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

Fair enough.

God bless him!

This is wonderful if the mansion is put to good use; a meaningless gesture if it stands empty. The clergy needs to read Les Miserables. The musical does not make mention of the fact that, Monseigneur Myriel, the bishop, gives up his mansion. He notices that the hospital for the poor is housed in a small house, and tells the doctor, “we are few and have a large house, you are many and have been placed in a small place. I’m sure a mistake has been made.” So he switches houses. The bishop’s palace becomes the hospital.

It is not enough to not use the papal apartments, or the bishop’s mansion, these spaces must be put to a better use, otherwise it is a matter of choice, not charity.:shrug:

But mother Teresa would not have allowed a luxurious convent to sit empty, she would have filled it with the poor. Also, she did not only eschew the trappings of comfort, she lived as the poor lived, ate what they ate. To go from a place of luxury, to a place of comfort is not really a sacrifice. If these acts of downsizing don’t lead to charity, they are just PR.

With regard to the Bishop’s “mansion”, it is a listed historical building. It already houses 5 priests and a group of sisters. It could not legally be renovated into, for example, a home for the poor or a hospital. If the new Archbishop is more comfortable at the rectory than the existing home, fine. If he thinks it’s an important visual sign, fine too. But that doesn’t mean that the other residents of that home should be displaced and that the diocese would need to find alternate venues for its other activities, including hosting charitable events. The house is not likely to stand empty. It will continue to serve all of its current purposes with the exception of housing the Archbishop.

Thanks for the info Corki. So in the end it’s just a housing preference:shrug:

Just because a building is listed, it does not mean the building cannot be renovated or have smaller modifications made to make it suitable for other purposes. The diocese might even rent out the unused appartments and so generate a positive income stream and use that money for charitable purposes. I’m sure you can generate a comfortable rent on a luxurious appartment in such a beautiful historic building. Similarly, the Pope’s palace may be empty now but that does not mean it will and must remain empty for all time.

It seems cynical to relegate these gestures as ‘PR’. There is already discomfort in the general population about the wealth and excess of the Church, so most people would regard such a gesture as a move away from that anomaly rather than PR I would think. Especially considering Pope Francis’ strong desires to change that situation. Money is a notoriously corrupting business and redressing those problems has to start with attitude change.

Hey, a bed is a bed. Better than a lot in Chicago have.

Cardinal George looked into revocations and selling the property. It was not seen as financially feasible. It might be different at some point in the future.

As for the Papal apartments, hopefully a future Pope will live there. Or maybe even Pope Francis, in advanced age, might find it more efficient to be closer to the offices in the Vatican.

I agree with manualman. The press is very much alive in Illinois and living arrangements of high-profile people and other seemingly trivial things aren’t exactly ignored by the press. A lot is made out of the fact that the last two governors have foregone the governor’s mansion in Springfield, for example. Even what sports teams they follow is considered important. It doesn’t really change things in the long run, though.

I wouldn’t say "just’ a housing preference. But I think we need to be careful not to create a good vs. bad dichotomy. If Archbishop Cupich is lauded for living in the rectory, does that mean it was somehow “bad” for Cardinal George to live in the mansion? Or would it be “bad” if a future Archbishop lived there? Of course not.

The funny thing is that, besides the physical size of the building, I would be willing to bet that the living accommodations are largely the same between the two, just as with Pope Benedict and Pope Francis. It’s not as though Cardinal George is living the high life in that “mansion”.

But the press does pay attention to these things, whether they ought to or not.

No. No “Francis effect”. He was already doing that in his former diocese when Benedict was pope.

Interestingly enough, Cardinal George was reported to have wanted to put his residence up for sale in 2002.

nytimes.com/2002/05/22/us/chicago-cardinal-proposes-selling-his-mansion.html

Perhaps his health made him reconsider?

I guess that’s my point. What is implied by not just the press, but a lot of catholics is that somehow refusing to live in an established residence in preference of somewhere smaller, but still good, makes that particular person better. A judgement is made about the individual’s spirituality. Cardinal X, is more christian than Cardinal Y, because he chooses to live in a more modest place.

But if the more traditional residence can not be turned to a charitable use, why make the change. If a mansion can’t be sold, or converted, does the diocese then not just have to pay for the upkeep of two buildings?

I just don’t get it. Ultimately it is meaningless in terms of charity and becomes an empty gesture. :shrug:

The current bishop of my former diocese elected to stay in the existing bishop’s residence, even though it is now located in a declining neighborhood. The residence itself looks impressive from the outside. But the actual living quarters could no doubt be improved on if he were to move to existing quarters in a different area of the diocese. But the building is already paid for, it is useful. And it is within walking distance of a fast food restaurant that he likes. Moving would be pointless.

FWIW, Cardinal George announced the closings and mergers of some of the schools in the archdiocese today.

chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-cardinal-george-says-school-closings-coming-20141029-story.html

The new archbishop will at least be spared in having to announce this to the public. Never an easy thing to do.

I’m sure Cupich is relieved at that.

I have trouble when former churches are sold off or demolished. I can see that sometimes it is rational and necessary as the upkeep of a huge cathedral-like building cannot be justified by four lonely souls attending Sunday Mass, especially if there are other churches in the immedaite area. But the thought hurts me nevertheless.

But when non church buildings are disposed of, I don’t really see that as selling of the family silver. If the church has no use for them, why not sell or rent them to somebody who can use them. I’d rather they sold off some episcopal palace for conversion to a luxury hotel or appartments and kept a church than vice versa.

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