From Crystal to Christ Catholic Cathedral

Stones, glass panels, air conditioning


The following appeared last week on the Diocese of Orange website.

The Diocese of Orange acquired the former Crystal Cathedral and campus February 3, 2012, and today announced the start of refurbishing, preservation and renovation efforts of the storied Arboretum building on the Campus. Dedicated in 1961 and designed by Richard Neutra, the Arboretum was the original worship area for the Crystal Cathedral Ministries and will serve as the temporary home for the relocated St. Callistus parish beginning sometime in June 2013. General maintenance and other renovation efforts to the Cathedral building and campus have been underway since the Diocesan purchase was secured.

The renovation process will begin with the removal of approximately 30 donor recognition stones necessary to provide construction access for the installation of a state-of-the-art underflow air conditioning system. Consistent with the terms of its purchase agreement with Crystal Cathedral Ministries, the Diocese will make every effort to preserve each stone and has already begun to professionally photograph and digitally preserve each of the stones, plaques and statuary on the Campus. “It’s important that we honor the original donors’ intent and preserve their individual messages of faith. Unfortunately, with time and erosion – some of the stones are delicate and likely to break during the removal process. A plan to virtually preserve each of the stones will permit us to later display them online and otherwise keep alive the donors’ gift of faith,” said Rob Neal, interim Chief Operating Officer, Christ Catholic Cathedral Corporation.

The under floor air conditioning system is designed to not mar the Arboretum’s iconic design with any roof mounted mechanical or ventilation structures. Other improvements include the construction of elective seismic upgrades, retro-fitting the large glass curtain walls for energy efficiency and specific liturgical modifications needed before the site may be used as a Catholic place of worship.

Since acquiring the campus, the Diocese has already implemented many maintenance projects ranging from water intrusion tests which resulted in caulking over 500 of the 1,500 glass panels tested. The Cathedral has 10,661 window panes. Additionally, repair and restoration of the Memorial Gardens’ exquisite water feature has returned that beautiful fountain to its former glory.

Interior work on the Crystal Cathedral itself is slated to begin later this year – a process that will be completed when the structure is consecrated as Christ Cathedral sometime in mid-2015….

To read entire story, click here.

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  1. Does this mean that the roof of Christ Cathedral leaks? Would it be economical to instead raze this Protestant temple and build a normal Catholic Church in its nice campus? Why did Bishop Brown purchase this white elephant right before the new bishop was to be named? Will the new liberal interior decorator monk include kneelers and a side-chapel for weddings and EF Mass?

    • R.B. Rodda says:

      It’s not a “white elephant.” It was a bargain of a lifetime, thanks be to God. It’s a remarkable campus of structures that will make one of the great Catholic pilgrimage points in the USA.

      Yes, it will include kneelers.

      • Hey! R.B.Rodda… bargain of a lifetime? Really? How easy it is to use God’s name for such a ridiculous waste, this and the yellow armadillo in L.A. will go down in history as two of the biggest wastes in Calif.

      • Kenneth M. Fisher says:


        “Yes, it will include kneelers.” On whose authority do you make that statement?

        God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
        Kenneth M. Fisher

    • Mbûkû Kanyau Mbithûka says:

      There is a false theology out there that advocates going back to a time when the Holy Eucharist was not reserved.

  2. “It’s important that we honor the original donors’ intent and preserve their individual messages of faith.”

    I’m sorry, Our Lord, Original Founder of the True Faith. I’m sorry, individual martyrs, I’m sorry, individual saints. Digitalizing and memorializing the death of crumbling stones. Please inspire all of our Catholic shepherds to first make every effort to first honor and first preserve the Deposit of Faith.

    The Deposit of Faith and the Catechism

    by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

    “I have been asked to speak on the deposit of faith and the Catechism. I would like to somewhat refine the subject by speaking on The Catechism of the Catholic Church as the basis for heroically Living the Divine Faith.

    You notice what I have done. I have first of all redefined ‘deposit of faith’, as the basis for the Divine Faith.

