Contradictory directives cited on Milwaukee cathedral renovation

Posted: Friday, June 01, 2001

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- As workers pull the pews from the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Roman Catholic church officials and critics have presented contradictory Vatican directives in a dispute over the renovations.

A spokesman for Archbishop Rembert Weakland said a letter from Apostolic Nuncio Gabriel Montalvo in Washington contained no directive ''to halt, alter or change the renovation project.''

But parishioner Al Szews released a letter to an anti-renovation attorney that says the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline ''acted to invite the archbishop of Milwaukee to suspend any work of renovation until the project may be reviewed by the Holy See.''

Opponents object to changes such as replacement of pews with portable chairs, moving the altar forward into the congregation and taking the tabernacle from the sanctuary into a side chapel.

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