The Archdiocesan headquarters – which includes the parish of St. John the Evangelist – may be up for sale:
While the building, which is more than 40 years old, is in need of repairs, its location, a block from the Sutton Place and the East River, between 55th and 56th streets, is in one of Manhattan’s most desirable neighborhoods.
The building’s owner is listed on city records as the Ecclesiastical Assistance Corp. The city’s Department of Finance estimates the market value of the property for fiscal year 2017-2018 at close to $112 million. The property is listed as tax exempt.
So, while in the last 15 years the New York Archdiocese has undergone two waves of parish closings(and even more drastic closings of schools) the Archdiocese was sitting on an office building worth over $100M.
The potential sale of the Catholic Center was first revealed in the National Catholic Reporter which published an extraordinary letter Pastores Dabo Vobis of Cardinal Dolan to his priests. It witnesses to deep tensions within the archdiocese. It seems the laity have become distinctly unenthusiastic about contributing to the archdiocese. And some of the priests are grumbling as well. There is no consideration whether the management of the archdiocese and its policies might be contributing to the dissatisfaction. Although we find references to “Dolan’s Folly” (the restoration of St Patrick’s cathedral),the closing of parishes and the 50% Archdiocesan “taxa” on “extraordinary income:”
“What causes some griping is our requirement that a parish receiving extraordinary income from such things as air rights, rental/lease/sale of buildings and property, or a big bequest, must give 50% of that to the “rich old archdiocese!” (A “custom” that arose under Cardinal Cooke.) “A majority of priests,” however, are of the opinion “that the ordinary expenses of the parish should be covered by the Sunday offerings, not by rental or endowment money…If a parish can’t cover its bills from the Sunday contributions of their people, because few go there anymore, that means we’re propping up museums with gravy income that should justly be spent elsewhere, and the parish should fold-up.”
Never have the actual driving factors of the Archdiocesan planning been expressed more clearly. And then there is an intriguing reference to “these parishes, mostly Manhattan ones, (that) “keep all this money to fix-up rectories, decorate churches, pay choirs and staffs”… .
I wonder what the Cardinal is thinking of?
Cardinal Dolan hammers on the need of the priests to “challenge” the laity to “sacrificial giving.” For if New Yorkers – those ingrates! – gave in the same percentages as in Dolan’s two former dioceses, the take of the Cardinal’s Appeal would have been nearly 3 times higher! And the archdiocese would be “sunk” without the contributions of those from NJ, Connecticut or Long Island – who do not live in it!
To help correct this unfair and inaccurate perception of the archdiocese as some bloated, money-grabbing corporation, we are seriously looking into smaller quarters. 1011 needs repair, and it’s a good time to save the money and help with a new image by moving into smaller, simpler quarters.