    Then I have spelled out what the conjunction ‘and’ means in the original title. It means heroically living the faith divinely revealed in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.

    Before we go any further, let me give a preview of what I would like to cover in this opening lecture on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This comes in a series of preliminary questions to be answered:

    What is the Deposit of Faith?

    The deposit of faith is not as we might speak of a deposit of dust on the furniture. It is not like a deposit of money in the bank. The deposit of faith is the Church’s possession of unchangeable truth: What God has revealed through His prophets in the Old Law, and through His Divine Son in the New Law. It is the ocean of divine wisdom that God has manifested to His people over the centuries, but especially revealed to us in the words and actions of Jesus Christ the Incarnate Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.

    Where is this Deposit of Faith?

    If we pursue the question, and ask, where can this deposit of faith be found, the answer is easy to express, but not easy to live up to.

    This deposit of faith, which we call the possession of unchangeable truth, is found substantially and essentially in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Pope John Paul II, in his apostolic constitution called Deposit of Faith, introduces the Catechism by calling it a “compendium of all Catholic doctrine”.

    To repeat our question, Where do we find the deposit of faith? – we answer, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is all there




    clearly and definitely.

    Anyone who reads the Catechism and accepts it deserves to be called a Roman Catholic. No one else does!”

  3. Larry from RI says:

    Where’s the Tabernacle!!!!

  4. i don’t understand why it is “our responsibility…to preserve original interpretaion of the architects, builders, donors, etc..”

    It is our responsibility as Catholics to bring this sterile building up to Catholic sacred architecture, etc. I do hope that the new Catholic donors will be respected and this building will be enhanced to reflect Catholic tradition and sacredness and not just preserve the protestant vision.

    Let us pray that this building will be an authentic, recognizably Catholic Church-we need to return to the uplifting beauty of our faith and not be just another blank building. Dear God, please guide the people in charge.

    • R.B. Rodda says:

      Who is suggesting it is a “sterile” building? You? LOL!

      Nothing that was mentioned is “Protestant” in nature. The arboretum is nothing more than a big open space with a beautiful organ. One day it will be the mother of all parish/cathedral halls I’m sure.

      The last thing the Church needs is some pinheads trying to turn Christ Cathedral into a Gotchic cathedral with “modifications.”

      • Abeca Christian says:

        That is your opinion Rodda and other are entitled to theirs as well.

        • R.B. Rodda says:

          “Larry” did not offer it as his opinion. He offered it as a fact which it is not.

          I must admit though — I do love reading how upset the fundamentalist catholics are with the purchase of Christ Cathedral. :)

          • Abeca Christian says:

            Rodda I don’t know what you mean with fundamentalist Catholics? I don’t even want to know. You enjoy their being upset? Wow….I am upset that Jesus was beaten, teased and hung…His tears are too painful, His bruises and the belittling that he went through.

            Just consider, Jesus back was beaten, I bet we can place our fingers inside those bruises, (I’m sure layers of skin was cut through). Just to think it was my sins who did that. God knew why He gave us feelings….He knows why we cry or get upset, it is a human condition… if we can only carry our cross as did He?

          • Jim McCrea says:

            RB: you deserve a large medal for taking on THIS group! Keep it up.

          • Abeca Christian says:

            How funny, now lets just call it the Jim McCrea Medal… would he do us the honors to have it made and hand delivered to Rodda?

            But the real medal from Christ is one that I would hope Rodda and others truly seek best!

          • Maryanne Leonard says:

            Your last statement alone reveals a lot about the state of your attitude toward Catholics who dedicate themselves to knowing and following the Catholic faith as laid out in the CCC. If you disagree with those whom you attempt to slur by calling them fundamentalist, implying that they are to be lumped together with Protestant fundamentalists or with those who are extremists, one wonders where you stand with regard to the teachings of the Catholic Church. Do you consider Pope Benedict a “Catholic fundamentalist,” RB? I reject the implied slur in your term and infer that your sneering attitude reflects that your own regard for the fundamentals of our holy faith may be in need of some honest self-questioning.

