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If Chicago wants to save old Catholic church buildings, Chicago can buy them

Yes, the buildings are beautiful. But I don’t want my donations to a dwindling Catholic Church going to the preservation of defunct buildings.  

Interior of St. Ignatius Church, 6559 N. Glenwood Ave., which held its final regular mass this month.
St. Ignatius Church

In a Sunday editorial, the Sun-Times wrote that although the Archdiocese of Chicago owns its churches, the practical reality is that the buildings belong to all of us. No, they don’t. If they do, then let the City of Chicago buy and maintain them.

Yes, the buildings are beautiful. But I don’t want my donations to a dwindling Catholic Church going to the preservation of defunct buildings.

As to the editorial’s point that these buildings traditionally also have served as social service centers, the Catholic Church remains a pillar of Chicago social services outside of a parish center setting. These social services are provided regardless of one’s religious affiliation, if any.

Kenneth White, Lakeview

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes. Letters should be approximately 350 words or less.

Keeping churches open takes money

The problem with saving closed Catholic Churches is that it comes down to money. Who is going to pay to maintain closed churches?

The parish I grew up in was St. Angela’s on the West Side. Most Catholics were gone from the neighborhood by the early 1980s, and St. Angela’s was closed in 2005. It sat vacant until it was demolished about three years ago. It could not be repurposed or taken over by another religious institution because it needed a new roof and that was going to cost more than $1 million.

Unless people — and not just the archdiocese — are willing to pony up money to repair and maintain these buildings, the ultimate fate of the buildings is that they’ll be demolished.

Tim Moran, Barrington

How about a back-to-school tax holiday?

At least 16 states — Ohio, Iowa, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, South Carolina, Virginia, Arkansas, Maryland, Alabama, Connecticut, Mississippi, Florida, Tennessee and West Virginia — offer back-to-school tax holidays, usually over a late summer weekend. Florida shoppers get a 10-day window!

During these tax holidays, families can purchase school supplies and clothes free of all taxes, both in-store and online.

Perhaps you noticed a state missing from this list, a state where the total of all sales taxes typically runs between 8 and 10%. Why isn’t Illinois on the list?

In March, Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza announced that the state’s share of the federal stimulus package is $7.5 billion — billion with a B! Could the state not set aside even a small amount of that money for families that could really benefit from a tax break that 17 states already have enacted?

Christine Craven, Evergreen Park