Cleveland diocese auctioning objects from closed-down churches

CLEVELAND (AP) – An online sale is under way offering altars, crucifixes, statues of saints and gold-plated chalices from Roman Catholic churches shut down by the Cleveland diocese.

Diocese spokesman Robert Tayek says those and other church items may not be purchased by members of the public but only by Catholic parishes and other institutions, such as hospitals, monasteries and schools.

All sales must be approved by the diocese. It has closed 14 northeast Ohio churches since April and plans to shut down three dozen more because of declining congregations, finances and priest numbers.

As of Tuesday, the sale being conducted by an online liquidator listed nearly 700 items with a total asking price of $939,000. Tayek says the items were priced by appraisers.

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Information from: The Plain Dealer, http://www.cleveland.com

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AP-CS-10-21-09 0624EDT