Rorate Caeli

Institute's Chicago church to be demolished

We read the sad news that the Institute of Christ the King's shrine in Chicago, heavily damaged by fire in October, will be demolished by order of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

From the announcement:

The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest has received a letter from the Archdiocese of Chicago summarizing the results of their substantial efforts to ascertain the best course of action for the Shrine building after the devastating October fire. Based on extensive engineering and other evaluations the Archdiocese has concluded that the church building has significant structural issues and to restore the building to its state before the fire and to bring it up to current City of Chicago building code standards is cost prohibitive. The Archdiocese is predominantly self-insured and therefore there is no resort to an insurance claim with an external insurer.

Therefore the Archdiocese is moving without delay to demolish the remnants of the structure. The Archdiocese has offered the Institute the opportunity to propose a plan for rebuilding a new church on the same site. The Institute is carefully considering this as a first option, mindful of its pastoral dedication and the Shrine’s important place in the Woodlawn and Hyde Park communities. As another option, the Archdiocese has offered a South Side church which is now available for occupancy.

The Institute remains committed to its daily mission at the Shrine of living the truth in charity for the good of souls and the benefit of the local community. Thus, the Archdiocese will renew its lease with the Institute for our continued use of the rectory and parking lot. The Institute is deeply grateful for the prayers and generous support of the Shrine faithful and friends particularly at this challenging time of discernment.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports one last step must be taken before the archdiocese's decision to demolish is granted: approval by the Chicago Landmark Commission, which meets on Thursday.