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Vatican approves purchase of Crystal Cathedral

December 1, 2011 |  6:25 pm


The Vatican has given its approval to plans for the Roman Catholic diocese of Orange to buy the Crystal Cathedral, a diocesan official said Thursday.

The sign-off from Rome was the last significant hurdle facing the $57.5-million deal, which was approved by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge on Nov. 17. Under the agreement, the church founded by the Rev. Robert H. Schuller will be allowed to lease back the property for three years, after which it will become a Catholic cathedral.

Catholic Church rules require any such transaction to be approved by a Vatican department known as the Congregation for the Clergy. The diocese submitted its request Oct. 12, and received word back on Monday, according to Msgr. Douglas Cook, rector of Holy Family Cathedral in Orange and a canon law expert for the diocese.

The consent from Rome is known as “nihil obstat,” Latin for “nothing stands in the way,” Cook said. “They make sure we’re dotting our i’s and crossing our t’s,” he said. “With nihil obstat, they say, `Go for it.’”

Stephen Bohannon, a spokesman for the diocese, said escrow is expected to be opened in the next few days and is expected to close by the end of the year.


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Photo: The sun sets over the Crystal Cathedral campus including the Welcoming Center, right, and the Crystal Cathedral and Prayer Chapel and Spire Base at left. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times