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Developer restores former L.A. cathedral, converts it into event hall
CNA ^ | September 5, 2007

Posted on 09/06/2007 11:09:04 AM PDT by NYer

Los Angeles, Sep 5, 2007 / 10:11 am (CNA).- Thanks to local preservationists and an astute developer, the former cathedral of Los Angeles was returned to its previous structural glory last week.

The former St. Vibiana Cathedral, now simply named Vibiana and converted into a concert and events hall, got its 3,500-pound cupola back Aug. 30, reported the L.A. Times. The moment ended an 11-year campaign to save the downtown landmark.

The historic cathedral was marked for demolition after it suffered structural damage in a 1994 earthquake. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles decided that repairs would cost more than the Baroque-like 1,200-seat building was worth and made plans to build a new, larger cathedral.
 
Local preservationists launched a campaign to save the 131-year-old church after the sudden dismantling of the cathedral bell tower on a Saturday morning in mid-1996.

Archdiocese officials insisted they were only following a city order issued the previous day that called for them to "abate" the imminent danger posed by the quake-damaged tower.

But leaders of the Los Angeles Conservancy obtained a temporary restraining order just in time to halt the demolition. By that time, a crane had lifted the 20-foot wood-framed cupola off the top of the tower.

Developer Tom Gilmore eventually purchased St. Vibiana in 1999 for $4.6 million. He has spent a reported $6 million renovating it, including $2.5 million to restore the church's 83-foot-tall bell tower. Vibiana is now a venue for special events, receptions and concerts.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles built its new Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels at Temple Street and Grand Avenue. The remains of St. Vibiana, which were in the former cathedral, were relocated and entombed in the new cathedral.


TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; History
KEYWORDS: architecture; cathedral; catholics; la; lasangeles; mahony; vibiana

1 posted on 09/06/2007 11:09:07 AM PDT by NYer
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To: Lady In Blue; Salvation; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; redhead; Notwithstanding; nickcarraway; Romulus; ...

Dedicated in 1876, St. Vibiana's Catholic Cathedral is one of Los Angeles' last and most important 19th century structures. Designed by architect Ezra Kysor, plans to construct a cathedral for Los Angeles began as early as 1859 using land donated to the Church by Amiel Cavalier. The edifice was completed in 1880 at a cost of approximately $80,000. Pope Pius IX chose the Cathedral's name, selecting St. Vibiana, who was a 3rd century martyr.


Today's Los Angeles Times cover photo and accompanying story about the return of the cupola to the top of former St. Vibiana's Cathedral on Main Street dredges up the sorry (and funny) story of the city's rush 11 years ago to tear the place down.

As reporter Bob Pool notes, the cathedral sustained damage in the 1994 Northridge earthquake. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles wanted to demolish it and build a grand new cathedral on the site, restoring lost luster to Main Street. City officials began to envision the street as a civic thoroughfare connecting the old Plaza north of the Hollywood Freeway with City Hall and, south to Second Street, a great public ceremonial plaza fronting the new cathedral.

So church officials started knocking St. Vibiana's down, beginning with the cupola. Quietly. On a Saturday morning, when the courts were closed. But the demolition was illegal, since the cathedral was listed on the city's register of historic-cultural monuments. Listing meant no demolition permit could be issued for six months, to allow preservationists to find a solution that would keep the building intact.

Under pressure from the archdiocese, every member of the City Council except for arts and cultural champion Joel Wachs voted to remove the cathedral from the list. The explanations were uproariously funny. See, the cathedral (built in the centennial year of 1876) was historic when the council first listed it back in the 1960s. But time had gone by, and it had gotten old — so it was no longer historic.

The Los Angeles Conservancy successfully challenged the delisting in court, arguing that the move required an environmental impact report. The archdiocese, meanwhile, argued that city preservation law didn't apply to churches under the First Amendment guarantee of free exercise of religion (the current flap over a synagogue in Hancock Park raises similar land-use-versus-First-Amendment issues). In oral argument at the Second District Court of Appeal hearing — although not in court papers — archdiocese lawyers invoked the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (which the Supreme Court later partially invalidated). Archdiocese lawyers and spokesmen also insisted that the church was beyond reproach on questions of art and preservation — and should be able to decide for itself whether the 19th-century building was a part of the city's heritage — since it was protecting so many priceless works in the Vatican and elsewhere around the world.

The Times editorial page warned that if Cardinal Roger Mahony wasn't allowed to demolish the old cathedral and replace it with a new one on the same site, "there will be little new development left to energize a downtown revitalization."

Yeah, too bad that downtown revitalization never happened.

The preservationists won, the archdiocese built Our Lady of the Angels on Temple Street, and the St. Vibiana's cupola lay on its side in the cathedral courtyard for more than a decade. Until yesterday, as reported by Pool.

