Bishop Lennon talks about parish clustering process on Diocese TV -- We heard some scuttlebutt this past week about dismantling of diocesan properties: People are wondering about the code requirements for replacing stained-glass windows. It seems that somebody is entertaining buying the physical property of some of the Catholic Churches of the Diocese of Cleveland. All of which brings to mind, whose property is this, anyway; who's directing the clustering dialogue in the community about disposition of the assets; and should this be about financial transactions, at all?
I'm thinking that, if the diocese cannot support the property the communities have entrusted to it over the years, it should put it back where it came from: Right back into the communities, and the people in the community now can decide its highest and best use. Just because the diocese can't staff the parishes as originally agreed upon doesn't meant that they get to keep the property, too, or to sell it and make a profit. The diocese was entrusted with the assets, not given the assets outright regardless of whether they continued to hold up their end of the bargain.
Perhaps the gold chalices and the candlesticks and other "stuff" should stay with the diocese, but certainly not the real property, the land and the improvements on the land. These are the things that form the cores of many communities, and they belong to the community foremost, regardless of whose name has come to be on the deed.
We must consider how the diocese can avoid breaking faith with the neighborhoods where the clustering process might leave real property unused.
We also must consider the Sacred Landmarks aspects of the property--are these community assets, church assets, God's assets, and should they be subject to financial dealing at all? Should they revert whence they came?
Granted, all this thinking is about "stuff." Should we be thinking of the communities affected, first, and trying to come to holistic solutions before we start divvying up the assets? From what we heard last week about the stained-glass windows, the thinking has gotten around to how can we salvage the highest dollar amount, now that the mission of the diocese in the neighborhoods is compromised.
This is what we used to term an "impure" thought.
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