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Cardinal Cupich, stop the misguided effort to close churches in vibrant communities

In a misguided effort to raise money, these closures are doing a great deal of harm.

Protestors hold up signs and and photos of various churches at a March 3, 2021 press conference demanding that Cardinal Blase Cupich stop the closure of more than 25 churches.
Protestors hold up signs and and photos of various churches at a March 3, 2021 press conference demanding that Cardinal Blase Cupich stop the closure of more than 25 churches.
Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

On Easter Sunday, as Christians around the world gather to celebrate one of the most important days of their year, thousands of Chicago-area Catholics will be shut out of their churches by the Archdiocese of Chicago. Too many of these sacred spaces around Chicago have been, or are about to be, closed by Cardinal Blase Cupich in what appears to be a misguided effort to raise money by targeting the most valuable properties without regard to their vibrancy or their importance to their community.

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Many of these beautiful, often architecturally significant, churches are in vibrant communities. That is certainly the case with St. Matthias, in the heart of thriving Lincoln Square. Like so many other churches, St. Matthias is a solid structure and a welcoming place of worship and community service that was built more than a century ago on the talent, treasure and toil of people in that community, and maintained by parishioners ever since.

Importantly, it is more than just a place to worship and more than just a Catholic church. It is a place of peace that welcomes everyone. It is the heart of a community that serves the poor and guides those otherwise in need. It is a place where St. Matthias School students learn and practice Catholic values that will guide them for their entire lives, as it did me. It is a place where anyone can find refuge, solace and friendship.

It is a vital part of the Lincoln Square business community, as church attendees frequent local businesses after Mass and other services and events.

And yet, despite a solid and growing parishioner base, an active community and its location in a booming neighborhood, St. Matthias, like so many others, is on the list for closure.

I urge the Cardinal to ask himself if closing all these churches is really serving the Catholic community and its mission to serve the community at large, as Christ would.

As a long-time St. Matthias parishioner, I can attest that these inappropriate closures of our sacred spaces are doing a great deal to harm, to our Catholic community in Chicago and to the surrounding communities. A more careful look is needed. I urge the Cardinal and the Archdiocese to stop treating our parishes like they are part of a real estate investment trust that he wants to cash out, and start regarding them as the sacred spaces they are. In many ways, our Catholic Churches are an integral part of Christ’s voice on earth today.

Virginia V. Mann, parishioner, St. Matthias Catholic Church

Our founders knew we must regulate guns

Our Founding Fathers were brilliant men and their vision stands the test of time. Particularly that of James Madison who, in 1791, proposed the Second Amendment. He did so mainly to establish the inherent right of the American people, and by extension all of humanity, to respond to tyrannical government or a foreign power subverting the rights enshrined in the Constitution.

Madison made sure to state his preference and highlight the absolute necessity for a “well-regulated militia.” Even while fighting for liberty, our founders understood that if we are to maintain and advance our democratic republic, we must strongly regulate firearms.

I never want to see another Aurora or Atlanta. If we are to survive, and prepare ourselves for an uncertain geopolitical and economic future, we must stop killing each other and unite peacefully. I implore our leaders to summon whatever intestinal fortitude they still possess to draft legislation demanding background checks, bans on firearms for domestic abusers and the mentally ill, and the plethora of common-sense reforms we must institute to honor Madison’s thoughtful and foresightful legacy.

We owe it to our children to pass comprehensive gun reform legislation.

Henry J.H. Wilson, Barrington