From a letter from Bishop Victoria Matthews, Diocese of Christchurch, New Zealand, to her clergy this morning:
"The Cathedral, as you are aware, suffered grave damage in the Christchurch earthquakes of 26 December 2010; 22 February, 2011; and 13 June 2011. It has now been determined that in order to make the Cathedral safe for an interim period of time, for the retrieval and retention of some of the heritage aspects of the Cathedral, we have to order a controlled demolition for parts of the building. I am very aware it has been a difficult time for us all and it saddens me that I have to make this announcement. On the other hand it does mean that there will be the saving of some of the precious heritage, and also that the future Cathedral will incorporate that which is both old and new.
One consequence of this decision is that I will de-consecrate the Cathedral and return it to secular use prior to the controlled demolition. That service of de-consecration will take place on Wednesday, 9 November at at 10.00 am at the Cathedral. As the Cathedral stands in the restricted red zone, with very limited entry, we hope to air the service of de-consecration on television for those who wish to witness the de-consecration.
In closing let me say that, in God's good time, we again will have a wonderful Cathedral that is the heart of both the city and the Diocese. Until then, let me again remind all Christians that we are the church, the Body of Christ, and the Gospel we carry on our lips and in our hearts is the only Gospel many folks will ever encounter. Let us never forget that we have Good News to share. May our lives and words proclaim Christ's love and redemption where ever we go."
This announcement was due to be made to the world via the media at 11 am today, Friday 28th October, 2011.
Please read here for a stimulating, and somewhat challenging report in the Press re future options, citizen opinion, etc.
POSTSCRIPT On the other side of the world another Cathedral has had a chequered week, with good comment from Lord Carey here.