          • Catherine says:

            Maryanne Leonard,

            Your 3:08 am inspired post was very wise and so merciful. You are a true sister in Christ!

            The Hour of Great Mercy

            “In His revelations to St. Faustina, Our Lord asked for a special prayer and meditation on His Passion each afternoon at the three o’clock hour, the hour that recalls His death on the cross.

            At three o’clock, implore My mercy, especially for sinners; and, if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony. This is the hour of great mercy. In this hour, I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion (Diary, 1320).

            As often as you hear the clock strike the third hour, immerse yourself completely in My mercy, adoring and glorifying it; invoke its omnipotence for the whole world, and particularly for poor sinners; for at that moment mercy was opened wide for every soul. In this hour you can obtain everything for yourself and for others for the asking; it was the hour of grace for the whole world — mercy triumphed over justice.” (1572)

          • Anonymous says:

            Yes, mercy truiumps! Good one, Catherine.

  5. I cry every time I read articles like this one due to the outrages cost of buying and redoing this piece of glass – 1500 hundred glass panels – The original cost of $57 Million plus the 2/3year cost of renovation could have been better used to help the poor, the sick, the homeless, etc., but the Church elders decided (like in Oakland) that buying this Church was more important that helping their fellow man which is their main job – We need young new leaders who think of the mission of the Church and not themselves -

    • Nonsense.

      The same “argument” is used anytime anyone disagrees with the Church on any capital program — “the money should have been used to feed/house the poor”, etc., etc.

      Your notion that Christ Cathedral was bought and will be renovated at the cost of feeding and housing the poor is simply false. I truly hope you realize that. Before condemning the purchase of a facility that glorifies God and allows His faithful to get closer to Him through the sacraments of His Church I would ask you to consider this bit of Scripture:

      Mark 14:6-9 But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you will, you can do good to them; but you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burying. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”


      • Not False!! – take a good look around you and see what is going on – One does not need a $57 million or a $190 million Church to glorify God but one does need to pay attention to “feed the poor and house the homeless” which is not being done – I have seen too much of this going on in our society today – As I said, we need young leaders with new ideas to revamp the Church and return to Christ’s teaching -

        • Please control your emotions. You are simply incorrect when you suggest the cathedral was bought and will be remodeled with funds that would have been otherwise used to feed and house the homeless. That’s simply not true.

          Some sources of funding already provide funds to help the homeless in addition to capital projects like the cathedral. Other sources only fund capital programs. That’s the fact and it’s something you need to understand before you go popping-off about the good works people are doing on behalf of the Catholic Church so that His faithful might be better sacramentally nourished by Him.

          Christ Cathedral is most certainly in tune with Christ’s teaching as shown in Mark 14:6-9, despite your personal beliefs.

          • Abeca Christian says:

            Suppress suppress….emotions only boil up when one is told often to submit. Obispo its silly for you to suggest that on a blog such as this to tell people to control their emotions? Really? How so? Many are just stating their take on this. Just like you are. You have emotions in regards this too? How do you suggest one to control those?

            Stop suppressing opinions that are in contrast to yours. You say despite your personal beliefs? Really? and what authority to you have to interpret that biblical passage? How do you know that you are not the one who is wrong? LET THIS BE FAIR GAME….as far as I’m concerned you TOO are stating your own personal beliefs!

            The way people carry on….it’s as if there were no more truth, that truth is only a personal one. Somewhere along that line, we must understand that there is truth. But like one saint once said “it’s not about being right, it’s about saving souls.” Right on…….but we must look to the truth and the “right” will come from a person of good will.

        • The most pressing problem in the world today in not physical hunger but spiritual malnutrition. Edifices like the Crystal Cathedral were built to help nourish people in a spiritual manner.

          • Abeca Christian says:

            A lot is dependent on this building? It’s interesting all these comments from people….the people running it, I would say have a lot do with it most often….May Catholicity thrive with reverence and with rich traditions handed down to us from our Lord.

