Chaput reportedly plans to sell cardinal’s residence

Details, from Rocco:

In the most concrete sign yet of his plans to thoroughly reshape the beleaguered church he’s inherited, Philadelphia’s Archbishop Charles Chaput OFM Cap. is giving up the mansion at the city’s edge which his predecessors have called home for the last 75 years.

Less than four months after taking the reins of the 1.2 million-member Northeastern “supertanker,” Chaput reportedly decided to seek a buyer for the historic Cardinal’s Residence over recent weeks, according to archdiocesan sources. No official announcement of the move is expected to be made.

Seen by many locals as the quintessential symbol of the “complacency and pride” that have long marked the city’s ecclesial culture, the property’s placement on the market is said to have received “strong support” both from Chaput’s Finance Council and Council of Priests, who were consulted on the move over the last six weeks. As the value of a successful deal is almost certain to exceed the canonical threshold for a bishop’s alienation of diocesan property on his own initiative (currently $7.5 million for larger US dioceses), a transfer of ownership would require the approval of the Holy See.

Home to the city’s top prelate since 1935, when Cardinal Dennis Dougherty purchased it for $215,000, it is unclear where the current occupants of 5700 City Avenue — the Capuchin prelate, a duo of priest-aides and the two Sisters of Mercy of Alma who staff the household — would relocate on the completion of a sale.

During his 14 years as archbishop of Denver, Chaput lived alone in a cozy, Mission-style rancher on the campus that housed his seminary and the diocesan offices. Before Dougherty’s move to the antebellum house on Philadelphia’s border with suburban Montgomery County, a half-century of the city’s archbishops were based at what’s now the Rectory of the Cathedral-Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul on Race Street, in the heart of the urban hub. The archdiocese’s four active auxiliaries live in former rectories or convents that had been vacant in their respective geographic regions.

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Comments

  1. It would appear that Chaput understands that leadership starts at the top- and symbols and messages matter. He has a lot of hard messages to delver this year. Best to start with himself.

    It is one thing to defend valuable churches as a patrimony to be retained and shared for worship across generations. It is another thing to live in a nine acre estate and then cry poor mouth for the Bishops Annual Appeal.

    Every time I drive by that property ( it is on US 1- very public busy highway ) – I wonder just how in the world the occupant preaches about the Church’s commitment to the poor. It looks like Chaput wondered too.

  2. Good for Archbishop Chaput! We need more signs and symbols that the Bishops mean what they say and say what they mean.

  3. Oregon Catholic says:

    AMEN!!! This should be required in every diocese. It is one way to begin to repay the innocent faithful in the pews for the donations lost to the abuse lawsuits. The sale of palacial episcopal properties to help pay for the skyrocketing costs of priest and religious retirement would be very just also.

  4. As a point, donations aren’t used to pay for lawsuit settlements, unless they are specifically made for that purpose. A nine-acre estate would cost a lot to keep up, so reducing the expense is excellent fiscal decision-making. But please don’t forget that Justin Cardinal Rigali didn’t own that estate, nor did any of the Cardinals/Archbishops before him. It’s just a house (a big one!), and I really hope the diocese gets a good price for it!

  5. This great man, one day to be a Prince of the Church (please God), walks the talk! GOD BLESS HIM! If only there were more like him +

  6. Oregon Catholic says:

    So the Party line goes….but we all know where the Church’s money comes from.

  7. A commendable gesture, though the timing might be better. Real estate as an asset class is in its worst shape since the 1930′s. Go ahead and put it on the market, but I would be prepared to sit on it for a while unless the Archdiocese is really hard up for cash and is looking to unload it at fire-sale prices.

  8. This soon to be Cardinal of the Church is one of if not the best we have in this country although he would be the first to argue that point with honest humility. I have exchanged correspondence with this great man since returning to the Church and he has not only answered each one, but several times has sent of correspondence when he has not heard from me for a while. Funny thing is that I was never in his diocese. We met through a mutual friend more than a decade ago. He did an amazing job in Denver and there is no doubt in my mind he will be excellent in Philly. He is first and foremost a man of God, but also a great teacher of the Catholic faith. Look for him to do some great work in the upcoming year when we face such a critical election. I note in an interview last year, he taught the following in regard to Catholic teching.

    In an October 6 interview with New York Times writer David Kirkpatrick, Denver Archbishop Charles J. Chaput laid out the Catholic Church’s reasoning as to why voting for known pro-abortion politicians is sinful.

    Responding to a question about voting for pro-abortion politicians and it’s sinfulness, the Archbishop explained, “Does our voting for someone make us responsible for what that person does as a legislator or as a judge?…And the answer is yes, because we are in some ways materially — we use the word “materially” — cooperating in that person’s activity because we’ve given [him or her] the platform to be elected.”

    Chaput continued, “Now, if the person does something wrong, are we responsible for that? Well, if we didn’t know they were going to something wrong, our participation is remote, but if we knew they were going to do something wrong and we approved of it, our responsibility would really be close, even if we knew they were going to do something wrong and we voted for them for another reason, we would still be responsible in some ways.”

