Catholic Church explores Crystal Cathedral bid
Inside the Crystal Cathedral in 2002.
July 8th, 2011
02:00 PM ET

Catholic Church explores Crystal Cathedral bid

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - Could Southern California’s Crystal Cathedral, which helped start the evangelical megachurch trend after it opened in 1970, become a real cathedral, as in the Roman Catholic kind?

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, California, announced this week that it is exploring the possibility of buying the controversy-vexed church, which declared bankruptcy last fall.

Crystal Cathedral founder Schuller bounced from the board

Diocese Bishop Tod D. Brown has “followed the news of the ongoing Crystal Cathedral Ministries (CCM) bankruptcy proceedings and is concerned for the future of the landmark church remaining a functional part of the liturgical landscape for the region,” the diocese said in a Wednesday statement.

“The Diocese of Orange does not currently have an adequate cathedral to meet the needs of its 1.2 million Catholics in Orange County, the 11th largest diocese in the nation,” the statement said.

The diocese’s announcement came on the same day Chapman University, a Southern California school, revealed that it had offered $46 million for the Crystal Cathedral.

“The nearly 35-acre Garden Grove property is strategically located just three miles from Chapman University’s City of Orange campus,” the school said on its website. “The Cathedral is a well-known icon in Orange County, and the surrounding property includes seven major buildings representing more than 329,000 square feet of space.”

The diocese of Orange’s announcement about the cathedral appeared to reference Chapman’s offer, saying the diocese wanted “to mitigate the chance that (the Crystal Cathedral) cease to function as a place of worship, if acquired by others.”

The high-profile church has been recently rocked by controversy.

The Rev. Robert H. Schuller, who built the Crystal Cathedral, was voted out by the church's board in recent weeks.

In a statement issued by the church Monday, officials said Schuller's role with the board was merely changing.

"Now 84 years old, Dr. Schuller has been working toward semi-retirement, since total retirement is not an option for this pastor who is still just as passionate about his calling," the statement said.

"Recently, the board of directors of Crystal Cathedral Ministries voted to change Dr. Schuller's position from that of a voting board member to the honorary Chairman of the Board Emeritus, a non-voting position," the statement added.

Schuller's granddaughter, Angie Schuller Wyatt, said the vote took place several days ago. "He was ousted by the board in the same way my father was. It was surprising but not completely unexpected," she said.

In 2006, the elder Schuller stepped down from the pulpit as senior pastor but continued to preach and to sit on the board. His son Robert A. Schuller stepped in as senior pastor. Two years later, after a dispute with the board, the younger Schuller was voted out by the board.

Today, Sheila Schuller Coleman, Schuller's eldest daughter, has the reins of the ministry, carrying the title of executive director of ministries and missions.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: California • Catholic Church

soundoff (101 Responses)
  1. Audu

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    July 29, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
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    June 22, 2012 at 6:29 am |
  3. MrsFudd

    I remember seeing a political cartoon in the Orange County Register in the early 1980's. It was a picture of the Crystal Cathedral, and the caption underneath said "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone". Up above, coming from the clouds, was the hand of God dropping a rock on the building. We used to refer to the building as the "Glass Palace" or the "Crystal Abomination". Schuller was the architect of the current emergent church. Schuller had the lyrics to "Hark The Herald Angels sing" changed from "God and sinners reconciled" to "God and people" reconciled, because Schuller doesn't believe in teaching about sin, repentance and was afraid of offending people. Because of this non-biblical teachings, we now have "mega churches" run by the likes of Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, Rob Bell, Joel Osteen and others who don't teach the entire word of God. They pick and choose so as not to offend anyone. This has lead to a Christian church that is weak, self-centered and stagnant. Jesus is indeed a God of love, grace and mercy, but He is also righteous, holy and just. We are all sinners who are in need of a Savior. True love, contentment and peace come from a relationship with Jesus and adhering to the entire Word of God – not just some passages that were randomly picked by some bogus minister who wants to increase their church attendance rather than build up strong Christians. Schuller is reaping what he has sown.

    July 18, 2011 at 11:44 am |
  4. Ott 2 B 4 USA

    It will be nice to keep a church a church.

    July 17, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • Realist

      Better to use it as a theater, for kids. Please, no more religious buildings.

      July 17, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
    • yeasayer

      Chapman could put this property to better use for a larger, more diverse community than the Catholic church.

      July 19, 2011 at 11:39 am |
  5. KellyinCA

    The Crystal Cathedral is a gem of modern liturgical architecture and, in some ways, a more conducive space for contemplation of the individual's relationship with the Divine. It would be a remarkable new direction for Catholicism if the Diocese of Orange were to acquire it; the view of the sky can be more intimidating _or_ more inspiring than any stained-glass image (though many of those are utterly beautiful and as effective, as well.) It could save the Catholic Church a bundle on construction costs simply to purchase this church; and the attraction of the Cathedral could boost tourism in the area significantly.

