Earlier this year, Holy Name Cathedral, the seat of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Chicago, sold its surface parking lot to a developer. The lot (covering almost an entire city block) had been there for decades, providing convenient parking for worshippers and preserving an old-fashioned openness along State Street and Chicago Avenue, which mark its boundaries. The lot wasn’t beautiful, but it did allow a view of the church and let sunlight stream through its stained-glass windows.
Now, that’s going. The lot and all the other properties on the block (except for the Bella Luna restaurant on the southwest corner) have been demolished, and a mixed-use complex featuring two skyscrapers, one 86 stories tall, will soon stand in its place. The Cathedral will become an inconspicuous facade on a canyon-like street.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, most of the 100 million dollars the church received from the transaction will immediately go toward paying outstanding sex-abuse claims. The unchecked misconduct of the Catholic clergy has resulted in church debts of over 200 million dollars in this one archdiocese alone, with another 100 million expected soon. The over-development of Holy Name’s former property is just one more come-uppance for the terrible crimes its priests have committed over the years. This once-mighty institution, built up over a period of 185 years, will continue struggling with its inner corruption long after the sun has stopped hitting its face.