        • Abeca Christian says:

          Eric we will always have the poor with us……with that said….I don’t think that is a good argument you hold there but I can see why you would feel that way, it is a lot of mula!

          • Jim McCrea says:

            European style cathedrals with tons of kitsch were NOT handed down to us by Our Lord.

          • Abeca Christian says:

            No, maybe, only God knows but they were inspired…..

            Many saints and even when our Lady appeared to the faithful, Our Lady asked that we build a church at usually a particular place……Inspired and even ordered…Our Lord has even made requests to many saints…..

            See the difference Jim? This Cathedral was once build for the protestant sect…not inspired by any Catholic means…..we look to the roots… so no comparison to your comments….something to reflect on. : )

          • Abeca Christian says:

            Jim did you get that? I hope so…peace in Christ!

        • Mbûkû Kanyau Mbithûka says:

          The Church has three two roles given to it by Christ,

          1. Spread the Good News
          2. Celebrate the Sacraments and Dispense Grace
          3. Worship God. With this one, no expense should be spared

          As for Feeding the poor, converted Christians are supposed to be doing that sort of thing.

    • Mbûkû Kanyau Mbithûka says:

      Feed the poor? That is your job, not the Churche’s Job. The Church converts you so that you can go feed the poor.

  6. St. Christopher says:

    Buying the “Crystal Cathedral” was a nutty idea. Having done this, the Church must assure that a Catholic Church will result, not something that looks like it belongs by DisneyLand. It remains to be seen whether a neo-protestant church results, or something that actually is worthy of having Mass said there. Bets are heavily in favor of the former, with all kinds of apologies for not having kneelers, or a center tabernacle, or any kind of statuary (of the Catholic variety), or an altar rail, or stained glass or side altars, or any of that embarrassing kind of stuff. This purchase and renovation will go down, along with the Oakland and LA “cathedrals,” as examples of the loss of the Catholic identity after Vatican II. But, most people will not care — nope, give them “Amazing Grace” and all things “Christian Lite” and all are pretty happy being Catholic. Yup, just picture the dancers twirling down the aisles to all those old Protestant hymns that you know so well (but do not make any provision for a regularly scheduled TLM). The Vatican is so flaccid that it completely lacks any religious oversight of what bishops permit in America, or anywhere, really. After a while, the awful seems pretty good and normal.

    • Purchasing the Crystal Cathedral was one of the greatest eccelsial bargains of all time. There is no doubt that God played a hand in it. My only regret is that those who paid for it ultimately lost it through horrible stewardship by the Schuller Family and their associates.

  7. Oh, Eric A, please. I recall an atheist commenting after a trip to Ecuador how all the gold and finery they saw in a church in Quito might better have been used to “feed the poor.” Yes, maybe feed them for one day. Instead, the poor in Ecuador have something much more beautiful to visit whenever they want than do most people in rich countries, and than certainly those who visit the Catholic churches desecrated in the last forty years..

  8. I mentioned this earlier when the Oversized Greenhouse was purchased and made Our New Cathedral:
    I live bordering Costa Mesa and Newport Beach, it’s about 16 miles southwest of Disneyland (in other words An Hour or so away in traffic). Anyways, at night, from the second floor of my home I can see the nightly fireworks show put on at the Disneyland Park. Some nights I am pretty certain, I can hear it as well. I know at my friend’s home not far from the Westmister DMV office you most certainly can hear the fireworks. It’s also a terrible distraction for me while driving on the 5 fwy when the fireworks begin, as doing 70mph and having my eyes wander up to see the pretty lights in the sky instead of the possible brake lights in front of me is just not a good thing.
    Now, as Disney is open 365 days a year and has the fireworks every night with the exception of rain, well consider that the Cathedral is a mere 3.5 miles from the Disney Park and well, should make for an odd Holy Hour. Depending on the season the fireworks are set off anywhere from 8:30 to 10pm or somewhere in that timeframe. I wonder how much thought has been given to this, if any?
    For those looking for a more quiet but beautifully sounding place, there is a little church in an Abbey just of El Toro Rd in Silverado Canyon. The Norbertines of St Michael’s Abbey have Holy Hour at 8pm