2 posted on 09/06/2007 11:12:46 AM PDT by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: NYer

Mahony couldn’t find the measly $6 million to restore beautiful St. Vibiana’s, but he had no trouble finding a helluva lot more money than that to construct his Aztec temple up the street, and yet millions more in hush money for the altar boys he allowed his gay priests to molest.

He is a bad shepherd.


3 posted on 09/06/2007 11:16:16 AM PDT by Argus
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To: NYer

I’m pleased that they didn’t destroy the lovely old place. Perhaps St. Vibiana is too.


4 posted on 09/06/2007 11:19:58 AM PDT by Veto! (Opinions freely dispensed as advice)
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To: Argus
Aztec temple up the street

Bah ... Aztec temples were a whole lot better looking than the Taj Mahony. That miserable abhomination should be imploded.

5 posted on 09/06/2007 11:28:51 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilisation is aborting, buggering, and contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: NYer

bump


6 posted on 09/06/2007 11:30:40 AM PDT by VOA
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To: ArrogantBustard
Somebody on FR was defending the Taj Mahony the last time there was a thread on it. Saying you had to see it to appreciate it (wish I could remember the FReeper's name).

I think it may be an interesting example of modern architecture, and it has some cutting-edge concepts in it, but what it ISN'T is a CATHOLIC CHURCH.

7 posted on 09/06/2007 11:34:31 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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To: NYer

Any sort of a bio on Tom Gilmore available.

This must have been a labor of love, it could take more than a couple years for it to turn a profit.


8 posted on 09/06/2007 11:37:01 AM PDT by Cheverus
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To: AnAmericanMother
I think it may be an interesting example of modern architecture, and it has some cutting-edge concepts in it,

Harrrummph!!!

I have seen very little in modern architecture that I find interesting, and cutting edges belong on knives not buildings.

9 posted on 09/06/2007 11:40:30 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilisation is aborting, buggering, and contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: AnAmericanMother
This one?
10 posted on 09/06/2007 11:54:12 AM PDT by maryz
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To: maryz

Eeek ... that’s an odd combination of modernist drivel and damning with faint praise.


11 posted on 09/06/2007 11:55:33 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilisation is aborting, buggering, and contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: Argus
In 1999, Media Mogul Rupert Murdoch made a $10 million contribution toward the construction of the new Los Angeles cathedral. But the fact that his TV stations and movie productions are some of the sleaziest, did not stop Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony from anointing him and his wife as members of the Pontifical Order of St. Gregory the Great in January, 1998. This knighthood, bestowed on behalf of the pope, is given to persons of "unblemished character" who have "promoted the interests of society, the [Catholic] Church and the Holy See [Vatican]."

It is also curious that since Murdoch was knighted for his "unblemished character", he abandoned his wife of 31 years and married one of his "dynamic, tall and gorgeous" female employees who is half his age. When Cardinal Mahony's office was asked if the knighthood honor would be revoked, a spokesman replied, "As far as I know, once you've got it, you've got it for good."

In 2002, Rupert Murdoch purchased a burial space in the cathedral's crypt.

12 posted on 09/06/2007 12:05:26 PM PDT by NYer ("Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church" - Ignatius of Antioch)
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To: ArrogantBustard

You’re right, I was unfair to the Aztecs. It’s really more like an explosion in a sheet metal warehouse.


13 posted on 09/06/2007 12:15:27 PM PDT by Argus
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To: NYer
In 1999, Media Mogul Rupert Murdoch made a $10 million contribution toward the construction of the new Los Angeles cathedral. But the fact that his TV stations and movie productions are some of the sleaziest, did not stop Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony from anointing him and his wife as members of the Pontifical Order of St. Gregory the Great in January, 1998.

Cardinal Mahoney combines the very worst of medieval hierarchical temporal excess with the very worst modern Lavender Mafia tactics. He can't be discarded soon enough.
14 posted on 09/06/2007 12:16:23 PM PDT by Antoninus (Republicans who support Rudy owe Bill Clinton an apology.)
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To: NYer

Was this cathedral ever consecrated? If it was consecrated, it must always be used as a church.

From the Catholic Encyclopedia: “Consecration differs from mere blessing in this, that it imprints an indelible mark (St. Thomas, II-II:34:3) on the building by reason of which it may never be transferred to common or profane uses.”

Most churches in the United States are not consecrated, but many cathedrals, particularly ones in built in the nineteenth century, are.


15 posted on 09/06/2007 1:16:20 PM PDT by Cavalcabo (Sancte Michael, defende nos in proelio, contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium.)
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To: NYer
Developer Tom Gilmore eventually purchased St. Vibiana in 1999 for $4.6 million. He has spent a reported $6 million renovating it

The Archdiocese's engineers and contractors estimated that it would cost a minimum of eighteen to twenty million to save the old structure. No one, including the preservationists, would donate the kind of money needed to save the old Cathedral building. Link

The final cost of the new cathedral was $189.7 million. Link

And isn't it beautiful?


