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Crystal Cathedral win was miraculous, legal firm says

Crystal Cathedral Courtesy of the Busch Firm CNA US Catholic News 11 28 11 The Crystal Cathedral. Courtesy of the Busch Firm

The Diocese of Orange beat all odds in their winning bid for the Crystal Cathedral because their final offer was less than their competitor, says the Busch Firm, which represented the diocese in court.

“A true miracle!” said founder Tim Busch in reaction to the news. 

The firm was shocked that the Crystal Cathedral Ministries board chose the diocese's $57.5 million offer for the bankrupt cathedral after Chapman University upped its bid to $59 million on Nov. 17.

Although bankruptcy Judge Robert N. Kwan allowed the board to choose from either offer, the majority of its members sided with the diocese since it would “protect the campus as a place of praise and worship and would provide a smoother transition,” the firm said.

The Crystal Cathedral purchase will close on Dec. 30, 2011 and is slated to meet the needs of the 1.2 million Catholics in Orange County—the 10th largest diocese in the nation.

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Bishop Tod D. Brown vowed on Nov. 17 that the diocese will “protect this wonderful structure as a place of worship and will soon provide our Catholic community with a new cathedral, pastoral center, parish school and more.”

The bishop also offered his sympathy to the cathedral’s founding pastor Robert H. Schuller who filed for bankruptcy last October after creditors sued for payment.

Purchasing the Crystal Cathedral was an attractive option since it provides an instant solution to the diocese’s building needs and will cost roughly half the $100 million needed to build the cathedral  planned for Santa Ana.

The liturgist for the Orange diocese, Monsignor Arthur Holquin, said on July 26 that several changes will need to take place in order for the Crystal Cathedral to become a Catholic worship space.

Along with a central altar, a tabernacle and a baptismal font, the building would need a “cathedra” or bishop’s chair. While renovations are needed to the building, “not much deconstruction would be required and the iconic personality of the original architecture and design would, for the most part, be retained,” he said.

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