Thursday, November 15, 2012

Earthquake consequences, media mischief, evolving story

I have been saddened this week to learn that a beautiful church, All Saints, Palmerston North, where I have enjoyed participating in many worship services, will close as a consequence of the earthquakes in Christchurch. It is at 3% of code and the cost of strengthening is around $4m. My sadness does not lead to any dispute that the parish is making the right decision. Read further here.

Out today, as a further consequence of the earthquakes, is the judgement of Justice Chisholm about the appeal against the demolition of the cathedral here in Christchurch. This is what Bishop Victoria has written to the diocese this afternoon:

"Dear Friends,
 We have just received the decision of Justice Chisholm about our Cathedral.
 We have permission to deconstruct the old Cathedral and build a new Cathedral in the  Square, and we are expected to use reasonable speed in doing so.  Furthermore we need to assure the Court of our commitment to build a Cathedral in the Square before we can proceed further with the deconstruction.  The decision acknowledges that CPT was facing a difficult and complex decision in a tight  time frame.  We are not required to build in any particular style.
 The major deciding point seems to be the difference between building a Cathedral on the present site versus re-constructing the present Cathedral on the present site.
 It is a 200-paragraph decision and I will bring to your attention further details at a later time.
 Every blessing,
+Victoria"

But you would not guess this was the case if you read the current headline [aroundabout 4.30 pm] on Stuff.co.nz, "Cathedral demo halted." What the article (at time of writing this post) mischievously leaves out is that the halt is only as long as the diocesan authorities take to satisfy the judge's request that intent to build a new cathedral is established on the current cathedral site. As far as I know it is established, but apparently the judge thinks otherwise.

LATER (6.45 pm) Here is a more balanced take on the judgement from Stuff which better reconciles the situation:

"Christ Church Cathedral has been granted a stay of execution.
A High Court ruling today ordered the planned demolition of the earthquake-damaged landmark be stopped until further notice.
The legal challenge was brought by the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust against building owner, the Church Property Trust (CPT).
The trust, co-chaired by former MPs Jim Anderton and Philip Burdon, sought a binding court ruling on whether the Anglican church's deconstruction plans breached an act of Parliament protecting church buildings.
Its legal advice suggested that, under the act, the church trustees were obliged to repair it.
Justice Chisholm ruled in his written judgement that Anglican leaders were not legally required to restore the cathedral to its original form.
"Unless the terms of the Cathedral trust are varied, either the structure that remains will have to be repaired or it will have to be replaced by another Cathedral.''
"While there must be a cathedral on the site, it does not necessarily have to replicate the cathedral as it stood before the earthquakes occurred.''
But Chisholm also ruled "the future of the cathedral is legitimately in the public arena and is plainly a matter of intense public interest''.
Bishop Victoria Matthews said the CPT was pleased the courts had backed the decision to deconstruct the cathedral and replace with a new building.
''As we have said since March the new design will be a mixture of old and new and it will be beautiful,'' she said.
The CPT would formally commit to building a new cathedral in the square, Matthews said.
Architects Warren and Mahoney had already been engaged to work on design, she said."

BUT best of all, I suggest, is Taonga.

9 comments:

Jethro said...

Disappointingly it is the same with National Radio

http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/canterbury-earthquake/120985/high-court-halts-cathedral-demolition

I wonder what they gain from presenting it in this way?

Father Ron Smith said...

"While there must be a cathedral on the site, it does not necessarily have to replicate the cathedral as it stood before the earthquakes occurred." - Judge's Ruling -

Surely this sentence is seminal to the proper understanding of what the judge has ruled. Let's hope the CPT will soon be able to satisfy the requirement of the judge for evidence of an intention to build a (NEW) cathedral on the site. That should help silence the agitators.

- Or do they have lots more money to spend on an appeal?

liturgy said...

Thanks, as always Peter, for your balancing approach to this.

There appears to be little acknowledgement/comment (yet), and nothing here, to the part of the ruling (if the Press is correct) that the insurance pay-out for the cathedral cannot be used "off-site". This, am I understanding it correctly, will affect the financing of the Transitional Cathedral?

Blessings

Bosco

Peter Carrell said...

Wow, that is an amazing observation, Bosco, which had not struck me!

Chris Nimmo said...

Jim Anderton can pay for it

Shawn said...

I am tired of people like Jim Anderton sticking their noses into this. Anderton is a Roman Catholic, not an Anglican, and worse, he is a Communist to boot.

The Cathredal is none of his business.

Peter Carrell said...

Is that a current membership status of the Communist Party you are talking about, Shawn?

Shawn said...

More of an ideological stance than a membership Peter!

MichaelA said...

I think St Paul's Cathedral in London has been destroyed by fire and rebuilt three times over the centuries. Christchurch is not alone going through this - I think most of the great Cathedrals of Europe have been destroyed and rebuilt at some point in their history.