16 posted on 09/06/2007 1:17:42 PM PDT by Between the Lines (I am very cognizant of my fallibility, sinfulness, and other limitations.)
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To: NYer
The former St. Vibiana Cathedral, now simply named Vibiana and converted into a concert and events hall . . .

Sounds like the fate of all the Catholic churches in California in the years to come.

17 posted on 09/06/2007 1:29:09 PM PDT by madprof98 ("moritur et ridet" - salvianus)
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To: NYer
So Cardinal Mahony decided that $6 million was too much to spend to renovate the beautiful Cathedral of St. Vibiana, yet he went ahead and spent $190 million to construct an absolute monstrosity masquerading as a cathedral, and then threw in another $660 million (!!!) so he wouldn't have to testify in court to what he knew about the abuse scandal in his Archdiocese.

This is atrocious!!!

February 27, 2011 can not come soon enough for the long-suffering Catholics of Los Angeles. That's when he turns 75 and finally has to resign. I'm practically counting the days.
18 posted on 09/06/2007 2:34:56 PM PDT by Deo volente
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Comment #19 Removed by Moderator

To: ArrogantBustard


http://www.ignatius.com/ViewProduct.aspx?SID=1&Product_ID=3064&AFID=12&
20 posted on 09/06/2007 2:44:51 PM PDT by Deo volente
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To: Argus
Plus that disaster of a building, the new cathredral in LA will stand as a reminder of the disaster of what is known as Cardinal Mahony. Will rejoice when he calls it quits in a few years. I bet the Pope will rejoice too.
21 posted on 09/06/2007 2:45:00 PM PDT by Biggirl (A biggirl with a big heart for God's animal creation.)
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To: Between the Lines

I find better beauty in mega box stores. LOL


22 posted on 09/06/2007 2:47:43 PM PDT by Biggirl (A biggirl with a big heart for God's animal creation.)
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To: NYer

**The remains of St. Vibiana, which were in the former cathedral, were relocated and entombed in the new cathedral.**

Entombed??


23 posted on 09/06/2007 4:50:47 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Argus

Argus, that is EXACTLY what the new ‘cathedral’ is — an Aztec Temple. I do NOT like that cathedral, starting with the ‘Mary’ (and I use that name loosely) above the doors. And aren’t the doors covered with the icons of many religions? UCK. And UCK to Mahoney, too. Bad Shepherd indeed.


24 posted on 09/07/2007 8:03:52 AM PDT by bboop (Stealth Tutor)
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To: Deo volente

Looks like yet another good book to put on the stack of good books that I need to read ...


25 posted on 09/07/2007 8:07:21 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilisation is aborting, buggering, and contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: bboop

My daughter and I were on a tour of the place while it was still under construction (with her Catholic school group), and I was appalled already. The “altar” is a huge slab of blood-red marble that looks exactly like the kind of stone table the Aztec priests would sacrifice their victims on. Today there’s yet another article in the LA Times about some old nuns who are getting evicted from their convent so Mahony can sell their house to help pay off the pedophile fund. But there was plenty of dough to build that monument to her personal vanity downtown.


26 posted on 09/07/2007 10:08:41 AM PDT by Argus
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To: Argus

Uh, make that “his personal vanity”.


27 posted on 09/07/2007 10:09:27 AM PDT by Argus
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To: Argus

Yup, they evicted some nuns up at this end of town, too. Very bad, I think.


28 posted on 09/07/2007 4:09:18 PM PDT by bboop (Stealth Tutor)
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To: ArrogantBustard
Bah ... Aztec temples were a whole lot better looking than the Taj Mahony. That miserable abhomination should be imploded.

Agreed. Up here in the Bay Area, we have our own new "Cathedral" to deal with, which will be completed next year. Some have likened it's appearance to a nuclear power plant.

Another thing that I found out about Mahoney which surprised me is that he is a licensed helicopter pilot. Say what?? I took flying lessons back in the early 90's, and I remember how it expensive it was for someone of modest means to pursue a simple license to fly around in a single engine Cessna. Helicopters are very expensive to rent on an hourly basis, and you have to get in a lot of hours to receive your license. How does he afford such an extravagance, given his position as a humble shepard of the church?? In addition, how do he and the current Bishop of San Francisco afford to own an ocean-front condo together in Southern California to which they both plan to retire??

I pray for these Bishops, that they may dispense their duties according to God's will (I also pray for myself, that I, and others, may not be lead astray by all the dark thoughts that such situations cause!!!)


29 posted on 09/09/2007 11:15:25 AM PDT by Zetman
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To: NYer
Sadly, Hollywood didn’t waste any time defiling St. Vibianas. For about a week, crowds of extras dressed as if for a gay pride parade, marched in and out of the what was once a house of God.

The reason: a theatrical debauch being staged within its walls for inclusion in a demented Adam Sandler movie now in release.

30 posted on 09/25/2007 11:02:31 PM PDT by BenLurkin
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