Apparently it could happen, according to Spero News:
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange (Calif.) has made an offer to purchase the iconic Crystal Cathedral, built by evangelical personality Rev. Robert H. Schuller. The $50 million offer could pull the megachurch out of bankruptcy by the end of 2011. ...
Calling it a "pragmatic alternative to construction of a new cathedral, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange has submitted a formal bid for the Crystal Cathedral, adjacent campus property, buildings and memorial grounds,” said Catholic Bishop Tod D. Brown of Orange in a July 22 statement. After the Crystal Cathedral Ministries Board of Directors reviews the offer, the diocesan plan would be presented to the Committee of Creditors and the Bankruptcy Court, the statement said. The Crystal Cathedral filed for bankruptcy in October 2010. Some members of the congregation are circulating a petition in hopes of 'saving' the church.
“The offer is straightforward and would provide creditors maximum relief in the shortest possible time,” Bishop Brown declared. “If the proposal is accepted, creditors could see resolution within the year and possibly sooner.”
It's a bit surreal, if you ask me. My initial reaction—from afar, with no special insight into matters of money and such—is quite negative. But consider:
The Catholic diocese, which is looking for a less expensive alternative to building a new cathedral for its 1.2 million parishioners, said its proposal would allow the Crystal Cathedral to lease portions of the property for three years at below market rates. Under the departed Cardinal Archbishop Roger Mahony, the nearby Archdiocese of Los Angeles built a huge block-like structure, derided by conservatively-minded Catholics and architecture buffs. The Crystal Cathedral, however, is widely regarded as one of the architectural marvels of the U.S.
Here's a side-by-side comparison of the two buildings. On the left, an architectural marvel; on the right, an, um, uhhh, boxlike structure. Hmmmm...
For more about modern church architecture—the goofy, the bad, and the ugly—see:
• A Great Building Disaster | Moyra Doorly | From No Place For God: The Denial of the Transcendent in Modern Church Architecture
• Why Are There So Many Ugly Churches? | An interview with Moyra Doorly, author of No Place For God