New Chicago archbishop to live in rectory rather than mansion [CC]

Archbishop-designate Blaise Cupich of Chicago has decided in live the cathedral rectory rather than in the mansion that has been the home of his predecessors since 1885, according to an …



I wonder what the archdiocesan committee will decide to do with the mansion. There are so many worthy options!

The Francis effect, eh?

Where I live there is a beautiful old mansion used as a retreat house for various types of retreats.

Perhaps a similar outcome…

Oh that’s a great idea!

Retreat house, Pregnancy Resource Center, banquet facility with quarters…

I am not sure a retreat house would be a good option - too much work. And if a subsequent Archbishop wanted to return to the traditional residence, a lot of work to change it back. It’s a historic building and the Chicago archdiocese has a lot of items of historic value to Catholics and Chicagoans. Maybe a museum? Or a place to hold diocesan events, which I believe have been held there even with the Archbishop in residence.

The “Papa Francis Effect” strikes again!:smiley:

I’ve never understood why people care about this kind of thing. Who cares where they live?


You don’t think that in an era when dioceses and parishes struggle to make ends meet, and are facing multi-million dollar lawsuits and massive legal fees as fallout from the sex scandals, it matters that a diocese cut costs by cutting out lavish living arrangements?

It already is basically a banquet facility with quarters. The Cardinals living area is just three rooms of the “mansion”.

The building is a listed Historic building which limits extensive renovations. It is also the residence of five other priests and a group of sisters.

No me. In my previous diocese, a large bishops residence was built–not a mansion, but it was designed to last at least 100 years, had a chapel and offices attached. It was not as if the bishop wandered around in the “mansion.” When I was young I often attended daily Mass with my parents in the bishop’s chapel, since it was open to the public. Now, I suppose, people will complain that it’s too big of a building for the bishop. But the diocese was and is well served by that large residence / office / chapel.

Such things harken back to a time when the coffers of the Church were used more as personal expense accounts for Bishops and Cardinals to build ornate palaces, lead lavish lifestyles, and for general self-indulgence. These days, it would be hard for anyone in the laity or general public to reconcile that kind of spending with the mission of the Church and the financial state of some of its institutions.

I remember after John Paul II died it was reported that his apartment was pretty much the same as when he moved in in the late 70’s. He only had a little black and white TV and the same appliances that were there when he moved in.

I get it, formal dress and traditional touches aren’t cool now, but its no reason to brag. I swear one of these days a bishop will come to mass in ripped jeans to appear “Down to Earth”

Yet there are plenty of American Catholics who think nothing of living boring upper middle class suburban comfortable Berber-carpeted keeping-up-with-the-Jonses accent-walled Barbour-wearing HGTV granite-countertopped Bourbon-sipping every-two-years-a-trade-in Sandals-vacation bamboo-floored Saks-shopping perfectly-manicured-lawn 2.1 children Lifetouch-photographed I-spent-a-semester-in-France I-drive-3000-miles-a-year-for-my-daughter’s-soccer-league organic-produce-only 600-thread-count-Egyptian-cotton-sheets I-summer-at-the-lake-what-about-you? lifestyles themselves. In my experience these are typically the touchiest ones most vicious in criticism about a priest wearing French cuffs or some such trivial nonsense. I think it may be a slight bit of projection involved… After all, poor people often don’t have the time to care about the monsignor’s house or choice in dinner wine.

Now, that said, I’m not saying I think bishops should be building 12,000 square-foot manses or whatever. Nor am I saying that all or any particular lay Catholics who do or have any of the above are necessarily materialistic consumerists with bad psychological coping skills. If I were saying that, I’d be indicting myself. I’m just trying to bring a bit of levity-realism-cynicism (if that’s a thing) to this thread.

(And for the record I like Bourbon. I am from Kentucky after all.)

Enough hyphens for one post. :wink:

$14.3 isn’t too shabby but the date goes all the way back to after the Great Chicago Fire.

The cathedral rectory is not the worst place to live though.

But he might dial the thermostat done a little in the winter and make Spanish the official language there, who knows? :slight_smile:

That’s just it though. It doesn’t sound like this WILL cut costs. The “mansion” already exists, it is already considered a historic property and isn’t being contemplated to be sold off. So now the building will sit there, still heated, still needing all the maintenance and upkeep, but nobody living in the quarters.

It’s empty symbolism unless they actually sell off the place. If the building has necessary other rolls that dictate it be kept and still used for those roles, then stopping the residence use saves nothing.

Right. It doesn’t seem like a cost-saving move, necessarily.

That said, I wouldn’t go so far as to call it “empty symbolism.” I don’t think it’s empty. Ever since Francis opted to live in the Santa Marta (which wasn’t really a cost-saving move either considering the apostolic palace is still right there in Vatican City requiring maintenance, upkeep, etc.), people have been paying more attention to these sorts of things. So if he opted to move into the “mansion”, that could potentially cause a roadblock for some people in being open to the new archbishop right from the get-go. As it is, this move on his part sort of starts things off with a bit of initial good will from the general public. That’s not a bad thing.

I tend to agree with McCall in that it doesn’t really matter much to me personally where a bishop chooses to live (provided he’s no “Bishop of Bling”, of course). But if he can build bridges rather than walls with his decision, that seems to be a wise move for any newly appointed bishop.

In other words, “If people are moved by useless symbolic gestures we should do them even though they are useless.”

There may be some truth there, but I’m vaguely uncomfortable with the idea of emotional manipulation via PR measures as an evangelical outreach method.

A lot of prominent Catholics thought Mother Teresa’s decision to live in the sparse conditions close to the poor in Calcutta, was foolish and unnecessary when there was more civilised Catholic convents nearby. Choosing to live and work among the people is a real missionary principle. There’s been a growing discomfort within the Church about material excess. That is why Pope Francis has set in motion an examination of the Vatican finances.

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