Father David Bechtel made the following comment to my "Mayor Doherty tearing down the church" posting...
I agree actually, but I do not believe the Diocese went looking for a handout. By the appearence of things, it seems as if one was offered. If I were in charge it would make sense that I would accept it if offered.
This is going to be an issue in the future as we are left with monstrous buildings next to impossible to sell.
As for your "former Catholics" comment- let them leave. Catholics have left for less before, and they will leave for less in the future. If their Faith depends on their feelings about the bishop their Faith did not take root. It will not be long before they leave the Protestant Church becasue the leadership "offends" them in some way.
Father Dave Bechtel
Father Bechtel makes some good points, so I wanted to respond in another post.
Always nice to hear from you.
If I were the Bishop or Chancellor of the Diocese I'd definitely take the city up on this offer. Why not? Tearing down the church would cost money that could be spent of other things. That said, my issue is with the Mayor: namely that the offer shouldn't have been made in the first place. Private property is just that, private property. This is a problem of the Diocese, a problem which you rightfully noted will only be getting worse. Why should the Diocese receive this kind of benefit when it is not offered other individuals or entities? There is a difference between the city tearing down property due to an owner being deceased, missing in action, etc. and an owner that has the ways and means to dispose of the property.
My hope is that the Diocese can find some way to deal with older churches. I grew up attending Holy Family Church on North Washington Avenue in Scranton and I'd really hate to see it sit and rot as it is slowly phased out of being used for worship. In a lot of ways it would bring up the same feeling I had about the closing of (the former) Bishop Hannan High School. Schools...and Churches...have a deeper meaning above and beyond the bricks and mortar of their construction. There is something inherently horrible about seeing something like a school or church sit and decay before your eyes.