You have probably heard examples of encroachment on private property by state and city governments through aggressive use of "eminent domain".
A reader alerted me to this Very Alarming Development in the Diocese of Rockford, IL.
This is from the Rockford Catholic Examiner with my emphases and comments:
The Labor Day assault on Saint Mary’s Oratory
September 4, 11:56 AM
Rockford Catholic Examiner
Scott P. Richert
In 2010, the second-oldest Catholic church in Rockford will celebrate its 125th anniversary. Yet just a few years ago, it seemed as if Saint Mary’s Oratory might not reach that milestone.
Founded in 1885, Saint Mary’s is an imposing red-brick Gothic structure. The stained-glass windows are some of the most intricate and beautiful of any church in Rockford. Having survived a fire in 1962 and low Mass attendance throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s, Saint Mary’s became the home of Rockford’s only traditional Latin Mass in 1997, when Bishop Thomas Doran put the church under the administration of the Institute of Christ the King.
Catholics from across northern Illinois and as far north as Madison, Wisconsin, began to flock to Saint Mary’s. But [The point…] when the voters of Winnebago County approved the construction of a new county jail, the church’s future was cast into jeopardy.
Over Labor Day [NB:] 2003, an email from a member of the Winnebago County Board inadvertently revealed county officials’ plans to force the Rockford diocese to sell Saint Mary’s to the county. The church and its school would be razed, and the grounds would be used for parking for the new jail.
Fortunately, one county board member, the late Mary Ann Aiello, sounded the alarm, and the parishioners of Saint Mary’s, as well as Catholics from across the country, rode to the rescue. Faced with national headlines, opposition from the Rockford diocese and from the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the county dropped its plans.
Today, 500 Catholics attend Mass at Saint Mary’s every Sunday, across the street from the new county jail. And when they celebrate the church’s 125th anniversary next year, they will undoubtedly light many candles, and offer many prayers, for the soul of Mary Ann Aiello—a Catholic first, and a politician second.
There is something redolent of the ancient in this story.