4-July-2001 -- Catholic World News Brief |

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VATICAN INTERVENTION ON MILWAUKEE CATHEDRAL WORK

MILWAUKEE, (CWNews.com) - The decision by a Vatican congregation to intervene in controversial renovation work on Milwaukee's cathedral was made public on Monday with both sides saying the Vatican essentially supported their side.

The letter from Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments said the group had studied the $4.5-million renovation plans for St. John the Evangelist Cathedral and concluded that they violate several canon laws and liturgical regulations, including moving the altar from the apse to the center of the church and the removal of the baldacchino from above the altar, the relocation of the tabernacle to a tiny (15 foot by 20 foot) chapel, the removal of confessionals, and the installation of images of individuals who have not been approved for veneration as saints or blesseds.

The spokesman for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and Archbishop Rembert Weakland, Jerry Topczewski, said the congregations concerns were only minor and could be addressed without major work. However, Alan Kershaw, the canon lawyer in Rome representing opponents of the renovation, told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that the congregation had agreed with the group's objections on every count and represented a major change to the entire plan.

Meanwhile, even though the letter was received by the archdiocese over the weekend, on Monday workers began dismantling the marble baldacchino over the altar. Topczewski later confirmed the work, but did not know when it had begun. He also said that while Archbishop Weakland is cooperating, he had also retained a canon lawyer in Rome to clarify the issue of the bishop's authority in his diocese. Topczewski said he expected the archbishop to respond to the letter within the next day or two and that the issue will not delay the project which is scheduled to be completed early next year, just before the archbishop reaches the mandatory retirement age of 75.

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