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The diocese of Joliet has decided that St. Joseph Catholic Church in rural Illinois must be demolished. The diocese has already bulldozed the rectory, and the church is slated for leveling.
Since 2014, Catholics in Cabery have been fighting to preserve this important community landmark.
"There's no reason to tear it down. At least there wasn't. We had the finances. We had a group of people put together who knew their business. There's just no reason for it. It wasn't going to cost them a dime," Terrance Cassidy, vice president of St. Joseph Preservation Society (SJPS), told Church Militant.
They first appealed to the diocese, but got nowhere. "It's very hurtful, especially the way they did it. It was just manufactured high school drama. They were petty and vindictive and mean and rude and unapproachable. That's the true story. That's how we were treated," Cheryl Weaver, SJPS president, revealed.
Then they called in Brody Hale, an attorney with worldwide experience in helping communities preserve historic Catholic churches. He explained the growing trend:
So it does appear, for whatever reason on the part of these bishops, there is an active effort to do everything that can be done on their part to wipe away any trace of the Faith in these areas, to actively prevent people, Catholics, from taking it upon themselves to repair their churches.
Brody led Cabery through two levels of Vatican appeal, built the case for the Congregation of Clerics and, when that didn't work, helped them appeal to the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.
In December, Cabery learned they had lost their final appeal, even though they had an anonymous donor willing to purchase the property and underwrite the cost of all repairs so the building could serve as an oratory or chapel. The diocese appears to be willing to cut off its nose to spite its face. Instead of preserving the church and making a profit, they'd rather spend money to level the church.