Monday, September 02, 2002

New cathedral for Los Angeles opens today.

How much does it cost for a long-term stay?

Cardinal Roger Mahony has the figures. Listen to it here. (150k wav file) (NOTE: .wav file currently unavailable due to hosting limitations, should be back by late September.)

At uggabugga, we don't particularly care one way or another about the cathedral. Some have protested the cost - about $200 million - but that was money donated specifically for the cathedral and was unlikely to be raised for community support programs. However, the Cardinal irritated us with something he did several years ago.

BACKGROUND: There used to be two Gutenberg bibles in Southern California: One at the Huntington Library; the other in the Doheny Collection.

The Doheny Gutenberg was owned by Estelle Doheny. Upon her death in 1958 it passed into the hands of the Catholic church, and was kept at the Lawrence Doheny Memorial Library at St. Joseph's Seminary in Camarillo, California. There it stayed for nearly 30 years. But in 1987, under the direction of Mahony, the church decided to sell some of the Doheny Collection - including the Gutenberg Bible. It sold for $5.5 million dollars, and now resides at the Keio University Library, Tokyo.

But get this, the ostensible reason for selling the book, according to the Cardinal, was to purchase a helicopter in order to help recruit men for the priesthood!    (Alas, we cannot provide a link for this item. But it's what we distinctly remember from reading the papers back then.)

Good grief.   For a helicopter? (We know money is fungible, but that's what the Cardinal said at the time: to get a helicopter.)

Well, there's still one Gutenberg left in Southern California, but consider this scenario: The British in 1900 sell the Magna Carta to purchase a Stanley Steamer in order to help the Navy's recruitment effort. How would future generations feel about that?

Note to readers: This selling of the Gutenberg has been a burr in our saddle for years. Finally, with weblogging, plus the cathedral and Mahony in the news, we can get it off our chest.


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