Let me begin by saying that I respect the members of the Institute of Christ the King and their faithful. I may be attending Mass elsewhere these days, but I'm still on good terms with the Institute priests I know, and of course with many people at the Kansas City oratory. I appreciate the value of having people fight for Tradition inside the canonically regular structure of the Church, as well the value for those of us fighting outside the walls. Or at least I appreciated it and supported it until recent events rendered the present battle unwinnable.
From the mid-2000s up to 2015, the Institute raised millions of dollars from their faithful and other benefactors to convert St. Clara church in south-side Chicago into the Shrine of Christ the King. Exactly how many millions I don't know. If you know, comment below. But in October 2015, as it seemed the Shrine was nearing completion, a fire destroyed it.
The Shrine was legally owned by the Archdiocese of Chicago, and the project was commenced under Francis Cardinal George (RIP). I have no doubt it was undertaken in good faith under a supportive Bishop. Yet, by the time of the fire, Cardinal George was dead of cancer and the Archdiocese was under the authority of Archbishop Blase Cupich.
After some months of damage assessment and "what now?" discussions, Cupich and the Institute appear to have struck a deal. As I gather (from publicly reported information and watercooler talk--not any inside information from the Institute) Cupich would keep the insurance money--the proceeds representing the millions previously raised by the Institute from its faithful and other supporters, even though the Shrine probably paid those insurance premiums and it had a moral, and perhaps canonical, right to get the proceeds back for their project. Cupich would in return convey the burned out shell of the Shrine to the Institute, and he could then spend the Shrine's insurance money on Pachamama statutes, diversity coordinators, dinners for Fr. Michael Pfleger and Lori Lightfoot, and other un-Catholic things.
That resolution was celebrated. The massive surrender of the previous gifts of the benefactors seems to have been swept under the rug, and instead, the relevant parties summoned their Romanitas and exchanged insincere pleasantries with one another, and the Institute boasted that it would now have a secure and stable base in Chicago because they owned their own property, where they could do things their own way, according to their charism.
Or could they?
The Archdiocese gave them the deed, sure enough. It was a Quit Claim Deed (Cook County Clerks' Office, Document #1606829039) that had restrictions. Many of those restrictions were perfectly fine, as they prohibited the property from being used for things sinful or unworthy of a place of Catholic worship.
But then there was this restriction:
"Any activity not listed above which is inconsistent with or contrary to the tenets of the Roman Catholic Church, including canon law, doctrine, moral law or customs, in the sole discretion of the then-sitting Bishop or Archbishop of Chicago."
Since then, it looks like the Institute has raised between $2 million and $4 million dollars for the post-fire restoration. If you know more precisely, comment below.
All that fundraising has gone to restore a Church that they do indeed own, but in which Cupich can still prohibit the Sacraments under civil property law, even if the priests have the courage to ignore unjust canonical penalties.
How much treasure has been stolen by Cupich from the traditional faithful? How much have other bishops stolen from the traditional faithful? How much more will be stolen in the next few months?
In the old days, we pewsitters were expected to pray, pay and obey. While we're not expected to pray much anymore, the hierarchy still wants us to pay and obey.
But no! We have to break with that mindset and we must be good stewards of the treasure we are entrusted with. That means we must take reasonable steps to ensure that our material support will be used for the good work we intend it to be used for. This is not the time for putting blind trust in anyone or anything other than Our Lord himself and the communion of the Saints. Every priest, every Bishop and every Pope (Deo Gratias) will be replaced in time, and whatever personal trust you may have with even the best servant of the Church potentially means nothing once his successor takes control. Here's a starter list of those steps towards good stewardship:1. Structure Regular Giving. Make sure you're giving regularly in a way that ensures that your gift will be properly used. Between diocesan taxes to pay Chancery bureaucrats and insurance assessments to pay the modernist priests' boy-diddling-bills, it's not unheard of for 20% or 30% or 40% of your regular collection check to be going to the Chancery, not kept by the parish. Is that what you intend? Is letting the Chancery have that money really good for the Church in the long run?
2. Restrict Large Gifts. Make sure anything large that you give, particularly to a capital campaign, is given with clear written restrictions. When they ask you to pledge $25,000 or $100,000 for restoration of your chapel, make that pledge with the express restriction something like this
"This gift is to be used only for restoration to St. George's Chapel consistent with the plans shown to the donor in April 2022, and only upon condition that the sacraments are offered thereafter according to the liturgical books in use prior to 1963, and for no other purpose. If for any reason the sacraments cease to be offered at least weekly according to this restriction at any time prior to the 50th anniversary of this gift, a cash amount equal to the full amount of the gift shall be transferred to the following alternate beneficiary: _________________"