After more than 4100 suggestions from around the world, the diocese of Orange has renamed the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, acquired last year for $57.5 million. The diocese released the following statement on June 9.

The ordination of Catholic priests today at St. Columban Catholic Church in Garden Grove carried additional significance for regional Catholics and other people of faith. As part of an elaborate ordination ritual attended by over 1500, the Most Reverend Tod Brown, Roman Catholic bishop of Orange took the opportunity to acknowledge Vatican approval of the name chosen for the diocese’s future cathedral and the appointment of Father Christopher Smith to serve as episcopal vicar to Christ Cathedral.

The Diocese of Orange acquired the former Crystal Cathedral campus in 2011. While occupancy and comprehensive use of the property by the Diocese will not be immediate, a gradual transition process has begun. The first significant effort to identify the iconic venue as a Catholic religious center and place of worship begins with the selection of the name, Christ Cathedral.

In his remarks at the conclusion of the ordination Mass, Bishop Brown noted, “We hold Rev. Schuller and his ministry in the highest esteem. It was important that any change of name for the cathedral itself be respectful of its spiritual legacy while accommodating our needs to clearly define this important facility as a Catholic center of worship.”

The formal process for the naming of a Catholic church, calls for the proposed name to be submitted to the Congregation of Bishops, the curia in Rome responsible for all matters pertaining to bishops and their churches. Bishop Brown submitted Christ Cathedral as the proposed name and received approval, April 26, 2012.

When considering a name for the future Catholic cathedral, Bishop Brown’s primary requisite was to ensure a clear Christological reference. “Today, I am honored to participate in the ordination of four new diocesan priests and congratulate them on the fulfillment of their vocation. I am equally pleased to acknowledge a senior member of our clerical staff – Father Christopher Smith – and to announce his appointment as the first episcopal vicar to our new cathedral, which will be called Christ Cathedral, a clear proclamation of why this church exists and will be of continuing importance to people of faith across the region.”

The first Catholic liturgy to be celebrated in Christ Cathedral has yet to be scheduled. Bishop Brown also noted, “Catholics throughout the diocese, and all across America, are eagerly anticipating that important day.”

In his new capacity as episcopal (or cathedral) vicar, Father Smith will oversee all administrative and policy matters for Christ Cathedral and the adjacent campus. He will supervise a variety of internal departments and be responsible for the liturgical and clerical oversight of the cathedral campus.



Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2012 4:35 AM By CGS
Good choice.

Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2012 6:51 AM By Juergensen
Was the decision to purchase Protestant architecture based on the fact that it would be difficult if not impossible to get such architecture past Church authorities these days?

Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2012 8:17 AM By David 
Pray for Schuller’s church to become Catholic

Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2012 8:37 AM By Maryanne Leonard
Thrilling choice! So obvious and yet it didn’t occur to me at all. This completely changes my feelings about the purchase. My mind is already calling it Christ Cathedral! Good work, people – off to a great start with making this cathedral truly Catholic!

Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2012 8:40 AM By Life Lady
I hope the new facilities will include kneelers for all the pews, and the tabernacle to be located in a place of the highest point where it will be obvious that Christ certainly reigns in that place. If we are to make this place of real importance, Christ MUST be the primary Person there, in union with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2012 8:43 AM By Ron
The “Cathedral” reminds me of our modern religious women, completely unrecognizable as Catholic.

Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2012 8:55 AM By MacDonald
What a perfect Catholic name for this building. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that each Bishop in leading his own diocese is the Vicar of Christ for that local church, so “Christ Cathedral” is a powerful affirmation of that basic truth. CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH: “894 The bishops, as vicars and legates of Christ, govern the particular Churches assigned to them by their counsels, exhortations, and example, but over and above that also by the authority and sacred power which indeed they ought to exercise so as to edify, in the spirit of service which is that of their Master.”

Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2012 10:16 AM By Bud 
I wonder how many cases of WINDEX will be needed! If the overgrown greenhouse can’t look like a Catholic Cathedral, it might as well sparkle! Personally I don’t like the name either; it doesn’t sound Catholic but does sound Episcopalian. Without a “Holy or Saint” in the name, it’s just another glass church to throw stones at!!!!!!!!!!

Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2012 10:42 AM By Dana
David, that’s not an impossibility. I remember Scott Hahn and Marcus Grodi both went to Gordon-Conwell,a protestant seminary in Boston that was originally a Catholic seminary or monastery, and Grodi was joking about how many converts there are from that seminary. Stranger things have happened, like the black congregation that all became Catholic when their pastor became a Catholic deacon in Detroit.

Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2012 10:50 AM By Jorge Romo
Can’t wait for the frist Mass !

Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2012 11:03 AM By Anne T.
That is a good idea David, praying for their conversion. Actually I love the bell tower. It looks more Gothic than some of our other churches that were built for the Catholic Mass.

Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2012 11:25 AM By Bob
$57.5 million? Jesus Christ would want nothing to do with it!

Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2012 11:31 AM By Catherine
Bishop Brown says, “We hold Rev. Schuller and his ministry in the highest esteem.” and “Bishop Brown’s primary requisite was to ensure a clear Christological reference.” Priorities and clear references are still being misplaced. Our Lord is the King who is worthy of being held in the highest esteem. Even Archbishop Dolan was quite surprised to see that the thousands of youth in Madrid wanted to hold Our Lord in the highest esteem by kneeling in the pebbled streets of Madrid. Yanking up a kneeling communicant does not reflect that highest esteem that is only due to Our Lord. Rev. Schuller would even agree that Our Lord is much more worthy of being held in the highest esteem. The Blessed Sacrament is the Source and Summit of our Catholic Faith. The primary requisite is to always teach that Christ’s Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity is truly present in the Blessed Sacrament. Let us pray that Bishop Tod D. Brown corrects the error that has been taught in the Diaconate formation program of his own diocese. Please publicly retract the error that belief in the True Presence borders on cannibalism. This is how you place Our Lord in the highest esteem.

Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2012 11:59 AM By John F. Maguire
In regard to any one particular building consecrated by a Catholic bishop, we know that, today as yesterday, “Consecration…imprints an indelible mark (St. Thomas, II.II: 34:5)…by reason of which it may never be transferred to common or profane use.” Accordingly, the ancient canon CONSECRATIO ADHAERET PARIETIBUS ECCLESIAE applies, whereby a church building, in point of fact, retains its state — its state as consecrated — IN PERPETUUM, losing this state only “(1) when the walls of the church are totally or in greater part SIMULTANEOUSLY demolished; (2) when the inner walls are totally or in greater part SIMULTANEOUSLY demolished by fire; (3) when an addition is made to the walls of the church in length, breadth, or height, greater than the original walls.” Source: Augustin J. Schulte, “Consecration,” _The Catholic Encyclopedia_ (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908). Happily, for the Church Universal, for all her priests and all her laity, the axiom CONSECRATIO ADHAERET PARIETIBUS ECCLESIAE applies to CHRIST CATHEDRAL in the Diocese of Orange — as, and just as, a Catholic Cathedral in perpetuity.

Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2012 12:00 PM By Gordon Campbell
It still looks like a dystopian nightmare-WAY too Protestant.

Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2012 1:29 PM By MacDonald
“DYSTOPIA: a society characterized by human misery, as squalor, oppression, disease, and overcrowding.” Hey, I got to learn a new word today, thanks to Gordon! (A depressing new word, but a word nonetheless…)

Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2012 1:37 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
How does “CONSECRATIO ADHAERET PARIETIBUS ECCLESIA” apply to the local consecrated parish church that will given to the Protest-Ants? Good question, isn’t it? Kenneth M. Fisher God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher

Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2012 1:38 PM By Bob One
I would like someone to tell me what a Catholic church looks like and how it differs from a Protestant church. I have been in both kind in many places in the world, and often can’t tell the difference. How does St. Patrick’s and St. John Divine, in NYC, differ substantially? Does Grace Cathedral in San Francisco look more Protestant that St. Mary’s cathedral? Someone surely has a definition that would help the rest of us.

Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2012 1:48 PM By John F. Maguire
Prejudgments as to what “looks” Catholic do not gainsay the Catholic character of a consecrated Cathedral any more than prejudgments as to what “sounds” Catholic.

Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2012 2:10 PM By Matthew
An inspired choice! Good job Bishop Brown! Please, please be modest and prayerful in your remodeling of the interior. I have no doubt that the Christ Cathedral Campus will become one of the top 5 cathedrals in the USA if the interior remodel is done with great care. If all goes well I see Christ Cathedral being named a minor basilica by the Church. How glorious it will be when one day a pope celebrates the Mass in that wonderful edifice.

Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2012 2:19 PM By Keith
It’s clear that who label Christ Cathedral as being “Protestant looking” have never set foot on the campus for that is simply not true. Christ Cathedral looks neither “Protestant” nor “Catholic.” It is a very neutral space that will largely be defined by its furnishings. Add crucifixes with corpus, an altar of sacrifice, an ambo, a tabernacle and some kneelers and the edifice will soon have a very Catholic flavor. I wish that those who hate and denigrate simply because Christ Cathedral is not their favorite style of architecture would simply stop and pray to God to reduce their hatred and anxiety. Unless the remodeling is fouled-up, Christ Basilica Cathedral will proudly serve the Church for many generations to come.

Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2012 3:39 PM By John F. Maguire
It is precisely because Bishop Tod Brown and the Reverend Robert Schuller AGREE today, as indeed they had all along, on the salutary import of Christ as “the image of the invisible God, firstborn of all creation” (Colossians 1:15) that Bishop Brown and Reverend Schuller straightaway found themselves in mutual agreement on CHRIST CATHEDRAL as the new and proper name for this famous Garden Grove site, a site (as we know) conceived by Robert Schuller — and designed and developed by the architects Philip Johnson and John Burgee (completion date: 1981). In this connection, the Associated Press reported on June 10 that Fr. Christopher H. Smith, who has been commissioned by Bishop Brown to oversee the transition process, “told the Los Angeles Times that at a recent meeting with Schuller, the [Crystal Cathedral founder and] preacher said he always had Jesus Christ in mind when conceptualizing the cathedral” (online). In this light, the primary intertext for CHRIST CATHEDRAL as this church building’s new name would appear to be Revelation 22:1: “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the thrown of God and of the Lamb.”