Bishop delays decision on Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament

decision

A decision on the future of the earthquake-damaged Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Christchurch, New Zealand, has been delayed to March or April, rather finalised at the end of this year as originally planned.

The Bishop of Christchurch, Paul Martin, said he is still considering whether to restore the cathedral, knock it down and build a new one, or move to a new site.

In May, Martin said he was sceptical the $105 million restoration budget for the cathedral would not increase. He also questioned the morality of raising the $70m shortfall for the cathedral when it could be spent on other priorities in the city.

He has also put all planned Catholic building projects in Christchurch on hold while a review of parish and church numbers in the city is conducted.

“We are looking at the number of priests and where our people are and where the city has developed,” he said.

“It is an overall review. Do we have too many churches across the city? [We will look at] the financial implications of insurance and running all those buildings.”

He said the review may result in fewer Catholic parishes in the city.

“I would be surprised if we didn’t, but people are very connected to their parishes so we have to be very sensitive to that.”

Martin said the review would conclude at the same time as a decision is reached on the cathedral.

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News category: New Zealand, Top Story.

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