The Archbishop of Chicago, His Excellency, Blase Cupich has decided to close a beautiful and historic church. St. Adalbert is a 102-year-old church designed by the distinguished architect Henry Schlacks. The bishop cites changing demographics, a lack of priests, and poor diocesan finances for the decision to sell the building off.
This isn’t the bishop’s first rodeo when it comes to conflict with beauty, either architecturally or liturgically. When he was bishop of Rapid City, ND, he instigated a dust-up with parishioners of a church dedicated to the extraordinary form of the Mass by literally locking the doors to the church in an attempt to force parishioners to attended ordinary form Masses over the Easter Triduum. And just earlier this year, the bishop attempted to move forward with demolishing the historic and beautiful Shrine of Christ the King church (also dedicated to the extraordinary form) following a fire until parishioners raised about $1,000,000 of their own money to keep it from being sold out from under them
Quoting from CBS Chicago:
Protester Mary Silver and other parishioners [of St. Adalbert’s said they have found the money needed to make structural repairs, but said the Archdiocese has refused the money and won’t listen to their ideas.
“There’s no communication,” she said. “There’s no ability to communicate for us, to allow us to give proposals. Now we have to go and fight a decree? It had to come to that?”
They said fight they will. They’re being consulted by Brody Hale of the Catholic Church Preservation Society, a national expert in fighting such decrees.
There’s no doubt some dioceses need to take certain measures to counter the blow of the last five decades of Catholic apathy. But I’d question why it seems it’s always the parishes that exhibit traditional beauty that seem to suffer and not their post-1970, utilitarian, carpeted counterparts. Perhaps it’s just that the ugly churches don’t make news when they are consolidated…perhaps.
Anyway, below are photos of the gorgeous church that is set to be sold off and likely destroyed. Note the beautiful high altar and communion rail. What a shame.