  9. Abeca Christian says:

    In past articles I read both sides arguments as to why some approve and some don’t approve. For myself, I can not make a pro or anti comment on this because to me, it is more about who is running it? Yes our church is but what part of the faith is running it? If we have lukewarm parishes then we must wonder will this place be turned into a solid parish that when visitors are traveling, that they won’t be scandalized with functions that are not truly representative of our faith?

    Will it welcome the Latin Mass or reverence in a NO setting? I don’t know. Plus will the building be a modern day eye sore? Because there beautiful building that lead us to think of heaven but there are those who are more protestant and only leave a puzzling question in our hearts of it’s Catholicity.

    I have driven by this building many times when I have visited that area, and I often travel up there. My husband has expressed to me that he would like to attend Mass there once just to see. We will see. Only time will tell what those in charge, how faithful they really are. God have mercy!

    • Make sure you stop in next time. Christ’s Cathedral lifts ones spirit to the heavens. Many pilgrims will travel to worship Him there. God provides to all His faithful. All are welcomed, all are loved.

      • Abeca Christian says:

        Sandra only time will tell….I lean on the Holy Ghost….I do my best that is…

        • Kenneth M. Fisher says:


          When you visit, you will be blinded by all of the glass. I don’t yet know where they will put the Tabernacle, but I know where Bishop Brown preferred it to be, and it was not in keeping with the Vatican’s instructions!

          God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
          Kenneth M. Fisher

          • Abeca Christian says:

            Thank you Kenneth : ) It is my husband who wants to visit to judge for himself, I frankly don’t see the need to but I go if my hubby goes, he is a convert and I trust that he will analyze this well.

            May God increase Bishop Browns faithfulness and holiness to do what is commanded of him from our Pope.

  10. It’s a good thing that this wasn’t published last week during Catholic Schools’ Week or there might be suggestions that the money spent on this sterile edifice might better be spent on insuring that every Catholic child could attend a Catholic school.

  11. Cheeseburger says:

    The revolting , monolithic box of cement, that masquerades as the cathedral for the archdiocese is so secular and modern in appearance, it would make a “mainline” Protestant blush! Only Cardinal Mahony would spend millions of dollars on this cathedral, that looks and feels like a massive warehouse, that is cold, bleak and austere.

    My wife and I attended mass a couple of years ago at the “new” cathedral. It felt like I was worshiping at some evangelical church… complete with hand holding, clapping, secular sounding music and a real warm feeling of kumbaiya! (dripping with sarcasm) Nothing felt, solemn, beautiful, edifying or even remotely Catholic at the mass, we attended. My wife and I were left feeling cold, and spiritually unfed that day… we have not gone back since.

    The powers of discernment that Cdl. Mahony has displayed in recent years is not only poor, to say the least, but borders on heterodoxy.

  12. Quit complaining about how Gothic (or non-Gothic) our churches are.

    There are people literally dying for the faith in huts and shacks used as churches in countries where TRUE persecution happens.

    Here, if someone looks at you sideways, everyone wants to play the victim game. Our military chaplains celebrate Mass on the battlefield. Some Latin American countries have so few priests, a village only gets a priest once a year. In the Middle East, churches are bombed by Islamic militants. And here some are whining about the Crystal Cathedral having too much glass. Buy some Windex and get over it already.

    • Cheeseburger says:

      Hey Mackz(?)… did you attend the Anaheim conference last year and get to watch the abominable and sacrilegious pagan dance that took place, right before the “holy sacrifice of the mass”? The dancers were wearing spandex and dancing about in a sensual pagan manner, it was so shocking and yet laughable, it was just another example of “the smoke entering the church” as Pope Paul the VI proclaimed after Vatican II — just another outgrowth of shameful anti-Catholic modernism.

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