Catholic diocese prepares to take over Crystal Cathedral

The congregation of the famed Crystal Cathedral in Orange County, California, has moved out and the new owner, the Catholic diocese of Orange, is preparing to move in.

The fast-growing Catholic diocese bought the huge reflective-glass building for around $NZ72 million last year after Crystal Cathedral Ministries filed for bankruptcy.

Catholic Bishop Tod D. Brown of Orange diocese has announced a new name, Christ Cathedral, and appointed an episcopal vicar to oversee the transition of the Protestant landmark into the diocesan cathedral.

The diocese has given the Crystal Cathedral Ministries congregation rent-free use of a nearby Catholic church for six months.

The Rev. Robert H. Schuller, who began preaching from the roof of a snack bar at a drive-in movie theatre in 1955, built the 2700-seat architectural marvel in 1980.

It became the venue for his “Hour of Power” television broadcasts that once attracted 20 million viewers around the world. But declining donations, a disastrous leadership transition and an endless family squabble split the congregation in recent years.

The new episcopal vicar, Father Christopher Smith, recalls as a child watching from his grandparents’ backyard as the energetic young evangelist preached at the drive-in theatre.

Now Father Smith has the delicate task of turning a religious and architectural touchstone cherished by evangelical Protestants around the world into a Catholic cathedral.

The diocese hopes to honour Schuller and the history of his ministry with a museum that includes the drive-in movie theatre.

“I just hope that we attend well to all the different people who are affected by this, and also that this place be seen as a place where everyone is welcome to find hope and consolation and inspiration, whether they’re Catholic or not,” Father Smith said.

“That’s the bishop’s desire — that we are a real credible witness to Christ in the world through our work here.”


Times and Democrat

Crystal Cathedral

Diocese of Orange

Image: The Inquisitr

News category: World.