    Concluding the point, he said, “The standing is that if you know someone is going to do evil and you participate in that in some way, you are responsible. So it’s not…’if you vote this way, should you go to confession?’ The question is, ‘if you vote this way, are you cooperating in evil?’ Now, if you know you are cooperating in evil, should you go to confession? The answer is yes.”

    Archbishop Chaput also criticized the controversial ‘seamless garment’ philosophy which attempts to equate abortion with other issues affecting life such as poverty and environmental concerns. “A lot of Catholic Democrats, whether they are clergy or laity, have used the “seamless garment” as an excuse to sideline the abortion issue, making it one among many others. And, we can’t do that,” he said.

  9. Thank God! I have been praying for this for a long time.

  10. My gosh, Archbishop Chaput never ceases to amaze me. He lives his life by example. God love him and keep him for the servant of God that he is. May we, in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, be ever grateful for God’s gift to us for his leadership.

  11. Mark
    Not everything comes down to abortion. Abortion is a sin, but what Chaput is doing is far from abortion and more in line with living the social gospel.

  12. As Andy says, there are many issues besides abortion.

  13. We are all responsible for the thousands of innocent civilians killed during the Iraqi war. And we are all responsible for all those who suffer without health insurance. And we are all responsible for the inadequate health care for mental illness. And we are all responsible for all the prison executions. And we are all responsible for the undocumented individuals brought here as young children who have a challenging future because of Congress’ failure to pass the Dream Act. And we are all responsible for the increasing wealth disparity in this country and in the world.

  14. pagansister says:

    Good idea. Never could figure out why a man of the cloth needs all that elaborate space.

  15. Very happy to read this today, esp. as we await the news coming later this week of the many school mergers and closings within the Archdiocese of Phila. It is a good first step.

  16. naturgesetz says:

    I don’t think we are “all” responsible when we didn’t vote for those who enabled the things you mention. But we are equally responsible for the millions killed by abortion, if we voted for those who have enabled it. So, if you had a choice between being responsible for millions of killings or thousands, millions of killings or lack of health care, millions of killings or inadequate health care for mental illness, millions of killings of innocent children or hundreds of executions, millions of killings or a challenging future, millions of killings or increasing wealth disparity, which would you choose?

  17. naturgesetz, you know the answer to your question on which would some choose. They would choose to support the millions being killed as many did in voting for Obama and other pro abortion politicians. And frankly, if you added up all the negative results that might occur with the lists of democratic talking points listed above in Barbara post, it falls so far short of the 54 million innocent babies killed by abortion that it makes one wonder how anyone could present such a foolish argument. Of course the other part is the assumption that those who do not agree with the big government solution to everything which always leads to less freedom, higher taxes, and job loss does not have a better solution for those problems than big government.

    How about big government Obamacare or sensible reforms proposed by the hundreds during the discussion by the Republicans that were rejected because they were market driven and not big government. And does ObamaCare cover all mental illness now? Don’t think so.

    We are all responsible for prison executions, but what democrat president ran ever saying they would end all capital punishment? Obama certainly has not. In fact, he one could make the point he is executing people every day without trial in the predator strikes. Did he not take full credit and brag about his killing of Bin Laden, a mission almost everyone approves, without benefit of a trial?

    And on ILLEGAL immigrants, we have laws in place and the Democrats had the executive branch, and both houses of congress with huge majorities and what exactly did they do to give full amnesty to those who broke our laws? They broke our laws. If the laws need to change, change the laws as we do in a democratic Republic form of govenment. Put up Democratic candidates giving full amnesty and open borders as their platform.

    On none of the issues mentioned did the democrats in control produce anything but the nightmare of ObamaCare which many of them seem to be running away from. I will wait to see Obama running on the wonders of ObamaCare or Tarp programs or his Stimulus program or his huge funding of cronies with green payoffs.

  18. Bishop Zubik did the same thing after his instillation as Bishop of Pittsburgh. He sold the Bishop’s Residence then moved into an apartment on the seminary grounds. Upon hearing the news of his decision, the clergy of the diocese gave him a standing ovation. From all outward appearances, his decision has been a positive one, not only to the faithful of the diocese who love his exceptional pastoral nature, but especially to the seminarians who treasure his presence and interaction.

  19. Great decision ! Please hurry up and sell The Residence, maybe this will save our schools.

  20. Now if only other bishops would follow suit. A few years ago my bishop, Paul Loverde sold the former bishop’s residence and renovated a convent on the grounds of the Cathedral which is just opposite the chancery. The cost of the renovation being bandied about was $6 million and those who have toured it say the appointments include a lavish wine cellar, two sub zero refrigerators, and marble and hardwood throughout. In the diocese next store, Wheeling/Charleston, Bishop Bransfield spent millions renovating the Victorian home used as a chancery.

    Too many bishops take literally the title “prince of the Church.” One wonders what Jesus will say considering his statement that it’s harder for the rich man to get into heaven than the camel to pass through the needle’s eye. Thank God there are at least a few bishops presenting a different picture to the world. Wouldn’t it be nice if more would imitate the saintly fictional bishop of Les Miserables who “bought the soul” of Jean Valjean with his silver.

  21. The mansion and 7+ acres will make a fine addition to Saint Joseph’s campus. Well done.

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