    July 17, 2011 at 7:41 am |
    • Materialistic

      No doubt this religion needs such a lavish house. Money spent feeding the poor or helping those abused by clergy would be an expense considered out of touch for the RCC. Gold lined robes are a better fit. Oops, and this building too.

      July 17, 2011 at 8:01 am |
    • Cash..

      Yes, jesus would be so proud.

      July 17, 2011 at 8:02 am |
    • yeasayer

      All catholic buildings should be made of glass so we can see exactly what these priests are up to with the young parishioners entrusted to their guidance.

      July 19, 2011 at 11:42 am |
  6. Liar Liar

    Interesting, the cathoilic church claimed that it was bankrupt following the scandal. In fact all victims of other states were denied the same rights as those victims in California. State by state the catholic church, lobbied, defeated Bills that would become law to expose pedos. They used the fact that they could nop longer do good works if the same law passed in other states. Victims suffer, pedos go free and the catholic church lied again.

    Reality check; The catholic church won't do anything unless there is profit in it. Schools, churches and hospitals closed that were no longer profitable, leaving the communities void.

    Bottom line, the catholic church has more grant writers than any other organization. Tax payer money enables them to carry their catholic banner.

    July 16, 2011 at 9:07 am |
  7. Rob

    I have a feeling the Mormons might buy it. There are more Mormons in California than in Utah especially in southern California. It wouldn't be a temple probably a chapel or a BYU extension. The big question would it be worth to them and how would it make them look like?

    July 15, 2011 at 3:19 am |
  8. Tom Leykis

    I hope the catholic church gets it and then loses it to a summary judgment in a pedophile lawsuit.

    July 13, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • David Dodd

      Bitter much?

      July 14, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  9. Tom Leykis

    Getting bounced out couldn't have happened to a nicer guy (LOL). When you own a $5MM house and shop at Neiman Marcus, it's not very christian. What a loser.

    July 13, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  10. John M

    Arguing on the internet with the aggressively ignorant is simply a waste of time. People like "chief" do not want to be informed or convinced. They simply want to hide behind an alias and take gratuitous potshots at the Church. Not worth the effort. No ripost is necessary – I will not be checking back here. Good day to you, sir (or madam). Have a good life!

    July 13, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • chief

      i am lucky that these arent the old catholic times..... my opposition to ped priests and those that harbor them might have me on the rack..... its your organization that calls itself a church that excludes non members, has an enormous record of ped priests, and a littered path of destroyed people along the way.... amf

      July 14, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • A victim

      Thank you cheif. I know for a fact the volumes of abuses and the worst crimes of cover ups by the catholic church as much larger than most realize. The reason is that the catholic church lobbies to stop laws that would expose all pedos, their own. The truth is the greatest healer, yet the catholic church denied the truth, That is the largest sin of all.

      The worst are those who repeat what the catholic church tells them, such trained liars. How can they know more about the truth than the victims? They can't. They are not only lying, but lying to destroy victims, who already struggle, again. How cruel these people are, how disgustingly cruel.

      July 16, 2011 at 9:44 am |
  11. fernace

    Sell the church to the highest bidder. Take the $$ & feed the poor in this nation! Would that not be the christian thing to do?!?

    July 12, 2011 at 10:47 pm |
  12. Erin

    I may not be as fired-up as chief but I do agree that the Catholic Church adds unnecessary complications to things. Jesus was a simple man with a simple message, not a man who carried around huge dusty books filled with canon law, used long complicated names for things, had lots of rules about confession and when you can attend Mass and receive Communion, and owned billions in treasures, jewels, artwork, fancy clothing, rings, who knows what else. Inside the heart of most Catholics is the simple faith that Jesus wanted, but the organization has gotten too big, too hierarchical, and too off-track. It is no longer a reflection of the simple, pure faith that Jesus wanted from each of us. I tried to leave the Catholic Church last year and was told by the Archbishop's office (after miles of red tape) that under something called "Semel Catholicus, Semper Catholicus" I was not able to be counted as a non-Catholic. Because my parents decided when I was 2 months old that I was going to be a Catholic. I mean seriously, whaa??? Catholic Church, you are fo-shizzle whack.

    July 12, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • geraldh

      Jesus said "thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church". You claim that Jesus was against church rules yet Jesus was a jew and the Jewish religion had many rules. Rules which Jesus did not condemn except when the rules were more important that the faith. Jesus said in Matt 23 "The scribes and the pharasees sit on Moses seat, therefore DO WHATEVER THEY TELL YOU". He recognized the authority of religous rulers of his day. Paul provides many rules for the Church in his writings. Would you have those parts of scripture thrown out? In one place he says "those who rule well deserver a greater share of the reward". You need to study your Bible a bit more than you have as your analysis is severly lacking. Further if you leave the CC where would you go. John 6 tells us clearly that the Eucharist is the body and blood of Christ. No other Church but the Orthodox hold this belief and have the priesthood to make it happen.

