Renovation of Milwaukee's Catholic cathedral is nearly complete, despite dispute

Posted: Friday, February 01, 2002

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A $4 million-plus renovation of the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist is near completion despite objections from some churchgoers, with dedication ceremonies set Feb. 8-10.

Cardinal Jorge Medina, of the Vatican office on worship and sacraments, sent a letter to local Archbishop Rembert Weakland last year raising questions about the construction work. But some wondered whether the cardinal even had authority to intervene.

Archdiocesan spokesman Jerry Topczewski said Weakland consulted other church leaders about the letter, decided no major issues were involved and believed ''the decisions he has made are well within his authority as the local bishop.''

Some local Catholics complained about such aspects of the renovation as moving the altar one-third of the way down the aisle, removal of the tabernacle to an adjacent chapel and the replacement of pews with movable chairs.

Alan Kershaw, a canon lawyer in Rome representing critics of the Milwaukee redesign, contends Vatican authority was disobeyed and that Rome could still take action after the dedication.


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