Blessed Sacrament Cathedral – Safety before history and emotion

Safety must come before history and emotions when considering the options for the future of the Blessed Sacrament cathedral in Christchurch, says John Ogilvie.

Ogilvie is the financial administrator in the diocese of  Bunbury, Australia.

In May 2005 a tornado swept through Bunbury, destroying homes and badly damaging the Catholic cathedral.

An engineer concluded the building was moving and should be demolished, sparking a “flurry of activity” and “pressure cooker” debate in the small town, Ogilvie said. The building was eventually demolished two months later.

“If you can’t restore a building properly and safely, it is not worth it. Nothing can replace a life. You can’t rebuild a life that’s lost. It would have been nice to keep the building, but would we be happy if we lost a life? It would not be a happy place. Not a place of joy to celebrate baptisms and marriages,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to work on a building where I wasn’t sure I was going home to see my family that night. It is not worth it. History and emotions have to be put aside.”

Ogilvie was in Christchurch last week to share his experience with Catholic leaders as they work out what to do with the earthquake-damaged Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.


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News category: New Zealand.

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