      July 13, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • chief

      great point Erin....

      re gerald: you twist the truth and will answer for it.... “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.

      July 14, 2011 at 11:12 am |
  13. AvdBerg

    The most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands (Acts 7:48; 17:24).

    For a better understanding of the above scriptural references we invite you to read the articles "Can Christianity or Any Other Religion Save You?" and "Church and what it means" listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    July 11, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  14. chief

    it is a shame about the crystal cathedral.... if it goes catholic, people will be manipulated and deceived instead of just feeling good about themselves

    July 11, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • Luch

      please take your anti-Catholic bigotry somewhere else...why do you think of all the mainline Christian churches the Catholic ones have the highest attendance..so people can feel bad and be manipulated...give me a break..the Catholic liturgy is for practicing and believing Catholic "the source and summit" of our liturgical life

      July 11, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • chief

      thank you for participating in ( pretend this is monotone ) THE GREAT MYSTERY OF STUPIDITY

      July 11, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • chief

      wow dude.... the source? and summit? the church of satan has liturgies, and the scientologists? keep chanting that crap a priest tells you after you confess.... and saying the Lords Prayer ( not the our father ) 10 times is repentence for you being a moron? HA HA ....

      July 11, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  15. chief

    you notice your priest buddy gerald has gone quiet on the topic of exclusion? unless you are one and the same

    July 11, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • gerald

      May God bless you chief.

      July 11, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • chief

      hanks but no thanks priest, you are of the group of exclusion..... i talk to my God often ... you and cathmom and all you others that are so indoctinated to herecy are twisted..... and i do mean that is asad way.... its sad when people get twisted something like the catholic church .... i can not stomach the organization though....

      July 11, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  16. Reality

    Another "house of worthless worship" no matter who owns it!!!


    July 11, 2011 at 10:32 am |
  17. DiamondSky

    @Rainer, are you a young person? You only know partially on Catholicism and Pope. The Catholic Christian spirituality is not just what you imagine it to be. Sure, RCC contains serious errors in the light of the Scriptures but there are many true Christians within; read on Father Maximilian Korbe for example, since he is a contemporary of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

    July 10, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
    • chief

      does one have to be catholic to be truly Christian? uhmmm no... mutually eclusive.... so why would one have an allegience so strongly to an organization that is doesn't truly believe in..... and for those that have that allegeince, you are deceived

      July 11, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • gerald

      Chief, who are you to judge whether Catholics are Christian or not. With regard to your question, Catholicism does not deny that there are Christians outside of the Catholic Church if you actually know what Catholicism teaches. You don't.

      July 11, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • gerald

      Diamond, what might those serious errors with regard to scripture be?

      July 11, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • chief

      re gerald... how about communion? lets same i am not catholic? not welcome at Christs table... not the same if at a methodist, presb, bapt, even southern baptist? oh yeah.. how about my family members that have to go to mass before coming over for a family geth together, as they say "so it will count" HAHA .. count for what? whos keeping score?

      July 11, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • chief

      re gerald... you lie as the devil does.... i didnt judge if catholics were Christian or not in my question.... your beloved catholicmom stated to me that "one could truly recieve the Oneness with God if they werent catholic"..... now for the record, I am not judging if catholics are Christian.... catholicism is not Christian but there are Christian catholics....

      July 11, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Others besides Catholics may find oneness with God through Baptism however they lack fullness of Truth which is only found in the Catholic Church.

      July 11, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      chief, you ask about receiving Holy Communion if not Catholic ....

      1 Cor 11:23-29
      For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, "This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes. Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.

      So if you are asked to not receive the Holy Eucharist because you are not Catholic it is out of love of Christ and for your soul's sake…if you eat or drink without discerning the body you would do judgment on yourself. Why would this happen? Because the Eucharist truly is Jesus Christ present and for someone to say that the host is merely a symbol is denying Christ.

      July 11, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • chief

      you are truly twisted.... and not a catholic mom.... most likely your a priest.... and to you i say ... the path you lead people isnt right but wrong and full of mockeries and idolotry against the real God that you blaspheme.....

      “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.

      July 11, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      I am not a priest but I wish I was as well educated as a priest...maybe I could then explain things in such a fashion as to not get you so upset; sorry.

      July 11, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • chief

      re cathmom.... you realize that about 60% of the bs you think is real ( of God ) is in fact bs made up by men and has no scriptural basis.... or should i say firm basis..... its the great mystery of ignorance

      July 11, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.