D I O C E S E O F O R A N G E
M E D I A R E L A T I O N S
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M E D I A @ R C B O . O R G
Catholic Diocese Acquires Crystal Cathedral
Orange, CA (November 17, 2011) -
ranked tenth in Catholic population in the nation, has been awarded the opportunity to
purchase the Crystal Cathedral. The iconic Philip Johnson designed structure and its
adjacent 30.9 acre campus and buildings located in Garden Grove, CA have been the
subject of complicated bankruptcy proceedings brought by creditors and others against
Crystal Cathedral Ministries (CCM)
The decision announced today by U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert N. Kwan
confirmed the selection of the Diocese by the CCM board of directors as the preferred
buyer. The CCM Board determined the terms of the monetary and non-
Diocesan offer more acceptable to a competing proposal by Chapman University.
While the court has validated the award, occupancy by the Diocese of the campus and use
of the church will not be immediate. Under the terms of the agreement, CCM may
continue to use the church and other campus structures for a period of up to three years.
During the same period a diocesan pastoral center will be established on the Garden
Grove campus and nearby parish school and church eventually transferred to the new
The initial decision to bid on the Crystal Cathedral Ministries property surfaced as an
alternative to existing diocesan plans to design and build a new Catholic cathedral to
serve the present and anticipated needs of the growing Diocese of Orange.
Encouraged by a panel of lay advisors and other experts, the Diocese began the bid
process with the intention of acquiring a suitable worship space and administrative
campus for less overall cost than original construction would demand and be available
over a shorter time period.
Bishop Tod D. Brown also expressed his personal concern over the possibility of the
Crystal Cathedral church being re-
continued use as a place of worship was prominent in the CCM’s decision to select the
diocese as the preferred buyer.
While critical design upgrades will be required before the church can be used as a
Catholic Cathedral, today’s court award accomplishes the original diocesan goals,
maintains the Crystal Cathedral itself as a place of worship, and underscores the vital
relationship between the Catholic laity and clergy here in Orange County.
“We sincerely regret the difficult circumstances Dr. Schuller and his ministry have
encountered. Those challenges have now enabled the Diocese of Orange to protect this
wonderful structure as a place of worship and will soon provide our Catholic community
with a new cathedral, pastoral center, parish school and more. Despite these wonderful
results, we are nonetheless saddened by the events that led us to today’s award and offer
our respect to Dr. Schuller and his ministry,” said Bishop Tod D. Brown.
As Bishop Brown has said many times during this process, the Diocese would not have
been able to capably bid and then compete for this property without the invaluable
counsel and contributions of many within its lay community. “Today’s wonderful news
clearly validates that our church is of the people and the clergy – it is a shared joy that we
have today. And I am grateful to have been a part of this effort,” Bishop Brown concluded.