it could only be around $500./sf.

We need to find about another 700Ksf someplace to make the numbers make sense.
38 posted on 05/08/2004 3:49:03 PM PDT by ninenot (Minister of Membership, TomasTorquemadaGentlemen'sClub)
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To: MegaSilver
Excellent point. But if they want to anoint Christ, couldn't they at least do it with something that doesn't blind people as they drive past?

Too bad.

39 posted on 05/08/2004 3:50:01 PM PDT by A. Pole (<SARCASM> The genocide of Albanians was stopped in its tracks before it began.</S>)
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To: ninenot
> Your math must be the "new math."

No, I failed to separate building and land. Your number is more useful. Still a travesty - if my money were at risk.
40 posted on 05/08/2004 4:03:17 PM PDT by Paul_B
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To: sinkspur
I didn't know a thing about Weakland's renovation. I still don't know much about it.

Google for pictures of the wrecknovation Sinky, it's appalling. Rembert was kind enough top leave a large picture of himself inside though.

41 posted on 05/08/2004 4:20:07 PM PDT by pbear8 (I don't want this new cathedral)
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To: ninenot
Vigneron is NOT a liberal.

I've seen his writings in the diocesan newspaper and at a priest's funeral where he used the 's' word (sin),which, as you know is rare these days.

I know that the libs are up in arms because he has kept out VOT(un)F from a conference.

These are all good signs and I am hoping for the best, but I know that he wants this cathedral (as did his predecessor of unhappy memory) and I think it is as ugly as sin and not becoming of a Catholic place of worship.

42 posted on 05/08/2004 4:26:45 PM PDT by pbear8 (I don't want this new cathedral)
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To: Paul_B
$1200/ sq. ft. Wow.

Can you imagine what it would cost if it was the government building it?

43 posted on 05/08/2004 4:28:05 PM PDT by jackbill
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Comment #44 Removed by Moderator

To: sartorius; GatorGirl; maryz; *Catholic_list; afraidfortherepublic; Antoninus; Aquinasfan; Askel5; ..
Another Temple of Doom Modern Monstrosity ping.
45 posted on 05/08/2004 4:41:31 PM PDT by narses (If you want ON or OFF my Catholic Ping List email me. +)
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To: sartorius
lol, no problem, I thought I'd made a mistake
46 posted on 05/08/2004 4:41:43 PM PDT by breakem
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To: pbear8
That's it? That is what they are building? Good grief...

The planners on the building committee should be shot.

47 posted on 05/08/2004 4:55:04 PM PDT by HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
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To: ninenot

Not bigger, just more.

Calatrava's design will have movable glass-and-steel sections. "The idea was for a building that would be like a pair of hands," Calatrava says. "The hands can be brought together in prayer or they can be opened to the sky."

48 posted on 05/08/2004 4:57:38 PM PDT by pbear8 (Save us from Jaws while we are praying O Lord!)
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To: ninenot; Paul_B; sinkspur; Cicero; MegaSilver
Capital Campaign: The total project goal is $131 million, $80 million of which will be used for purchase of land and construction of the Cathedral. The remainder is for construction of a rectory and diocesan center. Funding is to be secured through donations from private individuals, foundations and other organizations. No monies from the Diocesan budget will be utilized to fund the Cathedral Project.

I am guessing Vigneron is only taking this Beached Whale because it doesn't cost him a dime. Sort of like either accept a free brand new Toyota xB or keep walking. Take it or leave it type of deal.

It also appears the old flunky bishop Cummins still has a big hand in this deal. After all, it's his groupies that put together the money. The original designed has been modified since Vigneron's arrival but I understand it's still ugly. No chance the modernists will put money into a new orthodox design at this stage.

Is Bishop Cummins, now retired, still involved in the Cathedral Project?

Yes. Bishop Cummins was appointed Episcopal Vicar of the Cathedral Project by Bishop Vigneron. He is a member of the steering committee, and remains active in the project.


49 posted on 05/08/2004 5:01:29 PM PDT by m4629
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To: HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
The planners on the building committee should be shot.

Like the saying goes, architects should be forced to live in the buildings they design.

I agree; it's just about the ugliest "Cathedral" design I've ever laid eyes on. It's even worse than the Taj Mahoney.

50 posted on 05/08/2004 5:10:10 PM PDT by MegaSilver (Training a child in red diapers is the cruelest and most unusual form of abuse.)
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